Macy’s Credit Cards & Rewards Program – Everything You Need to Know

Macy's New York Storefront for Macy's Credit Card Review

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Macy’s has been around for over 150 years as a mainstay in the upper echelons of the American department store society. Just the name “Macy’s” conjures up visions of upbeat ads for clothing and household wares, and memories of Thanksgivings spent watching massive floats parade through the streets of New York City.

While brick-and-mortar department stores worldwide have taken a hit with the growth of online shopping, it’s clear that Macy’s has plans to stick around.

Like many other department stores, these plans include customer loyalty recognition by way of sales — and more importantly for the sake of this article, a rewards program tightly knit to a Macy’s credit card.

So, are the Macy’s credit cards worth it? You’re about to find out.

In this article, we review the basic Macy’s Credit Card, the Macy’s American Express® Card, the Macy’s Star Rewards Program (including how your card benefits are linked to your program status), the fees and drawbacks, online account management, and more.

The Macy’s Cards at a Glance

Macy’s Credit Card
 Silver StatusGold StatusPlatinum Status
Main Benefits Star Money Days (earn points toward Star Money)

🎉25% OFF (any 1 day you choose)

🛍Perks & offers (extra savings, event invites, etc.

🎁Birthday surprise

💰New account discount

Star Money Days (earn points toward Star Money)

🎉25% OFF (any 1 day you choose)

🛍Perks & offers (extra savings, event invites, etc.

🎁Birthday surprise

💰New account discount

PLUS:

📦Free shipping (no min purchase)

Star Money Days (earn bonus points toward Star Money)

🎉25% OFF (any 1 day you choose)

🛍Perks & offers (extra savings, event invites, etc.

🎁Birthday surprise

💰New account discount

📦Free Shipping (no min purchase)

PLUS:

🔥5% back EVERY DAY
(no merchandise exclusions) 

Annual Fee$0$0$0
APR26.99% variable26.99% variable26.99% variable
Late FeeUp to $38Up to $38Up to $38

Macy’s Credit Cards

The Macy’s Credit Card is a basic store-branded card issued by Citibank that can only be utilized for purchases at Macy’s, online at macys.com, and at Macy’s Backstage.

When you open a Macy’s Credit Card, you’re automatically enrolled in their “Star Rewards” program at the Silver level status. This is the base level where every Macy’s cardholder begins.

The benefits a cardholder receives are directly related to cardholder status level; we’ll talk more about that below.

Hot Tip: For additional details on status, progression, and card benefits within Star Rewards, jump to the next section on “Star Rewards (In-Depth).”

Macy’s American Express® Card
All Statuses (Silver, Gold, & Platinum)
Main BenefitsRESPECTIVE PERKS FOR EACH STATUS ABOVE, PLUS:

💳Use anywhere American Express is accepted
🍕3% rewards at restaurants
🍏2% rewards at supermarkets
⛽️2% rewards at gas stations
🙌1% rewards everywhere else

PLUS:

🏝Travel benefits
🎤 Entertainment access

Annual Fee$0
APR26.99% variable
Late FeeUp to $38

Macy’s American Express® Cards

Macy's Amex & Platinam Macy's Amex cards
Image courtesy of macys.com.

Macy’s also has an American Express version of their credit card that’s issued by Citibank as well. As you can see in the table above, cardholders can utilize this card anywhere Amex is accepted (vs. only at Macy’s stores), and it comes with TONS of additional benefits.

So why doesn’t everyone just get the Amex card?

It’s not that easy.

Potential applicants don’t get to choose which card they are applying for — you simply submit 1 application. You’ll first be considered for the American Express version (which usually requires a pretty excellent credit score), and if you don’t qualify are then considered for the standard Macy’s Credit Card.

Some basic benefits received with the Macy’s Amex card are also directly related to the Star Rewards Program status. And like the Macy’s basic card, those who qualify for the Macy’s American Express® Card are automatically enrolled in the rewards program at Silver Status (again, more on status progression, benefit differences, etc. below).

Where the Macy’s American Express® Card differs is in the ability to use it anywhere American Express is accepted, AND its additional rewards benefits earned outside of Macy’s stores.

Macy's American Express Credit Card 3,2,1 Program
Image courtesy of macys.com.

As stated in the table (and image) above, Macy’s Amex cardholders have the ability to earn 3% rewards back at restaurants, 2% at gas stations and supermarkets, and 1% everywhere else outside of Macy’s. 

