A Store Card is Now the Best Non-Bonus Category Mobile Wallet Option on $3k/Yr
Image Courtesy https://www.htmastercard.com
Many in the points and miles world sneer at store credit cards, but they can be viable options in some cases, especially for big spenders at certain stores (i.e. contracting companies at Lowes). In rare cases, they're viable options even if you never spend at any stores associated with the brand, and this case is one of them. The Harris Teeter Rewards World Elite Mastercard offer may be too good to be true, and they may devalue it at some point, but for now, and likely as long as people don't catch on to what I'm about to share, it's a solid option for those with under $15k/yr in spending on non-bonus categories on credit cards.
My Former Banana Republic Store Credit Card: Closed for Inactivity
I used to have the Banana Republic credit card from high school (which has some perks including effectively 5% cashback on purchases at "Gap (including Gap Factory); Banana Republic (including Banana Republic Factory); Old Navy; and Athleta)", but that one got closed down for inactivity before I went beyond a casual user in the credit card game around the time I met my wife. At that time I needed to get in a better place in terms of credit and finances in order for a home purchase & marriage to make sense.
Why the Card is a Solid Keeper: 5% cashback on Mobile Wallet Spend up to $3k/yr with no Annual Fee
As long as this perk stays around, the number one reason to have the card is that you can get 5% cash back on $3k/yr in mobile wallet spending with no annual fee. If you look at alternative mobile wallet options on various articles by credit card points hackers, you won't find something that can match that on the first $3k with no annual fee.
Per the terms, the cashback is available toward statement credits.
Sign Up Bonus: $100 after Spending $500
The signup bonus is fairly straightforward:
"Earn $100 in Statement Credits when you apply, get approved and spend $500 on your Harris Teeter Rewards World Elite Mastercard® on eligible purchases the first 90 days"https://www.htmastercard.com/credit/welcome.do?exp=&lang=en&redirect=wwwdefault
It's low, but better than nothing.
Why the Newer Nature of the Perk of the 5% on Mobile Wallet Purchases & the Sign-Up Bonus Give Me Pause on this Card, For Now
The weight of the small signup bonus on determining if this card is viable is notable in light of the fact that, back in December 2021 at least, this card didn't appear to have the option to get 5% cashback on mobile wallet spending. That means that the mobile wallet spending 5% cashback could be present now and gone in a year or 2. If it goes away in a year, it would have been better to have never gotten the card when you combine the signup bonus and spending $3k for 5% and compare it with sign-up bonuses on other cards. If this perk remains with the card for a few years, I'll look to revisit an acquisition. For now, I'm too concerned that they'll take the perk away shortly after it was introduced.
Card to Consider For those with >$9k/Yr in Eligible Mobile Wallet Spending
There's another significant card in the mobile wallet game, especially if you spend >$9k/yr on non-bonus spend mobile wallet purchases since this one is uncapped but carries a hefty annual fee of $400 (net $75 as long as you use the $325/yr annual statement credit toward dining and travel). That's a card from the same issuer, US Bank. It's the Altitude Reserve.
If you don't give any value for the perks it has like the lounge access the Altitude Reserve provides via Priority Pass, and peg the points values on TPG valuations, here is one look at the spending via mobile wallet required for the Altitude Reserve to make sense over this Harris Teeter card plus an additional card, assuming no weight to the drastic difference in sign up bonuses possible ($100 on the Harris Teeter card alone v $750 on the US Bank Altitude Reserve, though the Citi Premier SUB is typically worth more than $750) and assuming that the Harris Teeter card keeps the 5% on mobile wallet purchases for the first $3k/yr for many years.
With the US Bank Altitude Reserve, as Stephen Au with Upgraded Points mentions, it's important to use Real-Time Mobile Rewards for travel purchases as the means of achieving 1.5 cents per point on the Altitude Reserve, not bookings via the US Bank Travel Portal. With the spreadsheet above, I'm not factoring into the equation the value loss from the cashback or points you'd get from that $325/yr in spending.
Similar Card to Get as a 2nd Card or as an option for Kroger Spenders & Big Gas Spenders
If you actually spend money at Kroger and free gas would go further than $100 in a year, there's the highly similar Kroger Rewards World Elite Mastercard. It doesn't carry the $100 bonus, but offers a $.25/gallon of fuel for the first year and thereafter when you spend $6k on the card. You need to use the card when purchasing fuel, so by comparison to the $.011 TPG valuation I get for spending on my Wyndham Business Earner's 8x/$, with gas prices around $3/gallon, your net savings would be extremely low, and cancelled out to be net negative due to the restriction of fuel sources. If gas is much more expensive than $3/gallon, it makes even more sense to use the Wyndham Business Earner Credit card.
Whether or not you can have both the Kroger & Harris Teeter cards at the same time is something I am not sure about, but of course that would change the spreadsheet above to