If you’ve been around Budget Fashionista for a while, you know I regularly recommend the strategic use of store loyalty programs to save money.
My mission for today: Empower you to use Macy’s Star Rewards to your benefit as we head into the holiday shopping season. Why Macy’s? Because it’s a department store that carries clothes, beauty, and a massive assortment of potential gifts. And that means you can leverage the core premise of loyalty: You get more when you spend more.
To clarify, I’m not recommending you spend solely to earn loyalty credits. I am recommending you get strategic about where you buy things — so that you’re generating more perks from the same purchases you’d normally.
Read on for the complete download on the Star Rewards program, including how to earn and use rewards, how to check your points balance, what Star Money is worth, and more.
What are Star Rewards at Macy’s?
Star Rewards is a loyalty program that allows you to earn 1% to 5% on every purchase, except gift cards, services, and fees.
There are four tiers to the program: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. You qualify for a tier based on your annual spend with Macy’s and whether you have a Macy’s credit card. The silver, gold, and platinum tiers require you to be a Macy’s cardholder. If you don’t have or want the store’s credit card, you can be a Bronze Star Rewards member for free.
Note that your Star Rewards membership does not preclude you from taking advantage of other discounts. As an example, you can sign up for emails and get an extra 25% off. You can should combine that type of discount with loyalty earnings for maximum savings. In fact, you might sign up straight away — because in the process, you can check a box to join Star Rewards and access the perks and benefits immediately.
The earnings rates, perks, and offers of each rewards tier are explained below. Before we get into those details, though, let’s clarify the difference between Star Rewards and Star Money.
Star Rewards is the name of the program AND the name of the credits you earn on your purchases. Star Rewards points are converted into $10 of Star Money when your balance reaches 1,000 points.
Star Rewards expire if you don’t make a qualifying purchase under your membership within 12 months. These points can also expire if you close your Macy’s credit card.
Star Money is store credit, issued as $10 for 1,000 Star Rewards. You use can use Star Money rewards to shop Macy’s online or in-store, with some exclusions. You cannot use Star Money:
- To purchase Macy’s gift cards
- To pay for services and fees
- To exchange for cash
- To pay for an order that will ship outside the U.S.
- As a payment on your credit card account
If you want to use Star Money on furniture or mattresses online, you have to call Macy’s customer service first.
Star Money expires 30 days after issuance. This is a tricky wrinkle, frankly. It forces you to be thoughtful about the timing of your purchases. If you’re close to the 1,000 point threshold, buy only enough to get over the hump. The idea is to hold back so you have something to buy with your Star Money credit. If you don’t, you’ll either let the $10 in Star Money expire or make a purchase you don’t need. Better to avoid both those outcomes.
To redeem Star Money in a Macy’s store, shop with your Macy’s credit card or give the cashier the phone number on your Star Rewards account. Do not use self check-out or an electronic wallet as these don’t support the use of Star Money.
To redeem Star Money at macys.com, shop with your Macy’s credit card or log into your online account and link your Star Rewards membership to your wallet. Both methods should give you the option to use Star Money at checkout.
Star Rewards Bronze
You can become a bronze member of Star Rewards without opening or using a Macy’s credit card. There is also no minimum annual purchase requirement for this status level.
Bronze is the right option for most shoppers — especially if you have a history of overspending on credit. If you let balances roll over, any rewards you earn by overspending will be quickly offset by interest charges.
As a bronze member, you’ll earn 1% back on your purchases. The behind-the scenes math is this: You accumulate points at 1 point per $1 spent. And, 1,000 points are worth $10. That nets to 1% rewards.
Bronze members also get the basic Star Rewards benefits available to all members, which are:
- A “birthday surprise”
- Access to Star Money Bonus Day (more on those below)
Star Rewards Silver
Silver members shop with a Macy’s credit card and spend $1 to $499 in annual Macy’s purchases. They also earn 2% back on their purchases, or 2 points per dollar spent, plus 25% off Star Passes. Star Passes are extra discounts that Macy’s sends out to members periodically.
