I Figured Out A Way To Use ANY Credit Card At Costco (As They Only Accept AMEX Now)!

One of my biggest pet peeves about Costco is how they stick to the American Express credit card only. I am a big fan of using my credit card and saving the Alaska Air Skymiles. I don’t own an American Express card and always have to resort to losing AT LEAST 200 Alaska Air Skymiles (I don’t remember the last time I made it out for under $200). But I believe I have figured out the answer that will solve ALL our dreams. Well, all that involve being able to get Skymiles while not AMEX’ing it…

Yes, I can’t stand not getting the best bang for my buck, so it pains me every time I walk into Costco to know that I’m going to walk out with at least $200 of groceries (my record is $645, ugh) and have nothing to show for it aside from a debit transaction on my bank statement.

I don’t charge ANYTHING to that debit card but Costco and my mortgage (if you know how to add your mortgage to a credit card, please let me know as I’d do that too if I could).

I always leave the conglomerate with a sense that I wasn’t getting as good of a deal from them as I had in the past. Part of me believes that they’ve suckered people in to thinking that bigger means better value ALL the time.

It DID back when Costco first started, and you could get a good deal on anything there, but anymore, you get just as good of a deal at Safeway or Fred Meyer for groceries as you do from Costco, you just get MORE of them there, but I digress.

So last week my wife was being a good samaritan and helped out a friend that was going through some hard times by providing some groceries and necessities to her family in the form of a Costco gift card. You can get them for no “sales” fees, no “hidden” costs, no “transaction” fees. It actually means that when you buy a $300 gift card, you get charged $300 (click to enlarge).costco.JPG

This is different from the AMEX gift card where you pay like $10 in fees to get the card started. I thought of this idea to get around the “no Skymiles clause” at one point too, but couldn’t come to terms with tacking on 10% more to use it. Guess it is the “frugal” in me that stopped it.

Go HERE to buy a Costco gift card and you can purchase it with your MasterCard of Visa instead of giving in to their demands of AMEX only!

So anyway, I gave my wife a big kudos for being a good samaritan first off, but secondly for finding this little gem to work the system at Costco to finally give us what we’ve always wanted, Costco Skymiling ability!

photos by: greenwithenvy, syldavia

Filed Under: adviceCredit Cardsfinancial educationFrugalUncategorized

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  • Awesome! That’s very practical for someone who shops exclusively at CostCo. I normally don’t like gift cards, but I wouldn’t mind one to Giant (where we shop) and I love them for Joann’s where I get my crafting stuff.

    Congrats on besting the Man.

  • Cool tip about the credit card, but what I really took away from your post was that you were helping a friend going through hard times. I think you just added to your “Net Worth”.

    miracletech’s last blog post..Day Trading Lesson: Roadmap Step 7

  • Jules

    I thought the same thing miracletech. Good job on being a good friend it sounds like to me! But secondly, nice to see Costco not keeping Visa and MC out!

  • RJ

    Thanks for the tip Hank. I remember the good old days when i’d come home from Costco and my family would say, “You got THAT for HOW much?”
    Sadly that is no longer the case.
    2 weeks ago I bought 50 lbs. of rice for 14.99. Now the price jumped to $19.99. A 33% increase.
    My Costco membership expires in September and am seriously considering not renewing the $50 membership fee. I mean talk about diminishing returns.
    Thanks for listening to my Costco rant 🙂

    RJ’s last blog post..Switched Car Insurance, Saved Half.

  • @MrsMicah – I hear you, I’m not a gift card fan either. The point is to get you there to spend more than they’re worth so I usually spend them down to a few bucks and then forget about them, but I think I’d use the Costco one.

    @Miracletech – thanks for the kudos. I like to help when we can; it’s a good feeling to help others out when you’ve got the leg up. You may not have that leg up sooner or later and need their help.

    @Jules – thanks to you too!

    @RJ – No problem ranting, that’s the point of blogs, eh? Isn’t everyone out there to rant? 🙂 I agree with you though, it ain’t what it used to be! Maybe we should start an underground ring of Costco memberships that we all use a few accounts under the Business Name card and then split the 2% we get back at the end… Wonder what they $ would be then… 🙂

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  • Dave_Monget

    Great advice guys! I’ll definitely buy the costco cash card instead of using my debit card. Great tip for friends as well, thanks!

