[UPDATE: Some offers mentioned below have expired and/or are no longer available on our site. You can view the current offers from our partners in our credit card marketplace. DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
Like many national retailers, leisure apparel chain American Eagle Outfitters offers two credit cards to customers. That means its frequent (and, perhaps, plaid-laden) shoppers may find themselves faced with two questions at the checkout line: Should I get an AE credit card? And, if so, which one? Well, hold on to your cozy caps and Dreamer hoodies, we’re here to help. In this American Eagle credit card review, we’ll break down the major terms and conditions of each card, outline their pros and cons and suggest some alternatives in case you decide a different piece of plastic may be more your style.
Should I Get an American Eagle Credit Card?
The decision to apply for any store card comes down to, first and foremost, how often you shop at that particular brand. Next, you’ll need to consider whether you’re prone to overspending and, subsequently, carrying on balance on your credit cards. Store cards generally carry higher annual percentage rates (APRs) than bank-issued credit cards, particularly if you have good credit. (You can view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.) The American Eagle credit cards are no exception. Its AEO Credit Card touts a variable 25.74% purchase APR, while the AEO Visa Credit Card has a variable 24.74% purchase APR. That means any polos, PJs or pants you can’t pay off in full are going to cost you — and probably beyond any discounts or rewards you’re going to earn.
Having said that, if you shop at AEO or Aerie (the company’s lingerie brand) all the time — for stuff that you can always pay off in full — than the card might be worth considering. Something else to keep in mind: Store cards, particularly those that can only be used at a particular brand, generally have less stringent underwriting standards, so someone who is angling to build their credit may also want to keep that at back of mind as they shop their favorite stores. Making on-time payments and revolving very little debt (below ideally 10% of your credit limit) on a store credit card account is one way for new entrants to build a good credit score.
The AEO Credit Card vs. the AEO Visa Credit Card
Let’s be frank: the AEO Visa Credit Card definitely represents the better deal. It carries that slightly lower 24.25% APR and you can also earn extra Extra Savings points: one for every $100 spent anywhere Visa is accepted — which, as you’ve probably guessed, means you can use the card anywhere Visa is accepted, not just AEO and Aerie. Having said that, your credit could play a role here, too, since a good credit score generally entitles you to the better products on the market and a bad credit score just might not cut it when it comes to a card that can be used anywhere. Let’s review the major terms and conditions of each card. (For full details, please read the card agreements.)
AEO Credit Card
The Perks: Cardholders get one extra savings point for every $25 spent at AEO or Aerie and $10 Extra Savings for every 10 points earned. They also get a 20% birthday coupon and invites to four exclusive savings events each year.
Signup Bonus: You’ll get 15% off the first purchase you make with the card.
Annual Fee: $0
APR: Variable 25.74%
AEO Visa Credit Card
The Perks: Cardholders get everything mentioned above, plus one Extra Savings point for every $100 spent anywhere Visa accepted.
Signup Bonus: Also 15% off the first purchase you make with the card.
Annual Fee: $0
Alternatives to the American Eagle Credit Cards
The American Eagle credit cards offer some nice ancillary perks for frequent shoppers (who doesn’t love 20% off on their birthday?), but it’s good to keep its base rewards in perspective. When it comes to the standard AEO Credit Card, you’ve got to spend $250 to get that $10 Extra Savings Pass (a 4% return). If you have the AEO Visa Credit Card, you can accrue Extra Savings points a bit faster, but you’ve still got to spend $100 to earn each one (a 1% return).
Moreover, redeeming those passes isn’t exactly seamless: You get them in the mail approximately one month after your net Extra Savings balance equals the lowest required amount (10 points at the end of a billing cycle for a $10 pass; 20 points at the end of the billing cycle for a $20 pass.) In order to use it, you must present the pass at an AEO store or enter its code when checking out on its website. The pass expires 24 months after the date of your last purchase with the card and can’t be replaced if lost or stolen. Passes are also non-transferable, can’t be combined with other promotional offers, and can’t be used to purchase gift cards.
Got all that? Not to worry, if your head’s spinning and you’re thinking you’re in the market for a more flexible and versatile rewards credit card, here are two cards to consider.
Why We’re Mentioning it: Because earning rewards and redeeming rewards with the Quicksilver (see full review here) is pretty much a piece of cake. You earn unlimited 1.5% cash back for every dollar you spent, no caps or expiration dates for the life of the account, which you can redeem whenever you want for any amount you want. Plus, cardholders are eligible for a $150 signup bonus if they spend $500 on purchases within three months of approval.
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 14.24% - 24.24% (Variable), based on creditworthiness, after a 0% intro on purchases for 9 months expires.
Discover it® - Cashback Match™
- Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
- Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
- Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
- Use your rewards instantly at Amazon.com checkout.
- No annual fee.
Card Details +
Why We’re Mentioning it: The Discover it (see full review here) is a bit more complicated than the Quicksilver. Cardholders get 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases on rotating categories each quarter (you’ve gotta enroll in these categories over the course of the year) and unlimited 1% cash back everywhere else. However, many of its big bonus categories will appeal to shoppers. And, as a bonus, Discover is currently matching all the cash back cardholders earn in their first year at the end of that year.
Annual Fee: $0
APR: Variable Special Introductory APR of 0% for 14 months on purchases, then ongoing APR of 13.24% - 24.24% Variable on purchases & balance transfers based on credit worthiness.
At publishing time, the Capital One Quicksilver and Discover it credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for thes cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.