Verdict: I like store rewards programs that are easy to understand and don’t offer “surprises.” They let you know exactly what you’re getting. While the ACE Hardware Rewards card may not be the most generous program, it has a very straightforward system that rewards you for every purchase — and it’s free. If you shop at Ace Hardware frequently, it’s worth having.

Overview: ACE Hardware is stepping up and trying to compete with home improvement big boys Lowe’s and Home Depot. One way the hardware store cooperative is doing this is with a customer loyalty rewards program. It’s easy (and free) to sign up, and you’ll earn points for every single purchase, plus special coupon offers and bonus points.


You can manage your account online easily, and sign up online or in an ACE Hardware store. You definitely have to be careful though — you will often find lower prices at larger home improvement stores. You don’t want to spend more money at ACE just because you have a rewards card. However, the exclusive coupon offers the store sends to members could offer bargains that beat superstore chain prices — and you’ll get the benefits of shopping at a smaller, locally-owned store with friendlier service. ACE stores are not franchises; they are part of a cooperative. The difference is that owners have more control over operating standards and procedures than franchise owners.

How This Card Works:
Sign up online or in the store and receive your ACE Hardware Rewards card. Begin to earn savings points right away with a 1,000-point sign-up bonus when you make your first purchase. After that, you’ll receive:

  • 10 points for every $1 you spend
  • $5 Reward for every 2,500 points earned
  • Members-only coupons

The rewards work out to $5 off for every $250 you spend, which isn’t even 5% cash back. But, free money is free money, and who would say no to that? If you’re planning a large home improvement project, or even painting your house, the card makes a lot of sense.

Unfortunately, there’s no information on whether rewards expire or not.

The program also has another nice benefit. Members can submit product rebates online. No more photocopying receipts, cutting up boxes and hoping your rebate information doesn’t get lost in the mail. Companies often count on customers to not submit rebate forms, or to submit them incorrectly, so easy online processing and tracking of product rebates can save you a lot of money in the long run… more than the actual rewards points in most cases.

You can also view the current month’s and the previous month’s rebates easily online, so you can compare prices without leaving the house. February offers a lot of rebates on lawn and garden products, from turf to fertilizer, which I guess is okay if you live in the south or southwest. Considering parts of the country won’t expect to see a thaw (or even snow melting!) until mid-April at best, I’m not very impressed with these sales. (I know I’m going out right now to re-seed my lawn that’s beneath the four-foot snow piles — aren’t you?)

As a strong proponent of shopping locally, maybe I’m being a bit too rough on this card. If you have an Ace Hardware nearby, it’s a free program that can pay really off on large purchases — or a lot of small purchases over time. But if you frequently shop on price alone, and not customer service or convenience, just make sure to compare prices to make sure you’re really getting the best deals.

Pros


  • Membership is free
  • Earn cash back for every $250 you spend
  • Start out with 1,000 bonus points on your first purchase
  • Special members-only coupon deals
  • Process rebates online
  • Support locally-owned hardware stores by shopping at Ace!
  • Cons

    • Ace Hardware prices may be higher than competitors, meaning your rewards card won’t earn substantial savings