Since 1977, American Eagle has been known for its selection of fashionable clothing and accessories at competitive prices. With nearly 1,000 stores worldwide, the company has expanded into nearly every major mall in America — and beyond.
Given the popularity of its line of low-rise jeans, polo shirts, and graphic tees for men and women, many consumers flock to the store each season to stay ahead of the fashion curve. If you're one of those shoppers who frequents the store for the latest threads, the AEO Connected Credit Card may be for you. The card offers a free pair of jeans or a bra for every five you purchase, as well as a $10 rewards credit for every $170 spent, making it one of the better store cards in the fashion industry.
Better Cards to Use at American Eagle Outfitters
The American Eagle Credit Card has many perks that stand out among its store card peers. With the ability to earn store credit, free clothes, and discounts on your purchases, it's got many clear benefits.
A major drawback is the limitation on its usage. As a closed-loop card, it can only be used in AEO stores and online at ae.com. With a traditional rewards card, the benefits — and improved interest rate — make the ideal choice clear.
Rewards are good. AEO realizes this and tacked a generous amount onto its point structure. For every $170 you spend, a $10 rewards credit is given. At first, that may sound like a great deal, but a person can only use so many items of clothing. After a while, it gets superfluous.
With a cash back card, you can potentially earn unlimited cash rewards that can be used for any card purchase via a statement credit redemption. You can still make that purchase at American Eagle, but reward yourself afterward with a free coffee to relax after a hard day of shopping.
Don't get tricked into thinking that 25.99% is a good interest rate because it's similar to other store card offerings. It's still much higher than the average APR. With a low-interest card, you may trade some of the rewards for the benefit of lower interest charges (though excellent credit can give you the best of both worlds).
Think of it this way: If your $170 purchase carries over into the next payment period on your AEO card, you'll accrue $3.68 in finance charges. Suddenly, that $10 rewards card isn't quite as valuable. With a low APR card, your existing balances and any you charge in the future won't sit as heavy on your bank account if you can't pay them all off instantly.
With the American Eagle Credit Card, you can use your purchase of clothing to buy more clothing. With a travel rewards card, like the one shown below, you can use that purchase to get you closer to a trip that'll allow you to show off those new threads.
Many of our favorite travel cards provide flexible redemption options with no blackout dates or airline restrictions, meaning you can go where you want, when you want. Those new jeans would look really good on vacation.
If you have damaged credit and want to rebuild your profile, the AEO card is a solid option — assuming you're in the market for new clothes. To properly rebuild your history, though, you'll need regular purchases and payoffs. That makes this card very limited in terms of practicality.
With many rewards cards available for even fair or damaged credit, there are likely options that would serve you better — while still giving you the ability to make those American Eagle purchases.
What Others Say About the American Eagle Outfitters Credit Card
American Eagle's Credit Card offers in-store rewards equal to a 4% cash back card. While that's stellar within the space, cardholders are limited as to where and how they can use their bonus.
Atop those limitations are several complaints about customer service and the way transactions are processed through the card. Below are a sampling of the reviews we found.
I discovered an advertisement that said if I applied for their store credit card, I could get a discount on my order. Being a frugal guy, I applied for their credit card via their website only to discover that I had to make a phone call. I called the number provided and ended up waiting a long time until a person picked up and made me go through some nuisance security tests before I could finally get my darn credit card. But then I found out I wouldn't get to use my card until it was sent to me. They could've stated that in the banner ad. Instead of being vague, they should've put that out there in bold lettering. Other stores don't do this. Macy's doesn't do this. Best Buy doesn't do this. When you apply for a store credit card, you should have it INSTANTLY. So, thanks for dropping down my credit score and doing a hard check on my credit report. Once I got my credit card, I went back to the checkout only to find out that one of the items in my cart was out of stock. I had to find another item that was similar because I really wanted one and added it to my cart. After that whole fiasco was done, I finally tried to checkout again and paid via PayPal and everything went through. The next day, I woke up to an email saying that my order got canceled to a security issue. — TrustPilot.com”
Unless you're hurting for credit, this card isn't worth it. You only earn points to get a $10 coupon to use in store. Other cards give better benefits. I'm only keeping mine open so I don't take a ding on my credit report. Customer service is great if you can get to them. Their automated line is complete crap and just keeps repeating itself. It takes at least five minutes with an automated voice to get transferred. — CreditKarma.com”
The rewards and little 'extras' that you receive for being a cardholder are really good (including the birthday reward). It just seems that the interest rate is a little high. This card would really be perfect for somebody who, essentially, doesn't need a credit card- because you're going to want to pay the card off right away! — WalletHub.com”
Is the American Eagle Outfitters Card Right for You?
If you're a fan of American Eagle's jeans and other clothing items, you could accrue substantial savings with regular purchases through the AEO Connected Credit Card. If your closet is already pretty full and you plan to just buy a few items every now and then, you're likely better served with an open-loop card that can be used anywhere you shop and still offer you the perks you deserve for your purchasing power.
Applying for the card comes down to how often you plan on using it — and how quickly you'll be able to pay your balance in full. If you're not sure on either of those, your wallet will thank you for the addition of a different card.
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.