If you’re a member of Sam’s Club, you might be interested in their new credit card, which comes with tiered rewards on popular everyday expenses.
The so-called “5-3-1 Credit Card Cash Back Program” offers healthly rewards to Sam’s Savings, Sam’s Business, and Sam’s Plus members in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
For the record, it’s a MasterCard issued by GE Capital Retail Bank, which may or may not replace their current Discover-branded credit card that only offers 2% cash back.
The rewards categories on the Sam’s Club MasterCard break down like this:
– 5% cash back on gas
– 3% cash back at restaurants and on travel
– 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
As far as the gas rewards go, you can earn 5% cash back on your first $6,000 in fuel purchases at Sam’s Club, Walmart fuel stations, and at any other gas stations in the U.S. or Puerto Rico during each calendar year.
Note that certain warehouse clubs and supercenters aren’t eligible, but my guess is you’ll be buying gas at Sam’s Club or Walmart if you have this credit card.
With regard to the 3% cash back at restaurants, you get the bonus at restaurants worldwide, including at fast food places, “drinking places,” and with caterers. So those cocktails might actually put some money back in your pocket…
However, it excludes restaurants located at warehouse clubs other than Sam’s Club. Still, that’s a pretty stellar deal.
Other than Chase Freedom’s 5% cash back at restaurants that rotate throughout the year, I don’t know of another card that offers as much as 3% cash back at restaurants year-round.
The 3% cash back on travel is also worldwide, with the bonus applied to airlines, rental cars, hotels, rail, bus, cruise, travel agencies, and more.
The 1% cash back is for all other purchases that fall outside those bonus categories.
Aside from the limit on fuel, Sam’s Club members can only earn up to $5,000 cash back annually (and that’s across all cards for one Sam’s Club member).
Tip: To redeem your cash back, you need to request a cash back check and take it to a Sam’s Club to get the money.
What Else Does the New Sam’s Club MasterCard Offer?
Sam’s Club says it’s the first major retailer to roll out chip-enabled credit card technology, perhaps a dig at Target and their massive security breach.
In any case, it means you can use the credit card internationally with greater ease, and you won’t have to worry about it being compromised as easily.
There is no annual fee on this credit card, though it does require a Sam’s Club membership, similar to the TrueEarnings Card from Costco.
It also provides extended warranty coverage along with identity theft resolution services for consumers. And extended warranty insurance along with MasterRental coverage for businesses.
Tip: Starting June 12th, all Sam’s Plus members will also be automatically enrolled to receive $10 in Cash Rewards for every $500 spent on qualifying pre-tax Sam’s Club purchases, regardless of whether you use cash or credit.
In summary, you can earn up to $500 annually through Sam’s Club Cash Rewards and another $5,000 annually when using the Sam’s Club MasterCard. Not a bad deal.
Pros and Cons of Sam’s Club MasterCard
- 5% cash back on gas
- 3% cash back at restaurants and on travel
- 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
- Get rewards for purchases worldwide
- Chip and signature technology
- No annual fee
- Requires a Sam’s Club membership
- You only get 5% cash back on first $6,000 in gas purchases annually
- Maximum of $5,000 cash back can be earned annually
- Cash back checks can only be redeemed at Sam’s Club
- Foreign transaction fees