The American Eagle Credit Cards — Are They Worth Signing Up For?

American Eagle Storefront for AEO Credit Card Review

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Described as an “American jeans brand rooted in authenticity and self-expression,” American Eagle Outfitters has long been a shopping mall staple with their on-trend clothing marketed to young adults and college students alike.

Recently, they’ve been advertising a more “retro/vintage” style, continuing to focus on bringing you the perfect pair of jeans (in tons of styles, colors, and fits), plus an array of high-quality basic wardrobe staples like soft tees, comfy sweaters, and loungewear.

But do they offer the same commitment with their store-branded credit card? Is it the perfect, high-quality card for your wallet?

We’ll aim to answer that question in this in-depth review. Read on for more information on the AEO cards’ benefits, drawbacks, fees, application process, and more, in addition to a breakdown of alternative credit cards that you may want to consider.

The American Eagle Outfitters Cards at a Glance

American Eagle Credit Cards - AEO Connected
Image courtesy of ae.com.
AEO Connected® Credit CardAEO Connected® Visa® Credit Card
Main Benefits🦅 15 points per $1 spent at AEO/Aerie stores 
🛍 2,500 points = $10 reward
📦 Free standard shipping
🎁 20% off birthday coupon
👖 Buy 5 jeans, get 1 free
💁🏻 Buy 5 bras, get 1 free
📆 Personal shopping day coupon
🎟 6 cardholder events each year

⭐️ Sign-up bonus
🦅 15 points per $1 spent at AEO/Aerie stores 
🛍 2,500 points = $10 reward
📦 Free standard shipping
🎁 20% off birthday coupon
👖 Buy 5 jeans, get 1 free
💁🏻 Buy 5 bras, get 1 free
📆 Personal shopping day coupon
🎟 6 cardholder events each year
⭐️ Sign-up bonus
🙌 Flexibility to use anywhere Visa is accepted

🔥 5 points per $1 spent on all other Visa purchases (outside of AEO/Aerie)
Annual Fee$0$0
APR27.74% variable27.74% variable
Late FeeUp to $38 Up to $38

As you can see, American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) has 2 credit cards: the AEO Connected® Credit Card and the AEO Connected® Visa® Credit Card, both issued by Synchrony Bank.

The main benefits are largely the same, except the Visa distinction allows that version of the card to be used anywhere Visa is accepted (and cardholders earn bonus points for doing so).

These are the same credit cards utilized by Aerie, AEO’s intimate apparel sub-brand.

Upon approval for either of these cards, users will automatically be enrolled in the AEO Connected Rewards Program when they provide a unique email address. This program is how you will earn your benefit points.

AEO Connected® Credit Card

This is the most basic card offered by American Eagle; it can only be used at AEO, AEO Factory Stores, AE.com, Aerie, and aerie.com.

The AEO Connected® Credit Card comes with the following benefits:

🦅 15 points per $1 spent at AEO/Aerie stores 
🛍 2,500 points = $10 reward
📦 Free standard shipping
🎁 20% off birthday coupon
👖 Buy 5 jeans, get 1 free
💁🏻 Buy 5 bras, get 1 free
📆 Personal shopping day coupon
🎟 6 cardholder events each year

⭐️ Sign-up bonus

The perks aren’t too complicated, but let’s break them down anyway.

🦅 15 points per $1 spent at AEO/Aerie stores: You must use your AEO credit card to receive this benefit. If you pay with another form of payment, you won’t receive the points. Also of note, points are awarded after discounts, taxes, and fees, and they exclude gift card purchases. 

🛍 2,500 points = $10 reward: This is pretty self-explanatory, but a few more details are listed below in the in-depth rewards program section. 

📦 Free standard shipping: Cardholders will receive free standard shipping on all purchases made at AE.com and aerie.com when using your AEO credit card. This includes any purchases made through the AEO | Aerie mobile app. 

🎁 20% off birthday coupon: This coupon is typically distributed around the first day of your birthday month. Alternatively, you can access your coupon online or via the mobile app. Birthday coupons will only be issued if your AEO credit card account is active and in good standing. 

👖 Buy 5 jeans, get 1 free: The nice part about this benefit is that the buy 5 get 1 free does not mean you have to buy 5 pairs in a single purchase. Your jeans purchases are tracked in your account over time, and once you have purchased 5 pairs you’ll get a coupon for a free pair.

These purchases do exclude clearance and third-party jeans, and of course it doesn’t apply to all other denim items, (such as jackets, skirts, shorts, and shirts).

Your jeans credits (meaning your number of jeans purchases) never expire as long as your account is active, but your free jeans coupon will have a clearly marked expiration date — so don’t miss out!

💁🏻 Buy 5 bras, get 1 free: This is similar to the buy 5 get 1 jeans offer. Over time your bra purchases are logged, and once you buy 5, you get a coupon for 1 free bra. This perk also excludes clearance and third-party bras. 

