Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Takes their home technology seriously See more cards
Loves being the first to try something new See more cards
Frequently shops with a particular merchant and wants to be rewarded for their loyalty See more cards
But if you’re a techie or early adopter who winds up at Best Buy on a regular basis, there is one good reason to choose this card. You’ll earn a handsome 5% back in points on Best Buy purchases. (That’s 4% in addition to the 1% back you get as a member of the retailer’s complimentary loyalty program.)
In the world of rewards cards, that’s a good ongoing rate that’s on par with other big-name retailer’s’ rewards cards. Best Buy further boosts the card’s value by tacking on higher bonus earnings in other categories, something other retailer cards don’t always do. If you’ve got good credit and can qualify for the Platinum version (the Gold carries an annual fee of $59), give this card a good look. However, if you’re comparing the My Best Buy Visa Card to a general rewards credit card, it’s not quite as valuable because you can only use your points at Best Buy.
Big rewards on Best Buy purchases
Decent rewards on other purchases
Rewards can only be used at Best Buy
Potential for annual fee
Short reward expiration period
- Big rewards on Best Buy purchases: If you’ve always got to have the latest device, getting 5% back (in points) on your purchases can add up, and you won’t mind using your points to buy more at Best Buy.
- Decent rewards on other purchases: You’ll earn 3% back on gas, 2% back on groceries, dining and takeout, 1% back on all other purchases. The presence of numerous bonus rewards categories is rare among store cards.
- Rewards can only be used at Best Buy: Although you can earn points on all your purchases, you can only use them toward future purchases at Best Buy. Plus, redemption is a bit tricky. The points you earn must be redeemed for rewards certificates in increments of $5.
- Potential for annual fee: If your credit history prevents you from qualifying for the Platinum card, you may be offered a Gold version, but you’ll have to pay a $59 annual fee to get it. Retail cards don’t typically charge an annual fee, so we’d consider this a deal-breaker. In fact, if you’re instead offered a store-only card with no annual fee, you’re probably better off. You won’t be able to use it outside of Best Buy, but you will get the 5% back in points on store purchases.
- High APR: The ongoing APR is at the high end for a store card and well above the average APR for a general cash-back credit card.
- Short reward expiration period: Rewards certificates expire in 60 days but the deadline could be shorter or longer, in some cases. If you don’t use the rewards by the expiration date, you’re out of luck.
My Best Buy Visa Card Bonus for New Cardholders
You won’t get a lump sum like you might with a general cash-back card, but there is an incentive offered to new cardholders. You’ll get 10% back on utility bills through March 31st, 2021.
Don’t let a one-time promotional offer like this tempt you to open up a credit card account unless it’s right for you otherwise. If you’ve got more than enough cards, don’t know if you’ll qualify for one without an annual fee, or worry you’ll be tempted to overspend, the discount is probably not worth it.
Earning Points & Rewards
The currency for the rewards on this card is points, but the earning rate is expressed in percentages, just like cash back. For qualifying purchases at Best Buy, you’ll earn 5% back in points. You’ll get 3% back at gas stations, 2% back on dining, and takeout, and 1% everywhere else.
Keep watch for the rotating rewards categories that change periodically, as you will have to activate them on your account. Best Buy’s most recent rotating rewards category is for 10% back on utility bills through March 2021.
Keep in mind that you can boost your rewards to 6% by earning Elite Plus status in the My Best Buy loyalty program: 1% base rate for rewards members, 4% for having the My Best Buy Visa and 1% for being an Elite Plus member. You earn Elite Plus status by spending at least $3,500 on Best Buy and non-Best Buy purchases in a calendar year.
The points system may be confusing at first glance because earning 5% back in points translates to 2.5 points per $1 spent, rather than 5 points per $1 spent. (And 3% back translates to 1.5 points, etc.) Each point is worth 2 cents, though, so 5% back in points is just like 5% cash back, except that you’ll get a coupon instead of cash. Here’s the simplest way to think about it: For every 250 points you earn, you’ll earn a $5 coupon toward future Best Buy purchases.
As a cardholder, you’ll get various promotional financing offers lasting months to years. If you choose promotional financing, you won’t earn any points for the purchase.
You can use your rewards for online or in-store purchases at Best Buy only. You’ll automatically be emailed a $5 reward certificate when you hit 250 points. If you’d rather let your points build up, you can change your certificate preference level to be higher than the 250-point increment.
If your account is inactive for 12 months, the certificates will automatically be issued.
Reward certificates expire 60 days from the date they’re issued unless there is a different expiration date noted on the certificate. (Expiration dates may depend on your membership level in the loyalty program or whether the certificates were received as part of a specific offer.)
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
Use this card whenever you’re at Best Buy and pay your balance in full each month, or you’ll quickly cancel out the benefit of your rewards. As for other everyday purchases, consider pairing this with a general cash-back rewards card, which may offer more lucrative rewards and certainly will give you more redemption flexibility. In fact, with another card, you may even have the option to buy Best Buy gift cards with your rewards.
Another way to leverage the card is to take advantage of special financing promotions that usually run from six to 36 months and offer reduced interest rates as low as 0%. Be careful with these offers, though. Best Buy charges “deferred interest,” which means If you don’t pay off your entire purchase by the end of the promo period—say, 24 months depending on the purchase type and amount—you’ll pay interest on the entire original purchase from the date of purchase, not just what’s left of your balance.
If you’re looking for time to pay off a big electronics purchase, you’re probably better off getting a general rewards card with an introductory 0% APR. If you wind up taking longer to pay it off than you expected, you’ll only have to pay interest on the remaining balance instead of the full original amount.
Citibank, the issuer of this card, ranked sixth out of 11 national card issuers and scored below average in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. Best Buy, however, ranked first out of four retailers in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Appliance Retailer Satisfaction Study.
Conveniently, you can redeem your reward certificates using the Best Buy mobile app, print them out, or just ask the cashier to look up your available certificates. You can also use the Best Buy Pay app to pay with your card through your mobile phone.
Citi cards typically come with standard security features including zero liability and fraud detection and early warning notifications.
My Best Buy Visa Card’s Fees
The $59 annual fee for the Gold version of this card is unusual for a store card, and the APR for purchases and balance transfers is on the high side for a retail credit card. It’s worth noting that there is no foreign transaction fee.