Citibank Sears MasterCard Credit Card
The Sears card is somewhat unique in that it has two sign-up bonuses. Like many cards, it offers a straightforward cash bonus for spending on the card as soon as you receive it, but it also has purchase bonuses on the first $10,000 you spend in certain categories. You can earn some serious points the first year you have the card, and the benefits might make this card worth keeping year after year. Best of all, there’s no annual fee.
After you earn the welcome bonus and have spent more than $10,000 in the bonus categories, the card earns just 1 percent back for most purchases, which lags behind other rewards cards. However, you do continue to earn double rewards on purchases at Sears for as long as you keep your account.
Perhaps the biggest drawback of this card is that you can only redeem your rewards toward merchandise through Sears’ Shop Your Way program. Again, this can be a solid card if you love Sears, but it is not a traditional cashback card.
Sears Credit Card: Features and Benefits
New Sears cardmembers can earn a $150 statement credit after spending $1,500 on the card within the first 90 days. This is an average sign-up bonus for a no-fee card, albeit with a slightly higher minimum spend than most. That being said, if you’re considering the Sears credit card because you anticipate making a big appliance purchase, you might knock out that minimum spend rather quickly.
In addition to the sign-up bonus, you’ll earn additional Shop Your Way points on every purchase, including bonus points during the special promotional period. New card members earn up to 5X on the first $10,000 in combined spending on gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores. For groceries and restaurants, you’ll earn 3X, while you’ll earn 5X at the pump.
Regardless of where you spend more money, all these purchases will revert to 1X once a collective $10,000 has been spent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants. However, you’ll always earn 2X on purchases made at Sears. That also includes Kmart since they’re both owned by the same parent company.
Another nice benefit of the Sears card is the ability to take advantage of special discounts and financing on purchases made at Sears. Throughout the year, Sears holds sales on items like home appliances or fitness equipment, and cardholders who use their card can choose either a discount off that purchase, which is usually around 5 percent, or 0% financing for a set period of time. This can be a great benefit to save some money on large purchases or have extra time to pay them off.
Here’s a list of what you get with the card:
What You Get
- $150 statement credit after spending $1,500 on the card within 90 days of account approval
- 3X points at grocery stores and restaurants and 5X points on gas for your first $10,000 in combined purchases
- 2X points at Sears and Kmart
- 0% financing or exclusive discounts on sales that run throughout the year
- No annual fee
This card is a traditional store card where the points you earn are good toward discounts on future Sears and Kmart purchases. The Shop Your Way program awards 10 points per dollar spent. You’ll earn 20 points per dollar spent at Sears and Kmart as long as your account is open. During the introductory promotional period, you’ll earn 30 points per dollar spent at grocery stores and restaurants, while gas purchases will earn 50 points per dollar. All points are worth 0.1 cents each and only good toward a future purchase.
In-Store Financing and Customer Perks
Some credit cards offer an initial period of low or no interest on purchases and/or balance transfers, but that is not offered with the Sears MasterCard. However, all cardmembers are eligible to take advantage of 0% interest offers on certain merchandise as dictated by the current sales happening at Sears. These products can change throughout the year, as can the sale periods in which you can take advantage of them. The 0% offer usually depends on the product and the time period is sometimes tiered based on the total purchase price.
A word of caution when it comes to these special financing options: while having 24 months with no interest to pay off a brand new 4K TV can be great, there’s the potential to still get hit with interest charges. With these 0% offers, if you don’t pay off the promotional balance in full on time, you will be charged retroactive interest back to the purchase date.
For example, if you bought that $1,000 TV but still owe $100 on your balance after 24 months, Citi will apply interest to your account on the remaining balance at the standard APR going back 24 months. All of the sudden, you will owe a whole lot more just because you didn’t pay off the entire balance on time. In short, be responsible with your purchases and only take advantage of these offers if you know you can pay them off on time.
Instead of opting for a 0% APR period, Sears MasterCard users can instead take advantage of additional discounts on select merchandise as part of Sears’ special sales. With most special offers, you can get a 5 percent discount instead of an interest-free period.
If you can pay off that big purchase the same month it’s charged to your Sears card, this is a great way to save some money and earn rewards, too. These special discounts are only available to Sears account holders.
What is the Value of Sears Shop Your Way Points?
The Shop Your Way points program is the exclusive loyalty program to the Sears family of stores. It’s also tied to the Sears MasterCard and is the card’s rewards program. You can earn Shop Your Way points on every purchase with your Sears card as well as through the Shop Your Way online portal.
Regardless of how you pay at Sears, you can earn Shop Your Way points at a rate of 10 points per dollar spent, but if you use your Sears credit card, you’ll earn 20 points per dollar spent. No matter how you earn them, the points are worth 0.01 cents each toward merchandise sold through Sears. For example, 100,000 points equals $100 worth of rewards.
To redeem, you’ll need to log onto your Points Your Way account. From there, you can shop the online catalog. If you don’t have enough points to purchase an entire item, you can pay the different using your card.