  • Brian

    It’s been awhile since I’ve used any gift cards, but seem to remember times when the stores would actually give me $ back as change if I didn’t spend down the entire gift card. You’ll have to check individual company policies, but you might even be able to get $5 or something back from Costco if you bring your gift card down to near $0. Maybe a good side benefit to earning those skymiles with gift cards and coming out the other end with cash rather than Costco goods (even if just a few dollars worth).

  • I’m a big fan of Alaska Airlines Visa cards and I use mine whenever possible. Costco is not one of those places. However after looking into their AMX offer it looks pretty good. To get a ticket with my Alaska Air miles takes a minimum of 20,000 to 30,000 which means I must spend $1 dollar per mile equaling $20,000. The Costco AMX card gives a 1% cash back option which can be used to purchase an airline ticket or can also be spent on anything, not just an airline ticket. There is no yearly fee to AMX for the card, it does not cost $10 to activate and it looks like now they are also offering 3% back on gas which at todays prices comes to about 12 cents a gallon. Think about it with the Alaska Airlines Visa you get 1 mile per dollar which equals 1% and you HAVE to spend it on an airline ticket. You have no option of using the rebate for anything else. And the 12 cents a gallon on gas is an added plus.

  • Jason

    my wife discovered this loophole as well.
    i just recently called my local costco and asked if i could
    cash out my cash card, and to my suprise she said i could.
    all i have to do is get a supervisor to do it for me.

    after hearing this i went online and ordered two $600 gift cards(the limit is $1K per card and i don’t think there is a limit to how many), which we’ll both use for costco gas and food.
    my plan is to see how easy it is to cash out and if it proves to not be a problem, i am going to purchase an additional $2K worth of cards per month, cash out, redeposit into my banking account and get those air miles from my mortgage payment.
    i’m sure that would interest you.
    it sounds to good to be true.
    we’ll see.

  • @Jason – AWESOME news – Please do let us know for sure if it works! Interested in doing it myself!

  • Jim Casey

    I don’t think a manager would let you cash out $2k gift cards, especially on a regular basis – Good luck with that! Plus the value of a $100 in miles is about $1. I don’t think I’d want to chance buying $2000 worth of Costco credit and then not be able to cash it out, simply for a $20 return.

    However, another interesting question.

    Do you have to be a member to buy a Costco gift card? How about to use one? If you don’t have to be a member to buy or use, then theoretically you could just buy and use gift cards instead of paying the annoying annual fee… and you could use a credit card. Just something I was curious about.

    I agree that Costco and Sams really aren’t that great of deals anymore which is why I dropped my membership. However, I might go and get the salmon or a few things I like there if I could bypass the membership fee with gift cards…

  • @Jim Casey – good call on the not lettting them cash out 2k, but I wonder if they’d be against small cash outs. Buying the cards are 100% free online(no shipping/handling/tax) – so if you wanted to, it wouldn’t cost trying. I can’t see a manager getting that upset cashing out a couple hundred every couple weeks; but yes, 2k chunks at a time might be a bit obvious. 🙂

    As far as needing to be a member to use a gift card, looks like you do NOT (as perYahoo Answers) need to be a member to use the card. However you DO need to be a member to BUY one.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  • Jason

    I agree with you Hank.
    I will be pleasantly surprised if i get money back and no questions asked.
    My plan now is to buy a $100 or so in purchases and see if there is any hesitation
    or reluctance to cash out my remaining 5 hundy.
    Baby steps.
    If it proves to be a cake walk then the 2K option will seem more possible.
    We’ll see.
    Give me some time.

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  • Jason

    I’m finally back.
    3 weeks ago we went shopping at costco for a camping trip.
    After paying for the purchases there was $450 remaining on the cash card.
    I stated that i would like to cash out the remaining balance.
    A clerk/manager(not sure) came up to my checker, inserted a key or pressed a few buttons on the register.
    My checker handed me the cash.
    Thats it.
    It could not have been easier.

