They hardly ever get mentioned anywhere, but US Bank currently offers eight retail credit cards. That number used to be higher, but the Bed, Bath, and Beyond card is switching issuers, though I don’t think a new one has been announced yet.
As for the remaining cards, there is little of interest, though one does have nice rewards. We’ll start with that card first:
Ace Rewards Visa Credit Card
Check out the rewards on this one:
That 10% bonus looks tempting, but information on it is hard to come by. Here’s what I found last time I wrote about it:
U.S. Bank does not tell you what the quarterly promotions are unless you are an Ace cardholder. However, this Fatwallet thread from last year mentions that the 2012 Q3 categories were office supply and clothing stores, and that the Q4 category was travel. 10% bonus rewards were capped at $150.
That $150 cap would explain why this card is still offering 10% rewards. Still, that could potentially cover $6,000 of spending per year (assuming it’s a quarterly cap of $150, not an annual one, which may not be a good assumption), so that’s not too shabby.
Also, please note that the 5% at Ace stores isn’t as good as it looks. This is ridiculous:
The 5% in Ace Rewards points (25 pts/$1) is calculated based on the 3% (15 pts/$1) earned for every net $1 spent at participating Ace stores plus an additional 2% (10 pts/$1) in Bonus Rewards points on Ace store purchases when you reach a minimum spend of $12,000 anywhere Visa is accepted in a calendar year. The 2% Bonus Rewards points will be awarded in a lump sum on the Cardmember’s Ace Rewards Visa periodic statement during the subsequent first quarter of each calendar year.
So you have to spend $12,000 per year on a card which offers 1% on most categories in order to get the extra 2% at Ace hardware stores? And then you have to wait until the next year to get the bonus? No thanks!
Kroger 1-2-3 Rewards Visa Credit Card and Ralphs Rewards Plus Visa Credit Card
Here are the rewards on the Kroger card:
- 1 point anywhere Visa Cards are accepted.
- 2 points in the Kroger® family of stores (excluding fuel centers).
- 3 points on the Kroger family of quality brands.
This looks like a simple 1% card, with 2% back at Kroger and 3% if you buy Kroger generics? NO! It’s actually much worse than that. 1,000 points gets you $5 worth of groceries, so it turns out these points are worth only half a cent each. Which makes this card a half-percent rewards card, which has got to be the worst rewards card I can remember. Am I missing something here? It’s the exact same thing for the Ralphs card. I don’t know why these cards exist.
Fred Meyer Rewards Visa Credit Card
This one looks similar to the Kroger card in that it’s 2 points at Fred Meyer and 1 point everywhere else, except these points at worth 1 cent each, making this a 1% rewards card. Which is still pretty lame, but at least it’s not a half percent card.
Gymboree Visa Credit Card
The Gymboree card (read my review here) offers 5% back at Gymboree, plus it claims to offer “exclusive discounts”. I guess if you spend a lot of money there it could pay off? There’s also a $10 sign-up bonus. Have fun churning that one!
Harley-Davidson Visa Credit Card
At least it looks like somebody’s trying with this card: it’s 3% back at Harley dealers, 2% back at gas stations, restaurants, bars, and and hotels, and 1% everywhere else. Special credit goes to the Harley card marketing team for specifically mentioning bars as a bonus category.
Oh, and you also get a $10 H-D rewards certificate when you sign up. So, you’ll have to choose between this one and the Gymboree one because I don’t think US Bank will let you have both credit card sign-up bonuses at once.
Polaris Visa Credit Card
This card is just like the Harley card except the 2% category only applies to gas stations. Harley owners are out on the open road enjoying of restaurants, bars, and hotels, but Polaris owners can’t get nearly as far on their snowmobiles so they don’t need those bonus categories.
REI MasterCard Credit Card
The REI card is kind of like the Gymboree card: 5% back at REI and 1% on everything else. Oh, and you also get 2% back at grocery stores, but only until March 31, 2017 (what a weird expiration date for a 2% bonus!). And get this:
On behalf of REI MasterCard members, U.S. Bank donates $20,000 per year to nonprofit organizations that help connect people with nature and promote active volunteerism to restore natural spaces.
If you don’t get the REI card, that $20K is in jeopardy. Can you live with that on your conscience? Choose carefully, folks.
Should you get any of these cards?
The US Bank retail credit card scene is not a happening place. The Ace one might possibly be worthwhile–maybe–but other than that… pass.