What is CPP and How is it Calculated?
Cents Per Point (CPP) is a way to measure the value of points. It tells you how many cents you get for each point you redeem by dividing the cash price of the hotel room by the number of points of an equivalent award stay costs. This can be a somewhat subjective calculation because the price of the stay in both cash and points fluctuates by season and availability.
We use the following formula to calculate the CPP:
Should You Get the Sears Credit Card?
The Sears MasterCard is a solid store credit card, but compared to other rewards credit cards offered by Citi and its competitors, it’s not the best card for the average person. If you shop a lot at Sears or Kmart, this card might make sense. But if you’re simply looking for your next credit card, you might want to give the Sears card a pass.
While the $150 statement credit sign-up bonus is nice, the ongoing rewards program is somewhat restricted since you can only buy Sears merchandise with your points. Sure, the ability to earn extra bonus points for a limited time in select categories is nice, but the rewards can only be redeemed through the Points Your Way website. While it can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted, the everyday return is below average for a rewards credit card.
The biggest advantage to this card is if you’re a Sears shopper and can take advantage of the special discounts and financing they only offer to cardholders. Since this is a perk you can use over and over again, you could save yourself some serious money if you get a discount on a big-ticket item or need to finance that item at 0% interest. However, the standard APR on this card is quite high and will surely lead to a deep pit that you’ll have to dig yourself out of if you need to carry a balance.
Again, the card does not have an annual fee. If you chose to get this card and use it for a while, then hang onto it to use only for your purchases at Sears, that could make sense. Sears and Kmart don’t typically fall into other credit card’s bonus categories, so you’re not likely to earn more than 1 percent on the average rewards card. The exception, of course, is cards like the Capital One Quicksilver that earns a fixed 1.5 percent for every purchase.
In summary, if you shop at Sears or Kmart a lot and don’t mind using your rewards toward future purchases, this is an okay card. If you never shop at Sears or Kmart, I wouldn’t bother. A card that earns more flexible points or has a straightforward cashback program will not only earn more points on an ongoing basis, but the rewards will be easier to redeem.
Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, please click on “Ask Now” below.
- Everyone knows Sears, and Kmart is very well known, too, but there are additional stores where you can earn extra rewards with your Sears MasterCard. The full list includes Sears Grand, Sears Dealer Stores, Sears Hometown Stores, Sears Home Appliance Showrooms, Sears Hardware, Kmart, mygofer and Lands’ End merchandise within Sears stores. You’ll also earn bonus points at the preceding stores’ websites; just make sure your pay with your Sears MasterCard.
- It’s a little confusing because this card has multiple sign-up offers. The $150 statement credit is earned after you spend $1,500 on the card on any purchases. The credit is applied automatically on your bill.In addition, your first $10,000 in purchases within the first 12 months as a cardholder will earn triple points at grocery stores and restaurants, and quintuple points at gas stations. After this promotional period, those purchases will only earn the standard 10 points per dollar.While this is a great offer, you only have a year to spend that $10,000 across those bonus categories. And to reiterate, it’s a combined $10,000 of spending. So if you spend $8,000 on gas, you’ll only have $2,000 left to spend on dining and groceries. Once you hit $10,000 in these categories, the promotional period ends.You’ll also earn double points at Sears and Kmart. There are no limits or caps on that earning.
- Many credit cards have special financing offers, and most of the time these 0% or low APR periods begin when you first open your new credit card. This is not the case with the Sears MasterCard.There is no introductory APR offer with this card. That being said, Sears does offer promotions from time to time on various products throughout the year. With these special offers, you can choose to get a 0% period (usually 6, 12 or 24 months) or instant savings (usually 5%) on specific merchandise.Certain terms and conditions always apply, but if you take advantage of a six-month 0% offer, you’ll have six billing cycles to pay off the balance of that purchase in full to avoid interest charges. Remember, you always have to make at least the minimum payment on your account.If you don’t pay off your purchase balance in full by the last month of the special financing period, you’ll be charged interest on the remaining balance going back to the date of purchase. That could be a lot of money.When you take advantage of these offers, proceed with caution.
- Yes, these are separate loyalty programs. At the time of this writing, you can earn points in both the Sears Choice Rewards and Shop Your Way programs, but it does not appear that the Shop Your Way program is open to new members. It will likely be discounted at some point.
- That’s a good question: if you can earn Shop Your Way points using another credit card, or even paying with cash, why bother with this card? While anybody can earn Shop Your Way points, Sears MasterCard members earn extra points.Non-cardholders earn 10 points per dollar spent at Sears and Kmart, while Sears MasterCard holders earn 20 points per dollar spent. Remember, these points are worth only .1 cents each, but you’d still be earning double the points. A Sears MasterCard owner will earn 2,000 points on a $100 purchase, which is worth $2 in rewards, while a standard member would earn only 1,000 points on that same purchase.