  • @Jason – thanks for the update, I’ve gotten it to work as well thanks to you sir! 🙂

  • Joans

    I was given a gift card as a bonus from work and went to Costco (in Montreal) to apply to be a member thinking I had to be one to use the card. When the clerk saw that I had a gift card, she said we didn’t have to be members to use it which was great for me since I don’t shop there very often.

    So for over a year, I was going there and using my gift card with no problem..until yesterday when I wanted to return something. The manager (I assume) said I couldn’t use the card if I wasn’t a member and promptly took away the card and gave me back the remaining cash saying I could shop there anymore unless I become a member. It was like a slap in the face!

    There could have been a warning or a “next time” comment..but no. The way he handled it does not make me want to be a member, ever!

    So my question is whether you really can use the gift card if you’re a non member or not. It looks like I got two answers from the same place within a year.

  • @Joans – I went there today actually – and apparently I’m just confusing you more, as they said there was no problem member or no member. 🙁 My guess is that it goes something along the lines of “prices and participation may vary”.


  • Joans

    Thanks Hank.

    I checked the Costco website and in the section of cash cards, it says non members can shop there after all. You just have to pay 5% more.

    I look forward to printing out that page and showing this to the manager who took my gift card away!

  • Amy

    Late to the party as usual.

    I have both the Alaska Airlines card and the the Costco Amex card. When living in Alaska, the airlines card was the best deal, but I used the Amex card for gas and, of course, Costco. Now, we’re on the east coast and the Costco card is better for us. I am not as interested in flying, now that I can actually drive somewhere! So, I am more interested in the cash for the trip instead of air miles.

    What I really wanted to mention is regarding the executive membership, which also have. We upgraded because we calculated that we were spending enough to cover the entire executive membership fee and then some. We haven’t changed either. We used to save big purchases for when we got the rebates (we get a rebate for both the Costco Amex card and the executive membership), now I save the money for trips (of course!)

    As for the cost of items, I agree that sometimes you can get a better price somewhere else. I currently cannot drive and I am not going to shop at Costco from the bus or taxi! So, the whole family shops on the weekends and we only go to a few places, Costco being one of them. I know what used to be cheaper from shopping around and I know price compare from my few regular stores. One thing the east coast needs is a few Fred Meyer stores! Walmart just doesn’t compare!

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  • What a good idea. I also don’t have the amex card. Give it up long time ago.

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  • N

    What if the Costco cash/gift card gets lost or stolen during shipping?
    Can someone else use it?

  • Yes, someone can use it. I heard of this case before.

  • N

    Maybe Costco should mail the gift card separately from a “card activation code” (which can be emailed), maybe?
    Otherwise, its almost like mailing cash!

    All one has to do is lose one of these cards in the mail, and the whole deal is ruined.

  • Pzilla

    Just checked the website. Looks like non-members can make purchases with a cash card, and I see no mention of the 5% higher prices an earlier poster described. Nice!


  • Christine

    One problem with this is that you would have to spend the complete $300 in order for it to work, of course you can spend $298 and then refill, but you may always not spend the exact amount the next time around, you may have $1-2 left at all at times, that is what your sky miles would be worth 2% or so of you what you buy.

  • cl

    No you don't have to Spend the Complete amount. Buying the Gift Card with your Credit card gets you instant miles (i.e. spending $300) and you can spend that $300 at costco in any manner desired.

    Great idea Hank!

  • Jud

    Costco is very unusual in this aspect. It seems that although their bottonline is very healthy, they are a bit lacking in certain aspects like finance.

  • Mikejones1846

    Only drawback is that you are giving cotsco a $300 loan with no interest untill you use the gift cards value buying stuff.

  • Yes, they are very unusual. They operate with very outdated policies.

  • Jaredmeyer

    When you use American Express for your purchases, you get automatic extended warranties and 90-days purchase protection on items. Using a Costco Gift Card won't provide you these valuable features.

  • Matt

    Thanks for the tip. I always feel like I'm losing out on “rewards” points when I shop at Costco. Not anymore.

  • nana

    I have a question. I got a costco cash card but I don't know what information costco needs to activate. Could you help me? Thanks.

