Belk® Rewards Card review: A card that rewards loyalty but comes with limitations

Women window-shopping for clothes to buy with their Belk Rewards Card Women window-shopping for clothes to buy with their Belk Rewards Card Image:

In a Nutshell

The Belk® Rewards Card comes with a tiered rewards system that offers more points per dollar spent as you reach certain thresholds. If you’re a regular at Belk® department stores, the Belk® Rewards Card may be worth considering. But keep in mind its drawbacks.

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If you’re a Belk® regular, you might have heard of the Belk® Rewards Card — advertised as a unique tool for earning Belk rewards.

Let’s take a look at the Belk® Rewards Card — along with its tiered credit card rewards system — and all it has to offer.

Learn what we like about this store card and what you need to watch out for in the fine print. And discover how you can maximize the benefit of the Belk® Rewards Card if you decide that it is a good fit for you.

Belk® Rewards Card

What we like Heads up
  • No annual fee
  • Earn three Reward Points for every dollar spent at Belk or belk.com with your Belk® Rewards Card
  • $10 in Belk Reward Dollars for every 1,000 points you earn
  • There’s a sign-up bonus of 20% off one day’s purchases with your Belk® Rewards Card online or in-store
  • Sky-high purchase APR of 25.49%
  • Late-payment fee up to $38
  • You can only earn rewards when shopping at U.S. Belk® locations or on belk.com
  • You’ll have to wait two to three months to receive Belk Reward Dollars via snail mail
  • You’ll only start receiving Belk Reward Dollars after reaching the 1,000-point mark
  • There’s a cap of $100 Belk Reward Dollars each billing cycle — any additional Belk Reward Dollars will be applied to Reward Dollars in a future billing cycle
  • Reward Points expire one year after you earn them

FAST FACTS

How does the tiered rewards system work with the Belk® credit cards?

Belk® Rewards Card account holders who meet certain spending thresholds and other conditions are eligible for automatic upgrades to a more premium credit card in the Belk® tiered rewards card system.

• For cardholders who spend less than $600 a year at Belk:

     Belk® Rewards Card
     Belk® Rewards Mastercard®

• For cardholders who spend between $600 and $1,499 a year at Belk:

     Belk® Premier Rewards Card
     Belk® Premier Rewards Mastercard®

• For cardholders who spend $1,500 or more a year at Belk:

     Belk® Elite Rewards Card
     Belk® Elite Rewards Mastercard®

Info on the Belk® Rewards Card and Belk® Rewards Mastercard®

When you apply for a Belk® Rewards Card, you’re actually applying simultaneously for a Belk® Rewards Mastercard®. If you meet the Mastercard® application criteria, Synchrony Bank will automatically issue that card in lieu of the standard Belk® Rewards Card.

Why does that matter? The Belk® Rewards Mastercard® comes with the same purchase APR and Belk® benefits as the standard rewards card. But with the Belk® Rewards Mastercard® in your pocket, you can swipe your card wherever Mastercard is accepted. Plus as a Mastercard® cardholder, you may be eligible for other benefits beyond the two points for every dollar spent on groceries and gas, and one point for every dollar spent on other eligible purchases.

Info on the Belk® Premier Rewards Card and Belk® Premier Rewards Mastercard®

The Belk® tiered rewards card system offers bonus perks for loyal customers. Once you spend $600 on your Belk® Rewards Card or Belk® Rewards Mastercard® at Belk® store locations in a single calendar year and meet certain other conditions, you’ll be upgraded to the Belk® Premier Rewards Card or Belk® Premier Rewards Mastercard® (if you already have the Belk® Rewards Mastercard®). The premier card earns you four Reward Points for every dollar you spend at any U.S. Belk® store location or on belk.com.

Be aware that you’ll need to keep your account in good standing and spend at least $600 at Belk each calendar year to remain qualified for this card.

Info on the Belk® Elite Rewards Card and Belk® Elite Rewards Mastercard®

Ready for the big time? Once you spend $1,500 in Belk® store locations on your card in a single calendar year and meet certain other conditions, you’re upgraded to the Belk® Elite Rewards Card or Belk® Elite Rewards Mastercard® (if you already have the Belk® Rewards Mastercard® or Belk® Premier Rewards Mastercard®). The Belk® Elite Rewards Card earns you five Reward Points for every dollar you spend at any U.S. Belk® store or on belk.com. Plus as a Belk® Elite Rewards cardholder, you qualify for free standard shipping on your Belk® purchases.

