These Are the 6 Best Credit Cards to Use at Costco!

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These Are the 6 Best Credit Cards to Use at Costco!

Harlan VaughnThese Are the 6 Best Credit Cards to Use at Costco!Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

If there’s anything I love more than Costco, it’s getting an even better deal at Costco.  You probably already know about Costco’s low prices, sales, and membership perks.  But did you know you can get a rebate in the form of bonus miles, points, or cash back that can put money back in your wallet – every time you shop?

When I visit, I make sure to take a card that earns the best rewards for travel.  And there are plenty to choose from!

If You Shop at Costco, You Can Earn Easy Bonus Rewards by Paying With the Right Credit Card!

I’ll share the best cards to pay at Costco!

6 Best Credit Cards to Use at Costco in 2018

The best card to use at Costco is the newest Visa card you opened.

For example, if you recently got a new card and are working to meet minimum spending requirements, use that card until you earn the sign-up bonus!

Earning lucrative new cardmember sign-up bonuses is the quickest and easiest way to the best return for your spending, no matter what you’re buying.

Making Costco Purchases With a New Credit Card Can Help You Unlock a New Sign-Up Bonuses. Then You Can Travel to Destinations Like Hawaii for Less!

Keep in mind, Costco only accepts Visa cards in-store.  For online purchases, you can also use MasterCard or Discover credit cards, but NOT cards issued by American Express.

And when you’re not working toward minimum spending on a new card, here are 6 excellent cards to use at Costco to earn more rewards!

1.   US Bank Altitude Reserve

Apply Here:   U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

Read our review of the US Bank Altitude Reserve

With the US Bank Altitude Reserve card, you can earn 50,000 Altitude Reserve points after spending $4,500 on qualifying purchases within 90 days of account opening.

And you’ll earn:

  • 3X points per $1 on travel purchases
  • 3X points per $1 on mobile wallet purchases (like Apple Pay or Samsung Pay)
  • 1X points on all other purchases

There’s a $400 annual fee with this card, but you’ll get a slew of other perks including:

Mobile Payments at Costco Are Your Key to an Astounding 4.5% Back Toward Future Travel Every Time You Shop!

Costco recently added mobile payments at all of their stores.  So you can pay with your phone and earn 3 Altitude Reserve points per $1 spent at Costco.

Each point you earn is worth 1.5 cents toward travel.  So this amounts to 4.5% back (1.5 X 3) when you shop at Costco – and anywhere else that accepts mobile payments.  That’s an outstanding return on already good deals!

And you can book with any travel provider you like.  You do NOT have to book through US Bank to use your points.

The annual fee is steep, but I find this card is a keeper – especially now that Costco purchases count for 3X!

2.   Chase Freedom

Apply Here:   Chase Freedom®

Read our review of the Chase Freedom

When you open the Chase Freedom card, you’ll earn a $150 cash bonus (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after spending $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

And you’ll earn 5% cash back (5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in categories which rotate each quarter when you activate the bonus.

This quarter, October 1 through December 31, 2018, you can earn 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points at department stores and wholesale clubs, including Costco!

What’s Better Than Saving 5% a Snuggly New Flannel?

Past quarters have included grocery stores, mobile payments, and other popular shopping categories.  This is an incredible return on regular spending from a card with no annual fee!

I’ve already treated myself to a new flannel for a chilly fall, and of course a $5 rotisserie chicken! 😉

The information for the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

3.   Capital One Venture

Apply Here:   Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Read our review of the Capital One Venture

When you sign-up for the Capital One Venture card, you can earn 50,000 Venture miles (worth $500 in travel) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months.

If you want to earn straightforward miles you can easily redeem to save on travel, you might consider using the Capital One Venture card at Costco.

With this card, you’ll earn 2 Venture miles per $1 you spend on all purchases.

Use the Capital One Venture Card to Earn Miles Shopping at Costco. Then, Redeem Miles to Save Money on All Types of Travel Purchases, Even Cruises!

Venture miles are worth 1 cent each when you redeem them toward eligible travel purchases.  You just have to pay for travel expenses (like airfare, hotel stays, parking, and much more) with your credit card.  Then, log into your account and “erase” the charge by redeeming your miles!

4.   Citi Costco Visa Card

Apply Here:   Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

Read our review of the Citi Costco Visa card

Folks looking to earn straightforward cash back might consider the Citi Costco Visa card.

With this card, you’ll earn 2% cash back on purchases at Costco and Costco.com. You’ll also earn:

  • 4% cash back on on the first $7,000 of purchases each annual reward period (1% thereafter) of gasoline at Costco and gas stations worldwide (excluding superstores, supermarkets, convenience stores, and warehouse clubs other than Costco)
  • 3% cash back at restaurants & bars worldwide
  • 3% 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

This card has no annual fee if you have a paid Costco membership.

