The value proposition presented by the REI Credit Card will be explored in this article, comparing it to the Dick’s Sporting Goods credit card, as well as the Chase Freedom and Citi Double Cash Card credit cards, to frame the REI Credit Card amongst its competitors.
When choosing from among the many credit card options available, the benefits and the rates should be your primary focus. Rewards can be in the form of redeemable points at retail locations, cash back, or air miles that can be applied towards discounted or free travel. The REI Credit Card presents a decent opportunity to acquire a secondary credit card with retail rewards redeemable at REI stores on top of the annual membership benefits, or the points are convertible into cash or checks.
What Is The REI Credit Card?
The REI Credit Card is a general use credit card; this means that it can be used with any retail locations and online vendors that accept Mastercard, the credit card company behind the REI Credit Card. This makes the REI Credit Card somewhat unique from other similar credit cards, which often only allow the consumer to make purchases in the store that bears the name of the card. The rewards we will explore are decent and can stack up quickly, and may be redeemed in REI stores, or can be converted into cash or checks.
Product Specs & Benefits
The cash back benefits of the REI Credit Card are greatest for purchases made in REI stores, and there is a welcome bonus of a $100 gift card for new members, given that certain prerequisites are met, explored below. To understand the value of the REI Credit Card, knowing what REI has to offer is necessary, as their stores are the star of the credit card offered by it.
REI stands for Recreational Equipment, Inc., with the company summarizing its position as being simply, “We love to go outside and play, and we know first-hand the importance of quality outdoor gear.” REI shoppers are persons looking for outdoor adventure apparel and gear for the “trails, slopes, and waterways where we play.” The greatest cash back rewards and the welcome bonus are in the REI stores themselves, so the card is most valuable to the outdoor adventurer.
What makes the REI Credit Card stand out from the competition is the benefits that it offers to consumers for the spending they do with the card. For purchases made in REI stores, the REI Credit Card holder gets 5% back. This is one of the highest cash-back rates that are available on the market, although it only applies to purchases that are made in REI stores.
The benefits to the REI Credit Card holder are also realized when purchases are made in general, and more so on groceries. For grocery purchases, the card has a 2% cash back reward and 1% cash back for all other purchases. The rewards gained from spending on both groceries and general purchases can be applied to REI purchases or converted into cash or checks.
One of the most significant unique features of the REI Credit Card is the $100 welcome offer presented by the company. New members are eligible to receive a one-time $100 gift card to REI, upon being approved for the credit card, and if the first purchase is made on the REI Credit Card within 60 days of opening the account. The $100 gift card is redeemable towards purchases at REI’s many stores.
An additional feature of the card that sets it apart from the competition is the lack of purchase minimums to accrue reward points. Many cards require minimum thresholds to be met before points can be redeemed. Additionally, the welcome bonus of the $100 gift card is available upon any purchase, with no minimum price, so as long as the first purchase is made within 60 days of opening the card, the $100 gift card welcome bonus is received.
A slight downside to the rewards program of the REI Credit Card is the ability of the cardholder to redeem their rewards. Rewards are issued just one time annually, and so while there are no minimum point thresholds to reach, whatever points are earned by the cardholder are only able to be received once each year.
World Mastercard Benefits
The REI Credit Card is a part of the World Mastercard Network, which includes a number of significant enhancements over the standard offerings presented by Mastercard. The benefits are abundan, and include concierge service, enhanced price protection, a 15% discount on Mastercard Airport Concierge, as well as special perks when booking through select world luxury hotels and resorts.
Concierge services are essentially personal assistant options, which include having the concierge book restaurant reservations or flower deliveries. The enhanced price protection is a substantial advantage, as while regular Mastercards allow the cardholder to get money back if the price of an item drops within 60 days of purchase, for World Mastercard the amount of time is 120 days.
The pricing of the REI Credit Card is competitive, with a $0 annual fee, and low APR rates. The APR for purchases is variable, from 11.24% to 23.24%. There is a foreign transaction fee of 3%.
How It Compares
We picked a couple of similar products available on the market to see how they compare.
REI Credit Card
The REI Credit Card has a $0 annual fee, a variable 11.24% to 23.24% APR rate for purchases, and generous member rewards and welcome bonus that are especially valuable for outdoor adventurers who have need of REI’s products.
Price (Approximate only): $ of $, $$, $$$
$0 annual fee and relatively low APR on purchases
Ease of Use: 5 stars
The REI Credit Card can be used anywhere that accepts Mastercard, and it can also be used internationally with a 3% foreign transaction fee.
