Nowadays, the market offers a wide variety of credit cards that can most probably meet almost every consumer’s needs, even the most specific ones.
Therefore, the number of co-branded cards in collaboration with different retail stores are becoming more and more frequent and popular. Card issuing companies are coming up with co-branded cards to get to target consumers with specific needs.
At the same time, this kind of collaborations help airlines, hotel chains, retailers, and other companies to reward their loyal clients, as well as give them more reasons to stay with them longer.
So nowadays, some companies’ credit card line-up comprises mostly co-branded cards. A good example is Barclays, an entire range of which is composed of only co-branded cards.
So if you are a loyalist of one or another hotel chain, airline, clothing store, or even a bookstore, most probably you will be able to find the credit card of your dreams and be rewarded for your frequent shopping.
In this article, I am going to address shopaholics, more precisely sportswear lovers, and share with you my opinion on Athleta credit card created in collaboration with Visa. But first, let’s talk a bit about the brand itself.
Athleta was launched by Gap Inc. in 2009 as a women’s sportswear line. The clothing line includes almost every product category for sports, from yoga to hiking and swimming, including bags, underwear, and accessories.
In one word, every woman will most probably be able to find anything for doing sports at Athleta. The company positions itself as a high-end brand, so the products are pricey for the sportswear category.
Nevertheless, the brand is quite popular, and high-quality products justify the price. So the brand already has its loyal customers, who consider Athleta as their first choice sportswear brand. The brand also advocates following a healthy lifestyle and empowering women, which is done with the help of Athleta brand ambassadors.
Returning to Athleta Credit Card, it can become an ultimate choice not only for Athleta brand loyalists but also for those who prefer any of Gap Inc. branded retails. From first glance, the card stands out for an exquisite design, which is clearly targeted at seducing female customers and the enticing slogan “Fit for you.”
At the same time, Gap Inc.’s portfolio is comprised of prominent brands like Gap, Old Navy, or Banana Republic, where Athleta Credit cardholders can also benefit from almost the same perks of the card while shopping.
Nevertheless, just like any other credit card, it has certain conditions behind the appealing design of the card. So you may consider studying all the conditions in detail and comparing all the pros and cons before filling in the application form.
Rewards and Benefits
Athleta credit card is created especially for the brand loyalists, therefore it is quite logical that the cardholder will be rewarded mostly for purchases made in the framework of Athleta and its affiliate stores: GAP, Old Navy, and Banana Republic.
Shopping at Athleta or any other Gap family brand can become quite lucrative both at brick and mortar stores or online with Athleta Credit Card as per dollar spent you collect 5 points. Taking into account that you receive 5 dollars for every 500 points collected, this is quite a good deal for frequent shoppers at Gap Inc. brand stores.
If you are worried about your other purchases as well, then there is good news. For every dollar spent outside Gap Inc. stores, you will receive 1 point. Not an exceptional condition for sure, but quite acceptable for a credit card issued by a retail store. Most other similar cards have stricter limitations for earning rewards outside the brand. Moreover, taking into account that Visa is a generally accepted card, you will be able to collect points almost everywhere and every purchase made by your card.
One more opportunity for cardholders to earn bonus points is signing up to receive exclusive cardholders-only offers. By entering an email address, you will get an opportunity to earn 500 points, but it doesn’t end here. The cardholder can enroll in paperless billing, which gives the chance of earning an additional 500 points. So in total, it makes 1000 points, which amounts to 10 dollars in rewards. Even though it is not much, as a future cardholder, you can become easily eligible for these rewards as they require to make only a few steps. Checking your rewards balance is also very easy. You can have a look at it anytime from anywhere using your Athleta Credit Card login.
Athleta Visa card also comes with a quite generous welcome bonus. Once approved for the card, you will receive a reward equal to 20 dollars.
The benefits of Athleta Credit Card include receiving a birthday gift. The cardholder is eligible for this benefit if he or she makes at least one purchase during the first year after the account opening.
In general, if you decide to apply for the card, the probability that you are planning to make a purchase at Athleta in the nearest future is quite high. In the same way, each year, you will be eligible for a birthday coupon if you have made at least one purchase during the last 12 months.
Therefore, almost every cardholder will most probably be eligible for the birthday gift. Nevertheless, Athleta really keeps the vibe of surprise and intrigue as you will never know what your coupon will be worth.
One more benefit of Athleta Credit Card will be especially appealing for those who prefer shopping online.
With the card, you can get the advantage of expedited shipping for Athleta items purchased online, free of charge, but only twice a year. There is only one condition to follow in order to get free shipping. Even if the benefit is available for purchasing items from Gap Inc, all brands online, your shopping must include at least one item from Athleta. So if you have chosen a shirt from GAP, make sure to add at least one item from Athleta at the checkout.
Athleta lovers will also be happy to learn that with this credit card, they will have access to Exclusive Bonus Points shopping days, as well as early access to sales and new seasonal arrivals.
It sounds appealing, doesn’t it?
In the description of Athleta Credit Card you may also find benefits as item return possibility after one work-out if it doesn’t meet your expectations.
Additionally, in-store stylists service to help you find the best style which fits you the most, as well as free fitness and yoga classes at the stores and more.
But it should be mentioned that all these perks are available to all the Athleta customers and won’t be your exclusive privilege as an Athleta cardholder.
