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5 Things to Know About the Stein Mart Platinum Mastercard

Sept. 10, 2019
Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
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The Stein Mart Platinum Mastercard® offers additional savings on items that fly off the rack at the discount retailer’s store.

The card, issued by Synchrony Bank, earns rewards at the retailer online and in-store and everywhere that Mastercard is accepted. It also offers perks such as exclusive savings events, birthday surprises and the chance to earn even more rewards with Elite status. The card’s annual fee is $0.

But like the retailer’s fashions and home goods, the Stein Mart Platinum Mastercard® isn’t one-size-fits-all. Depending on how much you spend there, you may find that other rewards credit cards offer much more value, not to mention much easier redemption.

Still, if you’re loyal to Stein Mart and you spend over $500 there annually, the rewards and retail protections on this card may be your style. Here’s what to know about it:

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best store credit cards

1. Rewards rate starts low …

There are different flavors of this card: the in-store version, the Stein Mart Platinum Mastercard® and an Elite version of both. The Stein Mart Platinum Mastercard® earns:

  • 1 point per $1 spent in-store and online at Stein Mart.
  • 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else.

Points are worth 1 cent apiece. When you reach 1,000 points, you receive a $10 rewards certificate. Depending on your spending, that could take awhile.

A simple flat-rate cash-back credit card can offer higher value, plus the flexibility of redeeming your rewards for cash back whenever you like, to be spent however you like.

The Stein Mart Platinum Mastercard® does offer some incentives for new cardholders. You’ll get a $10 Stein Mart reward certificate with your new credit card in the mail, and you can also get 10% off your first online purchase.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best credit cards for department store spending

2. … But you can work up to Elite rewards

You’re automatically enrolled in the Stein Mart Elite Rewards Program when you use the Stein Mart Platinum Mastercard® to make $500 or more in purchases at Stein Mart (online or in-store) in a calendar year.

When you earn Elite status, it upgrades the Stein Mart Platinum Mastercard® to the Stein Mart Elite Platinum Mastercard, which gives your benefits a makeover. You’ll then earn:

  • 2 rewards points per $1 spent in-store and online at Stein Mart. You continue earning 1 reward point per $1 spent everywhere else.
  • Free shipping when you create an account on steinmartcredit.com and sign up for online account management with the same email address.
  • Exclusive Elite sales days.
  • Priority customer service.

You maintain Elite status the moment it’s earned and for the following year. You’ll have to continue meeting the spending threshold within a calendar year to retain the status.

The Elite version’s earning rate at Stein Mart is good, but you can do better still with other rewards credit cards. Consider, for example, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. It offers 2% cash back on all spending — 1% when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay it off — and you don’t have to meet any spending requirement.

3. Redemption is slow and inflexible

You’ll face an unwieldy redemption process littered with limitations. For starters, you can’t redeem rewards instantly; instead, you earn reward certificates, which arrive in the mail after one or two billing periods.

And while you can use these certificates toward purchases charged to the Stein Mart Platinum Mastercard® at Stein Mart locations, you cannot use them online, nor can you redeem them for cash or apply them to prior purchases or as payment on an account. (You can, however, combine reward certificates with coupons or other promotional offers in-store.)

You’ll also be capped at $100 in certificates per billing period. If you’ve earned more than that, it will be carried over to the following billing period.

Reward certificates are good for only three months, so use them or lose them. And if you redeem a reward certificate for a purchase that’s less than the value of the certificate, you lose the remaining balance.

4. Don’t carry a balance on this card

Store-branded credit cards are notorious for having high interest rates, and the Stein Mart Platinum Mastercard® is no exception. The ongoing APR is 29.24% Variable — that’s multiple percentage points higher than the average rate on credit card accounts that incur interest.

The Stein Mart Platinum Mastercard® also doesn’t offer an introductory interest-free period, so you won’t get any breathing room to finance your purchases.

You don’t have to worry about interest if you pay your bill in full every month. But if you carry a balance, the high APR can become a costly burden that eats away at the value of rewards.

5. Benefits offer access to helpful services

Any purchases made with the Stein Mart Platinum Mastercard® come with Mastercard benefits that can offer assistance when you’re in a bind. Here’s what the card offers:

  • Identity theft resolution services: If you’re a victim of identity theft, this service provides assistance with helping you manage your account.
  • Mastercard Global Service: This provides 24-hour emergency services if your card is lost or stolen.
  • Mastercard Airport Concierge: You can get 15% off on airport meet and greet services. Agents are available at over 700 destinations worldwide to help escort you through the airport. 

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