Updated Sep 24, 2020 | Published Sep 11, 2020 • 14 min read
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The Macy’s American Express Card provides discounts at Macy’s and can be used wherever Amex is accepted. You’ll get a few Amex benefits that you wouldn’t get with the standard Macy’s card, but be warned, we’ve seen quite a few reports of issues with this card.
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The information related to Kohl's Charge Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.
Our Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars
We give the Macy’s American Express® Card3 out of 5 Stars. It provides pretty good rewards at a number of places, and the discounts could save you a fair bit of money. However, we’ve received numerous complaints about payment processing and unfair late charges.
Why We Like It
Annual Star Passes and Star Money Days
2% back in rewards at Macy’s for Silver members, 3% for Gold, and 5% for Platinum
Special discounts and offers
A birthday surprise every year
Free shipping (Gold and Platinum members only)
Benefits from Amex
No annual fee
Why It Could Be Better
Many people report issues with payment processing, customer support, and unfair late charges
3X points per dollar at restaurants, 2X points per dollar at gas stations and grocery stores, 1X point for all other purchases
Macy’s Star Pass mailings
Surprise savings at checkout
Star Money days
Registry star rewards
Free shipping for Gold and Platinum members only
5% back in rewards at Macy’s for Platinum members only
Birthday surprise every year
No annual fee
The American Express version of the Macy’s Credit Card lets you earn at more than just your local Macy’s store. You’ll earn at restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets, and get 1% on every other purchase.
However, you won’t be able to reach this card’s max earning potential at Macy’s until you spend at least $1,200 in a year with the department store. Once you hit that mark, your rewards at Macy’s will be boosted to 5%.
That’s a pretty high requirement, but as you progress through the ranks (Silver to Gold to Platinum), you’ll unlock more rewards, discounts, and perks with Macy’s.
The Amex version offers a few extra travel benefits compared to the basic store card, specifically dealing with special deals for airfare, cruises, car rentals, and vacation packages.
Frequent Macy’s shoppers will likely find the card useful, but we’ve received quite a few complaints about it from cardholders. Most of the problems are about billing and payment processing, with people finding unexpected interest charges or late fees, along with customer support issues.
Spend more to get more: The more you spend at Macy’s with your card, the higher your member status will be. Higher status levels come with better benefits and rewards.
Earn 2%–5% back at Macy’s: Before unlocking Platinum status, cardholders will earn 2% for Silver and 3% for Gold. But after spending at least $1,200 annually, you’ll earn 5% back in rewards for Macy’s purchases with your Platinum status.
Use your Star Passes: Every year you’ll get Star Passes, which you can use to get 25% off at Macy’s for one day.
Expect a birthday gift: Each year you’ll get a birthday surprise; be sure to use it before it expires.
Put Star Money Days on your calendar: Cardholders get access to Star Money Days each year, during which you’ll earn excellent rewards for Macy’s purchases.
Getting married?: Use Macy’s Registry Star Rewards to create a gift registry and earn 10% back on your own purchases, plus 5% back on purchases made by other people.
Use Star Money rewards quickly: Your rewards are automatically redeemed for Star Money reward certificates, which can only be used at Macy’s and expire 30 days after being issued. Be sure to use them while they’re still good.
Take advantage of free shipping: Gold and Platinum members will get free shipping on eligible items from Macy’s and macys.com.
Add cards to Macy’s My Wallet: Add your Macy’s card or cards to the Macy’s My Wallet app to easily manage your accounts, payments, and discount offers.
Check out Amex Offers and other benefits: Macy’s American Express cardholders have access to Amex Offers, which provides extra rewards at a changing selection of retailers.
Set up automatic payments: Many cardholders have reported issues with payment processing and billing, so set up automatic payments for the full statement balance each month. You may also want to check to make sure the payment goes through on time, and there are no interest charges or late fees piling up.
5% back in rewards at Macy’s (Macy’s Platinum members only)
3% back in rewards at Macy’s (Macy’s Gold members only)
2% back in rewards at Macy’s (Macy’s Silver members only)
3% back in rewards at Restaurants
2% back in rewards at:
1% back in rewards for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
20% off Macy’s purchases on the day you’re approved and the day after, up to $100 in savings
Maybe you’d be more interested in a general rewards card? We’ve put together a list of our top choices.
The rewards you earn with this card will automatically be converted to Star Money certificates, as soon as you reach $10 in rewards value.
