The TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express can be a useful and versatile card for your business or personal usage. Well-developed rewards structuring makes this an attractive card overall, although it does have a couple drawbacks. In general, you can count on 3% for all fuel purchases, 2% on traveling & dining purchases and 1% on the rest of your purchases. There’s no annual fee to pay, as long as you’re a Costco member.
Costco members already benefit from some of the best gasoline prices available in the U.S. And American Express obviously has a long-standing stellar reputation as a card issuer. It also happens that you can only use American Express credit cards to pay at Costco. Add all that up and you’ll find that the TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express really is quite useful to Costco members – but maybe not so much so for the rest of the world’s inhabitants.
Of course, there are limitations to the greatness of the TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express, even for devout Costco fans. For instance, there is a $4000 cap put on the gasoline rewards points you can earn annually. The good side of that is that in order to spend $4000 in a year on gas, you would be spending roughly $77 weekly. Stats show that the average American spends just about $52 weekly. So, that’s good – unless you happen to drive a whole lot!
You will also “earn” a full 2% cash back on purchases at hotels, airports, cruise lines, car rental agencies, and of course, Costco Travel locations. Although the rewards structure for the TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express seems fair enough when compared to other cards, Costco gets a bit cheap when it comes to redemption availability. You see, other cards make you wait until you rack up a certain amount of cashback points (say like $25 worth) before you can redeem them. Other cards say you must wait until the end of each billing cycle. The Costco TrueEarnings American Express Card makes you wait the entire year to redeem your points though. That’s right, just once yearly. Hmm.
Once annually, included on your February billing statement, you will receive a coupon for your TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express reward points. Yes, you can take this to any Costco location and receive cash back, or merchandise; your choice. Remember that the points must be redeemed by August 31 of the year the coupon is issued. Otherwise your reward points will be forfeited. You can read the Card Member Agreement that comes with your approved card for all the fine-print details.
Another feature not well-received with the TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express is the fact that your points will expire. While many other cards advertise and delivery absolutely no expiration for your rewards points, your TrueEarnings points account will be reset to zero every August 31. You have to redeem them for Costco purchases, or redeem for cash at a Costco location, before the yearly cancellation date.
Even though the above drawbacks seem to some like near dealenders, the TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express is still received generally well and bragged on by its customers. It features a 0% purchase APR that changes to a 15.24% variable APR after the introductory 6 months. The APR for cash advances is 25.24% and the penalty APR is 27.24%. And yes, you will be placed at the penalty APR level for missing even one payment.
Fees of the TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express
Balance transfers cost the greater of 3% of the transfer amount or $5. The same fees are charged for cash advances. For foreign transactions, the fee will be 2.7% of the transaction amount after it has been converted to U.S. dollars. If you make a payment late or have a payment returned, there will be a $35 fee assessed. There are no fees charged for going over your credit limit.
You’re going to need excellent credit worthiness to get approved for this rewards credit card from Costco. The TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express you receive will serve a dual purpose as your Costco membership card. It’s definitely important to remember that you are not permitted to cancel your membership to Costco and retain the usage of the card. Cancellation of Costco membership also cancels your card. Be aware that to cancel your Costco membership, and hence your card, will also void the value of any accumulated rewards points. There is concern from cardholders who no longer wish to continue their Costco memberships. They feel that AmEx should honor the rewards that they accumulate up until the time they decide they want to cancel at Costco. And of course, AmEx says “nope”.
American Express and Costco assure you that you will always have at least 25 days after the close of each billing period to pay your bill. There will be no interest charged on purchases as long as the minimum payment due is paid on time each month. Also note that on balance transfers and cash advances, interest begins accruing on the transaction date.
Other attractive benefits of the TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express
- Abercrombie & Kent discounts when at least one traveler is 18 years or younger;
- Tauck World Discovery discounts for all travelers in your group who are 18 and under;
- Up to 30% savings at Avis Rental Car locations on selected offers;
- Various and substantial special offers from Hertz;
- Car rental damage and loss insurance;
- Purchase Protection & Travel Accident secondary insurance;
- Purchase Warranty Extension coverage on eligible items;
- Steep discounts at Royal Caribbean when at least one of your group is 17 or under;
- Up to $275 in shipboard credit when traveling Regent Seven Seas Cruises;
- Entertainment Access® privileges for all cardholders;
- Global Assist® Hotline services;
- 24-hour Roadside Assistance services including refueling, fixing flats and even towing;
For more detailed information about card benefits and features, please visit the website.
Credit cards like this are designed to cater to specific target groups. That’s good for the targets, and not so good for the others. If you are a Costco member who can handle the fact that your rewards points are only available for redemption once a year, and you can deal with the possibility of forfeiting your points if not cashed in by August 31 each year, then the TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express presents a solid option for consideration.