AEO Connected Visa vs. Athleta Visa

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

Frequent retail shoppers have a lot of options when they decide to open a store-branded credit card. The world (or in this case, the mall) is your oyster, as they say. Those who appreciate stylish, but comfortable clothes and athletic wear are likely already familiar with the many benefits of shopping at Aerie and Athleta, two retail clothing stores. Which card is it, then? AEO Connected or Athleta Visa?

AEO Connected

You're the ideal AEO Connected Visa customer if you're a budget-savvy shopper. When you're shopping for clothing, are low prices a priority? Do you have a good credit score (somewhere between 690–719)? Are you looking for a credit card that will also reward you for everyday purchases? Do you plan to pay off your balance in full each month?

If so, the AEO Connected card is a smart choice for you. Faster rewards give Aerie's AEO Connected Visa the edge over Athleta. Earn high cashback rewards on all purchases within the AEO brand, plus extra discounts and exclusive sales to boost your savings. Simply put, it's hard to beat the earn rate of the AEO Connected card.

For every dollar spent at any AEO store or website, you'll earn points. Accruing points will unlock cash that can be used at your next Aerie visit. And, certain spending thresholds within a year with the AEO brand will make you eligible for a bonus. AEO Connected also offers points on all purchases, so you don’t have to spend exclusively at AEO.

People love the AEO Connected Visa because it helps them to save even more. Not only do points accrue quickly with AEO Connected, but Aerie apparel is typically less expensive than Athleta apparel to begin with. The store often runs big sales, and you can usually find additional coupon codes. In other words, your rewards stretch a long way. In addition to public sales, AEO Connected cardholders get access to exclusive cardholder sales, free shipping, a birthday coupon, and a "buy 5, get 1 free" promotion on bras and jeans.

Athleta Visa

You're the perfect Athleta Visa customer if you spend a lot on Gap brand apparel.

  • When shopping for activewear, is performance more important than price?
  • Do you shop at Gap, Old Navy, or Banana Republic often?
  • Do you already have a rewards card you love for everyday purchases, like groceries and gas, and you're just looking for a store loyalty program?
  • Do you plan to pay off your balance in full each month?

If so, the Athleta Visa card may be a solid choice for you. Yes, Athleta Visa has a slower earn rate, but the spend toward your first reward is also less. Athleta Visa may accrue rewards more slowly than AEO Connected, but it's still one of the best store cards out there.

Of course, rewards and perks only benefit you if you actually use the card—so if you shop at Athleta more often than Aerie, then you may want to consider the Athleta Visa. The math is a little complicated, but it can have a big impact on how satisfied you are with your credit card choice. Ultimately, the AEO Connected card earns points at a better rate.

However, because you get to "cash out" when you earn a $5 reward with Athleta—instead of waiting until you've earned a $10 reward with AEO—that means you get your first reward after a smaller inital spend. Access rewards sooner with Athleta. If you're not a frequent shopper, that can make the Athleta card feel more rewarding, despite the slower earn rate.

People love Athleta because their clothes are built to last. While Aerie apparel is geared more toward comfort and low-impact exercise, Athleta carries premium gear like compression socks, high-impact sports bras, and hiking pants.

Athleta offers the most points per dollar at any Gap Inc. store or website, and lesser points elsewhere. If you shop at Athleta, Gap or Banana Republic, you’ll be making the most of your bonus rewards, but the cashback percentage of the AEO card in AEO stores is still higher. The standard cashback rate for all other purchases is comparable.

The Winner

AEO Connected Visa lets you earn and redeem rewards faster than Athleta Visa. If you love the idea of wearing comfy, workout-ready clothes all day long (and who wouldn't?), then you're probably already familiar with Aerie and Athleta, two of the most popular "athleisure" brands on the market.

Both stores offer credit cards that can help loyal customers earn rewards for their purchases, but the AEO Connected Visa has an earn rate that can't be beat—along with extra perks that make shopping more fun and budget-friendly.