Take note that Macy’s Star rewards can only be used for eligible Macy’s purchases and expire 30 days after being issued, so you don’t have long to use them. And any rewards in your account that aren’t used for Star Money will expire after 12 months of no account activity.
Star Money rewards certificates can’t be used for the following purchase types:
Macy’s gift cards
Beauty Box subscription services
Purchases made at restaurants within Macy’s
Purchases made from any department that doesn’t use a Macy’s point of sale register
Purchases that will be shipped outside the U.S.
The card benefits you get from the Macy’s American Express will vary depending on your member status. The more you spend at Macy’s, the higher your status will be and the better the benefits you’ll get. The higher status levels include all the benefits of the lower levels.
Annual Spend Requirement
2% back in rewards at Macy’s
Star Money Days
Perks and Offers
3% back in rewards at Macy’s
5% back in rewards at Macy’s
There’s also an even lower level, Bronze, but this is only for non-cardholders. As a Macy’s cardholder you’ll automatically start at the Silver level.
The annual spend requirements above go by the calendar year. After reaching a spend requirement you should be upgraded to a higher status within seven days. Your new status will last for the rest of the current year.
Star Passes: All cardholders will get Star Passes each year, which can be used to get 25% off at Macy’s on any chosen day. Cardholders with higher status may get more Star Passes per year.
Perks and offers: All cardholders will receive occasional special offers at checkout, event invitations, access to exclusive sales, and more.
Birthday surprise: All cardholders will receive a special birthday surprise during their birth month. This will probably take the form of a Macy’s discount of some kind. The value of the gift may vary from member to member. You must have made a purchase at Macy’s or macys.com on your account or with your membership within the last 12 months. You must not have opted out of marketing mail from Macy’s.
Star Money days: Limited-time events during which members can earn points on eligible Macy’s purchases when spending with their credit cards.
Registry Star rewards: You can add items to a wedding registry with Macy’s. The cardholder will get 10% back in rewards for every eligible purchase from the registry that she makes, and 5% back in rewards for every eligible purchase from the registry made by someone else. So you’ll get 10% back for your own purchases, and 5% back for purchases made by other people as gifts to you for your special day.
Free shipping: Cardholders with Gold and Platinum status will get free standard shipping on purchases from Macy’s and macys.com. You must pay with your Macy’s card to get this benefit. This offer may be applied to premium or overnight shipping, for an upgrade fee.
Travel privileges: You’ll get several discounts and special offers on a variety of travel options, like 20% off rates and special amenities at eligible hotels, 25% off with participating rental car providers, the lowest available airfare for eligible airlines, and more.
Amex Offers: Macy’s American Express cardholders can access the Amex Offers program, which provides opportunities to save money by earning additional rewards at a changing selection of retailers.
Entertainment Access: Macy’s American Express cardholders have access to presale tickets and reserved seats for concerts and events.
The Terms & Fees
Balance Transfer APR
Cash Advance APR
Foreign Transaction Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Cash Advance Fee
4%, $5 minimum
Returned Payment Fee
Up to $39
Up to $39
The Macy’s American Express card can’t be used for balance transfers, but it can be used for cash advances and foreign transactions.
The best benefits require a fair bit of spending, but you’ll get fairly regular discounts that could help mitigate that. Basically, the more you spend, the better the card gets. However, it’s important to keep in mind the numerous reports of poor customer service and billing issues we’ve received.
This card can be quite useful if you take advantage of all the perks every year, but as we’ve stressed there are some problems on the back end that could turn this and the basic Macy’s card into nightmares. Check out our alternative card picks below for some other options for shopping at Macy’s and similar stores.
How Do I Apply for the Macy’s American Express Card?
To apply now for the Macy’s American Express Card click the link below. You’ll be taken to the card issuer’s website where you can apply securely.
When submitting your application you’ll actually be applying for both this card and the standard Macy’s Credit Card (Review). If approved for both, you’ll be able to keep whichever card you wish. Some applicants with worse credit may only be approved for the basic Macy’s Credit Card.
Most applicants will get an instant decision, either approved or denied. In some cases it may take longer to provide a response. If your application is denied you’ll receive an explanation why.
What Credit Scores Do I Need to Qualify for the Macy’s American Express Card?
It’s recommended for you to have fair credit before applying for the Macy’s American Express card.
That would mean your credit scores would be within the ranges of 580–669 for FICO and 650–699 for VantageScore.
Be aware that credit card issuers look at more than just your scores when deciding your creditworthiness. Other factors, like income and source of income, play into the decision. That means even if your credit scores are below those ranges, you may still be approved. However, that also means if your credit scores are higher, there’s a chance you might be denied.
