You probably know that Team Clark is a huge fan of warehouse stores — and it only makes sense that we’d want to earn the most rewards from our credit cards when we shop at them.
Costco and Sam’s Club are the dominant players in the warehouse store world and they each have a co-branded credit card that offers cash back. Let’s take a look at these two products and see how they compare.
Comparing credit cards from Costco Wholesale and Sam’s Club
The Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi offers you a fantastic 4% cash back on gas purchases, including those at Costco (on up to $7,000 spent each year, 1% after that).
This is great because many cards that offer bonuses for gas purchases specifically exclude stores like Costco and Sam’s Club, which often have the lowest prices. You also get 3% cash back at restaurants and on eligible travel purchases worldwide.
Somewhat surprisingly, you only get 2% back at Costco stores and at Costco.com, and just 1% cash back elsewhere.
Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of this card is that you only receive your cash back rewards once a year in February.
There’s no annual fee for this card with your paid Costco membership and no foreign transaction fees.
Synchrony Bank issues the Sam’s Club Mastercard, and it one-ups the Costco card by offering 5% back on all gas purchases (on up to $6,000 spent each year, 1% after that), including those at Sam’s Club. It won’t work at Costco because it’s a Mastercard and only Visa is accepted there.
It also gives you 3% back on dining and travel purchases, but only 1% back everywhere else, including purchases at Sam’s Club.
As with the Costco card, you only receive your cash back rewards once a year in February, when they are automatically loaded to your membership account.
New accounts can earn a $45 statement credit when making a purchase of at least $45 the day you open the account (offer ends June 15, 2019). There’s no annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fees.
|Annual fee||None, with paid Costco membership||None|
|Advantages||4% cash back at gas stations and excellent returns elsewhere||High rates of cash back on gas, travel and dining|
Which one is better?
These cards have a lot of similarities. They both offer excellent rewards for gas purchases and 3% back on travel and dining. These cards both have no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.
Still, both of these cards have their strengths and weaknesses. The Costco Anywhere Visa offers 2% cash back for Costco purchases, while the Sam’s Club Mastercard surprisingly only offers 1% cash back at Sam’s Club.
Yet the Sam’s Club card offers slightly better cash back on gas — 5% compared to 4% — as well as the initial $45 statement credit when you sign up and make a $45 purchase the same day.
With both cards, if you cancel your card for any reason before February, you’ll never receive the cash back you’ve earned the previous year.
Ultimately, these cards are so similar that your decision will likely depend on which store you prefer. Since neither credit card has a clear advantage, it’s hard to see fans of one switching allegiances just to gain a modest advantage on gas or in-store purchases.
In the extremely competitive fields of both credit cards and warehouse stores, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this race is too close to call.