Best Cards to Use at Warehouse Clubs Now That AMEX Costco Is Switching to Citi Visa

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In early 2016, folks with AMEX Costco cards will receive new Citi Costco Visas, because starting March 31, 2016, you won’t be able to use AMEX cards at Costco any more.

Best Cards To Use At Warehouse Clubs Now That AMEX Costco Is Switching To Citi Visa

Starting March 31, 2016, Costco Will No Longer Accept AMEX Cards. And Folks Will Receive a New Citi Costco Visa to Replace the AMEX Costco Card.

But, to make up for the loss, AMEX cards are now accepted at all Sam’s Club locations.

I’ll explain which credit cards are best to use when shopping at warehouse stores, including BJ’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club.  And give you tips on how to earn Big Travel while doing it!

What’s Going On?

Folks have shared leaked documents about the new Citi Costco Visa.  So far, we know:

  • After March 31, 2016, all AMEX Costco cards will be replaced with Citi Costco Visa
  • Costco will accept all Visa cards in Spring 2016
  • There will be a rewards program for the new card
  • More details will be available in early 2016

According to the official SEC filing of the new Citi-Costco partnership, here’s what the new rewards program will look like:

  • 3% cash back on the 1st $4,000 of purchases each annual reward period (1% thereafter) of gasoline at Costco and US gas stations (excluding superstores, supermarkets, convenience stores, and warehouse clubs other than Costco)
  • 2% cash back at US restaurants
  • 2% cash back for eligible travel purchases including airfare, hotel stays (excluding timeshares, banquets, and events), car rentals, and purchases from Costco Travel
  • 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases, including at Costco

The APR and foreign transaction fee haven’t been decided yet, but the card will have NO annual fee with a paid Costco membership.

This is an even better rewards program than the current AMEX Costco card has!  And because Costco will accept all Visa cards, this is great news for folks who like to shop there!

If you have the current AMEX Costco card, you don’t have to do anything now.  But look out for a letter about the changes.

Best Cards to Use at Warehouse Stores

Even though Costco stores only accept AMEX cards and cash in-store, you can still purchase Costco cash cards up to $1,000 on their website with any major credit card.

Best Cards To Use At Warehouse Clubs Now That AMEX Costco Is Switching To Citi Visa

Costco Cash Cards Are as Good as Cash at Costco…but Don’t Use Them for Electronic Purchases. For Other Items, Rely on Costco’s Amazing Return Policy

Keep in mind purchases made with a Costco cash card aren’t eligible for extended warranty and price protection like you’d get if you paid with certain credit cards.

But because of Costco’s generous return policy, you can return any item at any time for a full refund with no questions asked, except certain electronic items, which are only covered up to 90 days.

So if you want to buy, say, a new TV or tablet from Costco, it’s still best to use an AMEX card with purchase protection until they switch to the Citi Costco Visa.

BJ’s accepts AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa cards in-store and online.  Sam’s Club accepts AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa cards online, and AMEX, Discover, and MasterCard in-store (but NOT Visa). 

With that in mind, let’s look at some cards to use at these warehouse stores.

1.   AMEX Starwood Cards

Link:  Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Link:  Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express

Warehouse stores earn 1 mile or point per $1 spent on most credit cards.

But with the AMEX Starwood personal or small business card, it’s like earning 1.25 miles per $1 spent when you transfer 20,000 Starwood points to airline miles.  Because you’ll earn 5,000 bonus miles when you transfer to their airline partners (like American Airlines) with a 1:1 ratio.

That’s 25% more miles when you use AMEX Starwood personal or small business cards, even better than some airlines’ own credit cards!

Best Cards To Use At Warehouse Clubs Now That AMEX Costco Is Switching To Citi Visa

Stock up on Everyday Supplies to Earn Points Toward Big Travel, or Meet Minimum Spending Requirements

And, if you have lots of things to buy, it’s even easier to meet minimum spending requirements.

Read about the best ways to use Starwood points for Big Travel!

2.   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred 

Link:   Everything You Need to Know About the Chase Sapphire Preferred


The Chase Sapphire Preferred is 1 of my favorite cards.  And if I could only have 1 credit card in my wallet it would be this card!

Even though you’ll only earn 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards point per $1 spent at BJ’s, Costco, or Sam’s Club, the value in these points is their flexibility.

You can redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points for travel with access to most airlines and hotels through the Chase Travel Portal.  And, you don’t have to worry about blackout dates.

Or transfer them to airline and hotel partners for Big Travel!

Points earned with this card cover all 3 major airline alliances:

Best Cards To Use At Warehouse Clubs Now That AMEX Costco Is Switching To Citi Visa

If You’re Responsible for Big Parties or Get-Togethers, You Can Earn Lots of Points on the Supplies

If you’re lucky enough to get reimbursed for purchasing lots of party supplies, warehouse clubs are an easy way to rack up points for:

  • Homeowner’s Association upkeep
  • Parent Teacher Association meetings
  • Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts events
  • Or any other get-together you host!

This is also a great card for stocking up on office supplies and snacks, janitorial supplies, and paper products.  Especially if you can get reimbursed for them!