Qualifications and Requirements
Must be 18 to apply
Personal identifying information: Name, birth date, Social Security number
Address and contact information: Phone number, address
Financial information: Total household income, source of income, monthly mortgage/rent payment
Hover over the “My Account” button and then select “Macy’s American Express Card.”
Select the red “Make a Payment” button.
Enter your bank account number (checking or savings) and the bank’s routing number, or select previously saved information.
Submit the payment.
You can set up autopay to help ensure that your payments arrive on time, which we recommend doing. This is especially important with the Macy’s cards, because many people report issues with payment processing that result in residual interest and late fees.
To set up autopay for these cards, after completing step 2 above click the “Enroll in AutoPay” link. Then you’ll be able to input your bank account information.
You can pay for your Macy’s card in-store at a register, using cash, check, or debit card.
The basic Macy’s Credit Card can only be used at Macy’s, Macy’s Backstage, and macys.com. Store cards like these, which can only be used at their co-branded stores, are known as closed-loop or private label credit cards.
The Macy’s American Express card can be used at Macy’s and also anywhere that American Express is accepted. General-use cards like these, which can be used anywhere their affiliated card networks are accepted, are known as open-loop cards.
Can I add cards to my online account, or combine them if I have both versions?
If you already have an online profile at macys.com, you can add your card to make things easier at checkout time. And if you have both the regular Macy’s Credit Card and the Macy’s American Express Card, you can add both of them to your account.
You’ll need to know your card account number, the security code (CVV) on your card, your name as it appears on your card or credit card statement, and the last four digits of your Social Security number
Start by signing in at macys.com. Then, in the “My Macy’s Credit Card” section, select the “Add My Card” button. Enter the required information, and select the “Add Card” button at the bottom. If you want to add another card, select the “My Macy’s Credit Card” link on the left hand side. Select the drop-down box and select the “Add Another Card” button.
I got a $2 interest charge — why?
The minimum interest charge for both of the Macy’s cards is $2. When you carry a balance from one month to the next on your card you’ll be charged interest at a high rate; if your interest charge would be less than $2, it’s automatically increased to $2.
Some people report being charged $2 in interest for these cards, and are confused about why this charge was applied. At first glance this may seem like a minor problem for other people, but this is an important aspect of most credit cards that could have significant effects on your credit.
In some cases, people say they paid off the entire card but were still charged interest. This is usually because of something called residual interest, or trailing interest. Given the number of people who report this issue, however, it also seems possible that there’s some kind of problem or delay with the payment processing system for these cards.
Residual interest charges can occur if you carry a balance from month to month, accruing interest as you go. Say you’ve been carrying a balance, so you lost your grace period. You get your monthly statement, and see that a particular balance is due. You pay your bill a week after your statement closing date.
The key here is that the balance will continue to accrue interest during the week it takes you to make the payment. That extra interest, applied during the time between when you get your bill and when you actually pay it, is known as residual interest.
Even if your interest charge was just 5¢, it will be increased to the minimum of $2. This is why some people see $2 charges even after they think they’ve paid off the card completely.
Residual interest might seem like a small annoyance, but it can actually turn into a major problem when these charges go unnoticed. If you don’t pay off that charge, as small as it is, it will start to accrue interest itself, and then you’ll get late fees for not paying it; eventually the card issuer can report your account as late to the credit bureaus, which will have a massive negative effect on your credit scores.
Residual interest can easily be avoided by paying the card’s statement balancein full each month from the start of card membership. Doing so will let you completely avoid accruing interest on purchases because of your card’s grace period, which is an interest-free period between the statement closing date and the billing due date.
You’ll lose that grace period by carrying a balance on your card from one billing cycle to the next, which is how residual interest can happen; you can get your grace period back by paying off the entire outstanding card balance, including any residual interest, rather than just the statement balance.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use card you can pull out for anything, this is it. The rewards program is very simple: 2% cash back no matter what you buy, or where (1% for purchases, 1% for payments; must pay at least the minimum due on time to earn rewards).
So this card is pretty good for Macy’s shopping — it’s not as rewarding as the 5% back you can get for being a Macy’s Platinum member, but there’s no spending requirement and it’s more flexible. You won’t get the other benefits that come with a Macy’s card, but you also don’t have to deal with poor customer support and sloppy billing systems, giving you more peace of mind. And, of course, you can become a Macy’s Bronze member to get a few perks along with your 2% cash back.
