American Eagle Real Rewards Visa Credit Card Review: Is It a Must-Have for American Eagle Shoppers?

American Eagle Real Rewards Visa Credit Card Review: Is It a Must-Have for American Eagle Shoppers?

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Good for

  • People who spend a lot on AEO or Aerie purchases
  • Earning rewards toward AEO or Aerie purchases
  • Free shipping and returns

Bad for

  • Earning rewards toward non-AEO or non-Aerie purchases
  • Carrying a balance
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While the American Eagle Visa Credit Card might seem like a great card for American Eagle clothing shoppers, it's not all that it seems. Once you strip away what you can get just by being a member of the Real Rewards program — American Eagle's customer loyalty rewards program — you're left with a card that gives shoppers a moderately good rewards rate compared with other co-branded clothing store credit cards.

None of the other benefits this card offers make it a must-have, and the rewards earned can only be used toward AEO and Aerie purchases. Most shoppers will be better off applying for a cashback card instead of the American Eagle Visa Credit Card.

Note: We are reviewing the American Eagle Visa Credit Card, which can be used anywhere Visa is accepted, and not the American Eagle Visa Credit Card without the Visa symbol, which is a store card that can only be used in AEO and Aerie stores.

Review: Our thoughts on the American Eagle Visa Credit Card

The American Eagle Visa Credit Card offers decent rewards for clothing shoppers who spend a lot at American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) and Aerie stores, particularly those who tend to order online: Earn an extra 10% off every day. Also earn 5 points per $1 where Visa credit cards are accepted. Otherwise, you can get comparable rewards with a good cashback card, like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. Co-branded store cards like the American Eagle Visa Credit Card should offer excellent rewards for shopping at stores they're co-branded with, to make up for the fact that their rewards have limited uses. The American Eagle Visa Credit Card's rewards rate isn't good enough to make it a must-have card.

The American Eagle Visa Credit Card isn't as good as it might initially seem when you consider that many of its benefits can be received by simply joining the Real Rewards program, which does not require approval. Cardholders do get automatically upgraded to Level 2 of the Real Rewards program, which means an extra 5 points per $1 spent at AEO and Aerie stores as well as an elevated birthday coupon. However, this can also be achieved with $150 in annual spending at AEO and Aerie stores. The most significant benefit you're left with, aside from the initial 30% off your first purchase, is the chance to Earn an extra 10% off every day. Also earn 5 points per $1 where Visa credit cards are accepted. This is only moderately good, considering some store-branded loyalty cards — such as the Gap Credit Card — can give users up to a 5% rewards rate for store-specific spending.

The American Eagle Visa Credit Card comes with a high annual percentage rate (APR) of 25.24% variable. Carrying a balance on your credit card is never a good idea, but with such a high APR, it can be particularly costly. Cardholders should not plan on carrying a balance from month to month with the American Eagle Visa Credit Card, or else they will incur hefty interest charges.

Bottom line: We recommend this card to those who spend a lot at AEO and Aerie stores. Otherwise, you're probably better off getting a generic cashback credit card.

Benefits and features

The American Eagle Visa Credit Card lets fashion lovers earn points with every purchase. Cardholders Earn an extra 10% off every day. Also earn 5 points per $1 where Visa credit cards are accepted. Points earned do not expire as long as your account is active. Cardholders can keep their accounts active by making a purchase within a 375-day rolling time period.

When you sign up for the American Eagle Visa Credit Card, you are automatically enrolled in the Real Rewards program. This is an American Eagle Outfitters rewards program that grants users rewards points and benefits. Membership in Real Rewards is free and is open to U.S. and Canada residents over the age of 15. By contrast, American Eagle Visa Credit Card cardholders need to be approved and must be at least 18 years old.