Last but not least, Athleta Credit Card comes with no annual fee. So keeping this card will cost you nothing. Just keep in mind that the points you have earned will expire if you do not use your card for 24 months.
Besides the bonus points and benefits that were specified above, just like other credit cards, Athleta Credit Card has some shortcomings, which you should surely consider before applying for it.
As you could have already noticed from the above-mentioned, you can mostly earn points from your shopping at Athleta and the rest of Gap Inc. brands. Unlike most other retail store credit cards, this Athleta card also gives you the opportunity to earn points for your purchases outside Gap branded stores. Though it is not much (1 point earned per one dollar spent), it is still an advantage if compared with some other credit cards issued by retail stores.
Nevertheless, there is one important condition to consider. The redemption of those points is strictly limited, as you can redeem your points only for online shopping for Gap Inc. brand products or at Gap branded stores. Moreover, the bonus points you’ve earned will not be available for a lifetime and will expire if you don’t use your card in 24 months.
Also, Athleta Credit Cards bonus points cannot be redeemed as actual cashback but should be used for purchasing Gap Inc. products. Moreover, the price of your purchase must be higher than the value of your points — the difference you will have to pay for yourself. For example, let’s say you have 30 dollars in rewards. In this case, if you choose an item that costs more than 30 dollars, you will have to pay the difference yourself.
These are already major cons against the pros mentioned, especially limited redemption opportunities.
Another major drawback is regarding the rates and fees of the card. Athleta Credit Card has a high APR and foreign transaction fee about which you may read in detail below.
Rates and Fees
The purchase APR of Athleta Credit Card is 28.24%, which is quite high. If you frequently carry a balance, this card is not the best choice for you. Moreover, the card doesn’t give any introductory APR period, as most cash back cards would do. Therefore, if compared with other credit cards, the rate of Athleta Credit Card is quite high. The minimum interest charge is 2 dollars.
You should also be cautious while using your card outside the United States as there is a 3% foreign transaction fee. Other fees include the first late payment fee, for which you will have to pay 27 dollars and 38 dollars fee for subsequent late payments within the first 6 months.
In this section, the only silver lining we could mention is the lack of an annual fee, which makes the card costless for the cardholder.
Athleta credit cardholders are, in general, quite frustrated with customer service. As many people report, you might easily get rejected for this card even with quite a sufficient credit score.
The current cardholders are also complaining about customer service, noting that it is very slow, and the staff is not always able to answer inquiries in an adequate manner.
For instance, if you purchase an item with your bonus points and later decide to return it for some reason, you will later have a hard time getting back your bonus points as it will take quite a long time.
Nevertheless, there is also positive feedback, mostly for the fact that this card doesn't limit you only to Athleta. With this card, you can almost equally benefit from in-store and online purchases at GAP, Old Navy, and Banana Republic.
Additionally, cardholders mention that the free of charge expedited shipping opportunities that you can benefit from twice a year will save up on average about 30 dollars annually. The latter will vary depending on the purchased item and the shipping location.
Athleta is a strong brand, which already has a community of loyalists, who are happy to share reviews on products on the website and dress as an Athleta girl. Having an Athleta Card is a way to show affection for the brand and proof of being a community member. So the positive reviews from the fanboys are mostly regarding the opportunity of accessing the new seasonal arrivals as well as other shopping perks, that come with the card.
As a credit card issued by a retail store, Athleta card has quite acceptable conditions and fulfills its initial mission as a credit card issued by a store. Nevertheless, it doesn't stand out for its conditions as a credit card and has many limitations to be considered before applying.
So should you opt for Athleta Credit Card?
The answer will depend on whether you want to get the Athleta card for your everyday purchases or if you are interested in it due to your great love towards the brand.
In reality, if you are thinking about getting a primary credit card for your daily purchases or for traveling, the answer is a solid "No." I rarely discourage people so firmly from getting this or that card, as in the end, each can propose something suitable for certain customers.
Nevertheless, in this case, be advised that you will undoubtedly be able to find far better proposals available at the market, which suggests you better rates, better reward programs and much more again without an annual fee.
For starters, you can have a look at American Express Blue Cash Everyday credit card. Also, the Athleta card is not suitable for those who frequently travel because of its 3% foreign transaction fee, and it can be very unsuitable for those who carry the balance frequently. Regarding the shopping perks, they can surely be considered as an advantage, but they do not really provide you with any real value.
So, Athleta Credit Card can be added to your wallet only if you already have a credit card that fits better your general consumer habits, and you are a real fan of Athleta, GAP, Old Navy, or Banana Republic brands. Otherwise, you will never be able to feel the advantages of the card or use the rewards, so it doesn't really make sense.
Moreover, having too many credit cards can have a negative impact on your credit score.
Nevertheless, in my point of view, Athleta Credit Card is a big must for those who frequently shop at Athleta and other Gap Inc. affiliate stores. By becoming an Athleta cardholder, you can greatly enhance your shopping experience by benefiting from your frequent purchases and getting full access to all the offers of your beloved brand. Also, you will be able to turn the pleasant shopping into a lucrative one and feel rewarded for your frequent purchases.
So before clicking the Apply button, make sure to ask yourself, how often you are shopping at Athleta.
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