Executive Summary -
A great card for the Costco member if he or she uses their gas station for their gasoline. Also great for folks who dine out a lot as you can earn 2% cash back on dining. For the casual traveler, this is also a great card because you can earn 2% cash back for travel expenses and also earn your frequent flyer miles.
We all know that you actually do not need this card to shop there. Any American Express card would do. We also know that when you shop at Costco with this card, you will earn 1% cash back (other cards like the Blue Cash Everyday from American Express (also) lets you earn 1% for Costco purchases as well. So why get this card even if you are a member? Well, there are actually several reasons.
You Earn 3% For Gasoline Purchases - We mentioned earlier that this card not only pays 3% cash back for their own stations, but also for other standalone gas stationts. The 3% beats most other gas cards in the market. Most gas station cards pay 5 to 15 cents rebates per gallon (which at today's price is way below 3%). Other all-round gas credit cards pay at most 2% cash back for gasoline purchases. And you cannot even earn the 2% at Costco stations because it is not considered a "standalone" station.
So if the Costco that you shop at has a gas station and you use it, then not only will you save money on gas there, but you will also save a further 3% if you have this card. And even if there is no Costco station at the one that you shop at, you could still use the card to get 3% cash back at regular stations like BP, Sunocco etc. Some of you will say' "But I have the Chase Freedom and normally they will pay 5% cash back on gas for one quarter in the year". But what about the other three quarters? And there is no guarantee gas will be in their 5% rotating category the next year.
2% on dining - Very few cards pay more than 1% or 1X point on dining. Other cards that do that include the Chase Sapphire and Citi Forward. When we look at cash back, we tend to look at supermarkets and gas as important categories. But we often overlook dining expenses. But however do we eat out? More than we think and probably more than we like to. So having this category where you can earn 2% cash back is great and adds to more savings via cash back.
- 2% on travel - I think this feature would be great for the casual infrequent traveler. It could also be great if you run out of frequent flyer miles to get a free flight. This is one of the truly rare cards where you can get a 2% cash back (which is equivalent to a discount) if you book your travel with it. And it could be airlines, hotels, car rentals and cruises. You can book with whoever you want and find the best deals. And best of all, by booking this way, you can still earn frequent flyer points if you book with the airlines directly.
- While you can only earn 1% cash back at Costco, I would still highly recommend this card if you are a member because you can earn great cash back from other categories.
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