- Costco is considered the mecca of savings for shoppers, but there are ways to reap even more discounts and benefits from using the right credit cards.
- The Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi is an obvious choice for any regular Costco shopper, but more flexible cards including the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Capital One Venture Rewards Card can help you save big, too.
- The Chase Freedom card, for instance, offers 5% back on rotating quarterly categories once you activate – and one of those categories is big-box stores like Costco.
When you need a really good deal on everyday grocery items like bulk frozen food, a massive bag of baby spinach, and almond milk, or larger purchases like car tires, a 600-bottle wine cellar, and funeral caskets, Costco is the place to go.
You can even fill up your gas tank on the way out at prices ten to twenty cents lower per gallon than nearby stations, or take a $US1.50 jumbo hot-dog and soda combo to go.
And if you bill yourself as a conscious consumer, on a lot of levels, this can all be enjoyed relatively guilt-free. Costco is oft-cited as one of the world’s most ethical companies due to the way it value its employees. According to Glassdoor, the average cashier salary at Costco is $US14 per hour, a pretty significant step up from the national average cashier salary of $US11 per hour estimated by Salary.com. In June of 2019, the company raised its starting wage for employees to $US14.50 per hour.
Costco is the mecca of savings, and just by shopping there, you’re taking a huge cut out of your expenses. But with the right credit cards, there are ways to save even more.
The newest Costco credit card
In 2016, Costco terminated its decade and a half long relationship with American Express, and now only accepts cards in the Visa credit network, with Citi as the exclusive issuer of Costco Anywhere credit card.
“With no annual fees and some great cash back incentives, the latest Costco credit card is a significant improvement over the previous one,” says Chane Steiner, CEO of Crediful. “While I wouldn’t recommend this for people who are only in it for travel perks or a signup bonus, this is an excellent card for dedicated Costco shoppers.”
The Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi offers:
- 4% cash back on gas, up to $US7,000 per year, then 1%
- 3% cash back on travel
- 3% cash back on restaurants
- 2% cash back on all Costco purchases, 1% cash back on all purchases everywhere else
Other cards that save big at Costco
Costco will now only accept Visa credit cards at its stores, but that doesn’t mean you’re limited to using the Costco Everywhere Visa by Citi. Here are a few other cards to have handy in your wallet every time you make your Costco run:
For Costco members who are less religious about shopping at the savings mecca, the Chase Freedom Visa might be a more cost-effective credit card to use there. With no annual fee, it offers a $US150 cash bonus for spending just $US500 in the first three months of opening the account.
Plus, you can earn 5% cash back (on up to $US1,500) on purchases in categories that rotate every quarter once you activate (including a category for wholesale clubs such as Costco).
For the first year you have the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, you’ll earn 3% cash back on all purchases (with a cash back cap of $US20,000), then 1.5% cash back after. Or, you could opt for earning Chase Ultimate Reward points instead, which can be redeemed for travel and other bonuses.
The points you earn here will be even more valuable if you pair it with other premium Chase cards to access transfer partners like United Airlines, Hyatt, and Starwood. Some of the other cards to have on hand for this are the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. This is a great card to have on hand as it comes with no annual fee.
US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card
If you love travelling as much as you love Costco, this is one of the best cards to have in your wallet. For starters, if you spend $US4,500 on qualifying purchases within the first 90 days of opening your card, you’ll be given 50,000 Altitude Reserve points right off the bat.
Other perks include earning 3x points per dollar for mobile wallet and travel purchases, a $US325 travel credit per year, complimentary membership to Priority Pass Select airport lounges, 12 free Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi passes per year, and a $US100 credit every four years to fees for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck applications and renewals.
The only drawback is that this card has a steep $US400 annual membership fee, but if you spend enough, this will more than pay for itself in addition to providing a profit on points and savings.
If you spend $US3,000 on the Capital One Venture in the first three months of opening the card, you’ll be gifted with 50,000 Capital One Venture miles, about the equivalent of $US500 for travel. This is a great card to use at Costco because you earn two venture miles per every dollar spent, anywhere.
If you do a lot of shopping at Costco it would be easy to meet the requirements for that minimum spend bonus.
And to redeem the points, you just purchase travel-related items like airfare or hotel rooms on your card, and then apply your points toward those specific purchases after they have posted – effectively erasing the expenses!
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