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*Disclaimer: This article is accurate as of the publish date April 28, 2014
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If you are a fan of Brooks Brothers you may have considered carrying the Brooks Brothers Platinum MasterCard issued by GE Capital Bank. Brooks Brothers is an outstanding brand with a longstanding reputation for high quality, especially for those dressing for business. The clothing lines for men and women include more dressy attire plus a full selection of business casual and weekend casual clothes. You can also find exquisite shoes and other wardrobe accessories for all occasions.
The Brooks Brothers plastic is a handsome rewards card that enables those who carry it to earn points that can then be redeemed for discounts on purchases. Card members enjoy extra perks such as being able to participate four times a year in exclusive “preferred cardholder” events, and the card includes attractive travel and warranty protections and benefits. There is no annual fee for the Brooks Brothers MasterCard, either, which always makes consumers happy.
Rewards Card Features
- You’ll receive 15% off all Brooks Brothers purchases for the first 30 days of Brooks Brothers Platinum MasterCard membership
- Receive a $20 rewards card when you make your first purchase outside of Brooks Brothers with your Brooks Brothers Platinum MasterCard
- Earn a $20 reward for every $500 you spend in-store, which is the equivalent of four points per dollar spent
- Earn a $20 reward card for every $2,000 you spend outside of Brooks Brothers with your Platinum MasterCard, equal to one point per dollar spent
- Earn an additional $20 annual birthday reward*
Rates & Fees
- The APR for purchases and balance transfers is either 14.24%, 17.24%, or 21.24%, depending upon your credit worthiness
- The APR for a cash advance is either 23.24% or 24.24%, based on credit worthiness. In addition you’ll pay either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer or cash advance, whichever is greater
- Pay 2% for foreign transaction fees when you use the card overseas.
Rewards Program Restrictions
Here’s how the rewards program works and how your accumulated rewards are processed and given to you:
- Each time your rewards points reach 2,000 you will receive a Reward Certificate in the mail that is worth $20. That certificate can only be redeemed for a new purchase made at a U.S. Brooks Brothers store.
- Reward Certificates are not valid toward purchases made over the internet or through the Brooks Brothers catalog. That’s a huge limitation considering many customers only shop online or through the catalog
- Reward Certificates cannot be credited to an account or redeemed for cash, and furthermore, all Brooks Brothers Reward Certificates expire six months from the date of issuance (except where prohibited by law)
- If you have earned reward points, but didn’t find the time to use them within that time frame, they become worthless. Not only that, but if your Reward Certificates are lost or stolen they will not be replaced
The Brooks Brothers “Standard” Card
It is important to note that Brooks Brothers does offer two branded rewards cards. Besides the card above, they also have the “Brooks Card,” the standard Brooks Brothers reward card. While both are tied to a Brooks Brothers rewards program the “standard” version of the card is only accepted at Brooks Brothers stores.
The Brooks Card is a typical loyalty card issued to customers of Brooks Brothers who want to use it to earn reward points toward discounted purchases. Typical credit card features are absent from this card such as the option to perform a balance transfer or to take out a cash advance, and it won’t work outside of a Brooks Brothers store. Generally speaking, rewards cards that are associated with a specific store are not usually value-laden when compared to top-notch rewards cards affiliated with MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and other card companies. Some features of the store card include:
- On-going APR of 22.99% variable
- Cardholders receive 15% off on purchases the day they open a new account
- Earn 4 rewards points per dollar in purchases at a U.S. Brooks Brothers store, online, or by catalog
- Conspicuously excluded from that offer, however, are purchases made at airports. Since many customers of Brooks Brothers like to shop at the company’s retail stores in airports, that may be a serious drawback to cardholders of the standard Brooks Card who don’t have the premium Brooks Brothers Platinum MasterCard version.
To put things into perspective, Brooks Brothers is a great store and their merchandise and customer service are superb, but that doesn’t mean the plastic affiliated with the brand is the best choice within the diverse credit card marketplace.
The Bottom Line
You may discover that you can generate more buying power for shopping at Brooks Brothers by carrying a credit card not officially connected to their rewards program. My advice is to skip the Brooks Brothers branded cards even if you happen to be a fan of the Brooks Brothers label. Instead, shop around for a high-quality rewards card through one of the major card issuers that earn you rewards on all purchases or earn you bonus rewards for online purchases or department store purchases.
Most credit cards that earn you bonus reward points on purchases at select department stores do not include Brooks Brothers, so you would want to look for a card that earns you rewards for Brooks Brothers purchases made through Amazon.com, such as Chase Freedom, for example. You may also be interested in applying for a credit card that earns you more than 1% cash back/1 mile per dollar spent, like the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, or the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®.
If you’re still interested in applying for one of the Brooks Brothers credit cards, you can see a side-by-side comparison of their features and apply here.
*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.