- Store credit cards have become extremely popular over the years because multiple studies have shown that shoppers who have and use a particular store’s credit card are more likely to shop at that store more frequently and spend more on each visit compared to customers who do not have that store’s credit card.Popular store cards, like the Macy’s card or Gap card, have been around for a while, and cards like these typically offer a new cardmember an instant discount on their first purchase if they’re approved. It’s a compelling offer in many cases.The Sears card does not offer a sign-up discount, so it differs there. But like most store cards, the rewards you earn on it are only redeemable at that store. However, some store cards can only be used at that store, and some cards don’t even offer rewards. So, the Sears MasterCard is very similar, if not slightly better, than your average store card.
There are two Sears credit cards available: the Sears MasterCard and the Sears card. Both are offered by Citibank, but the later can only be used for purchases at the Sears family of stores. Meanwhile, the Sears MasterCard can be can used almost anywhere. We’ll examine both in this section.
Compare Cards in the Same Lineup
|Sign-up bonus||0 points||0 points|
|APR On Purchases||26.49% Variable±||26.49% Variable±|
|Second Year Value||$240||$24|
The biggest difference between these two cards is the ability to use them at merchants other than Sears, Kmart and their related family of stores. The Sears MasterCard can be used worldwide, wherever MasterCard is accepted. With the standard Sears card, you don’t have this option.
Both cards earn Shop Your Way points at the same rate of 10 points per dollar. With both cards, you’ll be automatically enrolled in the rewards program if you aren’t already a member. Of course, you’ll earn double points on your Sears purchases when you use your Sears MasterCard, while the standard Sears card offers no additional rewards.
So why would someone want a card that isn’t a MasterCard and doesn’t earn extra rewards? If you apply for the Sears MasterCard and don’t have a good credit score, you may get the standard Sears card. If you’re looking to build credit, store credit cards like the Sears card are historically easier to get approved for, and they still show up on your credit report like any other personal credit card. But given the choice, you’d definitely want the MasterCard version.
Some Alternative Cards to Sears Credit Card
Before you sign up for a store card like the Sears MasterCard, it’s good to know what other types of rewards cards are available. We’ve picked a few no annual fee cards from other banks to see how their rewards and earnings rates stack up to the Sears card.
- Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards
$150 bonus offerRead Review
- American Express® Blue Cash® Card
3% at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations & select U.S. drugstores
- Chase Freedom® Card
$150 bonus offerRead Review
Best Cashback Card
From this group, the Quicksilver card offers the most cash back on every purchase. No matter where you shop, you’ll always earn 1.5 percent back, which can be redeemed at any time for any amount. With that cash back, you can buy whatever you like. You aren’t limited to one store.
Best Rotating Category Card
The Chase Freedom has long been a favorite card because of its rotating bonus categories. Each quarter of the year, Chase features certain types of merchants, such as drugstores, restaurants, gas stations and more, where you can earn 5.0 percent back up to $1,500 in spending. Watch your rewards add up fast as the $1,500 limit resets each quarter with a new set of bonus merchants. The card also earns 1 percent back on everything else with a lot of flexibility to redeem your rewards.
Get Tiered Bonus Categories
The Amex Blue card rewards customers that spend a lot of money on, well, things that most people spend a lot of money on. While the card earns 1 percent back on most purchases, it also awards an extra 1 percent back for gas station purchases and at select department stores.
Last, you’ll earn 3 percent back on the first $6,000 spent each year at the grocery store. Most people find themselves at the grocery store a few times each month, and with gas prices these days, it’s nice to save a little money there, too.
Whenever you apply for a credit card make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card and the rewards program to find out about minimum spend requirements and any restrictions to ensure you can successfully obtain the card and earn the rewards it offers.
Good credit score
Card Terms and Conditions
While it's easy to focus on the benefits of the Sears MasterCard it's worth taking a closer look at the terms and conditions. There's a lot to consider as you think about how you're going to use the card. Will you carry a balance, get a cash advance or maybe make a big purchase? Below is a rundown of the various interest rates, purchase protections, security features and mobile banking options that come with this MasterCard.
- Intro APR:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Intro APR for balance transfers:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Ongoing APR:
- 26.49% Variable±
- Minimum Grace Period:
- 25 days
Cash Advance Features
- Ongoing APR:
- 28.40% Variable±
- Cash Advance Fee:
- Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
Security and Protections
Like all Citi cards, there are certain built in security features. Whether you’re on the go, at home or traversing the country on business, there are several great security benefits, like account alerts, chip technology and credit score monitoring.
- Account alerts:
- You can customize alerts so you’re notified of large purchases, unauthorized activity or when your payment is due.
- Banking On the Go:
- Use Citi’s mobile app to keep track of your accounts easily.
- EMV Chip Technology:
- Whether in the U.S. or abroad, your card will be accepted at more merchants and your payments are more secure using chip-enabled terminals.
Additional Cardholder Benefits
This credit card is issued by Citi as a standard MasterCard. Unlike some other cards, it is not a World MasterCard or a World Elite MasterCard that comes with additional travel benefits, such as baggage delay insurance or roadside assistance. If you’re looking for these benefits, you’d be better off with a dedicated travel rewards card.