Only for Nordstrom enthusiasts: Nordstrom Visa Signature Card review

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Nordstrom Visa Signature Card Overview

The Nordstrom Visa Signature Card offers a way to earn rewards on Nordstrom and a couple of popular spending categories. However, its unimpressive sign-up bonus and inflexible redemption options make it a lackluster card overall. Card Rating: ⭐⭐½

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

Are you a frequent shopper at Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack? The retail brand does offer a store credit card that can help you rack up rewards on eligible purchases. In general, department store cards like this aren’t worth your while, but there are some instances where this one may appeal to specific audiences.

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Today, we’ll walk through the card details and whether or not this should be a card option for you.

In This Post

Who is this card for?

The Nordstrom Visa Signature Card is aimed at — you guessed it — Nordstrom shoppers. The rewards structure, benefits and redemption opportunities all center around Nordstrom and its affiliated brands.

The information for the Nordstrom Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.          

If you’re a casual Nordstrom shopper, you’ll be better off with another card option, but those who spend a significant amount of money on Nordstrom purchases each year could potentially benefit from what the card has to offer. I’d never suggest using this as an everyday spending card, but it can be used to capitalize on shopping with the brand.

Related reading: The best store credit cards of 2020

(Photo by Thomas Barwick/Getty)
(Photo by Thomas Barwick/Getty)

Unimpressive sign-up bonus

New cardholders can currently earn a $40 Bonus Note to spend on Nordstrom purchases later if you make a Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack or Nordstrom online purchase on your new card on the same day you’re approved.

A $40 sign-up bonus is pitiful regardless of the card. To make it worse, the “Bonus Note” can only be redeemed for eligible Nordstrom purchases. I mean, if you’re going to apply for the card anyway, you might as well make sure to apply on a day you’re planning to shop with the brand to get the $40 bonus, but it’s certainly not a strong pull to get the card.

Related reading: Why store credit cards are (almost) always a bad idea

Main perks and benefits

As a Nordstrom Visa Signature Card holder, you’ll receive instant Insider Status with Nordstrom’s loyalty program, The Nordy Club. Insider status typically requires $500 in annual spending.

You’ll have access to beauty and style workshops, free basic alterations, a $100 alterations benefit for more complicated changes, early access to anniversary sales, curbside pickup, special access to Clear the Rack sales and a personal double points day.

If you spend enough to hit the higher levels of Nordy status, you can get additional alterations credits alongside the other benefits of the individual status levels.

This card is a Visa Signature®, so you will receive those benefits as well, including purchase protection, zero liability for fraud losses, auto rental collision damage protection, roadside assistance, lost luggage reimbursement, $500,000 in travel accident insurance, preferred access to events and access to the Visa Signature Hotels collection and the Visa Concierge.

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
Fortunately, the card does come with Visa Signature benefits. (Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Earning

The Nordstrom Visa Signature Card earns 3x at Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, HauteLook and Trunk Club. You’ll also get 2x on dining, entertainment and travel purchases.

It should go without saying that you should definitely not use this card for dining, entertainment or travel purchases, even though you’ll get 2x. There are literally more than a dozen other card options out there that can help you maximize those purchases at a better rate, with more flexible redemption options.

If you’re going to apply for this card to get the Nordstrom benefits and bonus earning, you should only use it at Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, HauteLook and Trunk Club. Nordstrom isn’t included in many typical bonus categories, so 3x isn’t a horrible return on those purchases specifically.

You can use this card in conjunction with online shopping portals to help you maximize points and miles earring on top of Nordstrom rewards.

Related reading: TPG Talks episode one: Use online shopping portals and apps to save money and earn miles from home

Redeeming

Similar to many department store cards, reward points can only be used on store purchases. You can redeem your Nordstrom points for a Bonus Note, which is essentially like a gift certificate to the store. You can manually redeem 500, 1,000, or 1,500 points for $5, $10 or $15 notes, respectively, through the Nordstrom app. Or you can wait until you earn 2,000 points for a $20 note to be added to your account automatically.

The good news: Notes can be combined with other offers such as sales, other notes and more, and the redemption rate for notes is 1 cent per point. It’s not the best rate, but it’s certainly not the worst when it comes to retail credit cards.

The bad news: Your notes can only be used on Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack and HauteLook purchases. These rewards are incredibly inflexible. In general, you’d be better off with a standard cash-back card that you could redeem for any purchase (including Nordstrom) at the same redemption rate.

Related reading: The best cash-back credit cards for 2020

Other cards to consider

Department stores aren’t a super common bonus category across cards, but there are still plenty of options out there that will reward you on Nordstrom purchases.

(Photo by Orli Friedman / The Points Guy)
There are so many other cards out there to consider. (Photo by Orli Friedman/The Points Guy)

The U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card offers 5% back on the category of your choice (up to $2,000 in combined bonus category spending), and one of the potential categories is department stores. Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack are both specifically listed as a popular merchant within the category, so you know you’ll earn rewards on those purchases with this card.

Two other options are the Chase Freedom or Discover it Cash Back. Both offer 5% cash back in rotating categories that you activate each quarter (up to $1,500 in combined bonus spending each quarter). Department stores are a common bonus category for both — especially for the Freedom during Q4 for holiday shopping.

Lastly, you could also use a flat-rate earning card such as the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card or the Citi® Double Cash Card on Nordstrom purchases. The Cap One Venture earns 2x miles on all purchases, while the Citi Double Cash earns 2% back on all purchases (1% when you buy and 1% as you pay).

Related reading: The best cash-back credit cards for each bonus category

The information about the U.S. Bank Cash+, Chase Freedom, Discover it Cash Back, Cap One Venture and Citi Double Cash cards has been collected independently by TPG. It has not been reviewed or approved by the issuers. 

Bottom line

Generally speaking, store cards are almost never a great deal. Unfortunately, that applies to the Nordstrom Visa Signature Card. While there are a few nice benefits (such as instant Insider Status), the vast majority of people will be better off with another card option.

Featured photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.