Again, your bra credits (meaning your number of bra purchases) never expire as long as your account is active, but your free bra coupon will have an expiration date.

📆 Personal shopping day coupon: We cannot find anything in AEO’s FAQ or Rewards Program Terms and Conditions that elaborates on this “Personal Shopping Day Coupon.”

When we contacted American Eagle’s customer service via email, they responded with the following:

“The Personal Shopping Day Coupon is a special one-time discount to use any day of the year. This means that it is valid for the whole year, and you can use it on any one day that you choose to use it.” 

🎟 6 cardholder events each year: This perk also lacks explanation the FAQs and terms, but we can assume these “events” are a set of days that include special sales for cardholders. 

⭐️ Sign-up bonus: At the time of writing this piece, the current sign-up bonus included with these credit cards is 20% off your first AEO Connected credit card purchase. The 20% off cannot be combined with any other discounts or offers. 

AEO Connected® Visa® Credit Card

The AEO Connected® Visa® Credit Card is virtually the same as the regular AEO Connected® card, but it can be utilized anywhere Visa is accepted.

Being a Visa card, this also opens up the opportunity for cash advances and the ability to utilize the card internationally — although you’ll have some hefty foreign transaction fees (but more on that later).

Let’s talk added perks. All of the following benefits apply to this card:

🦅 15 points per $1 spent at AEO/Aerie stores 
🛍 2,500 points = $10 reward
📦 Free standard shipping
🎁 20% off birthday coupon
👖 Buy 5 jeans, get 1 free
💁🏻 Buy 5 bras, get 1 free
📆 Personal shopping day coupon
🎟 6 cardholder events each year

⭐️ Sign-up bonus

PLUS:
🙌 Flexibility to use anywhere Visa is accepted

🔥 5 points per $1 spent on all other Visa purchases (outside of AEO/Aerie)

Most of these benefits have already been explained above, but let’s discuss the final 2:

🙌 Flexibility to use anywhere Visa is accepted: This is a standard Visa card, so it can be utilized anywhere Visa is accepted, increasing your opportunities to utilize the card. 

🔥 5 points per $1 spent on all other Visa purchases (outside of AEO/Aerie): This is a pretty hefty points bonus; most other store-branded cards only offer 1 extra point per purchase outside of their family of stores. 

Fees & Drawbacks of the American Eagle Cards

All credit cards come with their own set of fees and drawbacks, and the AEO cards are no different.

Let’s take a look at the fees first.

Fees

AEO Connected®
Credit Card
AEO Connected® Visa®
Credit Card
Annual Fee$0$0
Purchase APR27.74% variable27.74% variable
Cash Advance APRn/a28.74% variable
Cash Advance Feen/a$10 or 5% of each cash advance, whichever is greater
Foreign Transaction Feen/a3% of each transaction
Minimum Interest Payment$2$2
Late FeeUp to $38Up to $38

While there’s no annual fee, which is a big positive to some individuals, there are definitely other fees you should be considering when you take a look at a credit card’s terms and conditions.

What you’ll immediately notice is the hefty purchase APR. At 27.74% variable, you’ll get into trouble very quickly if you carry any type of balance on this card! There are numerous other rewards cards that offer a 0% intro APR for up to 15 months if that’s a financial benefit that’s important to you.

You’ll also notice the late payment is up there at $38. While this is pretty average for a card of this caliber, you don’t want to get into a habit of making late payments.

If you have the Visa version of the card, you’ll also be taking a look at the cash advance APR and fee — although in our opinion you should never utilize your credit card for a cash advance unless you’re in a serious emergency.

There’s also a foreign transaction fee, but if you’re going to be traveling a lot, there are lots of cards that don’t charge when making purchases abroad.

The best way to avoid these pesky fees? Be a responsible cardholder and pay off off your balance on time each month.

Additional Drawbacks

In addition to fees and penalties, there are always other drawbacks of any credit card.

When talking about the AEO store-branded cards specifically, if you can’t get approved for the Visa version you’re stuck with a pretty inflexible card that can only be used at the AEO family of stores.

Similarly, the reward coupons you receive can only be redeemed at the AEO family of stores, which is also limiting unless you’re a die-hard AEO shopper.

Here are a few other reasons this card may not be for you, even if you can get approved for the Visa version:

Alternative Rewards Cards (Our Recommendations)

As these cards are effectively earning cash-back, we will assume that’s the main area of interest here!

The primary issue with American Eagle credit cards is that you can only use your rewards in-store, so unless you shop there a LOT we’d recommend the following cash-back cards instead, especially as they come with generous welcome bonuses and 0% intro APR deals.

