Sears Shop Your Way Mastercard Review

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The Shop Your Way Mastercard, issued by Citibank, is a co-branded rewards card for frequent Sears and Kmart shoppers. While you’ll earn considerable rewards on some of your most basic types of spending, the points can only be used to save on future purchases within the Sears and Kmart network of stores.

Shop Your Way Mastercard®

overall rating
3.4
Shop Your Way Mastercard®
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 26.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 5% in points on eligible gas station purchases and 3% in points on eligible restaurant and grocery store purchases on your first $10,000 of combined purchases each year, 2% in points on eligible purchases at Sears and Kmart, 1% in points on other eligible purchases
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.8
for Fees
4.1
for Rewards
4.0
for Credit
4.0

Earn $40 statement credit when you spend $50 on eligible purchases in the first 30 days after you are approved for a new Shop You Way Mastercard®

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Family Shopper Persona
    Looks for good quality at a fair price while buying for the household
    Family Shopper
  • Avatar for Trendsetter Persona
    Loves being the first to try something new
    Trendsetter
  • Avatar for Brand Loyalist Persona
    Frequently shops with a particular merchant and wants to be rewarded for their loyalty
    Brand Loyalist

If you like shopping at Sears and Kmart and a big chunk of your budget goes to gas and food, a Shop Your Way Mastercard may be a worthwhile way to save money at your favorite stores. The reward rates for gas, grocery and restaurant purchases is quite competitive, even among general rewards cards. But, there’s a major restriction. The points are only good toward purchases with Sears, Kmart, and Land’s End stores, so this card is exclusively for loyal fans of those stores who have good credit.

You should also keep in mind that Sears Holdings Corp. went bankrupt in 2018, and the new parent company has continued to face financial challenges and close stores.

Pros

  • High rewards rate on gas and food

Cons

  • Points can’t be used outside the Kmart-Sears network

  • High APR

  • Points expire after one year

Pros Explained

  • High rewards rate on gas and food: You’ll get points equal to 5% of your gas purchases and 3% of your grocery and restaurant purchases. These everyday expenses can really add up, and rewards rates don’t usually get much better than this, especially on an ongoing basis. You’ll only earn this rate on the first $10,000 you spend in those categories combined each calendar year, but that’s a relatively high limit as earning opportunities go.  

Cons Explained

  • Points can’t be used outside the Kmart-Sears network: You’ll earn points wherever you use your credit card, but you can only redeem them for purchases at Sears, Kmart, Land’s End or other stores in the network. This includes brands like Sears Auto Centers, Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores, and Sears Optical. 
  • High APR: Retail cards tend to have high variable APRs, and if you have good credit, you can probably get a general rewards card with a lower interest rate. Unlike many credit cards, the Shop Your Way Mastercard gives all cardholders the same rate, regardless of creditworthiness
  • Points expire after one year: While many cards offer rewards that never expire, Shop Your Way points are only valid for 12 months after the end of the calendar quarter when they’re earned. For example, points earned in November 2019 would expire on December 31, 2020.

Sears Holdings filed for bankruptcy in 2018. The Sears and Kmart chains are now owned by Transformco, which continues to struggle and has been shutting down stores across the country. Citing a weak retail environment, the company announced in November 2019 that another 96 Kmart and Sears stores will be closed by February 2020, with going-out-of-business sales beginning in December. Transformco will continue to operate 182 stores.

Shop Your Way Mastercard Rewards Sign-Up Bonus

If you open an account online by March 31, 2020, you’ll earn a $40 statement credit when you spend $50 on eligible purchases in your first 30 days. Some general rewards cards pay $150 or $200, and the minimum spending requirement is still achievable at $500. Still, this bonus isn’t bad, considering some retail cards don’t offer anything. 

Purchases don’t qualify toward bonus spending if they are made on a deferred interest or major purchase plan.

Earning Points & Rewards

You’ll earn points equal to 5% of your eligible purchases at gas stations and 3% of your eligible purchases at grocery stores and restaurants, up to a combined maximum of $10,000 total per calendar year (about $834 a month). For qualifying purchases at stores in the Sears-Kmart network, you’ll earn 2% back in points, and for all other spending, you’ll earn 1%.

You can also earn points, at various rates and for select periods, when you shop with thousands of partner retailers who participate in the Shop Your Way Card Link program. The rewards rates for these vary from 1%-15% or more of your purchase (in points) and these points typically expire more quickly than the ones discussed above (within 60 days, for instance). For some partner restaurants, these points are in addition to the 3% you’ll earn for using the card at any restaurant.

Some purchases may not qualify for the rewards you’d expect. The 5% rate doesn’t include gas purchased at superstores, supermarkets, convenience stores, or warehouse clubs. And the 3% doesn’t include grocery or restaurant purchases made at warehouse clubs, restaurant purchases if they’re made inside a department store, or groceries bought at superstores, convenience stores, and gas stations.

Redeeming Rewards

Points can only be used to buy things at stores within the Sears network (including Kmart and Land’s End,) but the value is just like cash back. For instance, if you spend $100 on gas, you will get the equivalent of $5 back in points that can be redeemed for $5 worth of items within the Sears network. (Be aware that the way Sears translates Shop Your Way points adds an unnecessary layer of confusion. For that $100 in gas, you’ll get 5,000 points, but at a value of 0.001 cent per point, the points are worth $5.)

It can take up to a week for your points to be available, and then you can redeem them in-store or online.

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

To maximize your savings, use the Shop Your Way app or website to monitor the latest on rewards opportunities, special discounts and digital coupons that can be loaded directly into your Shop Your Way account. And make sure you redeem your points before they expire because you’ll kick yourself if you waste valuable rewards.

If you think you’ll spend more than $10,000 a year on gas and food, consider pairing the Shop Your Way Mastercard with a cash-back card that lets you earn unlimited rewards that can be used wherever you want. And if at all possible, pay your balance in full each month. Otherwise, the finance charges you incur could wipe out the value of any rewards you’ve earned.

Sears offers deferred interest promotions from time to time, but make sure to consider the risks before participating. While you’ll avoid finance charges if you pay your balance in full by the end of the promotional period, you’ll be charged interest retroactively if you haven’t paid it off. In other words, interest will be added to your account dating back to your initial purchase.

Customer Experience

The Shop Your Way Mastercard is issued by Citibank, which got an “about average” rating in J.D. Power’s 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study. On the plus side, the Shop Your Way app is quite extensive, offering much more than just your points balance. You can find out about nearby deals, write reviews on products, and even tell your friends which part of the store you’re in. 

Security Features

This card has industry-standard security features such as zero fraud liability.

Shop Your Way Mastercard’s Fees

The Shop Your Way Mastercard’s fees are pretty standard for co-branded retail credit cards. It’s worth noting that you’ll have to pay a 3% foreign transaction fee if you make purchases in other currencies. 

For Shop Your Way Mastercard®
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CURRENT CARD
Shop Your Way Mastercard®
overall rating
3.4
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 26.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 5% in points on eligible gas station purchases and 3% in points on eligible restaurant and grocery store purchases on your first $10,000 of combined purchases each year, 2% in points on eligible purchases at Sears and Kmart, 1% in points on other eligible purchases

Our Methodology

  • At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.