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Late one cold, hoary evening, I did the unthinkable: started dabbling with some store credit cards.
The psychology of it goes back a couple of weeks when I signed up for a LivingSocial coupon to get a Costco membership for really cheap. When I went in to activate the membership, they successfully upsold me to an Executive membership with the best sales pitch of all time, dang it. They also offered me a Costco card, which offers 3% Costco cash back on gas, 2% back on Costco and restaurants (?!) and 1% on everything else. However, the benefits were duplicates of categories I already enjoy with other Amex cards, and I couldn’t justify getting my credit pulled for it. With the Fidelity American Express, I get 2% cash back at Costco, at restaurants, and on every other purchase, period, with no limits. Also no annual fee. So, no, I couldn’t do it.
Anyway, after that, I started poking around online to compare Costco prices to other department and grocery stores. I wanted to make sure I’d REALLY be saving, especially as shopping at Costco.com means giving up portal bonuses. Somehow, I ended up on Gap.com. Now, I’ve had a Gapcard since 2005, no annual fee, not hurting anything by having it and might as well keep it to help age my credit by this point. I noticed an offer to upgrade to a Gap Visa and get an increase on the limit from $1,000 to $2,500. No hard pull (called to confirm) since I was pre-approved and $50 in cash to spend at the Gap. Might as well help my credit and get some new jeans. Accepted the offer.
Then, navigated my way to Kohl’s. Now, both Frequent Miler and Frugal Travel Guy (whom I
stole borrowed this post title from) have both sung the praises of Kohl’s and its card for a while by now. After all, it offers:
- Frequent 30% off discounts for having the card
- $10 back in Kohl’s Cash when spending $50 at certain times
- The 30% off and the Kohl’s Cash promotions often overlap
- Chase has been offering 10 points a dollar through its portals for a loooong time ($100 spent gets you $20 back in Kohl’s Cash PLUS 1,000 Ultimate Reward points, which I value at ANOTHER $20 back, in a much more versatile currency)
- Free shipping over $75
- LOTS of discounts on home items, small appliances, clothes, other department store-type stuff that I might not want to buy at Costco (since Costco is what opened this whole Pandora’s box of store cards anyway)
I poked around through the website and saw lots of things I could pick up for home: an area rug, a new dog bed for Fenwick, some new towels, maybe some new socks and thermal undies (why won’t this winter END?). Getting cash back, Ultimate Rewards points, and 30% off sure sounded nice. And the main selling point was that you only get the discount if you have the card. That, and if you spend over $600 a year, you get even more coupons and VIP status with Kohl’s. I’ve never had VIP status with a department store before.
The other thing, as with any decision to get a new card, was personal. I do think I’d like to spend some time to spruce up my apartment, and thought that having this card would help me both save and earn some money at the same time. Plus, it’s no annual fee. It’ll help to age my credit and improve my available-to-used credit ratio. Why the heck not. I filled out the little form, and 60 seconds later had a new Kohl’s card.
I get my first chance to use the 30% off + Kohl’s cash + UR points combo starting on March 7th. They have a discount code for 30% off and free shipping on any order. Here’s the scoop:
Anyway, will post updates when I make my first purchase. Can’t wait to get a new dog bed for Fenwick. They have literally hundreds to choose from. I spent over an hour selecting the perfect one after reading lots and lots of reviews for each dog bed. Like I said, it was late on a cold, hoary evening. 🙂
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