Full Review of My Best Buy Visa Card
At least 5% back in rewards on Best Buy purchases, or flexible financing
10% back on your first day of Best Buy purchases
Other bonus categories sometimes available
Confusing application process considers you for several cards
Potentially misleading rewards rates
Many limited-time offers add unpredictability
- At Least 5% Back in Rewards on Best Buy Purchases, or Flexible Financing: When you shop at Best Buy and use your card's standard financing option, you'll earn 5% back in rewards (or 6% back if you're an Elite Plus member). You can become an Elite Plus member by spending $3,500 or more on the My Best Buy Visa card. You can also forgo your rewards and instead take advantage of flexible financing options on purchases of $199 and up at Best Buy.
- 10% Back on Your First Day of Best Buy Purchases: You can earn 10% back in rewards on your first day of Best Buy purchases made within 14 days of opening your account if you select the standard credit option, as opposed to flexible financing. Some products do not qualify for My Best Buy Rewards, though.
- Other Bonus Categories Sometimes Available: Currently, you can earn 3% back in rewards on gas purchases. You can also earn 2% back on dining, grocery and bar purchases and 1% back on all other purchases. However, Best Buy includes the caveat on their 3% bonus category that the offer can be changed or withdrawn at any time. Other cards with real or implied limited-time offers for bonus rewards normally offer higher earning rates, such as 5% back.
- Confusing Application Process Considers You for Several Cards: When you apply for a My Best Buy Visa card, you're actually applying for up to four different types of credit cards. This is not prominently displayed but buried in the terms and conditions of the offer. First, you're considered for the My Best Buy Visa Platinum card, which doesn't come with an annual fee. If you don't qualify for that card, you may be considered for a My Best Buy Visa Gold card that can be used anywhere Visa cards are accepted but has a $59 annual fee. Finally, you may be considered for two closed-loop Best Buy credit cards that can only be used at Best Buy.
- Potentially Misleading Rewards Rates: While 5% back in rewards seems like a decent earning rate, the card itself doesn’t provide all of that. In reality, there is a free My Best Buy rewards program that offers points on purchases without the use of any particular credit card. The advertised rewards rates show you the total rewards you’d earn from both the free rewards program and the credit card combined.
- Many Limited-Time Offers add Unpredictability: While limited-time bonus rewards categories are nice, there isn’t any predictability to what you could earn in the future. The limited-time 3% gas purchases category can be changed or withdrawn without notice, for instance.
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
Dines out regularly while traveling or in home city
Primarily responsible for household grocery and other major purchases
Incurs gasoline or other commuting expenses each month
The My Best Buy Visa card is for frequent Best Buy shoppers, with good to excellent credit, who would like to earn rewards toward more Best Buy merchandise. The 5% back in rewards for shopping at Best Buy (6% for Elite Plus members) is a decent earning rate if you frequently spend significant amounts of money there. These rewards are not likely worth the expense if you only qualify for the Best Buy Visa Gold card, though, as it comes with a $59 annual fee. In this case, you’d have to spend at least $1,200 on qualifying Best Buy purchases to earn $60 in reward certificates to justify the annual fee.
The other rewards categories, including limited-time non-Best Buy categories, can typically be beaten by other rewards credit cards without an annual fee. If you want to earn rewards you can use at places other than Best Buy, consider a general cash-back credit card instead.
My Best Buy Visa Card Bonus
The My Best Buy Visa card bonus is disappointing but better than nothing. You can earn an additional 5% back in rewards above the standard 5% earning rates (for a total of 10%) on your first day of Best Buy purchases as long as it falls within 14 days of account opening and you opt for standard, rather than flexible, credit.
Not all products qualify to earn My Best Buy Rewards. Some purchases at Pacific Sales Kitchen & Home Stores, a Best Buy subsidiary, are excluded. If you apply for the credit card in a store, online purchases may be ineligible for this offer even if made on the first day.
Rewards Earning Details
Earning rewards with the Best Buy Visa card is a bit confusing for several reasons. First, the marketing for the card talks about rewards in terms of percent back. However, you actually earn rewards as points. Points are worth $0.02 each, so earning 5% back means you really receive 2.5 points per dollar spent.
Currently, you can earn 2.5 points per dollar spent at Best Buy or 3 points per dollar if you’re an Elite Plus member. You must choose standard financing to earn points at Best Buy. You’ll also earn 1.5 points per dollar on gas purchases unless the offer is withdrawn at some point in the future. The card offers 1 point per dollar on dining, groceries and bar purchases and half a point per dollar on all other purchases.
