If you prefer looking dapper with duds from 200-year-old clothier Brooks Brothers, its co-branded credit card just might suit you.
Overall, the Brooks Brothers Platinum Mastercard® is a lousy rewards credit card for everyday use. But for devotees of the Brooks Brothers brand, it has some swanky perks for your purchases of ascots and cummerbunds — and less formal wear, too. Its annual fee is $0.
Here are five things to know about the Brooks Brothers Platinum Mastercard®.
1. Upfront benefits are generous
Getting a discount on your first purchase is common for retail store co-branded cards — that is, cards that are branded by the retailer and the bank. For the store version of this card, the Brooks Card, it’s 15% off your first day’s purchases.
But the Brooks Brothers Platinum Mastercard® goes further, giving you an additional 15% off Brooks Brothers purchases for one month after getting your card’s welcome mailing. That gives you time to assess your wardrobe and use the additional discount strategically.
While the card’s rewards are subpar for general spending, you should use it at least once because you receive a $20 rewards card after you make your first purchase outside of Brooks Brothers in the first 60 days. If nothing else, that can buy you a pair of argyle socks, which, for good or ill, Brooks Brothers is credited with bringing to America from Scotland in the 1950s.
2. Ongoing rewards are decent but complicated
With the Brooks Brothers Platinum Mastercard®, you can earn 4 to 6 points for every $1 spent with Brooks Brothers and 1 point per dollar spent elsewhere. Here’s how that breaks down:
For Brooks Brothers spending, the store’s loyalty program already offers 2 points per $1 spent. But with the Brooks Brothers Platinum Mastercard®, that jumps to at least 4 total points per dollar spent, and potentially higher depending on how much you spend at the retailer per year (more on that later). You’re automatically enrolled in the loyalty program when you get the credit card. Note that Brooks Brothers airport locations are exempt from the bonus rewards and receive just 1 point per dollar spent.
Points are worth a penny each. More specifically, you get $10 in rewards for every 1,000 points you accrue. Rewards are sent automatically via email when you hit that threshold. You can redeem at Brooks Brothers stores — with the exception of airport locations. You can also redeem online and via phone and app. Rewards expire six months after being issued, unless otherwise noted on the reward.
Unlike some retailers, it’s a good bet that Brooks Brothers will hang around long enough for you to redeem rewards. Brooks Brothers opened in 1818, the same year the White House reopened after being burned down in the War of 1812.
3. Bigger spenders earn bigger rewards
If you’re really laying down the benjamins for new threads, rewards are more lucrative when you use the card. After spending $750 in a calendar year, you get 5 points per dollar spent.
After spending $1,500 in a year, rewards are 6 points per dollar spent. Once you reach a new loyalty level, you retain status for the remainder of the calendar year, plus the entire next year.
4. Insider perks might add value
Cardholders get a few nice premium perks:
- $20 annual birthday reward requires you to have used the card at least once in the past 12 months.
- Free return shipping in the U.S. on web and phone orders.
- Exclusive cardholder events.
- Advance special event and sale notifications.
5. It’s a poor choice for carrying a balance
As with most retail rewards cards, if you carry a balance the finance charges are likely to surpass the value of your rewards. The ongoing APR is 15.99%-22.99% Variable APR.
But then, if you regularly enjoy clothing from Brooks Brothers — and can afford the premium prices — you probably wouldn’t be carrying a balance anyway.