What is Target Circle? In short, it’s a free and easy way to save on all your Target trips, big or small. And I’m about to spill everything you need to know to make the most of it. (And also why it’s an ideal time to sign up and get familiar with it!)
What used to be known as “Target Cartwheel” is now Target Circle, a free program that gives you rewards and exclusive discounts on your purchases. You get 1% back on everything you buy at Target, exclusive access to Circle Offers, special deals from Target partners, and more free perks. Add some Target couponing skills and your 5% RedCard discount to the mix and the possibilities are endless.
If you have questions about how Target Circle works, you’re not alone. There’s a lot you can do with the program. But I’ve studied every corner of it to break it down for you real simple — and clear up those questions you might not see answered on the Circle homepage.
From “how-to” basics to little-known tips, here’s your complete guide to the Target Circle program:
1. Target Circle is the free rewards program for Target shoppers — and it’s key to scoring the best deals.
I always say if you’re shopping at Target without Circle, you’re missing out on savings. It’s just like signing up for any retailer account, but this one has perks that really pay off. And yes, it’s totally free to join.
How does Target Circle work? Basically, you earn rewards toward future purchases every time you shop at Target. Plus, you get to access exclusive deals (aka Circle offers) for bigger savings. Using Circle is especially easy with the Target app, but you can reap the benefits however you choose to shop.
The three main benefits of Target Circle are:
- 1% back on Target purchases
- Circle Offers (aka exclusive savings on tons of items)
- 5% back on one purchase during your birthday month
Sign up for Circle online or visit the account tab in your Target app to get started.
2. You can shop with Target Circle online, in stores, or through your Target app.
Target makes it easy to use Circle no matter how you shop, so you never miss out on savings. Shopping online or in the app is as easy as signing into your Circle account.
If you’re shopping in stores, enter your phone number on the keypad or self-checkout screen. Or, scan your Circle barcode (located in the Wallet part of your Target app) at checkout to link your account to your purchase.
3. They even let you collect Target Circle earnings up to 14 days after your purchase.
If you forgot to scan your Circle barcode on your last Target run, no problem. You can collect Circle earnings up to 14 days after your purchase. All you have to do is enter your receipt numbers in the app or from your Circle dashboard on Target.com.
In the app, tap the barcode icon in your search bar, then tap “Enter receipt number.”
4. Rack up your 1% Target Circle earnings to spend on future purchases.
A cashback amount of 1% may not seem like a lot, but if you’re a repeat Target shopper, your earnings will add up fast.
Circle earnings are basically free money to spend at Target whenever you want. If you let them rack up, you can take huge chunks off your purchase total and even get free items. Plus, your earnings never expire unless you don’t earn or redeem any Circle earnings for a whole year. So as long as you’re making at least one Target run a year, you’re good.
How to earn 1% back in-store:
Scan your Circle barcode at checkout and tap the on-screen option to apply your earnings. If you don’t have any Target Circle earnings to apply, you won’t see this option at checkout.
How to earn 1% back online and in the app:
At checkout, you’ll see a box that shows your available Circle earnings. Just click or tap “Apply” to use them on your online or app purchase. Again, if you don’t have any earnings available, you won’t see this option when you checkout.
You can also visit your Account, then go to “Target Circle” to apply available earnings.
5. Look out for Circle Bonuses to earn up to $30 in rewards on a single purchase.
You’ll likely find high-value bonuses during Target Circle Week, but they’ve been known to drop some during random, non-sale times, too.
Target offers limited-time bonuses like “make a $110 purchase and earn a $15 Target Circle reward.” This is your chance to rack up earnings way faster than your standard 1% back. When there’s a bonus available, you’ll see it featured on your main Circle offers page, whether online or in the app.
Bonuses vary from shopper to shopper, so not every Circle member has the same offer at the same time. While Target gave me a $15 reward on $110+ purchases, other KCL shoppers received a $10 reward on $80 purchases.
6. Only a few items don’t qualify for Circle earnings — and the main one is Target gift cards.
You won’t have to worry much about which items do and don’t get you 1% back. For the most part, you can just shop at Target and watch your earnings grow.
These are the only exclusions to earning 1% back with Target Circle:
- Prescriptions and over-the-counter pharmacy items
- Target Optical purchases
- Purchases made on the Shipt app
- Target gift cards and prepaid cards
Anything else you buy from Target is fair game.
TIP: You can’t earn 1% back on Target gift cards, but you will get 5% off the gift card value if you pay with your RedCard.
7. Link your RedCard to your Circle account for 5% off instead of 1% back.
Yes, you can totally use your RedCard with your Circle account, and you probably should. But you need to know that you won’t get the 5% off RedCard discount plus an additional 1% back through Target Circle. You’ll just get the 5% off.
That doesn’t mean being a Circle member is worthless if you have a RedCard, though. You just get a bigger reward for shopping. Plus, having a Circle account is still key to using the Target app, redeeming Circle offers, and accessing other exclusive deals.
8. Check for weekly Circle Offers to save on everything from groceries to furniture.
Your typical Circle Offer gives you a percentage off certain items (like 25% off Clorox Sprays or 10% off Old Spice Deodorant). You’ll pretty much find them across every category — household supplies, health, pets, food, baby, beauty, and more.
Most Circle offers drop on Sundays alongside the weekly ad, but Target tends to sprinkle in a few extras throughout the week. In the app, you can see Circle Offers right from your homepage. On Target.com, click “Deals” from your main menu, then “Target Circle Offers.”
How to save Target Circle Offers to your account:
Tap the “+” button in the Target app to save Circle offers as you scroll, or use the red “Save offer” button online. All the offers you save are loaded onto a list in the Circle Offers part of your app or online account.