  • Well Hank,When you use American Express for your purchases, you get automatic extended warranties and 90-days purchase protection on items

  • Zhlf

    Costco cash cards are currently unavailable for sale on costco.com.

  • ds

    This gig is up. They are no longer sold online.

  • Dean

    I also have some Great news for everybody who shops at Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, or anywhere else.
    You can actually go to my site and get a $335 gift card for $250. Plus you can get another $235 giftcard for $140. If you buy these cards every two weeks, you'll save exactly $2,471 in a year. You can't beat this. You can call Dean at 805-649-1599. http://www.USASavingsPlan.com

  • Very clever! We kind of go on and off using Costco – usually when we need to buy something that will save enough to pay for the membership, we do so. The AmEx thing is a bother – we usually just go with cash, but I don't like carrying that much around. Sounds like there might be a problem with the cards though (according to Zhlf below) – will have to go and check.

  • Hersh007

    You can do this at SamsClub.com now AND you can use those cards at Walmart too.

  • Brian

    The reason that costco uses only the american express card is that they were able to offer the lowest merchant fee for costco after the discover card. Low merchant fee means that costco is able to have lower prices… plain and simple. The mark up for merchandise is only 1-3% where as most businesses mark up 10-20% (one reason that other businesses are able to accept all cards, just like some businesses do not accept the amex card). Because of this costco makes money only on the factor of memberships not the merchandise. It is sometimes a hassle i imagine, but also with the amex card there is an additional 1 year warranty that is covered on merchandise paid in full with the amex. on top of that amex has no annual fee on the costco amex, as long as you are a member and that can range on normal amex cards.

  • Wanter of Miles

    Brilliant! I just ordered one! I’m with you- I want it for the miles.

  • islandgirl

    This is very clever as I, too, have been perturbed that I have to use my debit card and cannot use my mileage cards.  Will check it out!

  • Lasalopedesantillaises

    This is retarded. Simply get an AMEX, or move on. 300 miles is only 3$. If you’re dropping this much money in a store, the “rewards” should mean nothing. Enfin, people like you all don’t realise that the value of the dollar has actually decreased with the whole-hearted acceptance of these point systems. I have an AMEX Gold Card because of the benefits offered to card members. The points are just an afterthought. I don’t even consider points when making purchases. I have more important concerns in life.

  • Lucy

    But of course! DUH! If we can purchase things online from Costco.com using other credit cards, of COURSE we can buy gift cards using the same strategy! Thanks for the reminder!!! I HATE the AMEX card BTW. LOUSY customer service–another company that outsources its customer service off to India where they have idiots who can’t understand or speak English properly and just can’t communicate either.

  • Henry

    NO–YOU are retarded. You can’t just go apply for a credit card just because you want to shop at Costco. First of all, the more credit you apply for, the more risk there is of it adversely affecting your credit rating. Secondly, why the heck would anyone want a credit card where they have LOUSY customer service and LOUSY rewards??? Your inside-the-box answer is pat and unacceptable. This is from a financial expert.

  • Henry

    Yes they are. I just ordered one a minute ago.

  • Greg

    So what. If you’re buying groceries or gas, what kind of “extended warranty” do you need???

  •  Are they idiots because they can’t understand or speak English properly? Do you think they consider you an idiot because you can’t speak Hindi, their national language? Do you know you are the real IDIOT in this matter since you probably only speak one language?

  • Teddie2222

    one word “Brilliant”  Thanks so much for sharing!!

  • guest

     When people get frustrated at the people giving them lousy server and say things like idiot they are really angry with the company not the person the company foisted on them 95% of the time.  People don’t like it that companies don’t care about them and waste their time and give them ill trained and people with no power to help them to deal with.

    You are correct that the idiot term is completely unfair.  But I think the frustration is really with being forced to deal with someone that cannot help.

  • guest

    Limiting to Amex is lame. Costco does so many things well.  Too bad they do this silly thing.

  • Ally

    thank you for this!! i can’t believe i didn’t think of it sooner 🙂 

  • rsaechao@gmail.com

    And here I was just spending away my miles as well! Thanks for the reminder!