If you’re an avid traveler (or are simply looking to travel more for less out of pocket), consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which is an excellent travel rewards card.

The welcome bonus is worth $625 when redeemed for travel expenses (flights, hotels, etc.) through Chase’s travel portal.

With this card, you’ll earn 1pt/$1 spent at American Eagle stores as well as anywhere else you make purchases with your card. In addition, all dining and travel purchases (worldwide) will be rewarded with 2pts per $1 spent.

(See what you can do with just the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card welcome bonus.)

AEO Connected Rewards Program – In Depth

AEO Connected Rewards Program by American Eagle
Image courtesy of ae.com.

Let’s take a look at the AEO Connected rewards program in a bit more detail where it concerns AEO cardholders.

Earning Points

As mentioned a number of times already, all cardholders regardless of card type earn 15 points per $1 spent within the AEO family of stores.

As a reminder, that’s:

  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • AEO Factory Stores
  • AE.com
  • Aerie
  • aerie.com

Hot Tip: Basic rewards members (non-cardholders) only earn 10 points per $1 spent. 

Terms and conditions state that points cannot be earned on gift card purchases or charitable items.

If you are an AEO Visa cardholder, you’ll also earn 5 points per $1 spent on all other Visa purchases outside the AEO family of stores.

Your AEO points will not expire as long as your account is active. This means having made at least 1 qualifying purchase with your card within a rolling 375 day period.

How Rewards Are Issued

Once shoppers accumulates 2,500 points, they receive a $10 off coupon.

We won’t bore you with the math, but essentially this is how things shake out:

  • AEO basic cardholders can only use the card at the AE family of stores (15 points per $1), effectively earning themselves 6% store cash when they shop.
  • AEO Visa cardholders also earn 6% store cash when they shop at AE, but earn 2% store cash on all other Visa purchases.

When it comes to the “buy 5 get 1” offers, once a shopper purchases 5 pairs of jeans or 5 bras, the free item reward is issued.

Rewards are sent out via email and text, or cardholders can access their rewards via the AEO | Aerie Mobile app.

AEO’s reward program terms and conditions state that members typically receive a reward within 15-21 days after they have reached the reward threshold.

Hot Tip: If you’re an AEO basic cardholder, you would have to spend $166.67 to receive your $10 reward.  If you’re a Visa cardholder, this value will vary based on the ratio of AE purchases to basic Visa purchases that you make. 

Using Your Rewards

All rewards are eligible to be redeemed at American Eagle stores, AEO factory stores, Aerie stores, AE.com, and aerie.com.

The $10 off rewards can in fact be stacked with other sales and discounts — meaning you can use it on regular, marked down, or clearance items.

However, this $10 reward is not available for use on third-party, Tailgate, Todd Snyder, or Don’t Ask Why merchandise; nor can it be used on gift cards or charitable items.

If you are shopping in-store, simply show the reward email or text at the register. If you’re shopping online, you can log into your account initially so your rewards are automatically visible at checkout.

Online shoppers can also enter the promo code (located on the reward) at checkout.

Hot Tip: The entirety of the $10 reward must be used in one purchase. If a shopper prefers to use the reward on a total that is less than $10, the remaining amount will be forfeited. 

Some other exclusions may apply, so be sure to see the details on your reward — don’t forget to check it’s expiration date!

Managing Your Rewards

AEO | Aerie mobile app
Image courtesy of itunes.apple.com.

AEO Rewards members can manage their rewards account and access a snapshot of their current points status either online or via the free AEO | Aerie mobile app (Apple, Android).

It’s important to note here that app-based management is for the rewards program only. Your AEO credit cards cannot currently be managed via the mobile app. 

A Note on “Extra Access” Members

The AEO Rewards program also includes a tiered status for customers that reach a certain spending threshold on their AEO credit or visa cards. If any shopper spends $350+ on their card in a calendar year, they graduate to “Extra Access” status.

This status allows members to receive a $15 off reward for every 2,500 points they earn. This is in contrast to the $10 off awarded at the base membership level.

You still have to spend the same amount of money to reach your reward; you simply receive more money back when you do so.

Here’s the basic earnings breakdown if you reach Extra Access:

  • Extra Access AEO basic cardholders can still only use the card at the AE family of stores (15 points per $1), effectively earning themselves 9% store cash when they shop.
  • Extra Access AEO Visa cardholders also earn 9% store cash when they shop at AE, but earn 3% store cash on all other Visa purchases.

Applying for the AEO Connected Cards

American Eagle Credit Card Application Page
Image courtesy of syf.com.

Prospective cardholders can apply for an AEO credit card in-store or online.

When applying for an AEO credit card, there is only 1 application for both cards. Applicants are initially considered for the Visa version of the card — if they do not qualify, they are then considered for the basic version of the card.

