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Attention, Shoppers – Why I Like These Three Store Credit Cards

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Store Credit Cards

Store Credit Cards

I blather on about rewards from traditional travel and cash back credit cards plenty, but I enjoy more niche cards just as much, and sometimes more.  Indeed, I spend at these stores more often than I redeem many travel currencies.  When I think of store credit cards, my thoughts first go to my youth – you know, when they ONLY worked at a specific brand store.  Fortunately, store credit cards have gotten better.  Many can now be used anywhere, and a few of them offer excellent rewards.  Today, I’m describing three of my favorites.

Store Credit Cards
Source: Sam’s Club.

Sam’s Club Mastercard

I have a hot and cold relationship with Sam’s.  The Sam’s Club parking lot is a special version of consumer hell.  That’s one reason I concede to paying $110 for a Sam’s Plus membership.  Hello free shipping for most online orders and mostly goodbye to the actual stores.  (And when I do go to the store, I park across the street.)

But meanwhile, I pick up big rewards with the Sam’s Club Mastercard from Synchrony.  First off, this no annual fee card earns 5% back on gas station spend, up to $6k spend annually.  Sam’s Club spend earns an additional 3% on top of my 2% as a Plus member for an overall 5% rate.  I earn 3% on dining purchases, as well (all other spend earns 1%).  Rewards are earned in Sam’s Cash, and we have no problem using the rewards on normal purchases online or in-store.

No one should pursue this card for a signup bonus – it’s currently a $50 statement credit after spending $50 at Sam’s within 30 days.  But the ongoing earning from the bonus categories on a no annual fee card is enough for many, including me.

Store Credit Cards

Target Mastercard

Years ago, the Target Mastercard was tough to acquire.  It required applying for the Target Redcard credit card and eventually getting product changed to the Mastercard.  But about a year ago, I heard others were getting immediately approved for the Mastercard.  Soon after, my wife and I each lucked out and were approved for the Target Mastercard issued by TD Bank.  Talk to your friends and see which they’ve been approved for (or if they’ve heard from others)!

Like other versions of the RedCard, the Mastercard earns 5% virtually across the board at Target, including on third party gift cards.  The card also earns 2% on gas station and dining spend, not huge overall but respectable for a no fee card.  I particularly like stacking the 5% card savings with limited-time Target Circle bonuses and other promotions.

Like the Sam’s card, the Target signup bonus isn’t lucrative.  New credit cardholders can save $50 on a future Target purchase, redeemable through Target Circle.

Store Credit Cards
Source: Barclays.

Banana Republic Rewards Mastercard

A favorite of mine since its days with Synchrony, the no-fee Banana Republic Rewards Mastercard from Barclays provides huge rewards primarily through targeted bonus spend offers.  For instance, my wife and I have each routinely received offers of 5x, and 10x on rare occasions, on certain category spending, including grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants.  Along the way, we’ve reached Banana Republic’s top-tier Icon status ($5k spend anywhere on the card) and unlocked additional benefits.  Points are worth one cent each for redemption at the Gap family of brands (Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy, Athleta).  The card normally earns 5x on Gap family purchases, and 1x everywhere else.

Barclays offers card versions from others in the Gap family of brands.  It appears earning is the same on each card type, so you may want to consider another version based on your brand preference.  The signup bonus for the Banana Republic Mastercard is 20% off your first purchase at Banana Republic, so maybe pick up the card before a big shopping trip.


I didn’t get into all of the reasons to hold each card, and the selection of store credit cards continues to expand.  More stores are offering cards useful everywhere.  But watch out, some are inferior to more traditional rewards credit cards.  Still, I’m excited to see where this sector goes, knowing that something else worth my effort will appear sooner or later.  So, dear reader, what store credit cards do you currently hold or plan to acquire?  Why?

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. I second the Shop Your Way card. Every quarter they change the categories to earn 10x cash back (statement credit) on, up to a certain amount. This no fee card gives 5% back on gas, 3% back on groceries/restautants, 2% on Sears and 1% back on everything else. These are points you can convert to gift cards. And these stack on top of the cash back when they offer bonuses like the current 10% statement credit on gas/groceries/restaurants.
    I don’t know what they do for a sign up bonus, but this is my favorite store branded card.

  2. I think it’s worth mentioning that store-branded credit cards can have a negative impact on FICO scores. This is especially true if you don’t have very many Visa, MC, or Amex cards.

  3. Thought for sure you’d mention the Sears card as it usually gives 10 15 or 25x on Utilities. Just wondering about this card as well as the Citi Custom Cash, are the best used of the earned points only towards gift cards. And are they both redeemable through the Shop Your Way website, which I guess you’d have to make another account and transfer your points to it.. Thanks.

    • Dave and Rick,
      I’m not currently riding the wave with the Shop Your Way card, but we have in the past and hope to do so again in the future! Thanks for bringing this one up, as well.


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