In-Depth Review of American Express TrueEarnings CostcoCard

Review of American Express TrueEarnings Costco Card

The American Express TrueEarnings Costco was last reviewed on : 18th November 2004

Summary - The American Express Costco Cash Rebate credit card is one of the best cash rebate and reward credit cards. It is more of a cash rebate credit card rather than a Costco credit card. Firstly, you earn 3% in any restaurants (even take outs). You earn 2% on travels (airline tickets, hotel stays, car rentals and cruises) which equals and in some cases beats specific airline or hotel travel credit cards. You earn travel rewards on any airline or hotel booked with any travel agent. You earn 1% on other purchases including those at Costco.

You earn rebates up to $100,000 in spending. Though there is a cap, it is quite high as it implies you can earn between $1,000 and $3,000 in theory if you spend at least $100,000 (the number is likely to be in somewhere in between). There is no annual fee (which makes earning 2% on airline look at great deal as most airline travel credit cards charge anywhere from $45 to $135 for annual fees). The APR is moderately high and we advice against carrying a balance even though there is a introductory APR on both purchases and balance transfers.

This is a very good cash rebate credit card. The 2% rebate on travel makes this a very good travel credit card, but with rebates in cash and with the flexibility of choosing any airline or hotels through any travel agency (many airlines need you to book directly through them to earn miles on your credit card). Anyone looking for a cash rebate credit card should have the American Express TrueEarnings Costco credit card as one of the top picks. If you are a frequent traveller, we would also suggest that you consider this credit card as you earn rebates equivalent or even better than a specific travel credit card (airline or hotel), without incurring any annual fees. The only snag is that you get your cash in the form of a certificate once a year, which has to be redeemed at Costco. (So make sure there is a Costco around where you live). You can obviously also redeem your certificates for Costco purchases.

Positives * Good rebate payouts. You can earn rebates on travels even if they are booked through travel agencies. 2% rebate on travels is equal to or better than rewards offered by other specific airline or hotel credit cards (without the annual fee).
* High spending limits limits before you stop earning rebates ($100,000) implies you can earn between $1,000 and $3,000 if you spend $100,000 on your credit card. Many other cash rebate credit cards limit your annual cash rebate to between $300 to $600.


* High APR.
* Cash/Costco certificates are given out only once a year.
* You have to redeem your cash at a Costco Warehouse (or use it for your Costco purchases).

American Express TrueEarnings Costco Card Benefits

Reward Structure - The American Express TrueEarnings Costco Card lets you earn 3% when you eat at any restaurants (or or take out), 2% on travelling, including airline tickets, hotel stays, cruises, car rentals (even you you book through a travel agency) and 1% on all other purchases including those at Costco. A Costco certificate is given once a year, which can be redeemed for Costco goods or cash. You earn rebates for only up to $100,000 in expenditure (which means you can earn between $1,000 to $3,000 in rebates if you spend $100,000).

Credit Card Benefits - You will get standard American Express benefits like travel insurance of up to $100,000, auto rental insurance, hotel assured reservations, warranty extensions, return protection, online fraud protection, 24 hour customer service and year-end account summary.

Cost and Interest rates - There is no annual fee. A 0% introductory APR for purhases is charged for the first 3 months. A fixed APR of 1.99% is charged to any balance transfer for 6 months if transfered within 90 days. There is no balance transfer fee during the introductory period. The APR is Prime Rate plus 8.99% , which is moderately high.

American Express TrueEarnings Costco Card
Reward Benefits
Sign-on Bonus none
Rebate Percentages Earn 3% on restaurants purchases including takeouts
Earn 2% on travels including airline tickets, hotel stays, car rentals, cruises
Earn 1% on other purchase including those from Costco
Rebates issued once a year in the form of a Costco in-store coupon redeemable for cash or Costco merchandise at US Costco Warehouses
Credit Limits $2000 to $100,000
Caps on Rewards First $100,000 of eligible annual spending
Minimum Income Required $20,000
none if already an existing Amex Cardholder
Travel and Insurance Benefits
Up to $100,000 Travel Accident Insurance
Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
Emergency worldwide card replacement
Other Benefits

24 hour customer service
Online fraud protection
Return Protection
Warranty extension"Save in the offer zone" discounts from various brands
Cost/Fees/Interest rates
Introductory rate 0% introductory APR on purchases for 3 months
Fixed APR of 1.99% on balance transfers for 6 months if transfered within 90 days
Annual Fees none
Purchase APR Prime Rate plus 8.99%
Balance Transfer APR Prime Rate plus 8.99%
Cash Advance APR Prime Rate plus 14.99%
Penalty/Default Rate APR Prime Rate plus 21.99
Min Finance Charge $0.50
Grace Period 20 days
Balance Calculation Method Average Daily Balance
Balance Transfer Fee 3%, min $5.00, max $50.00
does not apply to balance transfers during 3 month introductory period
Travellers checks fee 1%
Cash Advance fee 3% min $5.00
Over-the-credit-limit fee $29.00
Late Payment fee $15.00 - up to $100
$25.00 - $100 up to $1000
$30.00 - $1000 and greater

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