Who is This Credit Card Best For?
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
Takes their home technology seriously
Loves being the first to try something new
Frequently shops with a particular merchant and wants to be rewarded for their loyalty
If you’re comparing the My Best Buy Visa Card to a general rewards credit card, a general rewards card is a better option on most counts. Most importantly, you won’t be restricted to using your points at Best Buy. Plus, the APR will probably be lower.
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. In the world of rewards cards, that’s a serious rate that’s hard to find on an ongoing basis. (And well above the 1% back you get as a member of the retailer’s free loyalty program.) 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.
Big rewards on Best Buy purchases
Decent rewards on other purchases
Rewards can only be used at Best Buy
Potential for annual fee
- 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 in points on furniture, groceries, and gas (for a limited time) and 2% back in points at restaurants and bars. While these aren’t the best rates out there, they’re certainly not the worst.
- 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 turned into rewards certificates (essentially coupons) in certain increments, and those certificates expire, sometimes within 60 days. So if you forget to use your rewards, you’re out of luck.
- 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. You may be able to get a much lower APR (11.90% variable) under a 48-month reduced credit plan, but only certain purchases are eligible.
My Best Buy Visa Card Sign-Up Bonus
You won’t get a lump sum as you might with a general cash-back card, but there is an incentive offered to new cardholders. You’ll get 10% back in rewards on your first purchase (within 14 days of card opening). Best Buy salespeople will likely mention this offer when you checkout, but don’t feel pressured to get the card just for the discount. (If you choose to have your purchase be part of a promotional financing offer, you won’t get the 10% back.)
Don’t let a one-time offer like this tempt you to open up a credit card 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, and for qualifying purchases at restaurants and bars, you’ll get 2% back in points.
Some bonus reward categories change every few months. For a limited time, you’ll also get 3% back in points at gas stations and at grocery and furniture stores. (The grocery and furniture promotion ends on Dec. 31, 2019, but there is no end date specified for the gas offer). All other purchases earn 1% back in points.
If you are an Elite Plus member of the My Best Buy loyalty program, you’ll get an additional 1% back in points (so a total of 6% back) on qualifying Best Buy purchases. You earn this status automatically if you:
- spend $3,500 in a calendar year at Best Buy, or
- spend $3,500 in a calendar year using your My Best Buy Visa anywhere
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.) But, since each point is worth 2 cents, 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 $100 you spend at Best Buy, you’ll earn a $5 coupon toward future Best Buy purchases.
There are some restrictions on earning rewards. If you choose promotional financing, you won’t earn any points for that purchase. Thermador and some Pacific Sales products aren’t eligible either.
Rewards can only be used toward online or in-store purchases at Best Buy. 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. (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.
You should also consider any special financing offers very carefully, since they can cost you more in the long run if you don’t pay off your balance before the promotional period ends. (And you won’t earn any rewards on those purchases.)
Tread cautiously when considering financing offers in which interest is deferred for a set period of time. While these will give you a 6-to-24 month period interest-free, depending on the purchase type and amount, there is a huge downside if you don’t pay off the purchase in time. Interest will be charged on the full amount from the date of purchase.
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 rather than on the full amount.
Citibank ranked about average in J.D. Power’s 2019 survey of customer satisfaction with national card issuers. But Best Buy, it’s worth noting, ranked highest in a comparable survey that gauged satisfaction with appliance retailers.
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.
We couldn’t find any discussion of this card’s security features either online or in printed materials.
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.