There are three status levels of the Real Rewards program: Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. The status level of a member dictates what types of rewards they are eligible to receive, with more benefits available the higher your level. By enrolling in the Real Rewards program, you get Level 1 status. American Eagle Visa Credit Card cardholders automatically get Level 2 status, but you can also achieve this level by spending $150 at AEO and Aerie — either online or in-store — in a calendar year.

Level 3 status requires $350 in annual spending at AEO and Aerie. Members start to receive benefits typically within 15 days of the purchase that put them over the $150 or $350 spending thresholds. Once Level 3 is achieved, Real Rewards members can maintain it by making at least $350 in purchases within each calendar year.

Rewards

Every time Real Rewards members accumulate 1,250 points, they'll earn a reward worth $5 off. This means rewards points are worth either $0.004 each. Reward certificates are automatically issued by email, text or the AEO|Aerie mobile app when members earn 1,250 or more points. Certificates can be applied toward most AEO and Aerie purchases, and they expire on the date listed on the certificate, which is typically 60 days after the date it was issued.

Additional benefits

Members of the Real Rewards program can receive 2X points on jean purchases. This benefit is available for all Real Rewards members, and it's not unique to American Eagle Visa Credit Card cardholders.

American Eagle Visa Credit Card cardholders receive 30% off the first purchase made with the card either in-store or online through AEO and Aerie. This benefit is only available for a limited time. They also receive one 20% off coupon per year and access to exclusive cardmember sales.Level 3 members and American Eagle Visa Credit Card cardholders receive free shipping on purchases made at AE.com, Aerie.com and the AEO|Aerie app.

You'll also get a birthday coupon (15% off for Level 1, 20% off for Level 2 and 25% off for Level 3) that can be used for a single total purchase. Because these benefits can be received without the American Eagle Visa Credit Card, they aren't a good reason to apply for the American Eagle Visa Credit Card.

How the American Eagle Visa Credit Card compares to other cards

When considering applying for a credit card, it's important to get a sense of how that card compares to other available options. Here's how the American Eagle Visa Credit Card compares to two popular cashback cards.

American Eagle Visa Credit Card vs. Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

On Citibank's Secure Website

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is the better card for users who won't spend significantly at American Eagle stores. The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer lets you Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

You'll get the same rewards rate with the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer as with the American Eagle Visa Credit Card, but the rewards you earn with the American Eagle Visa Credit Card can only be used for AEO and Aerie purchases. This means the only real advantage of the American Eagle Visa Credit Card over the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is the 10% at AEO and Aerie stores.

American Eagle Visa Credit Card vs. Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

See Rates & Fees. Terms Apply. On American Express' Secure Website

Dedicated clothing shoppers will get better value from the American Eagle Visa Credit Card than the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express on everything except supermarket spending. American Eagle Visa Credit Cardholders can Earn an extra 10% off every day. Also earn 5 points per $1 where Visa credit cards are accepted. This gets you a 2% return on AEO and Aerie purchases.

With the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, cardholders earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases. Terms apply. Rewards can easily redeemed for statement credits toward your purchases. If you used each card to spend $500 per year at American Eagle stores, you would save $60 with the American Eagle Visa Credit Card while earning just $5 in cash back with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. However, you'd earn better with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express at gas stations and supermarkets.

For overall benefits, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers way better value than the American Eagle Visa Credit Card. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express lets you earn $200 back after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months. This is an excellent welcome bonus for a card with a $0 annual fee. In contrast, the American Eagle Visa Credit Card offers 30% off your first AEO or Aerie purchase, but you would have to make a $666.67 one-time purchase to achieve the same value, which is more difficult than getting the bonus with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.

A big consideration is whether the cards are easy to use. Cashback cards — like the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express — let you apply your rewards to your credit card statements. The reward certificates earned with the American Eagle Visa Credit Card can only be used at AEO and Aerie stores, and they will expire within 60 days. If you want to be able to apply your rewards to any purchases and don't want to worry about using them before they expire, then the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express is the better card for you.

For rates and fees of Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.

The information related to American Eagle Visa Credit Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).