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Athleta Credit Card: Should You Apply?

Athleta Credit Card
Athleta Credit Card

Athleta Credit Card: Should You Apply?

A great card for earning rewards at Gap Inc. stores, but not a good everyday card.
Editor's Rating: 4.0/5.0
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

Editor's Rating

{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

4.0/5.0

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

The Athleta Credit Card offers great rewards to Athleta shoppers, but redemption of these points is limited to Gap Inc. products. There are several other annual fee-free credit cards that offer better rewards such as cash back. If you’re looking to open just one credit card, you should select a card that rewards you for shopping outside of just one brand. With that being said, the Athleta Credit Card comes with no annual fee. So if you’re a frequent shopper at Gap Inc. stores, including Athleta, then this card could be a good back-up option for you.

Store-branded credit cards, such as this one, typically offer a choice between two cards: a credit card restricted to in-store use only, or a card that can be used anywhere the network is accepted. For the purposes of this review, we’ll be discussing the latter because it’s more comparable to traditional credit cards.

Review: Our Thoughts on the Athleta Credit Card

The Athleta Credit Card offers great rewards at Gap Inc. stores, including Athleta, but it’s not a good primary credit card. If you’re looking for a credit card you can use anywhere you shop, then you should be looking at cash back credit cards instead. For example, the Citi® Double Cash Card and the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express may be a better fit for most, as we discuss below.

The Athleta Credit Card restricts redemption of rewards to products offered at Gap Inc. stores. What makes this card a great option to pay at Gap Inc. stores is its high 5% rewards rate. You won’t find another credit card that will give you year-round returns this high at Gap, Athleta, Old Navy and any of the other associated brands.

Good For…Bad For…
People who spend a lot of money at Gap Inc. brand storesPeople looking for an everyday card
Exclusive offers and early access to Athleta apparelSomeone who wants cash back rewards
Anyone who carries a balance

Still, opening multiple credit card accounts can be detrimental to your credit score. Therefore, if you’re after just one card, understand that you’ll walk away with a far better return when using other credit cards. This is true even when we factor in all the extra benefits and rewards the Athleta Credit Card offers. The average person doesn’t spend enough at Gap Inc. stores to justify this card being their go-to option.

While the $5 reward for every 500 points you earn seems like a good deal, you can only redeem rewards when the purchase price exceeds the rewards available. For instance, if you have $20 in rewards, you would have to purchase an item that exceeds $20 and pay for the difference out of pocket. Rewards can’t be redeemed for actual cash back, but rather they’re redeemed for Gap Inc. products. Additionally, rewards expire if you go 24 months without using your credit card.

Bottom Line: If you’re a heavy spender at Gap Inc. stores, like Athleta, then this card can be a great option for you. However, limited redemption options and expiring points stifle the value of the card. If you’re looking for an everyday credit card, you’re better off with a cash back card.

Athleta Credit Card Benefits and Features

The Athleta Credit Card awards users five points for every dollar spent at Gap Inc. brand stores. Stores in this category include Athleta, Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and more. Purchases made anywhere else earn one point per dollar spent. Reward points can be redeemed at any Gap Inc. store or online. Cardholders can redeem $5 in rewards for every 500 points they accumulate.

Athleta Credit Card
Athleta Credit Card

Athleta Credit Card

Athleta Credit Card
Athleta Credit Card
  • Get a $20 reward when approved for an Athleta Card
  • Earn 500 bonus points for entering your e-mail address, and another 500 points for enrolling in paperless billing
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent in Gap brand stores, both in-store and online
  • Earn 1 point per $1 everywhere else Visa is accepted
  • $5 reward for every 500 points you earn
  • Special birthday gift
  • Two free expedited shipping passes per year
  • Exclusive Bonus Point shopping days
  • Get a $20 reward when approved for an Athleta Card
  • Earn 500 bonus points for entering your e-mail address, and another 500 points for enrolling in paperless billing
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent in Gap brand stores, both in-store and online
  • Earn 1 point per $1 everywhere else Visa is accepted
  • $5 reward for every 500 points you earn
  • Special birthday gift
  • Two free expedited shipping passes per year
  • Exclusive Bonus Point shopping days
Annual Fee
No Annual Fee
Regular APR
25.99%
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
N/A
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

When you get approved for the credit card, you’ll receive a one-time $20 reward. The $20 is awarded as 2,000 points to your account within the first two billing cycles. Furthermore, cardholders who have made at least one purchase within the last 12 months are eligible to receive a birthday gift. However, the terms and conditions of the credit card don’t mention what the birthday gift is.