You Can Save 2% Every Time You Shop Online or In-Store With the Citi Costco Visa. This One’s for Costco Loyalists!

The only drawback with this card is you can only redeem your cash back rewards as a check once per year.  So if you cancel the card for any reason before receiving the cash back, you’ll lose all the rewards you’ve earned.  And some folks prefer the option to redeem cash back rewards at the end of each billing cycle.

5.   Chase Freedom Unlimited

Apply Here:   Chase Freedom Unlimited

Read our review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card earns 1.5% cash back (1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on every purchase with no spending caps, including at Costco!  So you don’t have to think about registering for bonus categories.

You can only redeem the points you earn with the Freedom Unlimited for 1 cent each for cash back or towards travel.  So this card is mostly worthwhile if you can pair it with another premium Chase card to access travel transfer partners, like Hyatt and United Airlines.

This way, your points are usually worth much more.  Or if you redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for airfare, hotels, or rental cars through the Chase travel portal, they’re worth more after you combine them, too!

On its own, the Chase Freedom Unlimited only earns 1.5% cash back, which is decent for a card with no annual fee.  But you can do better by pairing it with another Chase card, or choosing another card on this list.

The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

6.   Discover it® Cash Back

Apply Here:   Discover it® Cash Back

Folks who shop online can do well with the no annual fee Discover it card.  Remember, you can NOT use Discover cards in-store at Costco, but you can use them online.

With the Discover it® Cash Back, enroll every quarter to earn a 5% cash back bonus in categories that change each quarter throughout the year, on up to $1,500 in purchases.  And your cash back is matched at the end of your first card year.

Through December 31, 2018, you can earn 5% cash back at wholesale clubs, including Costco!

If You Like Cash Back, It’s Hard to Top the Discover It Card This Quarter

Just remember to log-in to your account to activate the bonus before you start your shopping.

And for new cardmembers, Discover will match the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first 12 billing cycles.  So any purchases you made in the 5% bonus categories will get you 10% cash back.  That’s an excellent return for a card with no annual fee. And getting 10% back from a Costco trip is a nice reward!

Bottom Line

Folks who shop in-store at Costco must pay with a Visa card.  There are many credit card options to earn extra cash back or bonus miles & points on your Costco purchases.  I recommend:

If you only shop online, the Discover it® Cash Back card offers 5% cash back categories that change each quarter throughout the year, on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter after you enroll.  Wholesale clubs, like Costco, are a bonus category through December 31, 2018.

Are there other cards you’d add to the list?

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U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

  • Exclusive to U.S. Bank customers
  • New Cardmember Bonus: 50,000 bonus points worth $750 on travel when you spend $4,500 in eligible net purchases within the first 90 days of account opening
  • Up to $325 annual statement credits for eligible net travel purchases
  • Earn 3X points for every $1 on eligible net travel purchases & mobile wallet spending
  • Complimentary Gogo® Inflight Wi-Fi – get 12 passes per year
  • Airport Lounge Access to 1,000+ Priority PassTM lounges worldwide
  • TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry – up to $100 statement credit reimbursement for the application fee once every four years
  • See additional U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card details
Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

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When you get your cash back rewards check from Costco, MAKE sure you actually CASH it out, rather than use it towards your purchases (which is what Costco wants you to do). That way you get the cash back and earn future rewards points on every purchase.

As to Chase Freedom’s current quarterly bonus on club store spending, at Costco, does such spending include Costco Travel? Are there any other possible exclusions?

I contacted Discover via chat last month when my quarterly bonus for Costco.com cash card purchases from Q1-2018 from didn’t post. Here’s the response that I received from the customer service rep:

“I do see purchases to http://www.costco.com and those are considered online purchases. The terms of the offer indicate that the purchase must be made in the warehouse club. So sorry for any confusion.”

So Discover will not count ANY purchases from Costco.com website for the wholesale club quarterly bonus category, and you can’t use Discover in the physical Costco store, so Discover is useless for Costco.

Anyone else have a similar experience or data point?

To take advantage of the 5% Discover offer, can I use it at costco.com to buy costco gift cards and use them at the store?

Whenever the 5% offer comes up on Discover, I always purchase Costco cash cards online and then use them in store. You’ll get the 5% back.

Million Mile Secrets

Thanks for sharing the data point, Barry!

A good use of the Discover Card Q1 bonus category is to purchase Costco cash cards on-line using Discover for use in store at Costco, where it works same as cash, though you purchased them at essentially a 5% discount!

Does it work? Or is this a suggestion?