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Costco vs. Sam's Club: Who has the Best Rewards Credit Card?


It is hard to compare Costco and Sam's Club. Both offer everyday discounts on lot's of stuff. Both charge membership fees. Both have their fans who have subjective opinions as to which is the best place to shop.

Price comparison is tough. One might have cheaper cereal. The other a better deal on tires. But what is offered one day might not be there tomorrow.

Perhaps the only area of direct comparison might be this; Both offer rewards credit cards. Sam's has the Sam's Savings MasterCard. Costco introduces a new card on June 20: The Costco Anywhere Visa.

Costco is switching from American Express to Visa on June 20. The new Costco Visa card has no annual fee, but holders must pay the club's $55 annual Gold Star membership charge.

The Costco Visa offers:

  • 4% back on eligible gas purchases (for the first $7,000 spent in a year; then it drops to 1%).
  • 3% cash back on purchases made at restaurants and eligible travel
  • 2% cash back on all Costco purchases
  • 1% back on anything else bought with the card

The Sam's Club MasterCard offers:

  • The basic Sam's Club annual membership costs $45, $10 less than Costco
  • $40 dollar credit if you spend 100 on the day you open the Sam's Savings MasterCard account
  • 5% back on gas -- up to $6,000 spent in a year (then it drops to 1% with no limit)
  • 3% back on dining and travel
  • 1% back on all other purchases
  • $5,000 maximum in cash back rewards can be earned in a calendar year

Which rewards credit card is better?

Sam's membership fee is less and offers $40 back if a new member spends $100 on the first day. That's enough to make its rewards credit card a better deal for most people.

But Sam's does cap overall rewards. Costco's website does not show an annual reward maximum. If you are going to spend enough to hit the $5,000 maximum, Costco might be better.

But do the math; You probably have to spend more than $150,000 per year to hit Sam's $5,000 maximum.



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