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The major benefit to store credit cards is you don’t need excellent or even well-established credit to get approved. This is because most store credit cards and Mastercard and Visa credit cards affiliated with retail stores, including the AE + aerie card, are designed with one goal in mind: to get you to shop in their stores.
But, if you have even fair credit and you’re looking for a credit card with rewards, the dollars you spend can go further with a major credit card.
The AE + aerie Visa card is a full-fledged Visa card issued by GE Money Bank and accepted everywhere Visa is accepted.
Consumers who cannot get approved for the AE + aerie Visa card may want to apply for the store card, good at American Eagle Outfitter, aerie and 77kids stores, and their respective websites. In fact, we recommend the store card instead for regular American Eagle customers, and can read our review here.
Both cards earn you 4% of every store purchase in “Extra Savings” points, which can be redeemed for discounts at American Eagle and aerie stores and websites.
The Visa card offers an additional 1% in extra savings for purchases outside American Eagle and affiliated stores. But this level of “extra” rewards is less than you will get with most other rewards credit cards on your regular spending.
Benefits & Rewards
I have to admit that the marketing materials were so confusing I had to call customer service to explain it all. That is not a good sign. But I now have it all worked out to give you the inside scoop.
When you sign up for an AE + aerie card or AE + aerie Visa, you’ll get 15% off your first AEO credit card purchase.
This is slightly higher than the standard 10% one-time savings offered by most stores when you apply for their credit card, but still not enough to make a major dent in your purchase price or make it worthwhile to add another credit card to your wallet (and another inquiry to your credit history, which impacts your credit score).
You earn 4% in Extra Savings (AERewards), when you shop at AEO stores, and 1 % when you use your Visa elsewhere. You also earn bonus points good for additional discounts.
Essentially, if you spend $250 at American Eagle in a designated three-month period, you receive $10 in ExtraSavings cash good on an American Eagle purchase.
Both the store card and the Visa card permit you to earn points good for discounts, too.
- 100 points ($100 spent) earns a 15 % off coupon
- 200 points earns 20 % off
- 350 points earns 30 % off
- 500 points earns 40% off
You also get a 20% off coupon on your birthday when you supply your email address and additional, unspecified savings throughout the year.
So I do think you can earn some nice in store discounts by using this card. But beware:
Points don’t roll over after each earning period – which means that you need to earn and apply your points in the same calendar quarter!
The AE + aerie credit card and AE + Aerie Visa have no annual fees. The APR for the Visa card is either 19.99 % or 24.99 % depending on your credit history, with a 26.99% APR for cash advances. The AE + aerie store card carriers an APR of 24.99%.
The penalty APR, which can be enacted if you miss a minimum payment or have your payment returned due to lack of funds, is 29.99%.
Both the store card and the branded credit card offer a 23-day grace period, if you pay your balance in full each month.
The Bottom Line
- No annual fee
- Generous store discounts in comparison to other retail cards
- Confusing Rewards program
- Your points are only good in the calendar quarter they are earned!
- Rewards are only issued 4 times a year, on the store’s schedule
- Rewards good only on purchases at American Eagle Outfitters, AE.com, and affiliated stores and websites
- High APR, even for consumers with excellent credit
- No warranty protection on purchases or other benefits common to many Visa, Mastercard, Amex and Discover cards.