If the points methodology wasn't confusing enough, the way that the rewards are calculated may make you think you're getting more value from the card than you actually are. As mentioned above, Best Buy combines the points you earn from its free My Best Buy rewards program with the points you earn by using your credit card. If you sign up for the My Best Buy rewards program without the credit card, you’ll still earn the following points per dollar spent, based on your membership status:
- Core members – 0.5 points per dollar on qualifying purchases
- Elite members – 1 point per dollar on qualifying purchases
- Elite Plus members – 1.25 points per dollar on qualifying purchases
Depending on your My Best Buy rewards program status, that means the actual rewards rate you earn by using your credit card is as follows:
- Core members – 1 point per dollar on qualifying purchases
- Elite members – 1.5 points per dollar on qualifying purchases
- Elite Plus members – 1.75 points per dollar on qualifying purchases
Some products purchased at stand-alone Pacific Sales Kitchen and Bath Centers or Pacific Sales locations within Best Buy Stores aren't eligible for points. You can't use reward certificates on these purchases, either. There is a long list of other exclusions that don't earn points, including Student Deals, leased products, instant rebates, purchases made for resale, purchases paid with a reward certificate, purchases using any type of promotional financing, sales tax, service charges, and more.
You may automatically be issued rewards certificates in 250 point increments and your remaining points may be forfeited if your account remains inactive for 12 consecutive months. Your My Best Buy account may be terminated if it is inactive for 24 months.
Rewards Redemption Details
While earning rewards can be complicated, redeeming them is fairly straightforward. For every 250 My Best Buy points you accumulate, you can get a $5 reward certificate that can be redeemed for a discount on a purchase of equal or greater value, excluding sales tax. You can set your certificate preferences to have certificates issued automatically at as low as 250 points for a $5 certificate or as high as 1,000 points for a $20 certificate. You can also request that certificates be issued manually if you have enough points. Reward certificates are emailed to you and expire 60 days after they are issued, so you must use them fairly quickly. Elite or Elite Plus members can bank their points until they’re ready to use them.
You cannot redeem reward certificates for prior purchases, leased products, some purchases at Pacific Sales Kitchen and Bath stores or Pacific Sales locations within Best Buy, Best Buy or Magnolia gift cards, point of sale activation cards, purchases made for resale, and more.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
With this program, the ability to maximize your rewards is fairly limited. The best way to earn rewards is to put all of your Best Buy purchases on the card and choose standard financing. The bonus categories on the card can change, so make sure you compare them with any other cards you have to see which card offers the highest rewards value for a particular category. As a general rule, if you have a 1.5% cash-back credit card, any purchases with lower reward rates than 1.5% should go on that card rather than this one.
As far as redeeming rewards goes, make sure to set up your rewards auto-redemption preferences to the limit you prefer or choose to bank your rewards if you’re an Elite or Elite Plus member. Once a reward certificate is automatically issued by email, it expires in just 60 days. Setting a higher limit still allows you to redeem points for small rewards certificates manually whenever you have a use for one.
The My Best Buy Visa card is issued by Citi, which scored 799 out of 1,000 points in J.D. Power's 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. The average score among national issuers was 806. You can reach customer service for this credit card at 888-574-1301.
This card's security features are standard for the industry.
Fees to Watch Out For
While the Platinum version of the My Best Buy Visa card doesn’t have any annual fee, the Gold version comes with a $59 one. Many of the other fees and rates this card charges, including balance transfer fees, cash advance fees, cash advance APRs, purchase APRs, and balance transfer APRs are fairly high. For instance, both versions of this card charge a balance transfer fee of $15 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater. You can find cards that offer introductory no-fee balance transfers within the first 60 days of opening the account.
The Best Buy Visa card offers a strong rewards rate on Best Buy purchases. The other limited-time and bonus categories don't provide much value because they aren't predictable or can be beaten by other rewards cards.
The rewards you earn can only be redeemed for Best Buy rewards certificates, which expire just 60 days after they're issued. If you’d rather take advantage of the special financing this card offers on Best Buy purchases, you can forgo the rewards points you’d normally earn. People who shop at Best Buy only occasionally might do better with a straight cash-back credit card that offers 1.5% or better cash back on all purchases.