Star Rewards Gold
Gold members are Macy’s cardholders who spend $500 to $1,199 in annual purchases at Macy’s. In return for the extra purchasing activity, Goldies earn 3%, or 3 points for every dollar spent. Also, Gold members will receive Star Passes and qualify for free standard shipping on online purchases with no order minimum. Think of this as the Macy’s equivalent to Amazon Prime, only you have the credit card account in lieu of a membership fee.
The free shipping perk makes the gold level a nice option for anyone who is disciplined about paying off credit card balances monthly. That is, assuming you like shopping Macy’s enough to spend $500 a year. Seems like you could easily cover that threshold buying underwear and holiday gifts.
Star Rewards Platinum
Spending more than $1,200 annually using the Macy’s card will earn you platinum status. Platinum members get the same perks as goldies, but earn 5 points per dollar, or 5% back in rewards. Spend the minimum $1,200 in annual purchases, and the 5% back earns you $60 in Star Money.
Macy’s Star Money bonus days
Star Money bonus days are surprise promotions when you will earn bonus points. Translate that to mean you’ll earn more points than the usual percentage associated with your tier.
Macy’s announces the length and terms of bonus days usually just before the promotion begins. Often, these last three to five days.
Also, there are product categories and brands that aren’t eligible for bonus points. You’ll still earn points according to your loyalty status or tier, however. Here are the items that won’t earn extra points:
- Furniture and mattresses
- Tech products
- Barnes & Noble
- Sunglass Hut
- Louis Vuitton
- Finish Line
- Chow Tai Fook 24k gold
- The Gucci Shop at Herald Square
- Macy’s Backstage
How to check Macy’s Star Rewards/Star Money balances
To check your points or money balances, log into your online account at Macy’s.com.
Macy’s American Express card
There’s a lot riding on the use of the store credit card here, so let’s talk about the Macy’s Amex. The branded American Express card has its benefits including points earned outside of your Macy’s shopping and travel benefits. Specifically:
- Earn 3 points per $1 spent at restaurants
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations and supermarkets
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent at all other non-Macy’s purchases
- Travel benefits as described here
- Sign up bonus discounts of 20% off
This credit card has no annual fee. As of August 1, 2023, the APR is 31.99% and the minimum interest charge is $2.
Maximizing your Star Rewards
Now for the fun stuff. Want to earn maximum rewards? Try these strategies:
- Before you buy anything from another store, see if you can buy the item at a competitive price from Macy’s.
- If you have the credit card, pay the balance off every month.
- Stack your rewards by using Macy’s discounts and Rakuten cashback on your Macy’s purchases.
- Add your Star Rewards membership to your online account so you can easily earn on every purchase.
- Pay attention to store announcements and participate in bonus days as appropriate to earn even more points.
Macy’s Star Rewards FAQs
Is Macy’s Star Rewards free?
Yes, Macy’s rewards loyalty program is free. You can achieve a higher tier of Star Rewards status when you open a Macy’s credit card and increase your annual spending at the department store.
Is Macy’s Star Rewards the same as cash?
Star Rewards are the points earned on purchases. You cannot use Macy’s points as cash, per se. You must wait until you have earned 1,000 points — at that point, the 1,000 points are converted into $10 in Star Money. Star Money is essentially Macy’s store credit.
Does Macy’s rewards program offer free shipping?
If you achieve gold or platinum status in Star Rewards, you earn free standard shipping with no order minimum. There are some exclusions, though. You’ll pay a $10 shipping surcharge is assessed for customers living outside the contiguous United States but in U.S. territories (Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, etc.). And free shipping isn’t available on furniture, mattresses, rugs, international orders, e-gifts, and prior purchases. You may pay a charge for upgraded or overnight shipping, too.