What is the best replacement for the Costco American Express card?
July 30, 2015 10:49 AM   Subscribe

The TrueEarnings American Express card from Costco will be discontinued next year. What is the best credit card for me to use instead? I use a card for several thousand dollars of business expenses per month. The balance is paid monthly. I want rewards that I can cash out, or points I can redeem, NOT a credit to my statement, which is what the rewards for the new 'SimplyCash' business credit card from AmEx would do.
posted by bq to Work & Money (13 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not familiar with the TrueEarnings card, so I can't directly compare features/benefits. But I find Amex Membership Rewards points (which I get via Amex Platinum, but other cards also work) and Chase Ultimate Rewards (I get via Sapphire Preferred) to be the best for my needs. However, a lot of this is really derived from two things:

1. What specific things do you spend money on? Different cards have earning bonuses in specific categories, so if you spend a lot in a given category (travel, office supplies, etc.) that can determine which card is best for you.
2. What do you want to spend your points on? I think both Amex and Chase will let you get generic gift cards (e.g. an Amex or Visa gift card), but usually you pay for that privilege by getting a much lower value for your points than you would if you used them on something else. So if you can get an idea of the most common things you want to use points for, that may also help you narrow it down.
posted by primethyme at 10:55 AM on July 30, 2015

I should add a third thing:

3. Are there any other card benefits that are important to you? For example, I travel a lot through airports that have Amex Centurion Lounges, getting access to those via my card is a big benefit to me. If you don't travel through those places, it's worthless to you. Most cards come with some benefits, so it's a good idea to figure out which you actually value.
posted by primethyme at 10:57 AM on July 30, 2015

An airline mileage or hotel card? Milecards compares several in each category.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:58 AM on July 30, 2015

I have a feeling the new Visa they are doing with Citi is going to be on par with their current rewards. So you may want to stick there. If you want to keep an AmEx, get the Starwood Preferred Guest one.
posted by deezil at 11:04 AM on July 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

If you're cool with switching card types, the Citi Double Cash Card is a mastercard with (functionally) 2% cash back on every purchase (it's technically "1% when you purchase and 1% when you pay", so if the balance is getting paid every month then it's 2% cash back per cycle) , and allows you to get that cash back in the form of a check if you desire (you can also credit it to the balance which obviously you don't want). It's just cash, not points or travel rewards or whatever, but it's a good amount of cash back.
posted by brainmouse at 11:08 AM on July 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

Chase Sapphire. Best card hands down. Comes with 40,000 points already started.
posted by sandmanwv at 11:53 AM on July 30, 2015

I see Chase Ink Plus come up a lot on mileage/ points enthusiast sites. The standard offer on initial spend is 50,000 Chase ultimate reward points, which are really valuable for travel and hotels through their point transfer partners (United, British Airways, Hyatt, etc). If you can bide your time though, Chase often bumps up the reward to 70,000 points through out the year. You also get 5x points/$ for business expenses like office supply stores.
posted by permiechickie at 11:55 AM on July 30, 2015

Response by poster: Thank you for the suggestions!

I'm not picky about AmEx vs. Visa or MC.

I want cold hard cash or slightly warm gift cards - points and mileage would be OK but not as desirable. It just seems to be a hassle to redeem them.

I did not know until this very moment about the Centurion Lounge system. I travel out of Seattle so I will be looking into this further.

Mostly I buy gas and airfare and hotels.
posted by bq at 12:34 PM on July 30, 2015

I would go for the REI Visa, which adds 1% of everything spent (+5% of REI purchases) to your member refund. That is, if you're an REI member (which is a great thing to be, and free).
posted by psoas at 1:51 PM on July 30, 2015

I like the AMEX Fidelity card. 2% back on everything.

The AMEX Blue Preferred Cash card is kind of awesome, though not free. They give you 6% on groceries, up to $360 a year, 2% gas and travel and 1% on everything else as I recall. And it has TERRIFIC buyer protection benefits including extended returns and warranties.

The Chase Titanium card is also quite nice, depending on the kinds of things you buy. Always a good rebate, plus additional incentives. A lot of times they will pay you $500 for signing up and hitting certain thresholds of spending.

I think I get at least $1000 a year back in cash using those three, and it is easy money.
posted by jcworth at 2:48 PM on July 30, 2015

I am waiting to see what Costco comes up with next. My guess they hammered out a great deal with some other bank. I LOVE my Costco card.
posted by ReluctantViking at 2:58 PM on July 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

The AMEX Blue Preferred Cash card is kind of awesome, though not free. They give you 6% on groceries, up to $360 a year, 2% gas and travel and 1% on everything else as I recall.

You're right on the 6% and 1% parts; the middle tier is 3% on gas and department stores (e.g. Nordstroms and Macy's but not Costco or Amazon).

OP, could you explain why statement credits are verboten? I mean, it's just that much cash you don't need to use to pay the bill, leaving it in your wallet, right?
posted by The Michael The at 9:20 PM on July 30, 2015

OP, could you explain why statement credits are verboten?

It's a card used for business expenses - the business is paying the balance and a statement credit would benefit the business, not the OP.
posted by brainmouse at 9:55 PM on July 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

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