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TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express Review

by Ryan Guina

My wife and I recently became Costco members, and it’s something I wish we would have done a long time ago. I’ve only been to Costco a handful of times, but I’ve realized that we will end up saving a lot of money by shopping there regularly. One of the interesting things about Costco is they only accept cash, checks, gift cards, debit cards, and American Express credit cards. Yes, you read that correctly – the only credit card they accept is American Express. That isn’t an issue for us, because my wife and I both have the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.

But I also noticed that Costco and American Express have a co-branded credit card, the TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express. I’m happy with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, but as the TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express is a solid credit card, I thought I would compare the two and share it with everyone.

TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express

The TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express is a cash rewards card which rates among the top tier cash rewards cards on the market. It’s even better if you are a Costco member, as you can use it to earn more savings on your purchases at Costco. There is no annual fee for this card if you are a Costco member. This card also doubles as your Costco membership card, though you still have to pay the Costco membership fee.

Here is how the cash rewards program works: 

  • 3% Cash back at US gas stations and on gasoline at Costco up to $4,000 per year in purchases, then 1%
  • 2% cash back at US restaurants;
  • 2% cash back on eligible travel purchases, including at Costco;
  • 1% cash back on other purchases, including at Costco
  • Terms and limitations apply; You will receive your cash back annually in the form of a reward coupon.

A couple of important notes on the cash rewards: It’s important to note that these rewards are good across the board, not just for purchases at Costco. It’s also important to understand the limits for cash back on gas purchases – 3% cash back is limited to the first $4,000 you spend on gas each year, after that you will earn 1% cash back.

The 3% cash back on gasoline at U.S. stand-alone gas stations makes this one of my favorite gas rewards cards, and gives you the incentive to use this card for buying gas at Costco where gas is usually a lot cheaper than other places.

Redeem your rebates. At the end of the year, you will receive a rebate check which you can take to your local Costco to use for purchases, or to cash it out. It’s usually better to cash it out so you can put your purchases on your credit card and earn more cash back. This assumes, of course, that you pay your bill in full each month.

Here are the quick bullet points for this card:

  • 3% Cash back at US gas stations and on gasoline at Costco up to $4,000 per year in purchases, then 1%
  • 2% cash back at US restaurants; 2% cash back on eligible travel purchases, including at Costco; 1% cash back on other purchases, including at Costco
  • Terms and limitations apply; You will receive your cash back annually in the form of a reward coupon
  • The Two-In-One Card: it’s an American Express® Card and Costco membership card, with no annual fee for Costco members
  • Cardmembership offers access to benefits such as Global Assist and Purchase Protection* *Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company
  • Terms and restrictions apply.

Comparing this to the Blue Cash Everyday® and Preferred® Cards

As I mentioned above, my wife and I already use the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. These cards are all fairly similar, but there are a few differences in their rewards programs and annual fees which make them better for people in different situations. Here is how they compare:

  • TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express: 3% Cash back at US gas stations and on gasoline at Costco up to $4,000 per year in purchases, then 1%. 2% cash back at US restaurants; 2% cash back on eligible travel purchases, including at Costco; 1% cash back on other purchases, including at Costco. No annual fee for Costco members.
  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Earn Cash Back: 6% US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 3% US gas stations & select US dept stores, 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: Earn Cash Back: 3% at US supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 2% at US gas stations & select US dept stores, 1% on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply. No annual fee.

My wife and I would be able to get the TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express and avoid paying an annual fee, since we are already Costco members. But we already have the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which gives us very similar cash rewards for shopping at Costco, but much better cash back when we shop at grocery stores. For our spending needs, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a great deal, even with the $75 annual fee factored into the equation. But for many people, the TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express offers best in class cash back and is better for their needs.

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.”


Published or updated September 3, 2014.
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 krantcents

My Costco membership is paid for and then some using the rebates. This is in addition to the low prices. I also purchase my gas at Costco.

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2 Ryan Guina

I wish I would have joined Costco years ago. Gas is much cheaper there, so my wife and I now fill up our cars there if we are in the neighborhood, and I’m definitely enjoying the savings at Costco. Overall, I’m happy with being a member. I would definitely get the TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express if I didn’t already have the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express. It’s a solid rewards card, and even better if you are a Costco member.

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