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As store-branded credit cards go, the Banana Republic Visa® Credit Card is fairly fruitful for fans who buy from the clothing retailer in bunches.
The card, issued by Synchrony Bank, earns store rewards, sure, but it also offers plentiful perks that cardholders might find even more valuable: access to exclusive offers, free shipping on qualifying orders, even a birthday gift. The card’s annual fee is $0.
It won’t earn you traditional cash back, and it’s not ideal for carrying a balance. But if you’re bonkers for Banana Republic, its co-branded card has some appeal, if you can avoid slip-ups.
1. The rewards are complicated ...
The Banana Republic Visa® Credit Card rewards you for shopping at Banana Republic and at sister brands under the Gap Inc. umbrella, including Gap, Old Navy and Athleta. There is a store-only version of the card, but the Banana Republic Visa® Credit Card can be used anywhere Visa is accepted. It earns:
5 points for every $1 spent on Gap Inc. brands, in-store and online
1 point for every $1 spent elsewhere
Points are worth 1 cent each, but they’re not redeemable for cash and can be used only as in-store currency. In other words, $10 in rewards allows you to knock $10 off a purchase. Rewards are issued in increments of $5 — meaning you must earn a minimum of 500 points first — up to a maximum of $50 at once. There’s also a $250 total rewards cap per billing cycle.
Any orphan points you collect in a billing cycle — fewer than the minimum required, not enough to get you to the next $5 level, or more than the allowed cap — will carry over to the next month. Unused reward points expire two years after your most recent purchase.
That’s a complicated system, especially for rewards that are redeemable only for Gap Inc. products. You might do better with a simple flat-rate cash-back credit card with no minimum redemption requirements and no expiration date on rewards.
2. But the side perks are plentiful
The Banana Republic Visa® Credit Card currently offers the following to new cardholders:
20% off their first BananaRepublic.com purchase, as long as they do so within 90 days of account opening.
Cardholders also will enjoy:
A $5 Reward for every $100 spent within the Gap family of brands.
Occasional “bonus points shopping days.”
Special offers and early access.
No receipt required for returns.
A surprise birthday gift (as long as your account is in good standing and you’ve made at least one purchase with your card at a qualifying store within the past 12 months).
That could add up to a fair amount of value for Banana Republic enthusiasts.
3. It's great to 'Luxe' it up …
You can wring even more value out of the card if you qualify for "Luxe" status. Eligible cardholders who earn at least 5,000 points in a calendar year will be upgraded to a Luxe account, which may entitle them to multiple additional benefits, including:
A bonus of 20% of reward points earned as of the end of each calendar quarter.
Free shipping on all online orders with the use of the “LUXE” code.
Free basic alterations on Banana Republic clothes.
The ability to set up a “Choose Your Own Sale Day”
Access to a dedicated customer service phone line
To retain Luxe status, you’ll have to meet the qualification for it each calendar year.
4. But don’t carry a balance
The Banana Republic Visa® Credit Card doesn’t offer an introductory interest-free period on purchases. The ongoing APR is 25.99% Variable. That's around 10 percentage points higher than the average rate on credit card accounts that incur interest.
So this particular store card is neither good for financing a new wardrobe nor for carrying an ongoing balance.
5. Providing your email and going paperless earns extra rewards
As of June 2019, the website for the Banana Republic Visa® Credit Card is offering cardholders the chance to earn up to $10 in bonus rewards by submitting their email address (worth 500 points) and opting for paperless billing (worth another 500 points). It's a no-brainer, especially since registering your email address means you'll get news and offers relevant to a brand you've clearly already embraced.