So if you’re looking for a bit more flexibility and simplicity, the Double Cash provides that one-two punch.
2% cash back for every purchase you make (must pay at least the minimum due on time)
1% back when you make a purchase
1% back when you pay for that purchase
You could potentially get even more from this card if you convert the Double Cash’s rewards into ThankYou points. As points, they could be worth more than one cent each if you transfer them to airline partners. That’ll bump up the return you earn on every purchase, and who wouldn’t want that?
Free FICO credit score: See your Equifax-based FICO Bankcard Score 8 on statements, online, and by mobile app.
Citi Concierge: Get restaurant suggestions, reservations, travel arrangements, shopping research, and more.
Citi Entertainment: Get preferred access and pre-sale tickets to events and experiences, from music to movies.
Purchase APR: 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers, then 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
Annual fee: $0
Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.
Amazon is great for one-stop shopping, and if you can find it at Macy’s you can likely find it at Amazon as well. You’ll earn just as much cash back as a Macy’s Platinum member, but without the spending requirement.
Whereas the benefits were the main focus of the Macy’s card, the rewards are really what make the Amazon Prime card shine. But that’s not to say the benefits of this card aren’t enticing as well.
So if you’re looking to have access to a seemingly endless array of goods and to earn cash back on them without having to spend a certain amount, this might be the card for you.
These Amazon cards are store cards, but they’re issued by Chase so you can expect a better level of customer support and a better billing system than the Macy’s card.
5% cash back at:
Whole Foods Markets
2% cash back at:
1% cash back for all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
$70 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon approval
Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection: At eligible hotels you’ll get a $25 food and beverage credit, automatic room upgrades when available, VIP guest status, and more.
Visa Signature Concierge: Call any time for non-emergency assistance, like help making dining or travel reservations.
Shopping and travel protections: Including Travel Accident Insurance, Lost Luggage Reimbursement, and Purchase Protection
No foreign transaction fee
Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 15.74% to 23.74% Variable
Annual fee: $0 (Amazon Prime membership required)
Requires active Prime membership
Cash back can be redeemed for statement credits or at Amazon.com checkout
Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market
Earn 2% back at gas stations, restaurants, and drugstores
Earn 1% back on all other purchases
Get a $70 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon credit card approval
Kohl’s is one of America’s favorite department stores, rivaling Macy’s for the frequent discounts and attractive sales. The Kohl’s Charge Card (Review) provides cardholders with additional discounts and offers that normal Kohl’s shoppers won’t get, giving you a chance to save quite a bit of money.
The real draw to the Kohl’s card, like the Macy’s card, are the perks. You’ll get an initial discount on a purchase, 12 annual discount mailings (with an additional 6 if you spend $600 in a year), and early notice of special sales and offers.
However, like many store cards, the Kohl’s credit card unfortunately gets quite a few complaints from cardholders. This card may not have quite as many problems as the Macy’s card, but many people have reported issues with payment processing and customer support.
The Kohl’s Charge Card does not earn any rewards. However, anyone, including cardholders, can sign up for Kohl’s Yes2You Rewards program, and that program can be used when spending with the card.
The Yes2You Rewards program provides 1X point per dollar for Kohl’s purchases. Each point is worth 5 cents, so you’re getting a cash back equivalent of 5%.
Introductory bonus: Save 35% on your first purchase
15% discount by mail
12 annual discount mailings: Each year you’ll get 12 discount mailings, one per month. These discounts may range from 15%–30%.
Kohl’s MVC (Most Valued Customer) benefits: Spend $600 or more in a calendar year with the Kohl’s Charge Card and get six additional discount mailings, free shipping events, and an annual birthday gift.
Receipt free returns
Kohl’s Charge Card sales events: Receive early notice of special sales and promotional offers throughout the year.
Purchase APR: 27.24% Variable
Annual fee: $0
15% discount arrives in the mail with your new card
35% discount on your first purchase in-store or online
12 special discounts of 30%, 20% or 15% every year
Most Valued Customer (MVC): Spend $600 in 12 months and receive MVC status, which offers 18 exclusive discounts annually
The information related to Kohl's Charge Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.
Evan graduated from SUNY Oswego with a degree in journalism and creative writing. In his professional writing career, he strives for precision and comprehension in his work. He’s written news articles, blog posts, and copy, working across a slew of different mediums. With in-depth research and great care for accuracy and detail, he now works to bring you the most up-to-date credit information.
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