We break down the benefits of Target Circle, the retailer’s free loyalty program

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Want to earn money back on your Target purchases and score other exclusive savings? Enter Target Circle, the retailer’s free loyalty program that launched in 2019 and replaced its Cartwheel program. Unlike its predecessor, Target Circle rewards 1% back on every purchase and 5% back when you shop on your birthday, among other perks.

How does Target Circle work — and is it even worth applying for it? Head below for complete details on how to sign up for Target Circle and the trove of benefits that come with it.

How to sign up for Target Circle

Signing up for Target Circle is as simple as having a Target.com account. If you have an existing Target.com account, or are signing up for a new one, you’re automatically enrolled in Target Circle, free of charge. Alternatively, you can sign up for a Target Circle account via the Target mobile app or in-store at checkout.

Target Cartwheel members were integrated into Target Circle upon its launch in 2019. Target RedCard holders can connect their account to Target Circle to enjoy additional perks.

What are the benefits of Target Circle

Target Circle features a range of benefits for Target shoppers, whether they buy online or at a physical Target location. This is a departure from Target Cartwheel, which was primarily designed to reward consumers who frequented Target’s brick-and-mortar stores. 

The most notable Target Circle benefit is 1% back on eligible purchases to redeem at Target stores or Target.com at a later date. (You have up to a year to accrue or spend your credit before it expires.) That’s bumped up to 5% if you make a purchase on or within 30 days of your birthday. 

Other benefits of Target Circle include: 

  • Personalized coupons based on your shopping preferences
  • Hundreds of exclusive deals and offers at up to 50% off 
  • Early access to major sales throughout the year such as Black Friday
  • Votes to cast for local nonprofits to receive charitable contributions from Target

What is the Target Circle exclusive Apple subcription offer

In addition to the benefits above, Target has partnered with Apple to provide free 4- or 6-month trials of select Apple services, exclusive to Target Circle. New and existing Target Circle members who don’t have a current Apple subscription can take advantage of these deals.

Here are the exclusive Target Circle Apple offers, all ending June 17, 2022:

  • Apple TV+: Free 4-month trial
  • Apple Music: Free 4-month trial 
  • iCloud: Free 4-month trial
  • Apple Arcade: Free 6-month trial

These are among the longest trial periods we’ve seen for these Apple services. (For further comparison, Apple itself only offers three free months of Apple TV+ with the purchase of an eligible Apple device.) However, we’d be remiss not to mention Best Buy’s stellar offer for six free months of Apple Music with no purchase necessary.

Target Circle and Ultimate Beauty Rewards

Target is opening Ulta mini shops at 100 of its retail locations, with hundreds more planned in the future. Members of Ulta’s loyalty program, Ultimate Beauty Rewards, will be able to link their Target Circle accounts so they can earn Ultimate Rewards points plus 1% back for future Target purchases when they shop Ulta Beauty at Target. 

What is the difference between Target Circle and Target RedCard

Target RedCard is Target’s store credit and debit card. It offers a broader range of benefits than Target Circle. For instance, Target RedCard purchases receive an immediate 5% off, which can also be applied on clearance items and Starbucks at Target orders.

Additional Target RedCard benefits include:

  • Free 2-day shipping on most items at Target.com
  • Additional 30-day window for returns and exchanges
  • RedCard exclusive deals and offers
  • Early access to major sales throughout the year such as Black Friday
  • Cash withdrawal of up to $40 at checkout (RedCard debit only)

Target RedCard holders can link a Target Circle account to increase their benefits to include more exclusive offers plus the 5% birthday discount. However, the 1% back offer from Target Circle doesn’t stack with the Target RedCard 5% off discount. 

Is Target Circle worth it?

Unlike Amazon Prime and Walmart+, Target Circle is free to join so you’ll literally have nothing to lose here. Whether you’re a casual Target shopper or a Target devotee, Target Circle provides an easy way to save through exclusive deals and gain early access to Target’s

Black Friday
deals. (The exclusive free 4-month trial of Apple TV+ isn’t too shabby, either.)

If you’re a Target RedCard holder, Target Circle will be a nice addition to the benefits you already enjoy as a Target shopper. The inability to stack the 5% off Target RedCard discount with Target Circle’s 1% back is a bit of a downer since that would potentially yield some excellent savings, but that’s immaterial considering the other benefits that come with each.