Remember, restrictions always apply. What kind? For example, in terms of rewards on gas purchases: “Superstores, supermarkets, convenience stores and warehouse clubs that sell gasoline are not considered gas stations.”

So be sure you read your terms and conditions carefully. That way, you’re not disappointed when you don’t get the rewards you think you’re owed!

We’ll discuss this a bit more in the Fees & Drawbacks section below, but we want to touch on this 3-2-1 rewards concept here as well. While it may seem like this is a very lucrative bonus structure (since it earns you category bonuses like many other popular rewards credit cards), the flexibility just isn’t there in terms of rewards.

Regardless of the Amex distinction, remember you’re still just earning Star Rewards points, which can only be redeemed at Macy’s. This significantly limits your ability to diversify your rewards and spend them however you want.

Additional American Express Benefits

You’ll also notice that American Express cardholders also enjoy the opportunity to reap “travel benefits” and “entertainment access.”

Macy's Amex Travel Benefits
Image courtesy of americanexpress.com.

The travel benefits include air, hotel, car, cruise, and vacation benefits. American Express FAQ states:

“Enjoy exceptional value and extraordinary service while taking advantage of competitive rates and/or complimentary amenities from thousands of leadings hotels, major airlines, cruise lines, and car rental partners around the world.  Access special benefits wherever you travel with your Card when you book online or over the phone.”

In terms of entertainment benefits, the same FAQ states:

Your Card allows you to purchase tickets to certain events before (and after) they go on sale to the general public [including] access to advance tickets to concerts, Broadway shows, sporting events, etc.”

Upgrade Opportunities

Macy’s states that it’s possible for an individual with a basic Macy’s Credit Card to eventually be issued an upgrade to the American Express version of the card. Neither Macy’s nor American Express (or Citibank for that matter) cite the exact qualifications for this upgrade.

You can find more FAQ related to this type of upgrade here.

Star Rewards (In-Depth)

Macy's Star Rewards
Image courtesy of macys.com.

Status Tiers & Progression

Within the Macy’s Star Rewards program, there are 3 different status tiers for Macy’s cardholders. Remember, when you open a Macy’s credit card, you’re automatically placed at Silver member status.

For credit card/benefits purposes, it’s important to note that these tiers are not “applied for” outright — they can only be earned through reaching certain spending thresholds.

  • Bronze (no credit card needed)
  • Silver (your automatic placement as a Macy’s cardholder)
  • Gold ($500-$1,199 spending)
  • Platinum ($1,200+ spending)

Once a cardmember spends $500+ on their Macy’s card, they will be upgraded within 30 days to Gold status. Similarly, once a cardmember spends $1,200+, they will be upgraded to Platinum status within 30 days.

Interestingly, Macy’s reports the following updates to the program to be instated as of January 2019:

“Starting in January 2019 and every January thereafter, Net Qualifying Purchases in the previous full calendar year will be used to calculate your Account Status for the next year. Accounts that are upgraded will remain at that level for the remainder of the current calendar year as well as the next full calendar year.”

Each time a cardholder moves up a tier, more benefits are released:

Macy's Basic Credit Card Tier Statuses
Image courtesy of macys.com.

Basic benefits allotted to all members (Silver, Gold, & Platinum status):

  Star Money Days (earn points towards Star Money)
🎉 25% OFF (any one day you choose)
🛍 Perks & offers (extra savings, event invites, etc.)
🎁 Birthday surprise
💰 New account discount

Gold Status earns the cardholder:

⬆️ The above basic benefits
📦 Free shipping (no min purchase)

Platinum Status earns the cardholder:

⬆️ The above basic benefits
📦 Free shipping (no min purchase)
🔥 5% back EVERY DAY (no merchandise exclusions)*

*While it looks like just another emoji in a list, this 5% back every day makes a HUGE difference with this card. Keep reading to find out why…

Star Money Days (a.k.a. How to Earn Points)

Star Money Days Bonus Points - Macy's Star Rewards Program
Image courtesy of macys.com.

Macy’s hosts several Star Money Day events throughout the year where Star rewards members can earn points (or bonus points if you’re a Platinum member) toward Star Money.

Hot Tip: Silver and Gold members CANNOT earn points on everyday Macy’s purchases — they only earn points on Star Money Days. 

You read that right: Star Money days are the only times that Star Rewards Silver and Gold members can earn points.

However, if you’re a Platinum member, you earn points on all Macy’s purchases, every time you shop, at a ratio of 5:1 (5 points to $1). On Star Rewards days, Platinum members earn extra bonus points on top of their 5% everyday benefit.

