by Eric Volkman | Jan. 25, 2019
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You like the lingerie. Will you fancy the credit card too?
Everyone's favorite intimate apparel retailer, Victoria's Secret, has its own branded credit card. Known as the Angel Card, it carries a set of perks when used to buy its own merchandise. And, as with many retailer cards in general, its worth very much depends on how much of a Victoria's Secret devotee you are.
We'll get into that suitability in a moment. To start, though, let's discuss store credit cards in general, and the specifics of the Victoria's Secret Angel Card.
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Store cards basically come in two varieties:
Both types nearly always confer perks and benefits specific to the retailer. These take many forms and may include one or more of the following:
Whether a retailer's card is appropriate for your needs depends heavily on your relationship to the store. If it's a place where you shop frequently, either type of card would be useful. If not, the plastic is just going to clutter your wallet or purse and add to the number of cards you need to manage.
General-purpose branded cards can take the place of general-purpose credit cards from big issuers (Chase, Bank of America, American Express, etc.) if you feel their terms and perks are good enough. Can you get a reasonably high limit from such a product? Is the APR somewhat in line with big-issuer cards, or lower? Are the included perks and features sufficient?
Evaluating such criteria on a comparative basis will determine whether the general-purpose branded card under consideration is an acceptable substitute.
The Victoria's Secret Angel Card is a store-specific credit card native to the famous lingerie provider. It earns points for every purchase made in the namesake store, plus sister brand PINK, and online shopping portal victoriassecret.com. The base rate is 1 point per $1 spent. Certain circumstances and purchases earn bonuses; more on these below.
The Victoria's Secret Angel Card has three tiers, as follows:
|Feature||Angel||Angel VIP||Angel Forever|
|Initial points required to own (upgrade is automatic)||-||500||1,000|
|Points required to maintain (in each 12-month period)||-||1,000||1,000|
|Angel Reward gift certificate each time 250 points is earned||$10||$10||$15|
|Angels are First benefit?||No||Yes||Yes|
|For Our Very Best Angels benefit?||No||No||Yes|
|Number of Triple Points Days per year||1||2||3|
Data source: Victoria's Secret.
The Angels Are First benefit is described as "[e]xclusive offers & invites, early access to major sales & other Angels-only perks" for eligible cardholders. The For Our Very Best Angels bonus confers a surprise free gift every year.
Cardholders can select up to three Triple Points Days every year, depending on their card's tier. On these days, all store purchases score the triple point rate.
Victoria's Secret is owned by L Brands, which also holds household goods retailer Bath & Body Works. However, Victoria's Secret Angel Card points cannot be earned or redeemed at Bath & Body Works, although the card can be used to purchase items there.
No annual fee -- We here at The Ascent are fond of cards that don't charge an annual fee just to own them.
Good point-earning opportunities -- Frequent Victoria's Secret shoppers can quickly accumulate points using their Angel Cards to buy merchandise. Other pluses include the Triple Points Days, and every bra purchase in the store earns triple points with this card.
Attractive rewards -- Those gift certificates come in handy, plus the Angel Forever surprise gift perk is a cool bonus.
Free shipping -- Eligible online purchases made by the card that include a bra ship for free.
Intro bonuses -- New Angel Card holders reap a one-time $15 discount on the first purchase made with their plastic. They also receive coupons worth up to $65 for Victoria's Secret or PINK merchandise.
No limit to earnings -- Cardholders earn as many points as they are willing and able to; there is no maximum.
Exclusivity -- As a store card, Victoria's Secret Angel Card can only be used for Victoria's Secret, PINK or Bath & Body Works purchases. It cannot be utilized as a general-purpose credit card, which severely limits its usefulness.
High APR -- Is isn't unusual for store cards to have high APRs. This one is no exception.
Points expiration -- Points are valid for only 12 months following the purchase, then they expire.
Rewards expiration -- Angel Rewards gift certificates expire 90 days after they're issued.
No non-brand perks -- This card lacks common perks and features of general-purpose cards such as travel insurance, purchase protection, etc.
For what's essentially a one-company, two-retailer product, the Victoria's Secret Angel Card is useful. Consumers who like to buy from Victoria's Secret and/or PINK, and do so on a regular basis, will certainly reap the rewards. If they are regular enough, they'll rise to Forever status relatively quickly, and earn bigger bonuses.
This attraction fades greatly once you go out of the store. We're not all that crazy about brand- or company-exclusive plastic, since there are so many quality, big issuer general-purpose credit cards on the market today. These rival products are not only widely accepted at most retailers, they also confer a much broader set of benefits to the cardholder.
So the bottom line is that the Victoria's Secret Angel Card is really only appropriate for people who buy from the retailer on at least somewhat of a regular basis. The more frequently they do so, the more savings and bonuses they'll earn. Every other consumer should consider different products for their credit needs.
No credit card exists in a vacuum. The Victoria's Secret Angel Card, while it's a beauty of a product inside the store, must compete with general-purpose rewards cards that generate points/cash back wherever they're used.
The question is, when making Victoria's Secret/PINK purchases, does the Angel Card have a big advantage over some of its big issuer, general-purpose rivals?
The Victoria's Secret Angel Card is the clear winner among most cards for on-brand purchases.
Even the Discover it® Cash Back's mighty double rewards in the first year feature won't generate nearly enough in rewards. This bolsters our finding that the card with the fluttering wings is the perfect instrument for those who buy Victoria's Secret and/or PINK goods at least semi-regularly.
Again, though, we need to emphasize the major caveat with the Angel Card -- it can only be used at stores owned and operated by L Brands. By contrast, the three other rival cards are general-purpose and valid nearly anywhere major credit cards are accepted.
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