Be aware that you’ll need to keep your account in good standing and spend at least $1,500 at Belk each calendar year to remain qualified for this card.


  1. The rundown: Everything we like about the Belk® Rewards Card
  2. Heads up: What you should consider before applying for the Belk® Rewards Card
  3. Do the math: Ways to get the most out of the Belk® Rewards Card
  4. Bottom line: Is the Belk® Rewards Card right for you?

The rundown: Everything we like about the Belk® Rewards Card

If you’re a regular customer at Belk, this card might be just the ticket to extra department store savings. Here’s what we like about the Belk® Rewards Card:

  • Fewer obstacles for the credit-challenged. Many closed-loop store cards, like the Belk® Rewards Card, have less-stringent approval criteria than a standard card from Visa, Mastercard, Discover, etc. If your credit history is limited, the Belk® Rewards Card could be a good option.

FAST FACTS

What are closed-loop vs. open-loop cards?

Closed-loop store cards can only be used at a specific retailer’s or brand’s stores or online shopping site. Open-loop store cards, however, are issued by a credit card network (Mastercard, Visa, etc.) and can be used anywhere the card network is accepted.

  • No need to pay to play. There’s no annual fee attached to this card. So you won’t have to track your Reward Dollars to ensure that you’re compensating for the yearly cost.
  • Uncomplicated rewards system. Every time you swipe your card at a U.S. Belk® store or use it to shop on belk.com, you earn three Reward Points. Once you accumulate 1,000 points on your account, Belk will automatically mail out a $10 Belk Reward Dollars certificate.
  • Incentive to sign up. If you’re approved for this card, you’ll get a 20% discount off the next Belk® purchase you make (must present shopping pass at purchase to receive offer), which can translate to major savings if you’re making a big purchase.
  • Members-only perks. Hit the 1,000-point mark faster by shopping on multiple point offers, which you can find in circulars, on its website and via email to its subscriber list. Or keep more money in your pocket by enjoying discount offers available only to cardholders.
Credit Karma's guide to retail credit cards

Heads up: What you should consider before applying for the Belk® Rewards Card

Here are some factors to consider before you apply for the Belk® Rewards Card:

  • The APR doesn’t mess around. According to the Federal Reserve, the average APR across all credit cards in Q1 2017 was 12.54%. At 25.49%, the Belk® Rewards Card comes with more than double that rate.
  • You’ll be waiting (and waiting) for rewards. Once you earn 1,000 Rewards Points, you qualify for a $10 Reward Dollars certificate. But don’t expect it to load automatically to your card — you’ll have to tap your fingers up to three months while waiting for it to arrive in the mail.
  • There are limitations on earning and using rewards. Are you only an occasional Belk® shopper? If you don’t use Reward Dollars within one year of earning whatever Reward Points you have, you’ll lose those points. And if you’re a big spender, the downside for you is that the most you can earn in Reward Dollars each billing cycle is $100. Any additional Reward Dollars will be applied to Reward Dollars in a future billing cycle.

Do the math: Ways to get the most out of the Belk® Rewards Card

It probably goes without saying that, as with most store cards, your Belk® Rewards Card will only gather dust if you rarely shop in Belk® stores or on its website. And if you don’t typically spend at least a few hundred dollars a year at Belk, it’s unlikely you’ll earn enough Reward Points to receive even one Belk Reward Dollars certificate.

That said, even infrequent shoppers who carry a Belk® Rewards Card could still benefit from the 20%-off sign-up bonus and the promotional offers that are available exclusively to cardholders.

Meanwhile, Belk® devotees may love being able to combine those offers with Reward Dollars that they earn from frequent spending. Plus if you spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars at Belk in a year, you can be upgraded to an even juicier rewards plan.

Just be sure to pay your monthly Belk® Rewards Card bill on time and in full every month. Otherwise, those sweet rewards will be eaten up quickly by the card’s high interest rate.

Pros and cons of using credit cards

Bottom line: Is the Belk® Rewards Card right for you?

A Belk® Rewards Card may be right for your wallet if:

  • You’re looking for exclusive retailer savings at Belk,
  • You’re prepared to pay off monthly balances on time and in full, and
  • You’re seeking rewards without a stellar credit history to your name.

But if you think you might carry a balance month-to-month, you might consider a different card because of the sky-high APR on the Belk® Rewards Card.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to build your credit, you might want to check out a secured card, which requires a deposit but can help improve your credit.


Editorial Note: Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors' opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when it’s posted.