Are TJX Rewards Platinum Mastercard Perks Worth The Cost?

Personal finance experts, such as Dave Ramsey, as well as the Money Analysis staff, have typically recommended against opening store-branded credit cards. Still, it's been said there's no such thing as an absolute truth, and these credit cards can deliver considerable value to a very specific subset of consumers that loyally shop at a particular store.

Under consideration in this article is the TJX Rewards Platinum Mastercard card that's issued by Synchrony Bank. For those not in the know, TJX is the stock ticker (TJX:NYSE) for the publicly- traded TJX Companies, Inc. TJX is perhaps best known for TJ Maxx off-price department stores, which stock excess inventory from other retailers. According to the TJ Maxx website, a typical discount might be 20% to 60% less than the item's original price.

Besides TJ Maxx, brands under TJX also include Marshalls, HomeGoods, Sierra, and HomeSense, all of which have similar business models to TJ Maxx, but with a focus on different product sectors. For examples, HomeGoods carries home furnishing, while Sierra specializes in clothing and other gear for outdoorsy types. Even though the TJX Rewards Platinum Mastercard card doesn't charge an annual fee, consumers should consider whether spending on this card is worthwhile versus other options that are more flexible and earn rewards more quickly across a broader range of purchases.

Only those with healthy credit scores need apply

The application process for a TJX store credit card is somewhat different than consumers may be accustomed to. That's because there exists both a store rewards card and the Platinum Mastercard version being discussed here. The unconventional aspect of pursuing these cards is that consumers won't learn which version they're approved for until after applying, though typically only higher credit scores will be approved for the TJX Rewards Platinum Mastercard card. Both cards earn 5% back in rewards certificates for every dollar members spend at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, Sierra, and HomeSense, but that's where the similarities end.

The basic rewards card isn't affiliated with any payment networks like Visa or Mastercard and as such, it can only be used at TJX stores, whereas the TJX Rewards Platinum Mastercard card can be used anywhere to purchase anything. For purchases made at anywhere other than TJX stores, the Mastercard version earns rewards at a rate of 1% for each dollar spent, payable in reward certificates to TJX stores. Frankly, that's not all too impressive considering alternatives like many cash-back cards that earn a flat rate of 2% and even higher in specialty categories, like fuel and restaurants.

Note that upon approval, one perk cardholders will receive is a 10% discount on their first TJX purchase made with the card. That means if you're considering applying for an account, definitely let your shopping desires build up for a while so you can take full advantage of that offer.

Rewards are only redeemable at TJX stores

In summary, the TJX Rewards Platinum Mastercard card rewards its cardholders with 5% back for purchases at TJX stores and 1% back everywhere else, but those member rewards are only issued in TJX reward certificates (seen above). Once 1,000 points are accumulated from spending at TJX or elsewhere, a $10 certificate — redeemable at TJX's online or physical stores — is awarded via mail, email, or from the credit card's account portal.

Note that reward certificates are only issued in $10 or $20 increments, so an odd number of points remaining (i.e., less than 1,000) will remain in your account to continue building until that amount reaches 1,000 or more, when another certificate will be issued. Finally, rewards certificates expire after two years.

Given that the TJX Rewards Platinum Mastercard card doesn't charge users an annual fee, there's really no harm in picking one up but keep in mind that you'll only be approved for a finite number of credit cards, in general, based on your income, credit score, and other factors, so make sure you're a big enough fan of one or more of the TJX brands to make obtaining this card worthwhile. If not, more generous, flexible rewards cards exist for everyday spending.