Nordstrom credit card review: Is it your ticket to Nordy Club status?

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In a Nutshell

Nordstrom’s credit cards are likely to provide good value only for those obsessed with the department store, its anniversary sale and in-store alterations. There are a number of benefits and perks available through the Nordy Club (Nordstrom’s standard rewards system) — but the cardholder-only benefits are limited and the extra points you earn won’t get you massive discounts or special status.

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Pros Cons
Earn rewards for purchases at Nordstrom and associated brands — in store and online Confusing application process considers you for three cards at the same time
Immediately earn a $40 bonus rewards note when you make a purchase on the day of card approval (that day only) Cardmember-only benefits are limited to early sale access and in-store alterations
No annual fee Special payment options create potential for additional interest charges
Different, potentially high APRs apply for different types of purchases

5 things to consider with a Nordstrom credit card

Confusing application process may result in a card you don’t want

There are three Nordstrom credit card options. When you apply for one of them, you might get approved for it — but if not, you could end up with one of the other two cards instead.

The Nordstrom Credit Card is a closed-loop card, meaning it can only be used at Nordstrom and affiliated stores. Then there are the Nordstrom Visa Platinum® or Nordstrom Visa Signature® credit cards, which can be used anywhere Visa cards are accepted.

If you qualify for the retail card and either a Visa Platinum® or Visa Signature® card, you get to choose which card you want. But if you don’t qualify for one of the Visa cards, you could get the more limiting closed-loop Nordstrom Credit Card.

The Nordstrom Visa Signature® version may be the most difficult to qualify for, since it considers not only your credit profile but how frequently you buy at Nordstrom. It may not be an option if you’re not an especially committed Nordstrom shopper.

You’ll earn extra rewards at Nordstrom

You can get rewards from any Nordstrom credit card, but your earning power will depend on which card you have. All three cards allow you to earn …

  • Three points per $1 spent in stores or online at Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, HauteLook and Trunk Club

If you’re approved for one of the Visa cards, you’ll also be able to earn …

  • Two points per $1 on dining, entertainment and travel purchases
  • One point per $1 on all other purchases

Those rewards rates are nothing to sneeze at, but they’re not as high as what you see from other store credit cards. For comparison, the Target REDcard™ offers 5% off all Target purchases, and Gap’s credit cards yield five points for every $1 you spend on purchases at their stores.

Plus, Nordstrom’s credit cards aren’t the only way to earn rewards. The store’s rewards program, the Nordy Club, is free to join and will let you earn one point per $1 on all purchases when you don’t use one of the store’s credit cards.

It takes a lot of spending to translate those points to rewards

When your Nordy Club account reaches 2,000 points, you’ll be automatically issued a $20 rewards through your account. (You can also redeem points for smaller rewards-note amounts in increments of $5 using the Nordstrom mobile app.)

How quickly you earn rewards notes will depend on how much you spend on your Nordstrom credit card. Given the rewards rates outlined above, you would have to spend nearly $667 at Nordstrom and its associated stores to earn a single $20 reward.

For those who only buy clothing once in a while, it could take months or years to earn a single $20 note.

Cardholder-only perks might not be worth the spend

The Nordy Club offers multiple levels of benefits based on your annual spending at Nordstrom, regardless of how much of that spending goes on your Nordstrom credit card.

There are also certain perks available only to cardholders. But those card-only benefits vary only slightly among tiers and may not be worth it for everyone.

All cardholders automatically earn Insider status, which is usually only available to Nordy Club members who spend at least $500 at Nordstrom in a year. At this level, the cardholder-only benefits are pretty nice — you get early access to Nordstrom’s popular Anniversary Sale and a $100 alterations benefit that you get in the form of rewards notes.

Influencer, the next level, kicks in when you spend $2,000 at Nordstrom over the course of a year. While this level comes with plenty of extra benefits through the Nordy Club, the only additional card-only benefit is an extra $100 added to your alterations credit.

When you look at the full breakdown of cardholder-only benefits, the relative benefits of each tier with the card look relatively light.

Benefit level Annual spending required at Nordstrom Exclusive cardholder benefits
Insider $500+ Early access to July anniversary sale

Up to $100 alterations benefit

Influencer $2,000+ Early access to July anniversary sale

Up to $200 alterations benefit

Ambassador $5,000+ Early access to July anniversary sale

Up to $300 alterations benefit

There are more-exclusive perks at the Nordy Club’s Icon level, but that status requires a whopping $15,000 in annual spending to qualify.

For everyone else, moving up a tier only pays off if you’re likely to use the additional alterations credit. Even then, the additional spending required to earn those benefits might not be worth it.

You could see one of a number of potentially high APRs

TD Bank, the issuer of Nordstrom’s credit cards, does not make it easy when it comes to understanding your potential APR.

If you’re approved for the Nordstrom retail credit card, the APR for Nordstrom purchases will be a variable 25.15% APR.

If you’re approved for either the Visa Platinum® or Visa Signature® card, your variable APR on Nordstrom purchases could range from 13.15% to 25.15%. Additionally, non-Nordstrom purchases have a higher variable APR range of 17.15% to 25.15% on these cards.

The application process means you can’t be sure which of these APRs you’ll receive, and the different rate for non-Nordstrom purchases on the Visa cards could lead to some confusion if you carry a balance

Other things to note about the Nordstrom credit cards

  • You can earn a bonus $40 rewards note when you make any purchase at Nordstrom, Nordstrom.com or Nordstrom Rack on the day you’re approved for your card.
  • All available cards have no annual fee.
  • The card agreement lists “special payment options” that may be offered by TD Bank on occasion, but these aren’t defined specifically. These options sound similar to deferred interest offers, which usually offer a low interest rate on certain purchases over a set period of time. But with deferred interest, if you don’t pay off the full balance on those purchases by the time the promotional period ends, you could end up owing full interest accruing from the time of your purchase to date. Make sure you read the fine print of any such offers before you commit.

Who this card is good for

The Nordstrom credit card is only an ideal option for the truly Nordy-obsessed. The card’s early access to the July anniversary sale can be a big perk for those that regularly shop this annual sale, and shoppers who appreciate Nordstrom’s alteration service will find meaningful value in the card-only alterations credits.

Otherwise, Nordstrom fans will probably get more value out of joining the Nordy Club for free and paying for their purchases with a more-versatile rewards credit card. For instance, using a credit card that earns 2% cash back as a member of the Nordy Club would allow you to earn a total of 3% back in rewards on your Nordstrom purchases — the same you’d get from one of the store’s credit cards.

Not sure a Nordstrom credit card is right for you? Consider these alternatives.