APR: 4 stars
The APR for purchases is variable between 11.24% to 23.24%, which compared to other cards with fixed rates often set at 25.99%, is competitive.
Rewards: 4 stars
The REI Credit Card offers 5% back for purchases made at REI, 2% back for grocery purchases, and 1% back for all other purchases. Rewards are redeemable once annually. New cardholders qualify for a $100 gift card as a welcome bonus, upon approval and if the first purchase is made within 60 days.
Dick's Sporting Goods Credit Card
The Dick’s Sporting Goods Credit Card can be used at Dick’s Sporting Goods, which carries gear and apparel for a variety of sports and outdoor activities, as well as Golf Galaxy and Field & Stream. Golf Galaxy carries golf gear and apparel, while Field & Stream carries gear and apparel for hunting and fishing sports. Rewards are gained only for purchases made at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Field & Stream, Gold Galaxy, and their online stores. The card cannot be used for purchases made outside of these locations, and prospective cardholders may only apply at the actual physical locations of Dick’s Sporting Goods, Golf Galaxy, or Field & Stream.
Price (Approximate only) : $ of $, $$, $$$
No annual fee and a competitive APR on purchases.
Ease of Use: 5 stars
The Dick’s Sporting Goods Credit Card rewards compile best at the stores and online sites of Dick’s Sporting Goods, Golf Galaxy, and Field & Stream; however it can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted, with 1 point awarded for every $3 spent elsewhere, and 1 point for every $1 spent at the stores or online sites of Dick’s Sporting Goods, Golf Galaxy, and Field & Stream.
APR: 2 stars
While the APR rates are not readily available through Dick’s Sporting Goods’ portals, according to Credit Karma the rate varies, although as of April 2017 was 27.74%.
Rewards: 2 stars
For the Dick’s Credit Card, the rewards compile point-for-dollar for in-store or online purchases at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Field & Stream, or Golf Galaxy, and 1 point per $3 spent elsewhere. Cardholders receive a $10 reward that can be redeemed in the three stores or their online stores for every 300 points that are acquired. Bonuses may be retrieved through the user account. 3x points for in-store purchase promotions are common.
The Chase Freedom credit card is offered by Chae Bank, subject to credit approval for qualified applicants. It has cash back on purchases as a rewards program, with rewards ranging from 1% to 5% depending upon the purchases made and the incentive bonus program in place at the time.
Price: $ of $, $$, $$$
No annual fee, highly competitive APR and promotional rate.
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Can be used anywhere Visa credit cards are accepted.
Application Process: 5 stars
Apply online or in Chase locations nationwide.
APR: 5 stars
An introductory 0% APR rate for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. After the 15 months, a variable APR of 16.74% to 25.49%. Balance transfer fees are 5% of the amount transferred with a minimum of $5.
Benefits: 5 Stars
Cash back bonuses range from 1% to 5%. New members may earn a $150 cash back bonus if they spend $500 in the first 3 months after opening the account.
Citi® Double Cash Card
Price $ of $, $$, $$$
No annual fee and the most competitive APR and promotional rate.
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted
Application Process: 5 stars
Apply online or in the many Citibank locations across the nation
APR: 5 stars
There is an introductory APR rate of 0% for 18 months; then it is variable from 15.24% to 25.24% depending on creditworthiness. The foreign transaction fee is 3%, and cash advances are possible, with the fee being either $10 or 5% of the total amount advanced.
Benefits: 5 stars
The user gets 1% cash back when all purchases are made, and an additional 1% on all purchases when the bill is paid.
The REI Credit Card: 3 Stars for the General Consumer, 5 Stars for the Outdoor Adventurer
The REI Credit Card is in the general range for cards of its type in terms of the APR. It has a $0 annual fee, which is also common amongst cards in the area. The rewards of the card are what set it apart from other credit cards. For the general credit card user, the cash back rewards are 1%, which can be redeemed as cash, check, or for in-store purchases at REI.
What makes the REI Credit Card particularly valuable for the outdoor adventurer is the rate of return for REI purchases and the new member bonus. For purchases made at REI stores or through the REI online store, the cardholder gets 5% back. New members may also gain the benefit of a $100 gift card if a purchase of any amount is made within 60 days of joining. For the outdoor adventurer who has need of purchases for outdoor equipment and apparel, the REI Credit Card is a fine option to maximize the rewards on purchases made at REI.