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Macy’s Inc. (M) is one of the most recognizable retail chains in the United States, operating Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s department stores as well as Macy’s Backstage, Bloomingdale’s, Bloomingdale’s Outlet, and Bluemercury franchises. In total, the company has 725 stores in operation, according to its annual report. Macy’s, the largest retail brand, accounts for approximately 510 stores.

In its 2022 annual filing, the company reported FY sales of $24.46 billion and 88,857 full-time and part-time employees, as of Jan. 29, 2022. In an effort to place the company in a long-term position for profitable growth, in Feb. 2020, Macy’s decided to close 125 stores by 2021 and redicrect focus on their digital channels, off-mall presencse, and modernize logistics and infrastructures. But in Nov. 2021, the company announced a shift in plans and halted the remaining store closings scheduled except for the six store closings announced in Q4 2021, which are expected to close in Q1 2022. Taking its store portfolio into more consideration, the company is focused on strengthening its omnichannel ecosystem.

Key Takeaways

  • Macy’s has two types of credit cards: a regular Macy’s card and a Macy’s American Express Card.
  • All Macy’s/Macy’s AmEx card purchases enroll cardholders in the retailer’s three-tier Star Rewards loyalty program, whose perks include discounts on purchases, free shipping, and rewards refunds.
  • You can earn points in Macy’s loyalty program without having a Macy’s credit card.

Macy’s Credit Cards

Macy’s offers its customers two options with credit cards: Macy’s credit card and Macy’s American Express card. The Macy’s credit card can only be used at any Macy’s or Macy’s Backstage store, or online; it cannot be used at any Bloomingdale’s. The Macy’s American Express card can be used anywhere that American Express is accepted. Customers can apply for the Macy’s credit card online or in-person at a store, and should expect to give the personal information usually given when applying for a credit card.

Macy’s Card Rewards and Benefits

Macy’s revamped its Star Rewards member loyalty program in 2017, offering three different levels (silver, gold, and platinum) of benefits for its cardholders, based on how much they spend on an annual basis.

Macy’s Star Rewards customers accounted for about 66% of sales during Q4 2021 and up 8% compared to Q4 2019 pre-pandemic figures.

All new accounts save 20% off their first purchase. The Star Rewards program is a point system, when customers earn 1,000 points, they receive a $10 rewards certificate. The three levels are:

  • Silver: Customers who spend up to $499 yearly members earn 2% back, birthday surprise, and special star passes for shopping events as well as other benefits.
  • Gold: This tier is for customers who spend between $500 to $1,199 annually. The perks for that size expenditure include earning 3% back plus free shipping on any purchase (no minimum requirement) as well as silver perks.
  • Platinum: This is the highest tier possible and is only available for customers who spend $1,200 or more each year at Macy’s stores. These customers receive all the perks offered on the other tiers, and they also earn 5% back in rewards on every purchase.

All new accounts are opened in the silver tier. When you spend enough to get into the next tier, you’re automatically be upgraded after seven days, assuming you do not return the qualifying purchases within that timeframe. Once you are upgraded, you will maintain that status (unless you advance to a higher status) for the remainder of the current year and the next full calendar year.

Other Macy’s Cards and Perks

Macy’s American Express card qualifies the user for the silver, gold, and platinum tiers when used in Macy’s, but it offers even more benefits. When used outside of Macy’s, it follows the 3-2-1 rule: The card offers its members 3% back in rewards when you spend at restaurants or for food delivery, 2% back in rewards for shopping at grocery stores and gas stations, and 1% rewards for any other purchases.

Interestingly, in 2018, Macy’s also launched a tender-neutral option, which added more than three million new members to the loyalty program in Q4 2021. This option means customers can participate in the loyalty program without a Macy’s credit card and regardless of how they pay.

They qualify for what Macy’s calls the Bronze tier and earn 1% back, receive member exclusive perks and get a birthday surprise every year like higher-tiered cardmembers. There are no spending qualifications to stay in the Bronze tier, but you can’t upgrade to Silver without opening a Macy’s account.

Applying for the Macy’s Credit Card

You apply for both the Macy’s card and the Amex version at the same, and then pick which one you’d like. Upon a credit inquiry and approval, applicants of both credit cards are also entitled to save 20% on purchases for the same day and the next, up to a total of $100.

Both the Macy’s Credit Card and Macy’s American Express card have a variable APR of 28.99%, and late or return payment penalty fees of up to $41, as of 2022.

The Bottom Line

Many retailers offer both their proprietary and co-branded cards. But Macy’s seems to be in particular competition with its own card, offering the same rewards with its American Express partnership on one hand, and some rewards for not having a card at all on the other.

The best applicants for the Macy’s credit card are frequent shoppers of Macy’s stores who already have an AmEx card, or who don’t want one. Since the minimum level to receive the rewards is $1, any regular shopper would benefit from the card. Shoppers looking to have a more versatile piece of plastic should consider using the Macy’s American Express card instead.

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