Costco TrueEarnings Credit Card Review

November 10, 2010 No Comments »
Costco TrueEarnings Credit Card Review

Important update: American Express and Costco are ending their partnership on March 31st, 2016. After that date, you won’t be able to use an American Express card at Costco, nor will you be able to use any co-branded Amex/Costco credit cards such as the TrueEarnings Card.

However, you can still apply for this credit card.

If you’re a Costco member in the market for a new cash back credit card, you may want to consider the American Express credit card made exclusively for Costco members.

I’m talking about the “TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express,” which is an American Express credit card and Costco membership card in one!

That’s right, two memberships for the price of one. As long as you’re a Costco member, you won’t pay an annual fee for the TrueEarnings Card. So that’s a huge plus.

If you aren’t currently a Costco member, you’ll need to sign up before you apply for this credit card (because it requires that you input your Costco membership number).

But you can purchase a Costco membership online in minutes or at your nearest Costco warehouse store.

Cash Back Rewards at Gas Stations, Restaurants, and Even Costco!

  • 3% cash back at gas stations (including Costco)
  • 2% cash back at restaurants and on travel (including Costco Travel)
  • 1% cash back elsewhere

The Costco-branded American Express card comes with great cash back rewards, including 3% back on gas at U.S. stand-alone gas stations and at Costco (up to $4,000 annually, 1% cash back thereafter).

You also get 2% cash back at U.S. restaurants, 2% cash back for eligible travel purchases (including Costco Travel), and 1% cash back on everything else, including Costco purchases.

It would be nice if Costco purchases got more than 1% cash back, but margins are probably already tight, so that’s a steep hill to climb.

But if you eat out a lot, the cash back at restaurants is certainly a plus. In fact, my biggest wish is that other credit cards offered bonus cash back on restaurant purchases.

I use the Blue Cash Everyday card from American Express, and it would be the perfect credit card if it offered bonus cash back at restaurants.

For the record, there’s no minimum to spend to get these bonus amounts, and no limit to what you can earn in the way of cash back.

A cash reward coupon is issued annually in your February billing statement, which can be redeemed at any U.S. Costco warehouse for merchandise or cash. It expires on August 31st each year so be sure to cash it!

TrueEarnings Card Offers 0% APR for Six Months on Purchases

The TrueEarnings Card also comes with 0% APR on purchases for the first six months, meaning you can use it to offset big purchases for half a year.

After the introductory APR period is over, the credit card APR rises to a variable rate, currently set at 15.24%, which is about average as far as credit card interest rates go.

[What is a good APR for a credit card?]

The APR for balance transfers is also a variable 15.24%, so clearly this is NOT a good credit card for those looking to transfer existing balances.

Overall, the Costco-branded American Express credit card is a good choice if you want to earn a healthy percentage of cash back in the categories mentioned above while enjoying the benefits of being an American Express cardholder for free.

After all, most American Express credit cards charge an annual fee for their stellar customer service and associated benefits (here are some that do not).

It’s a great credit card for those who pay their credit card off in full each month and want the best cash back rewards, all with the convenience of two cards in one.

Special note: Once you sign up, your annual Costco membership fee will be automatically charged to your TrueEarnings Card.

Read more: What credit card has the best rewards?

(photo: Lisa Pinehill)

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