After reviewing the Macy's Red card, the Macy's Gold card, Macy's Platinum and Macy's Elite cards and also taking a look at the differences between the store cards and the American Express cards, you may be wondering which one (if any) is right for you.
The Verdict on the Macy's Store Cards - If you shop at Macy's frequently you will likely benefit from the savings coupons and discounts that are sent out every month. Although the Macy's store cards do not carry any rewards program except for special occasions, if you pay your balance every month and can avoid paying 24.5% in interest, you will save quite a bit on your purchases just carrying the card. The coupons are sent out often and there is almost always a special sale at the store for cardholders.
Another reason you may want the Macy's store card, is they have been known to approve those with bad credit. If you are trying to build your credit or repair your credit and haven't been able to get approved for a standard credit card, you may want to try a store card such as Macy's. Cardholders with bankruptcies on their credit reports and credit scores as low as in the 400s (which is considered poor) have been known to be approved for the Macy's store card. Again, if your goal is to repair or build your credit, you may want to get the card to build a trade line and pay it off every month to avoid paying the hefty 24.5% in interest.
The main reason for denial has been because of too many inquiries on the credit report or too many brand new credit accounts. The reason for these denials is presumably because this behavior is sometimes a red flag and seen as "high risk", especially if you've had credit problems in the past. If you have many new credit inquiries or a bunch of credit accounts you just opened, you may want to wait a few months before going for the Macy's card.
What About the Macy's American Express Card? - In order to qualify for the Macy's American Express Card, you will need to meet an annual spending amount in addition to proving credit worthiness. This means that you still have to qualify for an American Express card just like you would with any other AmEx. Generally, to qualify for AmEx cards, your credit has to be in the very good and excellent credit range.
The problem with the Macy's American Express card is the interest rate, which is 24.5% just like the regular Macy's store cards. You do receive access to American Express Selects and with the Macy's American Express Preferred card, you receive access to Macy's Preferred Travel. These are programs you would likely receive access to and be able to take advantage of with nearly any American Express card. Unless you are a heavy shopper at Macy's, which incidentally with the Preferred card needs to be at least $1000 per year, you will want to shop around for a better American Express credit card. If you have already decided you want a Macy's card but can't meet the spending limit, I would suggest the store cards or the standard Macy's American Express.
The Macy's American Express cards are also part of the Star Rewards program which allows cardholders of the Macy's American Express to earn 1.5% on purchases made at Macy's and 1% on purchases everywhere else. Cardholders of the Macy's Preferred American Express card are able to earn 3% on Macy's purchases and 1% on all other purchases. Again, this only benefits frequent Macy's shoppers. The rewards certificates cannot be used as cash or to pay your statement and can only be used in Macy's stores.
The main reasons and possibly the only reasons that getting the Macy's card would benefit consumers, are if you are trying to build or repair credit or are a frequent shopper at Macy's stores. If you can pay off your balance each month, you can save quite a bit of money on your Macy's purchases through the cardholder discounts and sales that are offered.