Approval is based on creditworthiness and is at the sole discretion of the financial institution. While neither AEO nor Synchrony bank discloses a minimum score needed to qualify for these cards, most credit card review sites state a “good” credit score is needed to qualify for the Visa version and a “fair” score is needed for the basic version.

However, this is not a hard and fast rule — we’ve seen reports of individuals being approved with credit that is slightly lower than these thresholds.

Login & Online Account Management

American Eagle Credit Card Account Login
Image courtesy of aeoutfitters.syf.com.

Synchrony Bank’s AEO-branded online account management platform is pretty standard.

If a cardholder has not created an account yet, they will first need to “register.” Once registered, they can simply sign in with their user ID and password.

Within the platform, users can perform the following:

  • Activate their AEO card
  • View account activity
  • Check their statements
  • Sign up for paperless statements
  • Make a payment
  • Add authorized users
  • and more…

Final Thoughts

American Eagle shoppers may be tempted by the AEO credit cards due to their perks and benefits. To be fair, if you reach AE’s top tier membership status and shop there a lot, you could be earning some pretty decent rewards back.

However, unless you’re a die-hard American Eagle or Aerie shopper, there are likely better credit cards out there for you.

The APR on these AEO cards is pretty high at 27.74% variable, especially when you add any additional penalties and fees. If you don’t qualify for the Visa version, you’re stuck only being able to use the card at the AE family of stores.

Like with other store-branded credit cards, the rewards are inflexible — you can only use them within the AE family…and they have expiration dates!

Essentially, if you’re looking for a card that offers a flexible earnings strategy (maybe even one that earns bonuses on everyday spending categories), flexible redemption options, or even travel perks, this is not the card for you.

However, if you’ve already got one of these “old trusty” cards in your wallet and you really love to shop at American Eagle, it may not be a bad addition to your stack.


Featured image credit: Shutterstock.com

FAQ

Is the American Eagle credit card a good card?

The answer here depends on which card you are approved for, what type of rewards you would like to earn, and how you would like to redeem your rewards.

The AEO Connected® Credit Card can only be used within the AE family of stores. The AEO Connected® Visa® Credit Card can be used anywhere Visa is accepted. Regardless of which card you have, you can only redeem your rewards within the AE family. That makes these cards severely inflexible when it comes to redemption options.

These are essentially a type of cash-back card where the cash you earn can only be utilized in-store. In understanding that, you should also know that there are other cash-back cards (see our alternative card section above) that earn points in many “everyday spending” categories like dining, groceries, gas, travel, etc. When you receive cash-back on these cards, it’s usually in the form of a statement credit, so you can essentially use the cash-back you earn in any way that you want.

Basically, it all depends on how you wish to spend your money, earn your rewards, and reap your rewards.  If you’re a die-hard American Eagle shopper then yes, this card could likely be a good card for you.  If you only shop there on occasion or you’d like a more flexible card, this won’t be a good card for you.

How does the American Eagle credit card work?

With both the AEO Connected® Credit Card and The AEO Connected® Visa® Credit Card, shoppers earn 15 points to the $1 spent at American Eagle stores (and stores within the AE family: AEO Factory, Aeire, and online at these retailers).  Visa cardholders also earn 5 points to the $1 spent on all other Visa purchases.

Once a shopper earns 2,500 points, they receive a $10 off reward if they’re a basic rewards member, and a $15 off reward if they’re an “Extra Access” rewards member. These rewards can only be used for the purchase of merchandise at American Eagle (AEO Factory, Aerie, and online at these retailers).

The cards come with additional perks like free standard shipping, buy 5 get 1 on jeans and bras, a 20% birthday coupon, special coupons and event invites, etc.

Is the American Eagle credit card free?

Neither American Eagle credit cards have an annual fee.

However, the annual fee is not the only fee you will want to consider when looking at a credit card. You’ll also want to check out the APR, late fee, cash advance terms, etc.

Can the American Eagle credit card be used anywhere?

The AEO Connected® Credit Card can only be used at American Eagle and within their family of stores: AEO Factory Stores, Aerie, and their online retailers (ae.com, aerie.com).

The AEO Connected® Visa® Credit Card can be used anywhere Visa is accepted.

What bank issues the American Eagle Credit Card?

Both American Eagle credit cards are issued by Synchrony Bank.

Is the American Eagle credit card hard to get?

Neither AEO nor Synchrony bank publishes the minimum credit score necessary to qualify for either of these cards.

Most credit card review sites state an applicant has a better chance of approval for the AEO Connected® Visa® Credit Card if they have a credit score in the “good” range. Most state applicants will need at least a “fair” score to qualify for the AEO Connected® Credit Card (non-Visa version).

Of note: There is only 1 application for these cards. Applicants are first considered for the Visa version of the card. If they do not qualify for the Visa, they are then considered for the basic version of the card.

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