American Express Costco TrueEarnings Business Card Review

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CreditCardGuru
 
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American Express Costco TrueEarnings Business Card Review

Postby CreditCardGuru » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:03 am

Are you a Costco Business member in 2013? If so, take a look at this credit card. I wouldn't say the rewards program is good enough in and of itself to get a Costco business membership, but if you already have one, then it might make sense.

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Part 1: The Basics
  • No annual fee as long as you maintain an active Costco Membership.
  • The TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express doubles up as both an American Express credit card and your Costco Membership card.
  • You can pay your charges in full or carry a balance (which means paying interest, of course).
Part 2: The 2013 Rewards Program
The bad news is that the rewards aren't nearly as lucrative as they used to be. A few years ago, it gave an unlimited 5% at gas stations and 3% at restaurants. You still get reward in those categories but at a much lower rate...

  • 1% cash back on regular purchases, including at Costco
  • 2% cash back at US restaurants and eligible travel purchases
  • 4% cash back on gas at US stand-alone gas stations, including at Costco, for purchases up to $7,000 per year (1% thereafter)
Unfortunately you only receive your cash back once per year. It's given in the form of an annual reward coupon, which will be mailed to you. That money can be spent at Costco.

As is the case with all AmEx biz cards, you earn additional cash back at participating companies in their OPEN Network. This happens automatically whenever you make purchases with the participating merchants (there are around a dozen of them). For example, at Marriott you earn a 5% rebate. I would like to reiterate though that this benefit isn't exclusive to the Costco business credit card. Rather, you get it with EVERY American Express small business card.

Part 3: The Benefits
With this you get the standard AmEx cardmember benefits...
  • Baggage Insurance Plan: You get coverage of up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and $500 for checked baggage during eligible Common Carrier travel you paid for with the card.
  • Buyer's Assurance Plan: This benefit will mirror manufacturer's warranty coverage, for up to one additional year, for covered products you purchased with the card that come with an eligible warranty of 5 years or less.
  • Purchase Protection Plan: You're protected from accidental damage or theft for up to 90 days on eligible purchases made with the card.
  • Return Protection: American Express will accept your return when the store won't. If you try to return an eligible purchase in the U.S. within 90 days and the merchant won't take it back, they will refund the purchase price - up to $300 per item.
If you choose to apply, have your Costco membership card handy, because you will need to enter your account number on the application. If you don't have membership, you will need to buy one. The price is the same as a regular Costco membership – $55.

Is it the best choice for 2013 or not?
That depends. There's really only one reason I would recommend the American Express Costco business card and that is for the 1% it gives at their stores. You see other credit cards typically give less at warehouse stores such as Costco and Sams Club - they have to do this because those stores pay lower processing fees.


Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Last edited by CreditCardGuru on Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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