We actually have this card and so this review will reflect our experience with it. But what is more interesting is how and why we got the card in the first place.
How And Why We Got This? - Anyone who has shopped at LL Bean will know that the best thing about it is that you can return your products at any time if you are not satisfied with it. And that is why many folks shop here. And I was at the store with the wife looking for some jackets. In particular, I was looking for a shell that was waterproof. Then, I spotted one that I really liked a lot. It was bright orange color (I preferred something unique that just a boring black one - not just a boring design) and it seemed to fit me very well. The cost? Well, it was over $300 (to be precise, I think it was around $350).
I debated for a while whether to get it but finally decided that I liked it enough and that I really needed a waterproof shell. At the check out counter, we were told by the cashier that if we applied for the LL Bean credit card, we would get 20% on our first purchase (which was this orange jacket). That would have meant that we saved about $70 (which is huge). Since there was no annual fee on the card, we decided to sign up.
Signing up for a card over the counter can be quite a tedious process (unlike applying online!). We (or rather Mrs Credit Card) had to fill out an application form with her SSN and the usual details. But after what must have been like 20 minutes, we finally got the card approved and we got our 20% discount. Getting the card approved did not mean that we got the card straight away at the store. In fact, we had to wait the usual 7 to 10 days for it to arrive in the mail. But with the application process approved, we got the discount.
Perks and Benefits - I did not really get into the details on the card until after we got it. It turns out that the features are typical of what you would find in retail cards. Firstly, you'll earn 3% rewards for every dollar that you spend at LL Bean. That essentially means that you earn three points per dollar at LL Bean stores. This includes online purchases as well. For other non LL Bean purchases, you'll earn the standard 1% (or rather one point per dollar).
The key question here is how would you redeem your points. Well, LL Bean will send you a $20 voucher once you have earned that amount through your reward points. You will need to earn 2,000 points (via $2,000 in spending). That means the the rebate is worth 1%.
Aside from the points and coupons that you get, you will also get other perks. For example, once in a while, I get notification of special sales promotions. I could also return my goods for free on any orders and also get free monograming on any apparels that I buy. Free shipping requires that you have to use their designated return labels. If the returns require freight shipping or if the purchase is a direct to business purchases or international purchase, then the free shipping perk is not valid.
The monogram service is worth $8 per monogram. Hence, depending on how many monograms you do a year, this benefit can really add up.
Is This Card Good? - Having had this card for a while, I would say that it would make sense to get this card when you do shop a lot at LL Bean. We also have a GAP Visa and given that we shop a lot at GAP, we use that card more often than this one. Like I mentioned in the beginning of the review, LL Bean is a great store with fantastic return policies. One of the nice perks of having retail store cards is that every once in a while, you will get advanced notification of sales that is going on. Once again, if you shop a lot at the store, then you will love this card.
Some of you who are looking at this card may be interested in it simply to rebuild your credit (since "store" cards are known for relatively easier approvals). When Mrs Credit Card got her card, her scores were in the mid to high 700s on all three bureaus. Hence, she had relatively great scores when she was approved. So we could not really help you here with regards to approvals if you had a lower score.
Other Ways To Earn Discounts From LL Bean Purchases - If you do not shop at LL Bean frequently, you can still get discounts (or rather cash back) when you make purchases from their online stores. The reason is because they have partnered with other cards issues like Discover and Citi and their online store is part of their portal. For both Discover and Citi, you can earn 5% cash back when you shop at llbean.com through their online shopping portals. So these are other cards to consider.