As with every program, exceptions apply:

“Points are not earned on Macy’s Credit Card purchases made outside of Macy’s, purchases made at restaurants inside Macy’s, on Beauty Box services, in any department that does not use a Macy’s point of sale register, on services, fees, sales tax, when redeeming Star Money or Macy’s Gift Cards or when paying with a virtual wallet.

At times, Macy’s will host Star Money Days on top of other storewide sales (i.e. a 15% off Memorial Day Sale for all shoppers) and allow rewards members to stack discounts with their ability to earn rewards.

Cardholders can find more information on Star Money Days, such as upcoming dates and offer details, at macys.com/starmoney.

How Rewards Are Issued

Within the Macy’s Star Rewards program, 1,000 points = $10 Star Money. 

Once cardholders earn enough points for a reward, they are notified via email. If the 1,000-point threshold is reached while shopping in store, a notice will print at the bottom of your receipt for that purchase. Additionally, the reward can be viewed in your macys.com “wallet” (more about that in the Account Management section below).

Alternatively, if you’re making a purchase online, your points won’t be awarded until the item(s) actually ship.

If a Silver or Gold member does not earn enough points (or earns enough for 1 award but does not reach the next tier), the remaining points earned from the current Star Money Day event will carry over to the next Star Money Day event.

Using Your Rewards

As long as your Macy’s card account is in good standing, you can utilize your Macy’s Star Money for pretty much anything you want with very few exceptions — at Macy’s of course (also macys.com and Macy’s Backstage). Even mattresses and furniture apply if you purchase them in-store!

Whether you’re making a purchase in-store or online, after putting in your payment information, you can apply any available Star Money funds from the payment screen. When making a purchase, your Star Money will essentially be redeemed like a gift card.

Remember, your rewards are earned in $10 increments…so if you’ve collected multiple rewards, you could certainly have more than $10 to spend!

Expiration dates DO apply! Your Macy’s Star Money is valid for 30 days from the date of issue. 

Managing Your Rewards

Macy’s makes it pretty easy to view your rewards online or on their mobile app.

Macy's Star Money App View
Image courtesy of macys.com.

We’ll present additional information on viewing/managing your rewards account in the Login & Online (Or App-Based) Account Management section below.

Additional Cardholder Benefits

🎉 25% OFF (any one day you choose): The terms and conditions don’t say much about this, except your 25% off any 1 day you choose happens via a “Star Pass” coupon. 

🛍 Perks & offers (extra savings, event invites, etc.): At times, Macy’s may send cardholders special perks and offers when they utilize their Macy’s Card and Star Rewards program. These are basically special coupons, invites to pre-sales, exclusive savings events, etc. 

🎁 Birthday surprise: If your account is in good standing and you have made at least 1 purchase with your Macy’s card in the last calendar year, you should receive a special “Birthday Surprise” during your birthday month. This only applies to the primary cardholder on the account, the value may vary, and a purchase may be required (i.e. 20% off your purchase of $50 or more). 

Hot Tip: To receive any of the above offers, Star Rewards Members must not have opted-out of any of Macy’s promotional marketing.

💰New account discount: This is basically your “sign-up bonus” for the Macy’s Credit Card.

Macy's Credit Card Sign Up Bonus
Image courtesy of macys.com.

The “new account discount” is subject to change; at the time of writing this piece, it’s 20% off a purchase up to $100 over the first 2 days you’re approved for a card. This applies at Macy’s stores as well as macys.com and Macy’s Backstage.

As always, there are some exceptions to the discount: you can’t use it on gift cards, gourmet food and wine, Apple products, smart watches, jewelry, etc.

An important note about this discount is that it’s only available for applicants who are immediately approved for the Macy’s card. If your application requires further review or processing, you’re not eligible for this discount.

📦 Free shipping (with no min purchase): This perk applies to Gold and Platinum members only. The free shipping offer is applicable when orders are shipped to 1 location in the continental U.S. Of course, there are exceptions on larger items like mattresses, furniture, rugs, etc. It’s mostly utilized for online orders, but may be applied to in-store items that are not stocked at a particular location. 

🔥 5% back EVERY DAY (no merchandise exclusions): As mentioned above, this perk applies ONLY to Platinum members. In this case, cardholders are awarded 5% back on all Macy’s purchases, on any day. This means 5 points to every $1 spent, every day — no waiting for Star Money Days to earn points.

