As with so many retailers, fashion retailer Ann Taylor has its own affinity credit card – the Ann Taylor Comenity Mastercard. If you’re an Ann Taylor fan, the card’s probably not a bad deal because of the exclusive benefit it offers.
But if for the typical credit-card customer, there are far better cards with far better benefits for you to consider.
Ann Taylor Credit Card: The Benefits and Features
The Ann Taylor Comenity Mastercard is a bit like a traditional retail charge card – think: an old Sears charge card – combined with a modern, rewards-based credit card.
By that, I mean that for an Ann Taylor shopper, the Ann Taylor Comenity Mastercard offers a certain set of benefits that, like an affinity charge card, are specific only to stores under various Ann Taylor brands: Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Factory Store, anntaylor.com, LOFT, LOFT Outlet, LOFT.com, Lou & Grey and louandgrey.com.
Yet, unlike an affinity charge card, the Ann Taylor Mastercard also offers reward points for other, everyday purchases such as food, gas, entertainment, etc.
Here’s what the card gives you:
- A $20 rewards card after making one purchase that isn’t at any of the Ann Taylor brands.
- 5 reward points for every dollar spent online or in-store at any of the Ann Taylor brands.
- 2 reward points for every dollar spent on gas and groceries.
- 1 reward point for ever dollar spent elsewhere outside of Ann Taylor brands.
- $20 reward card for every 2,000 reward points earned.
- $15 birthday gift during your birthday month.
- 15% off your entire purchase online or in-store at certain Ann Taylor brands on the first.
- No annual fee.
Tuesday of every month, which you can combine will all other in-store promotions.
- Free shipping on orders of $75.
- 15% off your first purchase when opening the card and using it the first time.
- Early access to events and sales at Ann Taylor brands.
What to Know Before Applying for Ann Taylor Credit Card
First and foremost: You need to be aware that the points you collect expire 12 months from the date they show up in your account, if you haven’t converted them into reward certificates.
Each certificate, meanwhile, expires 90 days after being issued.
That means you need to be hypervigilant with this Ann Taylor credit card – otherwise, the points you collect will vanish. To me, that right there makes this card a no-go.
There are so many credit cards these days where your reward points don’t expire – for instance: Capital One Venture or Chase Freedom Unlimited – I see limited reason to have a card where they do expire.
Keep in mind, as well, that the Ann Taylor Comenity Mastercard imposes a 3% foreign transaction fee. If you don’t travel and never order anything from overseas, then this is no big deal. But if you travel outside the U.S., a 3% surcharge on everything from airline tickets to hotels to meals, souvenirs and tours will add so much additional costs that it will wipe out much of the financial benefit you receive from your $20 certificates and other benefits you earn with the Ann Taylor Mastercard.
Also, those $20 certificates for every 2,000 points … well if all your spending happens at Ann Taylor, then you will spend $400 to earn that certificate, the equivalent of a 5% cash back bonus.
But if most of your spending is on gas, groceries and other items, then you’ll need to spend, at minimum $1,000 and likely more to earn the certificate, and that is at best a 2% cash back bonus – and you can do much better with a rash of cards including:
Capital One Savor: 4% cash back on dining and entertainment; 2% groceries; 1% everything else … and $300 when you spend $3,000 in three months;
Blue Cash Preferred from American Express: 6% cash back at supermarkets; 3% gas stations and transportation; 1% everything else … and $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 in three months;
Citi Double Cash Card: 2% on everything – 1% when you buy; 1% when you repay
Credit Score Need to Get an Ann Taylor Credit Card
This is an easy card to get. You need “good” credit, so any credit score above about 670 should get you approved.
Alternative Cards Based on Your Credit Score
If you have “fair” or “bad” credit – in the 300 to 669 range – then you will likely be rejected for the Ann Taylor Comenity Mastercard.
If so, consider the Capital One Platinum card, which is designed for consumers with poor credit or no credit history. It’s a no-frills card with no annual fee. It also offers no reward points, miles or cash back. But with a weak credit score or no credit history, you’re more interested in rebuilding your credit, not collecting points and miles.
If you have a credit score strong enough to get the Ann Taylor, then I would suggest you look for cards that offer better rewards, bonuses, and perks.
Again, I’ll point to Capital One Savor, here. With 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, and 2% on groceries, you’re likely to build up a greater accumulation of cash back than you will earn in reward points on the Ann Taylor card – unless you are very heavy and frequent spender on clothes from the Ann Taylor brands.
I’ll also point to the Citi Double Cash card again. It’s just a simple offer: 2% cash back … 1% when you buy, and 1% when you pay your credit card statement. You don’t have to pay attention to where your shopping, or if it’s the first Tuesday or the third Thursday of the month or whatever. It’s just a simple, pure cash back card with no annual fee.
Cards That Offer Better Benefits than Ann Taylor Comenity Mastercard
Statistically, the average US household spends about $1,800 a year on clothes. Logically, no consumer is likely to spend every single dollar of her clothing budget at one of Ann Taylor’s brands.
For that reason, it simply makes more sense to own a credit card that gives you more well-rounded benefits. Here, I will point to the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card.
It offers 3% cash back on up to $2,500 in spending each calendar quarter on gas or your choice of one of five other spending categories, including online shopping.
That’s less than the 5% at Ann Taylor, but again, how much of your clothes spending actually happens at Ann Taylor? I’d bet 3% cash back on all online clothes purchases each quarter will likely top 5% earned on a limited amount of spending at Ann Taylor.
Bank of America Cash rewards will also give you the same 2% cash back on groceries and 1% on everything else. Plus, you’ll get a $200 cash bonus after spending $1,000 in the first three months.
Should you Get the Ann Taylor Credit Card?
I’ll say this: If Ann Taylor is your fashion style and you spend a lot of your clothes dollars there, then the Ann Taylor credit card is probably a decent option for you. Early access to Ann Taylor events and sales is compelling to a certain segment of the clothes-buying population. The five Perfect Rewards points you earn per dollar spent will add up, and the 15% off your entire purchase will save your money – so long as you remember to shop on the first Tuesday of the month.
But for most credit-card consumers I’d call the Ann Taylor card a definitive “pass.” It’s a very limited brand-affinity card with lackluster benefits outside of Ann Taylor purchases. You can collect much better benefits for your daily spending with а more well-rounded card.
I don’t know this for a fact, but I’d bet most of the signups for the Ann Taylor credit card come from in-store and online shoppers who, in the heat of the moment at checkout, apply for a card to a save an immediate 15% on their purchase. Otherwise, I see no compelling reason a consumer would go out of her way to apply for this card – unless, again, she’s a die-hard Ann Taylor buyer.
Whether it’s an American Airlines credit card, one from Home Depot, or this from Ann Taylor, credit cards today are all about brand loyalty. And that’s fine – some of the brand-affinity cards offer tremendous benefit to the credit-card holder loyal to that particular brand.
Alas, the Ann Taylor card seems a tepid offering, at best.