Warehouse club rewards credit cards: Who is king of the hill?

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Warehouse club rewards credit cards: Who is king of the hill?
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If you’re a warehouse club member, you’re used to getting great value for every purchase you make in your favorite store with a concrete floor.

But did you ever stop to wonder which warehouse club has the best rewards credit card?

Read more: The big Costco credit card switch is today! Here’s what you need to know!

Three-way battle royale: Costco vs. Sam’s Club vs. BJ’s Wholesale

Today (June 20) is the day that Costco finally begins accepting its new rewards credit card, the Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi. That’s created a blitz of publicity for the newly minted card.

But maybe you’re not yet married to any one wholesale club so the ballyhoo about the new Costco card doesn’t mean much to you. Maybe you’re just playing the field, looking for the best rewards card for individual members and letting that guide whether you join Costco, Sam’s or BJ’s.

If that sounds like you, consider the following head-to-head comparison of rewards credit cards from the three main U.S. warehouse club chains:

Costco Anywhere Visa Card

Warehouse club rewards credit cards

  • 4% back on gas for the first $7,000 spent annually.
  • 3% back on restaurants and travel.
  • 2% back at Costco or Costco.com.
  • 1% back on everything else.
  • Worldwide car rental insurance and worldwide travel accident insurance, plus damage and theft protection on select purchases.
  • No annual card fee, but getting the card does require you to pay Costco’s $55 annual membership.
  • No maximum on total rewards you can earn.

Sam’s Savings MasterCard

Warehouse club rewards credit cards

  • 5% back on gas for the first $6,000 spent annually (after that it drops to 1%).
  • 3% back on dining and travel.
  • 1% back on everything else.
  • Price protection on select purchases, plus identity theft resolution services.
  • No annual card fee, but getting the card does require you to pay the Sam’s Club $45 annual membership.
  • Maximum of $5,000 in cash back rewards per year
  • Nice bonus: Spend $100 on the day you open the card and you’ll get a $40 credit on that initial purchase.

My BJ’s Perks MasterCard

Warehouse club rewards credit cards

  • Between 3% and 5% back on most BJ’s in-Club and BJs.com purchases
  • 2% back on dining out and other gas purchases
  • 1% back on other non-BJ’s purchases everywhere else MasterCard is accepted
  • 10¢ off per gallon at BJ’s Gas every day
  • No annual card fee, but you have to pay the annual membership fee of $50 or $100, depending on what level of credit card rewards you want.
  • With this card, the cost of your annual membership renewal goes down over time. In the second year, you pay either $40 or $75 to be a club member (again depending on what level of credit card rewards you want). So that represents a savings of either $10 or $25 off what you paid the year before.

Of course, it almost goes without saying that reward cards should only be used by those who pay their balances in full each month. The interest rates they charge are very high, so if you’re used to carrying a balance, you’re better off with a low-interest credit card from your local credit union.

Which one is right for you?

Since each of these cards requires you to be a member of the respective warehouse club, you’ll probably only want to select one club to join. As to which card is best, you’ll really have to make the call on this one yourself.

Sam’s offers the advantage of that nice $40 bonus (when you spend $100) and they have a lower membership fee than Costco.

But Costco doesn’t cap the total rewards you can earn in a year, as Sam’s Club does.

BJ’s, meanwhile, seems to be the worst of all offers from a rewards perspective. Yet the idea that having the card lets you pay less each year to auto-renew your club membership is appealing.

Happy shopping!

Read more: American Express makes last ditch effort to retain Costco customers

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo has co-written several books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller "Living Large in Lean Times."
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