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The credit cards available from Nordstrom don't provide any spectacular spending rewards, though we think they do offer interesting enough side benefits to frequent Nordstrom customers to make them worthwhile considerations. One of the outstanding benefits of these cards is their ability to earn shoppers a $20 gift card, if you spend $100 the day you receive your card - a generous signing bonus by any standard. For those uninterested in opening up a line of credit, Nordstrom also offers a debit card, which earns the exact same rewards that the two credit cards do. No other department store offers this kind of benefit, or debit cards for that matter. For our full thoughts on the Nordstrom credit cards, look to our review and breakdown of benefits below.
Features we best like about the Nordstrom credit cards:
- All three cards offer the same rewards
- There is a debit card option for those who can’t qualify for a line of credit
Things we wish the Nordstrom credit cards did better:
- Punishes big spenders who carry a balance with a high APR
From a spending rewards perspective, this card is nothing interesting. Cards like the Citi® Double Cash Card give you the same type of rewards rate, though there you get discounts on all spending (and not just rewards in the form of Nordstrom Notes). The one way in which this credit card sets itself apart from the competition is through the perks available in the different spending tiers, which we discuss below. If you value access to things such as VIP events, then this card may be right for you - provided your usual Nordstrom spending is enough to qualify you for your desired perks.
One of the best perks on the Nordstrom cards are the bonus point days. All cardholders are entitled to anywhere from 1-4 personally scheduled Triple Point days, and random bonus point days throughout the year that range from 2x to 10x the normal point accumulation rate. On these days, the Nordstrom cards actually present a value that is much better than what you can get with most credit cards (provided you don't mind being rewarded via Nordstrom Notes).
The way the card's APR functions is a bit strange, with low spenders paying low APR, and high spenders paying very high APR on purchases. If you qualify for Tier 1 or 2, your APR will be some of the lowest we've seen for departments stores. It actually is quite competitive with the average credit card APR. Things get a little dicey for high spenders who carry a balance. If you fall into the upper tiers your APR will be upwards of 22.9%. The good news is that this is still on the lower end of what most department store credit cards charge, though not by much.
What sets this program apart from other department store rewards programs is the ability to use a debit card to earn rewards. The Nordstrom debit card is essentially just a copy of your bank debit card, but with the Nordstrom logo. The funds are taken directly from your checking account when this card is used, but unlike your debit card, it is only available for use at Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, or Nordstrom.com. This is a good option for someone who wants to take advantage of the Nordstrom reward perks but doesn’t have good enough credit to qualify for a store card.
Nordstrom cardholders earn 2 points for every $1 spent at Nordstrom, Nordstrom.com, and Nordstrom Rack. These points can be redeemed after accumulating a minimum of 2,000 for a $20 Nordstrom Note. Nordstrom Visa Signature cardholders also earn 1 point on all non-Nordstrom purchases - though we recommend not using the card in this way. This is the lowest value proposition, earning you a rewards rate of just 1%. When used in stores, the cards essentially earn you 2% back on your future Nordstrom shopping.
The Nordstrom card also has a form of a signing bonus. The day you receive your card, as long as you spend $100, you will be awarded a $20 Nordstrom Note - essentially giving you a 20% rewards rate for your first day. This qualifies the Nordstrom Card as having one of the best bonuses of any department store credit card.
Nordstrom offers three card options: the Nordstrom Debit, Retail Credit Card, and Visa Signature Card. All three cards earn points in pretty much the same way, with the only exception being the Visa Signature, which allows you to earn points outside of Nordstrom. The rewards you get from each card are also the same. The only thing which determines which Nordstrom perks you are entitled to is the amount of money you spend at the store with your card. Below you can find a brief explanation of each card type:
Nordstrom Debit - This debit card keeps it simple: Your purchase totals at Nordstrom, Nordstrom.com, and Nordstrom Rack are drawn directly from your personal bank account. You can think of this as a re-branded copy of your ordinary debit card, that you can use only for Nordstrom purchases.
Nordstrom Retail Card - This card acts as an ordinary department store card. You earn points for all your purchases at Nordstrom, Nordstrom.com, and Nordstrom Rack. You may not use this credit card at any other locations.
Nordstrom Visa Signature - With this credit card, you'll also earn 1 point per net dollar spent outside Nordstrom - anywhere Visa cards are accepted. Being a Visa Signature cardholder also means you receive benefits that come along with being part of the network such as: travel insurance (of up to $500,000), roadside assistance and extended warranties (of up to one additional year).
The Best Nordstrom Credit Card: The Nordstrom Visa Signature Card is the best option out of the three of these. If someone can qualify for this credit card, they should choose this because the Visa Signature variant offers several types of insurance policies, as discussed above, and in addition to the benefits of being in the Visa Network, you also earn points on money spent outside of Nordstrom.
The additional perks and features of being a Nordstrom cardholder depend upon your level of spending. You can see the full list of spending requirements, and what kind of rewards you can expect below:
|1||$0 - $1,999||
|2||$2,000 - $4,999||
|3||$5,000 - $9,999||
|4||$10,000 or more||
These perks are available to all Nordstrom cardmembers, and there is absolutely no reason to prefer one card over another for these reasons. Only Nordstrom purchases count towards meeting the spending requirements, meaning the Nordstrom Visa Signature card does not help you earn these rewards faster.
“Experiences” (available to tier 3 & 4 only) are events, and vacation packages available for purchase to those who qualify. Previous experiences included tickets to Paris Fashion Week for the designer shows (which are typically invite only, and not available to the general public). Included in the package is the cost of the flight, hotel, and dining for 2 people. Along with these purchases, the cardholder is also taken out to a VIP dinner with the Nordstrom fashion team and the team of the fashion show of which you are attending. We've not seen benefits like this available to other department store cardholders, but you must remember these are not free. You are still spending a lot of money, in order to qualify for the privilege to buy tickets to these events. This may not be worth it to certain individuals.
At the top of the tier system is access to VIP events, which include free spa services or free dining for you and a guest, once a year.
Finally, Triple Point days are opportunities for cardholders to earn 3x the points they would normally earn on in-store purchases. This is one of the cards' best benefits, though these special days are far and few between. You can schedule a triple point day in-store with a salesperson, or online during checkout.
Every once in a while all cardmembers will also be able to take part in Bonus Point events. These are special days during the year, on which you will be able to earn more points for your Nordstrom purchases. On these days you can be awarded anywhere from double to 10x as many points as you would normally get! You can view the full 2015 calendar of bonus point days by clicking here.
As noted in the review, this credit card generally performs worse than some of the best cash back credit cards. The only way this card can differentiate itself from the competition is for anyone who takes advantage of days when you can earn more than the standard 2x per $1 - then you can earn rewards rates of anywhere between 4% to 20%! Note however, that these days happen rarely throughout the year. Since these cards come with no annual fee, there is no reason you can't pair a Nordstrom card with your everyday credit card. At the very worst you can take advantage of a single Triple Point day and the $100 alteration reimbursement. If you use this card for nothing else, you will still come out ahead.
Since you don't have to pay any annual fees, this card is definitely a good value if used wisely. We recommend taking advantage of Triple Point days, and urge everyone to not keep a balance - especially those who fall into Tier 3 & 4 categories where APR goes through the roof. It is worthwhile to pair anyone of these cards with a good cash back or rewards credit card and use it at any point where the rewards rate on it will surpass that of an ordinary credit card (namely on personal Triple Point days or bonus point events).