The Athleta Credit Card carries a high purchase APR when compared to cash back cards. The purchase APR for the Athleta Credit Card is 25.99%, which is 8.51% percentage points higher than a typical cash back card. If you typically carry a balance, this card will cost you more than other cards with comparable rewards.

Additional Ways to Earn Points

Currently, cardholders can earn up to 1,000 bonus points with the Athleta Credit Card. Entering your email address online to receive exclusive cardholder-only offers will earn you 500 points. Additionally, cardholders can enroll in paperless billing for an additional 500 points. In total, these bonuses amount to $10 in rewards. While the Athleta Credit Card credit card does offer $10 in potential rewards, it’s a small amount that only boosts your value in the short term.

Unique Athleta Benefits

Athleta Credit Card cardholders have the ability to use expedited shipping on online Athleta items two times per year free of charge. Expedited shipping prices vary depending on the price of the order and the shipping location, but you can expect to pay approximately $15 without the perk. While the offer is valid on purchases at Gap Inc. brand stores, such as Banana Republic and Old Navy, the purchase must include at least one Athleta item. For instance, if you purchase a T-shirt at Banana Republic, then you can get expedited shipping if you also purchase an Athleta headband during checkout.

Along with the ability to expedite shipping twice a year, cardholders get various shopping perks. The Athleta Credit Card gives you access to exclusive bonus-points shopping days. Additionally, cardholders get early access to sales and new seasonal arrivals.

The Athleta Credit Card advertises features such as the ability to return items after using them in a workout, in-store assistance from a stylist, free in-store hemming and free fitness classes. However, these benefits are available to any Athleta customer and aren’t restricted to just cardholders.

How Does the Athleta Credit Card Compare to Other Credit Cards?

As mentioned above, the Athleta Credit Card isn’t meant to be a primary credit card. It doesn’t make for a good everyday card because of its low overall rewards rate. However, to illustrate this point, it’s helpful to see it in contrast with other cards in this light. Here are two popular cash back options and why they’re both better than the Athleta Credit Card.

Athleta Credit Card vs Citi® Double Cash Card

The Citi® Double Cash Card is a cash back card that makes for a great everyday card. It offers 1% cash back on all purchases and an additional 1% cash back when the credit card balance is paid. This equates to a 2% rewards rate after paying your credit card bill. Assuming you spend $1,430 on your credit card every month, you would have to spend more than $300 a month at a Gap Inc. store in order for the rewards on the Athleta Credit Card to exceed the rewards on the Citi® Double Cash Card. This is simply a threshold most people won’t reach. Given the high breakeven point, we recommend applying for the Citi® Double Cash Card over the Athleta Credit Card if you’re looking for an everyday card.

Athleta Credit Card vs Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is one of our favorite no-annual-fee cash back cards (See Rates & Fees). Cardholders can earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 annually, 1% thereafter), and 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. Cardholders also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. New cardholders are eligible to earn $150 back in the form of a statement credit after spending $1,000 on the card within the first three months.

Assuming the same monthly spending mentioned earlier, you’d have to spend more than $250 per month at a Gap Inc. store on your Athleta Credit Card in order to exceed the rewards offered by the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. While the rewards earned through the Athleta Credit Card does exceed the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express rewards when shopping at Athleta or other Gap Inc. stores, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers better or equal rewards everywhere else. If you’re looking for an everyday cash back card, then the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is hard to beat.

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

The information related to the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. This offer and/or promotion may have since changed, expired, or is no longer available.

Comments and Questions

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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).