Like Macy’s department stores, the Macy’s credit card offers a lot of surface appeal: It gives you rewards and discounts on countless products to brighten your home, wardrobe and life. But when you look closer at it, the shine dims. The card has a complicated rewards structure and limited redemption options.

Here are five things to know about the Macy’s credit card:

1. There are two card options

There are two main versions of the Macy’s credit card: a closed-loop card that you can only use at Macy’s and an open-loop American Express card that can be used anywhere American Express is accepted. Neither card comes with an annual fee.

2. The rewards rate depends on how much you spend at Macy’s

Macy’s credit cards come with a tiered reward rate, meaning rewards correlate to how much you spend at the retailer:

  • Silver: When you first open a Macy’s credit card, you receive silver status, which earns 2% back on Macy’s purchases. The status applies to those who spend between $1 and $499 a year on the card.

  • Gold: Cardholders who spend between $500 and $1,199 are upgraded to Gold status, which earns 3% back on Macy’s purchases.

  • Platinum: The highest level, Platinum, earns 5% back on Macy’s purchases. You must spend $1,200 or more annually at Macy’s to maintain that status.

With the open-loop version of the Macy’s card, you also earn rewards on purchases outside of Macy’s: 3% back at restaurants, including delivery; 2% back at gas stations and supermarkets; and 1% back on everything else.

Note that if you don’t have a Macy’s credit card, you can join the loyalty program as a “Bronze” member and earn 1% back in rewards. The loyalty program comes with “Star Money Bonus Days” on which you can earn rewards more quickly. Cardholders also receive occasional “Star Passes” in the mail, which offer 25% off.

3. Your rewards can be redeemed only at Macy’s

After you collect 1,000 points in your account, you will receive a $10 Star Money reward, which you can use to make purchases at Macy’s either in-store or online. (That means each point is worth 1 cent each.) The rewards cannot be put toward gift cards, Macy’s Beauty Box subscriptions or services such as alterations.

You also face a limited window to use the rewards: Star Money is valid for only 30 days after it’s issued. Relative to other credit card rewards programs, that is a very short redemption window. Points earned with the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, for example, never expire as long as the card remains open.

4. Opening the card gets you an instant discount

Like many store cards, the Macy’s credit card comes with a discount when you open it: You get 20% off, up to a total discount of $100, on purchases made the day you are approved for the card, as well as the following day. (The discount excludes some purchases, including Apple products and gift cards.)

5. It comes with some other perks, too

When you make purchases at Macy’s with your Macy’s credit card, you will automatically receive free standard shipping without any minimum purchase requirement. Some items are excluded, though, such as furniture, mattresses and rugs.

Also, every year on your birthday, you’ll receive a birthday “surprise,” as long as you’ve used your card to make a purchase at Macy’s (either in-store or online) in the last 12 months. Anecdotally, cardholders have reported online receiving $10 discounts on purchases during their birthday month. However, you might have to go to a Macy’s store to redeem your gift.

The information related to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

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