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Is a Target Circle membership worth it? What to know about the retailer’s loyalty program

You can join the retailer's new paid loyalty program for $49 through May 18 before the annual fee increases to $99.
Target recently revamped its free Target Circle loyalty program and launched its first-ever paid membership, Target Circle 360.
Target recently revamped its free Target Circle loyalty program and launched its first-ever paid membership, Target Circle 360.Kara Birnbaum / Vivian Le / NBC News

Whether online or in-person, Target is a one-stop shop for groceries, pet supplies, tech, home goods, beauty products and more. To help customers save while shopping, the retailer just revamped its free Target Circle loyalty program and launched its first-ever paid membership, Target Circle 360. It costs $99 a year, but if you join by May 18, you’ll get the first year for a discounted rate of $49.

Target Circle Week, which only Target Circle members can access, is going on right now. That means it's a great time to sign up for the loyalty program if you have not already. Below, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about Target Circle and Target Circle 360. Plus, learn about the Target RedCard.

SKIP AHEAD What is Target Circle? | What is Target Circle 360? | What is the Target Circle Card?

What is Target Circle?

Target Circle, which launched in 2019, is the retailer’s free loyalty program. Once you sign up, you can earn 1% in Target Circle rewards every time you make eligible purchases (purchases made with a Target Circle Card do not receive these earnings). Over time, your Target Circle rewards build up in your account’s wallet, and you can use them toward future purchases.

One of the biggest Target Circle perks is access to exclusive deals. The retailer automatically applies relevant discounts at checkout online, in its app or in-stores, so you don't need to search for them beforehand. This is similar to how Amazon, which owns Whole Foods, automatically applies exclusive deals when Prime members check out at the grocery store.

More Target Circle benefits to know about

  • Target Circle Bonus: A Target Circle Bonus unlocks deals and games the retailer personalizes based on your shopping habits. It allows you to earn extra rewards by making qualifying purchases or completing specific actions at the retailer. When you’re signed in, you can find your active Target Circle Bonus offers online or through the retailer’s app.
  • Annual birthday gifts: For your birthday, Target gives Circle members 5% off a single purchase. The offer is valid for 30 days after your birthday.
  • Community support votes: Target Circle members can cast votes for select local and national nonprofits, which impacts how much the retailer donates to different charities. You earn votes per qualifying transitions in-store and online. 
  • Target Circle partnerships: Target partners with various brands to offer Circle members exclusive deals and free trials. Target Circle partners include Apple and Ulta Beauty, both of which are Target shop-in-shops, meaning the companies have their own branded shops within Target stores.

What is Target Circle 360?

Target Circle 360 is Target’s first-ever paid membership. It costs $99 a year — for comparison, an Amazon Prime membership costs $139 a year and a Walmart Plus membership costs $98 a year. But if you sign up for Target Circle 360 by May 18, you get your first year of the membership for a discounted price of $49.

Target Circle 360 is designed to expand upon the retailer’s free-to-join Circle membership. Those who join Target Circle 360 get all the benefits of Target Circle, plus other perks like:

  • Same-day delivery in as little as an hour through Shipt, which Target acquired in 2017, and its 100+ retail partners like Sephora, CVS, Petco and PetSmart. Delivery is free on unlimited orders over $35.
  • Free two-day shipping on eligible items
  • An additional 30 days to return purchases beyond the standard 90-day return policy

What is the Target Circle Card?

Previously known as the Target RedCard, the Target Circle Card is a store card that can only be used at Target. The Target Debit Card, Target Credit Card and Target Mastercard are each considered a Target Circle Card (though you can use the Target Mastercard at any merchant that accepts Mastercard).

When you pay with a Target Circle Card, you save 5% on eligible purchases in stores and online, including during sales events. You also get free two-day shipping and an additional 30 days to return purchases beyond the standard 90-day return policy.

Cardholders get special pricing on a Target Circle 360 membership — it’s $49 rather than $99. They can also sign up for a free Target Circle account instead (note that since Circle Card holders save 5% on Target purchases, they’re unable to earn 1% in Target Circle rewards while shopping).

Why trust NBC Select?

Zoe Malin is an associate updates editor at NBC Select who has reported about retailer loyalty programs since 2020. For this piece, Malin researched Target Circle and referenced Select’s other Target coverage.

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