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The Michaels Credit Card, issued by Comenity Bank, is a $0-annual-fee card that earns 9% back on purchases at Michaels Stores, in store and online.
At first glance, that eye-popping rewards rate sounds like a match made in maker heaven. But there are a few crafty caveats in the fine print that dim the sparkle on this deal.
Here are five things every savvy crafter should know about the Michaels card.
1. It works only for Michaels purchases
The Michaels Credit Card is a closed-loop product, meaning you won’t see a Visa or Mastercard logo printed on the card, so it can be used only inside Michaels stores or on Michaels.com. In fact, the card’s use is limited even within the Michaels family of brands; it can’t be used on Michaels specialty sites like michaelscustomframing.com or michaelsphotogifts.com. Similarly, the rewards you earn through this card are redeemable only with Michaels. (You're earning 9% back in "store rewards," not cash back.)
2. Rewards are easy to track but expire quickly
Compared with many store rewards programs, Michaels rewards are refreshingly easy to track and redeem. Anytime you reach a $5 threshold of earned rewards, those rewards will be issued within 72 hours as a rewards voucher, which will appear automatically in your account online or in the Michaels app. You’ll receive an email notifying you of your newly available rewards. Rewards vouchers can be redeemed at Michaels.com or in store by providing your rewards account information.
To collect rewards, Michaels Credit Card holders must also be members of the free-to-join Michaels rewards program.
That said, Michaels Credit Card rewards have one major downside: Rewards vouchers expire 32 days from the date of issue. That makes it difficult to save up rewards for a big purchase, and unless you’re a very frequent Michaels shopper, it may be difficult to regularly use your rewards before they expire.
3. The quality of cardholder perks is questionable
Along with the ongoing 9% back in rewards, the Michaels Credit Card advertises the following perks:
A one-time 20% discount on your first purchase with the Michaels card.
Occasional free-shipping offers for online orders with minimum purchase.
Periodic offers for special financing.
Given the company’s ongoing sales incentives, though, it’s hard to be certain how much value these “credit card exclusive” perks add. For example, at the time of this writing, the Michaels website advertises 30% off all regular-price purchases and free shipping on orders over $49, regardless of credit card status.
And though the terms of Michaels' special financing offers are unclear, customers who consider these should watch out for tricky terms like deferred interest — a financing offer common among store credit cards that can leave unsuspecting borrowers with huge sums of retroactive interest owed.
4. You won’t want to carry a balance
Like most store credit cards, the Michaels card carries a high 29.99% annual percentage rate, or APR (as of this writing). That’s more than 9 percentage points higher than the average APR among credit cards that assessed interest as of the first quarter of 2023, according to the Federal Reserve.
That means if there’s any chance you’ll carry a balance month to month, the interest incurred on your Michaels Credit Card will likely wipe out any rewards earned.
5. Credit card rewards hardly outpace the free-to-join program
While 9% back in rewards would have any maker go googly-eyed, crafters should consider that those earnings don’t come from the Michaels Credit Card alone. The store’s free-to-join rewards program already offers 3% back on all eligible purchases to every program member, and members who’ve spent at least $300 in eligible purchases over the past 12 months earn 6% back.
The credit card rewards rate is instead of, not in addition to, those membership program earnings. So for frequent shoppers who already qualify for the 6% earnings rate, the Michaels Credit Card really only earns an additional 3% back in rewards.
For all but the most frequent Michaels shoppers, a general-purpose cash-back credit card is likely the better, more versatile option. For example, the Citi® Double Cash Card offers an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay it off. This way, you earn true cash back with no expiration date but can still benefit from impressive in-store rewards through Michaels’ free-to-join program.