TIP: You can check to see if there’s a Circle Offer for a specific item in-store by scanning its barcode with the Target app. If there’s an offer available, just tap to save it to your Circle account.
9. All your saved Circl Offers automatically apply to online and app purchases.
Again — just be sure to save them to your Circle account online or in the app before you checkout. If you do that, your Circle Offers will automatically apply to all eligible items in your order.
10. Open the app and scan your barcode at checkout to redeem Circle Offers in-store.
Redeeming Circle Offers in-store is just as easy — all you have to do is open the Target app and have the cashier scan your Circle barcode, or scan your own barcode at self-checkout.
Then, all your saved Circle Offers will apply to eligible items in your purchase.
11. Target lets you scan your Circle barcode up to six times daily — on up to 99 items per transaction.
Technically, you can claim a Circle Offer 594 times in one day unless the Circle exclusions state otherwise. That’s because you can scan your Circle barcode six times per day — on up to 99 eligible items per transaction. So if there’s a Circle offer for 10% off Chapstick Lip Balms and you try to buy 100 of them in one transaction, the Circle Offer will only apply to 99 of the lip balms.
You can even come back the next day and claim the same offer 594 more times, and so on and so forth, until the Circle offer expires. Not sure what kind of situation you’d be in to claim nearly 600 Circle Offers in one day, but hey. It’s possible, according to Target’s policy.
12. Shop during Target Circle Week in July for deals that compete with Prime Day.
Target has their own version of Amazon Prime Day, except you don’t need a paid membership to reap all the limited-time deals.
Target Circle Week (formerly known as Target Deal Days) runs alongside Amazon’s big Prime Day sale. In 2023, you’ll find deals like up to 50% off Sun Squad pools and water toys, 30% off kids’ clothing, 20% off Barbie, and so much more. The week-long event will run from July 9 through 15, but you’ll need to have a Target Circle membership to get the deals.
13. Get 5% off a purchase during your birthday month.
Make sure your Circle account has your date of birth on file so you can reap the free birthday benefits. During your birthday month, you’ll get a Circle offer for 5% off a single Target purchase, valid for up to 30 days from your birthday.
14. Unlock free trials to Apple TV+ and Apple Music with your Target Circle account.
As a Circle member, you can claim Apple discounts that aren’t available to just anyone. Target partners with Apple to give Circle members exclusive free trials to their programs, like Apple TV+, Apple Music, iCloud+, and more.
Currently, these are the Apple offers available through Target Circle:
- Apple TV+ — free for 3 months
- Apple Fitness+ — free for 4 months
- iCloud+ (with 50 GB of storage) — free for 3 months
- Apple Arcade — free for 3 months
- News+ — free for 3 months
15. Link your Ulta account to your Circle account for double rewards on Ulta purchases from Target.
By linking your Ultamate Rewards account to your Target Circle account, you’ll earn Ulta points on your purchase, plus your standard 1% back from Circle.
The only bad news? You can’t earn Ulta bonuses at Target — like the offers you see for 2X or 3X points in the Ulta app. You’ll only earn those bonuses when you shop directly with Ulta.
16. Save an extra 15% on leftover Target wedding registry items with your Circle account.
Setting up a Target wedding registry means extra perks for Circle members.
The week of your wedding date, Target will email you a 15% off Circle coupon to use on anything left on your registry. Your coupon is good to use up to six months after your wedding date, and you can use it twice. Just be sure to save the offer to your Circle account before you shop.
Even better, you don’t have to use the 15% off coupon on leftover registry items. You can use it on tons of other items from Target, with a few exceptions (like Target gift cards, alcohol, gaming consoles, and others).
17. Get a year’s worth of Circle coupons on diapers, wipes, and more when you start a Target baby registry.
Welcoming a new little one comes with many important (and often pricey) purchases. One of the easiest ways to save right off the bat is to create a Target baby registry.
Circle members get to access tons of baby freebies and coupons just for registering at Target. One of the first things you can get is a Welcome Kit with over $100 of free samples and digital coupons. You can either claim your Welcome Kit in-store (though shortages are likely) or contact Target customer service to request one. After reaching out, they’ll add about twenty different Circle Offers for various baby items to your account. You’ll also get a 15% off Circle coupon to use on any lingering registry items about eight weeks before your due date.
Once your due date passes, you’ll start seeing Circle Offers pop up in your account under “Baby,” including high-value coupons on diapers, wipes, and other products geared toward different baby milestones.
18. Trade in your old car seat for a 20% off Circle coupon that’s offered twice a year.
The benefits of Target Circle honestly just keep coming, so you’ll never be disappointed.
During the twice-yearly Target Car Seat Trade-In Event, you can bring your old car seat into Target in exchange for a 20% off Circle coupon. All you have to do is drop off your car seat in the donation box, scan the designated QR code with your Target app, and save the 20% off Circle coupon to your account.
Your coupon is good to use on select Target baby gear — like a new car seat, stroller, or high chair. You can even stack your 15% off baby registry coupon with your 20% off car seat coupon for extra savings.
Target’s Car Seat Trade-In usually runs for two weeks and happens in April and September. The last event ran from April 16 – 29, 2023.
19. Cast community votes to have a say in how Target donates to nonprofits.
Every time you shop with your Circle account, you’ll earn “votes” to cast for various nonprofit organizations. When you cast a vote, you’re telling Target which organization you think they should support and direct funds to.
Target chooses a new set of nonprofits you can vote for every three months. During this time, you can use however many votes you’ve racked up to choose the organizations you think Target should support. Spread your votes out across multiple nonprofits or cast multiple votes for the same nonprofit to have an even bigger say.
When voting ends, Target donates a certain amount of money to each nonprofit based on the community votes.
Have more questions about how Target Circle works? Drop a comment below and let us know how we can help!