Hot Tip: Again it’s important to note, you must pay with your actual Macy’s Credit Card. You won’t receive points if you pay with your virtual wallet — yes, even if you’re using your Macy’s Card within the virtual wallet. 

Fees & Drawbacks of the Macy’s Card

All credit cards have their own fees and drawbacks — so how do the Macy’s cards stack up?

Fees

Macy’s Credit CardMacy’s American Express® Card
Annual Fee$0$0
Purchase APR26.99% variable26.99% variable
Cash Advance APRn/a26.99% variable
Cash Advance Feen/a$5 or 4% of each cash advance (whichever is greater)
Foreign Transaction Feen/a3% of each transaction
Minimum Interest Fee$2$2
Late FeeUp to $38Up to $38

None of the Macy’s cards carry an annual fee, which is a big plus for lots of people.

However, what each card DOES carry is a pretty hefty APR. At 26.99%, cardholders can get buried in fees/penalties pretty quickly if they carry a balance in their account. (If APR is important to you, consider a credit card that has 0% introductory APR offers.)

What’s the best way to avoid fees and penalties? Always act as a responsible cardholder.

So how do you do that? Always pay off your balance in full, on time, each month. Period. If you can’t achieve this goal, you should pay off as much as you possibly can on time each month to minimize added expenses.

You’ll also note that if you’re utilizing the Macy’s American Express® Card, you’ll see fees attached for cash advances (always a poor idea with a credit card like this) and for foreign transaction fees. (If you travel a lot, you’re much better off with a card that has no foreign transaction fees.)

Additional Drawbacks

There are a couple glaringly obvious drawbacks to the Macy’s card, especially if you’re not a Platinum rewards member.

If you’re at Silver or Gold status in the Star Rewards program, you can’t earn points outside of Star Money Days. There are MANY other retailers that offer their customers/cardholders rewards on each and every purchase that they make through the store as a type of loyalty reward.

Additionally, once you finally earn your points, they can only be utilized at Macy’s. Even though Macy’s is a department store with a pretty comprehensive merchandise selection, you don’t get as much freedom in regards to utilizing your rewards, especially when restrictions apply.

This is even the case with regards to the 3-2-1 earnings program associated with the Macy’s American Express® Card. If you’re earning rewards on everyday spending, wouldn’t you want to utilize them (basically) however you want?

Of course, too, the Marcy’s cards have extremely high APRs, which means you’ll be paying a lot of interest if you can’t pay off your balance in full each month.

This leads us into a discussion on some alternative rewards credit cards that could offer more “bang for your buck” than the Macy’s cards, depending on your spending habits.

Alternative Rewards Credit Cards (Our Recommendations)

While getting a 5% discount at Macy’s stores is generous, the problem is that you need to be a Platinum member ($1,200+ annual spend) to unlock this reward.

But the bigger problem is that you can only use your rewards AT Macy’s stores. It’s restrictive. And of course, as mentioned several times — the high APR rates are not attractive!

Instead, consider these cash-back credit cards that come with generous welcome bonuses and have a 0% introductory APR for 15 months: 

Alternatively, if you love to travel (or simply want to travel more), the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is widely known as one of the best travel rewards cards on the market.

The current sign-up 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 Macy’s stores and outside of Macy’s, plus 2pts/$1 spent on ALL dining and travel purchases (which are very broad categories!).

When used smartly, the Chase points you’ll earn with this card are very valuable.

Applying for the Macy’s Cards

Macy's Credit Card Application
Image courtesy of citiretailservices.citibankonline.com.

Prospective cardholders can submit an application for a Macy’s credit card either in-store or online.

Remember, only 1 application is submitted, and the Macy’s card you receive (basic vs. American Express) is based on your creditworthiness. 

Neither Citibank nor Macy’s publicly lists the minimum credit score needed for approval on these cards. However, most credit card review sites agree that the Amex version of this card is a lot tougher to qualify for.

Your chances of a Macy’s Amex approval are improved (but not guaranteed) if your score is in the “good” range.  Alternatively, the general consensus in regards to approval for the basic Macy’s card is having a “fair” credit score.

Remember, your Star Rewards status (Silver, Gold or Platinum) has nothing to do with your credit score or which card you get, but rather your spending on these cards after you are approved.

Login & Online (or App-Based) Account Management

Online Management

Macy's Credit Card Online Account Management
Image courtesy of macys.com.

The platform for managing your Macy’s Credit Card or Macy’s American Express® Card is similar to many other online platforms across the board.

If you have never utilized this online account management option before, you must first create an account. Then, you need to activate your credit card.