3.   AMEX EveryDay Preferred

Link:   AMEX EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card

With the AMEX EveryDay Preferred card, you get:

  • 3X American Express Membership Rewards points per $1 spent (up to $6,000 a year) at US supermarkets
  • 2X American Express Membership Rewards per $1 spent at US gas stations and Uber
  • 1X American Express Membership Rewards points on other purchases

But the real power of this card is when you when you make 30+ purchases in a billing cycle (not counting things you return for a credit).  That’s because you’ll earn 50% bonus points, or 1.5 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at BJ’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club.

Best Cards To Use At Warehouse Clubs Now That AMEX Costco Is Switching To Citi Visa

Need to Buy a Big-Ticket Item, Like a Diamond Ring? Get a Great Price – and Lots of Points – at a Warehouse Store

Say you spend $1,000 at a warehouse store.  If you meet the threshold of 30 purchases in a billing cycle, you’ll earn 1.5 American Express Membership Rewards points per $1.  So that equals  1,500 AMEX Membership Rewards points, which you can transfer to lots of airline and hotel partners, like Delta, Hilton, and Singapore Airlines, for Big Travel!  

Read my tips on how to make 30+ transactions in a month!

Warehouse stores also sell a lot of big-ticket items like engagement rings, lawn furniture, and the newest technology.  Use a card that will earn you Big Travel in the process!

4.   Citi Double Cash

Link:   Citi Double Cash Card

Folks that like cash back might consider the Citi Double Cash card.  It earns 1% cash back on every purchase, and another 1% cash back when you make payments, as long you meet the minimum payment on your monthly statement.

This card has easy-to-understand cash rewards with NO cap.  And you can redeem for a mailed check, a statement credit, or for gift cards, when you reach $25 in rewards.

There’s also no annual fee!  Read my full review of the card.

Bottom Line

Starting March 31, 2016, you won’t be able to use AMEX cards at Costco any more.  And folks with the AMEX Costco card will transition to the new Citi Costco Visa.

To earn Big Travel or cash back when you stock up at BJ’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club, consider using:

As soon as I get more details about the new Citi Costco Visa, I’ll be sure to share!

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10 responses to “Best Cards to Use at Warehouse Clubs Now That AMEX Costco Is Switching to Citi Visa

  1. One question which I haven’t seen addressed anywhere is what card you recommend to keep from having our amex membership rewards points disappear. My understanding is that if one doesn’t have an active membership rewards card, the points get forfeited. Once the costco amex disappears, what should we replace it with to keep our membership rewards points? Thanks.

  2. How are the Citi Costco rewards better than the current Amex Costco rewards? They look the same to me.

  3. For those who want to mainly use their points for airline travel in Business or First, would it be better to go with the soon to come Citi Costco card with those perks or to get the other Citi card that gives 2+ points for travel, gas and restaurants as those are my 3 main areas of spending?

    Does this new Costco card allow the points to be used to transfer to airline miles like the other Citi points? Which in your opinion is the best rout to go for earning points to transfer to airline partners for the $10K/ year in Costco spending? Thank you!

  4. Citi Double Cash is a master card, or at least mine is. Am I missing something?

  5. Great Info…Thanks!

    When you need to return something purchased with the Cash Card… how is it handled?
    Credit on card or can you get cash back?

  6. @Karen – I’ll do a post about this, so keep an eye out! And thank you so much for reading! 🙂

    @Todd – The perks are the same but as a Visa, you’ll enjoy more acceptance. It depends on which type of card you prefer.

    @Jason – The Costco credit card only earns cash back. It does not earn points. I hope that helps you decide!

    This post might help you too:

    @MT – You can use your Citi Double Cash MasterCard to purchase Costco gift cards online, or you can use it at BJ’s or Sam’s Club in-store or online.

    @misty – I’m not sure. I’d assume you’d get a store credit, though.

  7. this is not a “better” deal. it is the same deal. the idea that it is better because visas are more widely accepted is irrelevant to most folks, who have a visa already. what would make it better? 2 percent for costco purchases. it is a better deal to costco since it apparently is paying less for the visa exclusivity than it had been paying amex. go amex! go master card even, which would have been better since there’s a citi mastercard that offers 2 percent for ALL purchases!

  8. The change to Visa by Costco will mean fewer people will actually use the Costco Visa for shopping. I use an airline Visa card for 100% of my other purchases (groceries, dining, shopping, services, etc.) since I fly on the airline so much that I get top tier benefits worth a lot of money. The only reason I had an Amex was for Costco so that I could avoid paying by cash/check. Getting some % dollars rebate was fine too. But most savvy shoppers already have their favorite Visa rewards card, and it won’t be the Costco Visa card!

  9. Dude. You seem like a sharp guy. How can you recommend the Chase Sapphire, a card with a $95 fee as your favorite card? How can the flexibility be worth that fee? The $95 fee is equivalent to $9500 in expenses, before the benefits start kicking in. How much do you think a middle class Costco going family spends on their CC? Please teach me.

  10. HeathCliff Rothman

    My Delta AMEX card was perfect, because I spend most of my money at Costco, and wanted the benefit for travel, with Delta, which I like more than UNITED. I’m just stumped now. Chase visa preferred won’t do me any good at Delta. Is there any VISA card that rewards on Delta?