If L.L.Bean apparel is your style and the potential of earning “Bean Bucks” is appealing to you, then the L.L.Bean Mastercard may be of value to you.
Issued by Citi, the $0-annual-fee card rewards you for shopping at L.L.Bean and even for some everyday spending. The card can offer solid savings for loyalists who don’t mind strictly redeeming rewards at the retailer.
Here are five things to know about the L.L.Bean Mastercard.
1. You’ll earn bonus rewards on all your spending
The L.L.Bean Mastercard earns the following rewards (not as cash back, but as Bean Bucks):
4% back on all eligible L.L.Bean purchases.
2% back at restaurants.
2% back at gas stations.
1% back on all other spending.
Bean Bucks are worth a dollar each. So if you spent, say, $100 on an L.L.Bean purchase, you'd get 4 Bean Bucks back — meaning $4 worth of rewards to use toward more L.L.Bean purchases.
The 4% back category can help frequent L.L.Bean shoppers pile on rewards without difficulty. And on top of that, the card’s 2% categories mean that your everyday spending at restaurants and gas stations will help you earn bonus rewards. This isn't always the case with store cards, especially apparel store cards.
2. Redemption is refreshingly straightforward
As far as store cards go, the L.L.Bean Mastercard is surprisingly uncomplicated. As with most other apparel store credit cards, rewards are redeemable only within the brand. But unlike other similar store cards, there’s no minimum redemption requirement and rewards don't expire.
Plus, rewards can be redeemed in any amount and at any time. Any unused points will remain on your balance and carry over to your next statement. Cardholders can redeem rewards in stores, over the phone or through the L.L.Bean website.
Other co-branded store cards — such as the Banana Republic Visa® Credit Card or the Lands' End® Visa® Credit Card, for example — feature more complex redemption processes that require cardholders to jump through hoops.
However, for flexible rewards that can be used for more than just L.L.Bean merchandise, you’ll want to consider rewards cards that offer cash back or statement credits.
3. It offers limited benefits and discounts
In addition to ongoing rewards, cardholders get the following perks:
Free standard shipping and free return shipping on all eligible L.L.Bean purchases made with the card or paid for with Bean Bucks.
Free monogramming for L.L.Bean items purchased with the card or paid for with Bean Bucks. (A personalized monogram from the brand usually costs $8.)
While these discounts can prove valuable for L.L.Bean regulars, they're less lucrative than what similar cards in the same class typically offer (see the Gap Visa® Credit Card or the Old Navy Visa® Credit Card, for instance).
4. New cardholders are eligible for a small discount
As of December 2020, new account openers who are instantly approved for the card will get a one-time 15% discount. Only purchases made with the card through the brand’s website, llbean.com, will be eligible for this discount.
Note that you’ll have to use the discount on the same website visit as your card application and approval; after that, the discount will no longer be valid.
5. Be mindful of the APR
The L.L.Bean Mastercard doesn’t offer an interest-free introductory period for purchases or balance transfers. The ongoing APR is 13.99% to 19.99% Variable, as of December 2020. The high end of that range is considerable, given that the average APR on credit card accounts is currently 14.58%, according to the Federal Reserve.
If you're able, try to pay your balance in full and on time every month. This can save you from incurring interest charges.
Information about the L.L.Bean Mastercard has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been provided or reviewed by the issuer of this card.