Something a lot of people don’t realize is that most credit card reward programs exclude warehouse stores (such as BJ’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club) from earning the normal amount.
For example, you may have a Visa card that normally gives 1% cash back but if you read the fine print, you might see warehouse stores only earn 1/2% or 1/4%.
The reason for this is because the biggest wholesale club stores (like BJ’s) have negotiated significantly lower card processing fees. As a result, most credit cards have a special rule when it comes to giving rewards for purchases at these retailers.
This the biggest reason why it makes sense to get a co-branded card from your favorite warehouse store, if you shop there a lot. So should you apply for the BJ’s Visa card from Barclays or not?
How do the points work?
You earn points which are automatically converted to cash back checks – these can be redeemed at their stores.
The “BJ’s Bucks” check is issued with your monthly statement in increments of $30 (3,000 points). So even though it uses points, thinking of it as a cash back credit card is probably less confusing.
- 2% cash back at BJ’s. This includes their stores, gas stations, and website.
- 1% cash back on everything else.
There’s no limit to how many points you can earn, however the BJs credit card does have a few rules hidden in the application’s fine print:
So assuming you don’t carry a balance, you will have to make a purchase at least every 6 months. I highly doubt this will be a problem for most people, but just wanted to point it out because it’s not unusual for people to let some of their credit cards sit dormant for awhile.
On the BJs Visa card application you are signing up for your club membership to automatically renew each year, unless you declined that part. If you plan on having a BJ’s membership forever this isn’t a problem, but if there’s a chance you may cancel in the future then remember the auto-renew on your credit card!
This is a bit concerning… what happens if your mail is lost or stolen? Will Barclays replace the BJ’s Bucks check or not?
Lastly we come to the expiration of rewards. Since the points don’t expire for 36 months, it won’t be a problem if it takes you a long time to save up 3,000 (to get the check). But once you get a check, make sure you use it fast since it expires only 90 days from being issued.
Low vs. high APR?
Most credit cards have 3 or 4 tiers of interest rates but the application for BJ’s only listed two:
13.99% or 24.99%
Conclusion? You either get a fairly reasonable rate or an extremely high rate – and apparently – nothing in-between.
This card will make sense for the hardcore BJ’s shopper, because the ability to earn 2% at a warehouse store is nothing to sneeze at.
For all other purchases and for those who don’t spend as much at BJ’s, then you may want to check out these cards that give 2% rewards on all your spending (with the exception of warehouse stores).