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Nordstrom promises an almost unlimited variety of high-end goods in its department stores, but don’t expect that same amount of choice and quality from the Nordstrom credit card.
Reward points are inflexible and difficult to use, and the card's highest rewards rate is available only to cardholders who spend at least $5,000 at Nordstrom stores annually.
The card, issued by TD Bank, is aimed primarily at Nordstrom super-loyalists who have the deep pockets to match the brand's high prices. Most everyone else will find more value in a general rewards credit card that offers value no matter where you shop and lets you redeem those rewards however you like.
Here are five things to know about the Nordstrom credit card.
1. You could get one of 3 Nordstrom credit cards, depending on your credit history
Applicants for a Nordstrom credit card may be considered for one of the following "open-loop" credit cards, meaning they can be used anywhere Visa is accepted:
The Nordstrom Visa Platinum credit card.
The Nordstrom Visa Signature credit card.
The primary difference between these two cards is that they come with slightly different side perks, courtesy of the Visa payment network.
If, however, your credit scores don't qualify you for either of those cards, you could instead receive the baseline Nordstrom credit card, which is a "closed-loop" store card that can be used only at Nordstrom.
None of the three credit cards carries an annual fee, and all of them earn rewards in Nordstrom's customer loyalty program — the Nordy Club — at a base rate of 2 points per $1 spent with the brand.
Confusingly, there's also a separate Nordstrom debit card. It, too, earns rewards, but — as its name suggests — it is not a credit card.
2. You can boost your rewards rate, but you'll have to spend for it
Nordy Club membership is organized into four tiers: Member, Influencer, Ambassador and Icon. If you have one of the three Nordstrom credit cards, you’ll be automatically enrolled in the Nordy Club and immediately elevated to the Influencer level, which again earns you 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at Nordstrom locations.
That's underwhelming, especially considering that any number of $0-annual-fee, general-purpose credit cards on the market earn 2x back on all purchases, no matter where you make them.
It's possible to increase your rewards rate to 3 points per $1 spent with Nordstrom, but only by reaching Ambassador status. You must spend at least $5,000 to become an Ambassador, and spend that same amount every year in order to maintain Ambassador status. To achieve and keep Icon status, you must spend $15,000 on Nordstrom purchases with a Nordstrom card every year.
Minimum annual spend required at Nordstrom locations
3. Reward redemption options are extremely limited
While the Visa versions of the Nordstrom credit card can be used virtually anywhere, the points earned on those purchases can be redeemed for just one thing: Nordstrom Notes, which you can use toward purchases within the brand.
Per Nordy Club terms, you can redeem in two basic denominations: one $10 Nordstrom Note for 1,000 points, or one $20 Nordstrom Note for 2,000 points, depending on your membership tier (see above).
On the plus side, that means points are worth a penny each, which is in line with the industry standard. But on the minus side, those denominations are pretty limiting, especially if you're just a hair shy of either of those minimum redemption thresholds.
More concerning is the fact that points expire after 12 consecutive months of inactivity in your Nordy Club account. To avoid losing them, you have to use your Nordstrom credit card to make qualifying purchases or redemptions, or return items that earned points or Nordstrom Notes.
For more flexibility in redeeming points, download the Nordstrom app. Nordstrom says the app may allow you to get a $5 Nordstrom Note if you have 500 points, or a $15 Nordstrom note in exchange for 1,500 points.
4. Cardholders get extra perks within Nordstrom’s loyalty program
Having a Nordstrom credit card isn’t required to join the Nordy Club, but if you’re approved for one, you’ll unlock the following benefits:
Free two-day shipping in selected areas.
Early access to sales.
Up to $300 in Nordstrom Notes that can be spent on alterations of items that were purchased from Nordstrom with a Nordstrom credit card.
Up to four personal double points days in which cardholders earn double points on all qualifying purchases on a day of their choosing.
Also, as of this writing, all three versions of the Nordstrom credit card were offering a modest sign-up bonus for new cardholders: $40 in store credit (in the form of a Nordy Note) that can be used toward a future purchase, if you use your new Nordstrom credit card on the same day you're approved.
5. You won't want to carry a balance
Regardless of which version of the Nordstrom credit card you carry, the ongoing APR will be very high. As of September 2022, it was approaching 30%, which is far above average for credit cards that assess interest.
So it’s important to pay off the entire balance on time every month to avoid interest charges and late fees.