Several department stores offer their own store credit cards, as well as cards issued through a major provider such as MasterCard or American Express. Many issue rewards points for every purchase made with a store's card, with these points often applying toward a gift certificate or amount off a future purchase. In some cases, rewards programs run on a tiered system where the highest spenders benefit from the biggest variety of rewards.
Ten of the most popular department stores that offer credit cards with rewards include:
Kohl's offers a charge card that comes with numerous 15 to 30 percent off discounts and savings events throughout the year. Approved applicants also get 15 percent discount off their next purchase.
Those who spend at least $600 during the year join the Most Valued Customer (MVC) program and get even more discounts throughout the year. All cardholders are able to return purchases made with their Kohl's card without a receipt.
Sears offers a charge card that can be used at Sears, Kmart and Lands' End, as well as a Citibank MasterCard that can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted. Both cards offer card members access to special financing offers, including no interest promotions and discounts off total purchases.
Card members also benefit from monthly savings offers and receive advanced notice of these savings through email. They can also earn points for purchases made at Kmart and through the Shop Your Way VIP program.
Dillards offers both an American Express credit card and a store card, which both give card members rewards points for each dollar spent at the store. The American Express card also awards points for purchases at other places, such as grocery stores and gas stations. These points can be used to get 10 percent off shopping passes and $10 reward certificates.
Cardholders also get access to special offers. Those who spend at least $2,000 a year get access to free gift wrapping, private shopping events, priority customer service, bonus reward point offers, travel packages and free online shipping.
JCPenney's store cards are available at basic, gold and platinum levels, with each level offering more rewards. All card members benefit from the store's rewards point program, which provides a $10 reward certificate whenever you earn 100 points shopping with your card, as well as access to bonus point offers, special savings events and promotional financing.
Gold and platinum card members also receive a birthday gift, special coupons and discounts. Platinum card members also get access to free shipping events.
Bloomingdale's has two levels of cards offered through the store itself and through American Express, with both offering points that can be applied toward gift cards at the store. The Bloomingdale's Card and Bloomingdale's American Express both give card members points for every dollar they spend at the store, its website and at its outlet stores, with the American Express card awarding points for purchases made elsewhere.
Available for those who have spent at least $3,500 a year with the regular card, the Bloomingdale's Reserve Card and Bloomingdale's Reserve American Express card offers more rewards points along with free shipping and gift wrapping.
The Neiman Marcus store credit card features the InCircle program, which offers rewards points for purchases on various tiers that depend on how much the card member spends per year. The most basic tier provides rewards points with a $100 gift card whenever 10,000 points are earned, while higher tiers offer benefits that include complimentary cosmetics sessions, free gift wrapping, free online shipping, free wardrobe consultation, bonus points and free $25 gift cards.
All approved applicants get started with 5,000 bonus points if they buy something the day they're approved.
Offering both a store card and a MasterCard, Stein Mart gives approved applicants 10 percent off their first purchase and offers more 10 percent off sales events throughout the year. Cardholders also benefit from simplified returns, a gift during their birthday month and early notice of special sales events.
Macy's has a store credit card and another card issued by American Express. All members receive special savings offers throughout the year depending on how much they spend annually, as well as surprise savings offers at the register.
Card members on higher tiers benefit from a birthday offer, exclusive shipping offers and priority customer service. American Express card members get additional awards points for purchases inside and outside the store.
Nordstrom shoppers can choose between the Nordstrom Retail and Nordstrom Visa Signature cards. Both cards feature awards points for Nordstrom purchases, while the Visa card gives points for purchases elsewhere. Card members can redeem the points for $20 toward a purchase at the store.
The rewards program has four tiered levels, with each offering benefits that include money toward alterations and personal triple points days. Higher tiers come with VIP store event access, holiday events and access to special travel experiences.
Sak's Fifth Avenue
Sak's Fifth Avenue offers the SaksFirst Store Card and the SaksFirst MasterCard. Cardholders benefit from free shipping and access to exclusive events. They also earn points on purchases made at the store, with MasterCard holders getting points for purchases other places, and these can be redeemed for gift cards.
The rewards system also comes in several tiers, with more awards offered at higher levels. Some of these benefits include complimentary valet parking, advanced notice of sales events, catalog mailings and fashion consulting.
Choosing a Card
If you shop at many department stores, you might have trouble deciding which have credit cards that are worth applying for. When deciding on a card, consider how much you spend at the store, especially if its rewards come in tiers.
If you don't spend enough to benefit from the awards that attract you the most at a specific store, consider applying for a MasterCard, Visa or American Express card offered by the department store you shop at the most. This will enable you to earn some rewards points no matter where you shop, which you can later redeem for purchases at the card's store.