Once these steps have been completed, you can simply choose “Sign In” for your future visits to manage your account.

Online management allows users quite a few options in regards to their account:

  • View account activity
  • View billing statements
  • Make a payment
  • Enroll in autopay
  • Set up paperless statements
  • Add your Macy’s Card to your “wallet”
  • Set up alerts
  • …and more

App-Based Management

Macy's App Based Credit Card Management
Image courtesy of macys.com.

As an alternative to online management, many cardholders may opt for utilizing Macy’s mobile app (Apple, Android).

In addition to utilizing the app to browse merchandise, make purchases, claim discounts, and more, the Macy’s app can be utilized to manage your credit card and your Star Rewards.

The app is actually reviewed really well in both the iTunes and Google Play app stores, so if you find this option easier than desktop or paper management, give it a shot.

Final Thoughts

Macy's Star Rewards Birthday Surprise
Image courtesy of ispot.tv.

The Macy’s credit cards and Star Rewards Program is quite convoluted in its structure, but once you break everything down it becomes easier to understand.

What’s important to remember is that the perks you’re getting aren’t directly tied to the credit card itself, but the combination of the card and your Star Rewards status (Silver, Gold, Platinum).

That being said, you do receive additional benefits simply from qualifying for the American Express version of this card — namely, the 3-2-1 out-of-store rewards).

In general, this card could be beneficial to you as a shopper if you’re pretty loyal to Macy’s and you plan on reaching the Platinum Star Rewards Status. Otherwise, with Silver or Gold status, you’ll only earn points on specific days vs. everyday (a benefit many other rewards-based credit cards would offer).

Similarly, if you don’t have the American Express version of this card, you’ll only earn at Macy’s and can’t utilize your card anywhere else.

Another big “con” of these cards is the inflexibility of their rewards — no matter which version you get, you can only utilize your hard-earned rewards at Macy’s stores, macys.com, and Macy’s Backstage. While Macy’s is a large department store with a wide variety of merchandise, you’re still pretty limited in your redemption options.

If you want a multitude of redemption options, look for a more general rewards-based credit card that offers the flexibility of cash-back or points (especially if they can transfer).

Lastly, if you’re interested in an American Express card and have the credit score to be approved for one, there are likely MUCH better options out there in terms of perks and rewards. So be sure you’re doing your research before you opt for this card!


Featured Image Credit: BravoKiloVideo / Shutterstock.com

FAQ

How does the Macy's Credit Card work?

This depends on which Macy’s card you have, and the Star Rewards Program status at which you’re currently placed.

If you have a basic Macy’s Credit Card, it can only be used at Macy’s, macys.com, and Macy’s Backstage. With your card, if you’re a Silver or Gold Star Rewards program member, you will only earn points toward Star Money (1,000 points = $10) on Star Money Days. If you reach Platinum status, you will receive 5 points/$1 on every Macy’s purchase every day, plus bonus points on Star Money Days. It’s important to note that your Star Rewards status is not tied to which credit card you have, but how much you spend at Macy’s.

With Macy’s American Express® Card, cardholders will also earn Star Rewards points with extra out-of-store benefits including 3% back at restaurants, 2% at gas stations and supermarkets, and 1% back everywhere else American Express is accepted.

Regardless of which card you have, the rewards you earn will be presented as Star Money, which can only be redeemed at Macy’s, macys.com, or Macy’s Backstage.

Is the Macy's Credit Card easy to get?

That depends on which Macy’s card you’re hoping to get approved for.

Prospective cardholders submit 1 application for a Macy’s card. The applicant is first considered for the American Express version of the card, which usually requires a good to excellent credit score. If the applicant is not approved for this version, they are then considered for the basic Macy’s store card. This card generally requires a fair to good credit score to be approved.

Does the Macy's Credit Card have an annual fee?

No, neither the basic Macy’s store card nor the Macy’s American Express® Card has an annual fee.

You’ll want to be careful with the high purchase APR, however. At the time of writing this piece, the purchase APR was 26.99% variable, which can get cardholders into some trouble if they consistently carry a balance on their account. (See the Fees & Drawbacks section above for more details.)

Can I pay my Macy's Credit Card in-store?

You have a number of options when paying your Macy’s credit card: in-store at any Macy’s register, online (you can also enroll in autopay), via the Macy’s mobile app, by mail, or by phone.

Which bank issue's the Macy's Credit Card?

The Macy’s credit cards (both the basic store card and the American Express card) are issued by Citibank.

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