Costco’s American Express Rebates Get Even Better

I’ve never applied for an American Express card. I refuse, on principle, to pay for the privilege of having a credit card. My agreement to carry a card means the issuer gets to charge the merchant a percentage of my total purchases. They don’t need – and won’t get – $50 a year from me, thankyouverymuch.

Husband, though, had no such principle. He already had a card when we got married, and after I explained my principle to him he agreed that we would cancel that card before renewal.

That isn’t what happened. Instead, American Express teamed up with Costco to offer a no-fee Costco American Express. As long as you were a Costco member you could switch your standard AMEX card over, get your annual AMEX fee waived and get up to 1.5% (it starts at .25% and increases in steps based on total purchases) back. Additionally, you no longer had to pay the card off every month (which is irrelevant to us, as another principle of mine is to never carry a balance). I can’t tell you the interest rate or how it compares to other cards (see never carry a balance principle).

It also gave me an opportunity to use a credit card at Costco, since the only card they accept is AMEX.

Switch the card over we did. We also added me as a user, and believe me when I tell you that mine sees much more action than Husband’s. Since we put everything (including cars) on our credit cards to take advantage of rewards, it’s a nice sum at the end of the year. The rebate is in the form of a check that you must use at Costco, but if you don’t use the entire amount they give you the cash back. Last Christmas’ purchase of Husband’s $4000 Mac gave us a nice bonus this year, which went directly into savings (well, after I bought us some nice steaks).

Today I went to Costco and discovered that now Costco and AMEX have an even better deal. Their TrueEarnings card, previously available only to business members, is now open to all. What’s so great about it? Well, it bumps up the rebate percentages on gas, restaurants and travel.

We’re all trying to save money at the pump. The new TrueEarnings card increases the cash back to 3% back on gas, adding even more value to a very good deal. Today’s Costco gas price was $3.09, a full ten cents cheaper per gallon than the other stations in my neighborhood. That 3% cash back means my true price per gallon will be $3.00. Horrible, but not as horrible as $3.19 …

They are also offering discounts of 3% for restaurant dining and 2% for travel. Another great difference: with the TrueEarnings card you get the maximum rebate from dollar one. That makes a big difference right there.

So, if you have a Costco American Express, or any American Express, call now to get switched over to TrueEarnings. If you don’t already have an American Express, call and get one.

And if you are one of the unlucky ones to not have a Costco within a reasonable driving distance (sorry, PaidTwice!), you might consider moving.

Update 8/29/08:  Check out my post about how you can possibly save even more through the end of October: Costco American Express Card Holders Can Get More Rebate Cash Back!


11 Responses to “Costco’s American Express Rebates Get Even Better”

  1. Funny about Money Says:

    I don’t think you DO have to use the check or any part of it at Costco. Read the fine print on the card statement. Costco has always given me the full amount.

    If you’re in a large city, drive to one of the outlets in the more upscale part of town–they generally have more cash on hand and so have less difficulty forking over $500 or so. Also they seem to be more accustomed to having customers come in and ask for that much of a rebate, so you don’t get any flak.

    Gosh. Our Costco gas was $2.79 the day before yesterday! At any rate, it must be relative, wherever you live: it’s always anywhere from 5 to 15 cents less per gallon than the street price.

  2. Mohd A. Says:

    ‘Funny about money’ is correct, sign your rebate check, take it to Costco cashier, and they will give you the whole balance in cash or cash card, whatever you like…

    Another thing, get the executive membership($100) with 2% yearly rebate,,spend $5000 or more at Costco in 1 year and get your $100 back in the forum of a rebate to spend again! basically the membership becomes free…

    been with costco since 1993…

  3. BeThisWay Says:

    Thanks to both of you. It never bothered me to spend it there because I would usually be spending anyway. But next year I’ll just cash it (to deposit in the bank), then charge whatever purchase I make that day to get more rewards.

    The Business Membership sounds like a great deal if I was spending more than $5000 a year at Costco. Right now I’m at about $2000, but I’ll keep it in mind!

  4. Lisa Says:

    We recently upgraded to the executive membership because I figured if we spent $2500 there, then the rebate makes up for the difference in the cost of the memberships. And we nearly always end up buying something relatively big-ticket at Costco every year, so it should be worth it in the long run.

    And I went and applied for the Costco Amex card today… just too good a deal to pass up! 🙂 Thanks for the heads up, I wouldn’t have even thought to consider it just seeing the display in the store.

  5. Chris Says:

    Amex and Costco want you to *think* the rebate is required to use there (after all, the margin on purchases is one way they can make the rebate “back”) but as others noted they will give it to you in cash. Usually they take you to a separate register and sometimes they have to get more $$$ from the back but they will give it to you! Then spend it there or elsewhere – it doesn’t matter.

    The 3% on gasoline is a great deal to make this card even better…They do offer 5% on gasoline for busines card holders but it’s a hassle to get one if you don’t own a business (and probably not worth setting up a shill company just for the card)…but the 3% is the next best thing!

    There are other nice benefits too – like not having to carry a separate Costco card, the other cash back bonuses, the double-the-manufacturer’s warranty…and if you’re a Costco member you have to pay their membership anyway so you’re still getting the card for “free”…

  6. Festival of Frugality #115 — Broke Grad Student Says:

    […] presents Costco’s American Express Rebates Get Even Better at Are You Going To Be This Way The Rest of The Time I Know […]

  7. Kyle @ Rather-Be-Shopping Says:

    I just found this post. We have the Costco AmEx and love the kickback we get. I had never heard of the True Earnings AmEx card, I will have to get ours switched over. Thanks for the tip!

    I had to laugh at $3.09 for a gallon of gas, today I would be thrilled to only pay that. Sad thing is this post is only a few months old!!

  8. How to Not Write Checks « Are You Going To Be This Way The Rest of The Time I Know You? Says:

    […] on my credit card is money in my pocket.  First, it delays having to pay the bill.  Second, I get rewards.  Phone, internet, cable, newspaper, Sunpass (tolls) and web hosting show up on my bill every […]

  9. Costco American Express Card Holders Can Get More Rebate Cash Back! « Are You Going To Be This Way The Rest of The Time I Know You? Says:

    […] piece of mail the other day that’s going to put money in my pocket, and money in yours if you took my advice and signed up for the TrueEarnings card from Costco and American […]

  10. joankaufman Says:

    plase eet me now when my yearly rebate will arrive. I have been told many times that it is being sent

    Joan kaufman
    210 nahanton st
    newton 02459

  11. lucille zabel Says:

    I have a Costco Amer. Express business card…when can I expect the rebate check?

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