When Saks Fifth Avenue was founded by Andrew Saks in 1867, the concept of credit cards was nonexistent. Over the years, mergers and re-organizations have kept this high-end, iconic, full-line department store alive, and to this day, Saks anchors major shopping malls and occupies stand-alone space across the nation. If you frequent Saks Fifth Avenue–or shop there often enough to gain benefits from using the corporation’s exclusive credit card rather than handing over a generic VISA, MasterCard, Discover or AmEx–knowing what you can expect in the way of benefits, features and perks may be all you need to say yes to this card.
Benefits of owning a Saks Fifth Avenue Card. While the brand’s most high-profile destination remains New York City, Saks maintains a presence across the U.S., in Mexico and in Saudi Arabia. If you travel frequently and tend to prefer brands this high-end department store stocks, having this store card in your wallet makes sense, particularly if you enjoy the high-quality service shoppers receive when purchasing apparel, shoes, fragrances, housewares and luxury accessories.
The philosophy behind Saks Fifth Avenue credit cards. Varying levels of card membership come with points, rebates and other rewards, thus the more you spend, the more you receive. Competitors’ cards may begin and end with the “convenience” of a store-exclusive payment method and small cash back efforts, but Saks card holders enjoy some of the highest rewards available for department store-exclusive cards. In other words, the more you spend, the more goodies you receive. Qualify for the highest level of Saks card (the Elite) and you may use it for purchases and services made at other retailers, like restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations and spas. Additional incentives, in the form of special offers, keep heaping on rewards.
Three levels of cards. Saks Fifth Avenue credit cards are issued by Capital One Bank. Depending upon your credit worthiness, job history and spending proclivities, your application for a Saks Fifth Avenue credit card could result in a Saks World Elite MasterCard, a Platinum MasterCard or a Saks Store Card, each bearing differing limits, interest rates and terms. The introductory Saks Store Card requires the user to spend $1,000 before rewards begin to accrue but an applicant’s credit score can be as low as 680 to qualify for this level. Platinum status demands a fairly unblemished credit history, requires a credit score of at least 700 and comes with more spending power. The World Elite remains the epitome of the Saks credit card line. It’s associated with high limits and multiple rewards, but only those with perfect credit are granted this status. That said, upgrades are routinely awarded to loyal card holders, either because they earn the privilege or are elevated to it according to their spending and repayment records.
Privileges. Once you’ve passed muster with Saks by proving your credit worthiness, you receive a variety of privileges. Manage your account and make payments using your preferred method: paper statement or online payments disbursed as one-time-only transactions, automatic monthly disbursements or even advance payments if you like pre-paying your debts. Like other credit card issuers, you can track transactions in cyberspace. That said, there’s something quirky about having a Saks card that you might never before have encountered: Terms and conditions associated with all three Saks Fifth Avenue credit cards are not revealed to applicants until they have been approved. You read that right. That means you fork over your personal data when filling out an application with no assurances that you will qualify for the card, nor will you know what interest rate you can expect to see on your statements until you’re approved.
SAKSFIRST status. There’s a reason the SAKSFIRST incentive program is frequently referenced using all capital letters: It’s the best reason of all to carry this credit card. All Saks cardholders begin to earn points simply by spending $1,000 annually. At that point, your plastic becomes a point accrual card and depending upon which level of card you hold, you are awarded 2, 3, 4 or 6 points for every dollar you spend. If your typical store tab per annum is between $10,000 and $24,999 and you hold an Elite card, you do the math. That said, if you shop in the high rent district, love the idea of rewards begetting rewards, and you prefer the merchandise and brands found exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue, it sounds like you don’t have a decision to make beyond, “Where do I sign?”