REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard Review [2021]

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If you enjoy the great outdoors, then you know how costly obtaining all of the necessary gear is to keep you safe and comfortable during your adventures.

Luckily, you can save a lot with the REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard. In this article, I’ll break down everything you need to know about the REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard.

REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard intro

Card highlights

  • $100 gift card welcome bonus
  • 5X at REI
  • 2X on mobile wallet purchases
  • Rewards stack with dividends
  • Transactions result in donations to protect the outdoors
  • No annual fee

Welcome Bonus

Because this is a co-branded retail store credit card, you typically don’t expect much in terms of a welcome bonus.

But the credit card actually has a pretty decent offer and can earn you something like a $100 REI gift card after you make a purchase within 60 days.

For a no annual fee card and for only having to make a single purchase, that is not a bad bonus.

It could take around 6 to 8 weeks after your purchase for the gift card to be sent to you and it will be sent to the primary applicant’s address.

Note that this offer is only available to new cardholders as the terms and conditions state:

Existing and previous REI Co-op World Mastercard cardmembers are not eligible for this offer.

Bonus categories

  • 5% back on REI
  • 2% back on mobile wallet purchases
  • 1% back on all other purchases

5% back on REI

Anytime you can earn 5% back on a given category, that is a strong return in value. In this case, if you regularly are purchasing items from REI, that 5% can add up pretty quickly.

Also, the good news is that you are not restricted on your 5% back. You can earn the 5% back on discount items, REI gift cards, services, and REI adventure travel-invoiced trip payments.

2% back on mobile wallet purchases

With the REI MasterCard you can earn 2% back using mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, LG Pay, and Samsung pay. It should also work with other payment technologies like Fitbit pay and Garmin Pay.

Getting 2% back on mobile wallet purchases is okay.

There are certainly more competitive options out there but this is pretty good for a no annual fee credit card.

(If you use your mobile wallet at REI, you will earn 5%.)

1% back on all other purchases

You will also receive one percent back on all purchases.

A great supplement to the REI card

While these are decent bonus categories, if you want to maximize credit card rewards for use at REI my recommendation would be to pick up an American Express card that earns great rewards in other categories and then redeem your points for REI gift cards.

For example, you could get the American Express Gold Card which earns 4X at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 in spend every calendar year and also earns 4X on dining.

Because you can redeem Membership Rewards for REI gift cards at a one to one ratio this would amount to 4% back at REI for those categories which is fantastic.

Moreover, if you get a card like the Gold Card when it comes with a strong welcome bonus you could be getting up to $600 in gift cards with REI.

Tip: Check out the free app WalletFlo so that you can optimize your credit card spend by seeing the best card to use! You can also track credits, annual fees, and get notifications when you’re eligible for the best cards!

Rewards

Here is the tricky part about the rewards for this credit card.

Unlike other credit cards that typically issue your rewards on a monthly basis, you only receive your rewards once a year.

These rewards are paid at the same time that you receive your dividend rewards. (I’ll explain the dividend rewards below.)

REI dividend rewards

Each March, REI Co-op members receive their annual dividend.

The annual dividend consist of two separate dividends.

The first is your member dividend which is typically 10% back on your eligible REI purchases for the past year.

The second is all of your rewards from purchases that you made with your REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard.

Exclusions

The dividends are a little bit more limited than your 5% cashback earnings because you do not earn dividends on purchases that include sale items, discounted items, REI adventures trips, classes, events, sales tax, postage and the REI membership fee.

However, with the REI credit card you can still earn 5% back on these.

So this is great because you’re 5% earnings stack on top of the 10% back which means that for some of your purchases, you can net 15% back which is really good.

Redeeming awards

You can redeem your dividend rewards at an REI store or online. You can also book REI adventures.

If you would like to receive your dividends in cash you can do so from July 1 through January 3 of the following year.

Basically, you will bring your annual dividend notice to the REI store and ask to get your remaining balance in cash.

You might need to call ahead sometimes because a lot of the retail stores have limited cash on hand. If they don’t have the cash, they might issue you a check.

Speaking of a check, if you would like them to issue your annual dividend in a check you can also submit the online form.

Checks will only be issued for dividend balances greater than or equal to $25 at time of check issuance and checks are only sent to members from July 1 through Jan. 3.

Expiration

Your annual dividend rewards expire on January 3 which is just under two years after they are issued. So if you received the dividends in March 2021, it will expire January 3, 2023.

If your rewards are going to expire, REI will send you a check but that will change in 2024.

Starting in January 2024, REI will no longer automatically mail a check when card rewards expire.

This change will apply for the first time to credit card rewards earned in 2021, issued in the 2022 Annual Dividend, and that expire in 2024.

Adventure benefits

If you redeem your annual dividends for REI adventure travel you can get a 50% discount from the invoice cost of your trip.

You will need to make your trip payment over the phone by calling 800-622-2236 using your REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard.

Whatever amount you apply from your annual dividend, an additional amount equal to 50% of the applied dividends will be applied as a discount.

This means that if you applied $200 worth of dividends then you would receive a $100 discount on the cost of your trip.

So this is a fantastic way to save on REI adventure travel with the REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard.

Donations

Something that is very cool about this credit card is that whenever you make a purchase using your card, REI donates to nonprofit partner projects.

For example, in the past they donated $0.10 per REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard purchase transaction made to the REI Foundation.

That is a 501(c)(3) private charity that aims to: “rewild cities and keep wild places wild; connect underrepresented groups to the outdoors; demonstrate nature’s health benefits; and advance climate action.”

Past projects include rerouting of summit trails on Colorado fourteeners to alleviate habitat degradation and river clean-ups in Michigan’s Huron-Manistee National Forests.

REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard FAQs

Who issues the REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard?

U.S. Bank is the issuer of the REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard.

Is the REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard worth it?

The REI MasterCard is worth it if you spend a lot at REI as you can save 5% on your purchases and take advantage of other benefits.

Does the REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard have an annual fee?

No, there is no annual fee.

How much do you save with the REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard?

You can save 5% on all your purchases and also earn a gift card as a welcome bonus, sometimes up to $100.

What are the REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard bonus categories?

5% back on REI
2% back on mobile wallet purchases
1% back on all other purchases

When do I receive my REI MasterCard rewards?

You will receive your rewards annually in March whenever you receive your annual dividends.

Can I redeem my REI MasterCard rewards for cash?

Yes, you can redeem your rewards for cash by going in store.

When do my REI MasterCard rewards expire?

Your rewards all expire just under two years from the date they are issued. If you receive your rewards in March 2021, they will expire January 3, 2023.

Final word

I’m not always the biggest fan of co-branded retail credit cards. But in this case, I really do like the REI credit card. It offers a great way to save more at REI when those dividends roll around and has some other interesting perks to it as well.

I think it is a fantastic card to pair with an American Express card that earns Membership Rewards which can be redeemed for REI gift cards at a rate of one cent per point.

UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses 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.

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