  • Bobb

    So there is no sales tax when you buy the card? Otherwise you’d be paying sales tax twice – Once when you buy the card and the 2nd time when you buy at the Costco warehouse

  • Joshua

    I’d like to point out that if you’re an executive member this is a no go for you. Cash cards are not eligible for the 2% rebate, when purchased, or when redeemed.

  • Whatever

    You’ve signed your life away to China…Enjoy that!

  • Frank

     Should not have to speak Hindi, funny enough their calls are not routed here Dave.  Thank you for showing we have no shortage of our own idiotic people either…..

  • Vero66

    I have a question about the Cash Card please : when you recharge it at the store, can you pay with your own credit card ? Thank you

  • myinvestingblog

    No, you can’t at the store, only online!

  • Apply online for the Costco small business credit card, which offers
    rewards in the form of 4% cash back on gas purchases, 3% rebate at
    restaurants, 2% for travel purchases, and 1% everywhere else. 

  • Vero66

    Thank you for your answer. How do you recharge a cash card online though ? I bought one 1 month ago and it has $50 left on it, so I was thinking of adding mre money and when I tried to do it online, I couldn’t find the way to do I. The only thing I get is to buy a new card .
    Thank you

  • Vero66

    Actually, I just found the answer to my question :

    You may recharge your Costco Cash Card at any
    warehouse check stand. You may check
    your Cash Card balance on http://www.costco.com,
    at the red kiosks in each warehouse, or by calling the toll-free number on the
    back of the cash card.
    Costco.com does not offer the ability for you to recharge your Costco Cash Card
    So you need to buy a card each time…

  • Shmooze2323

    I agree. You people need to get a life.

  • Pilm88

    Costco.com also has $1000 cash gift cards, so you won’t have to refill nearly that often!

  • This was the dumbest comment I’ve read in a while.

    If they are a call center for a business located in the US, they should speak clear English.

    You’re a moron.

  • guest64

    Wow a financial expert that calls other people “retarded”; Genius! (Sarcasm intended) Yes you can just apply for the card; in fact anyone of legal age and viable income can –doesn’t mean you will get approved for a large amount or for the card as a result of the application but your statement regarding that is simply not true.  Also, the Costco branded American Express has a rebate feature that earns a percentage back on most purchases (wherever you use it not just at Costco) and is provided as an annual certificate to use for purchases or get cash for it at Costco; and there currently is no cap on the amount of your rebate from American Express.

    By the way, as a “Financial Expert” you should be able to figure out that Costco has a long standing relationship with American Express and keeps costs and prices lower by not utilizing those other credit card companies that charge the business a percentage fee per transaction when making a purchase–not saying Amex doesnt charge such a fee to Costco but Costco is a business and they chose to create their business model this way. If they used those other cards the additional fees charged would result in increased prices to compensate.  Sam’s Club is similar in that they only accept Discover and MasterCard (along with their own credit cards) in the store.   

  • guest

    My cc won’t credit skymiles for purchasing gift cards…it sucks!

  • Paulpthomas

    outsources its customer service off to India where they have idiots who can’t understand or speak English properly and just can’t communicate either-

    Watch your tongue? How many languauage you can speak ?

  • Jeff5581

    love all the people that go apeshit for their “points” that the card companys “give” you. Where do you think the points come from? The business that accept credit cards! Thats who. So costco has set up with AMEX only tokeep costs down. Dont like it, USE CASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dorks

  • Eddygo2

    Don’t leave home with an AMEX card in your pocket.  Many, many businesses will not accept them.  In Kenya, I asked a merchant why he would not accept AMEX.  He said it was because it took him at least three weeks to get his money while Mastercard and Visa pay him right away. 

  • Rbrand1

    I went to Membership area today and asked the following…”As an Executive Member, if I were to pay by using a Costco Cash card, would this apply to my annual 2% rebate.”
    The answer I received was, “No. Rebates don’t apply to purchases made in the food court, pharmacy, cash cards, (and one other item I don’t recall)….

    Are there any Costco Executive members here that are buying Costco Cash cards online, using their Chase Sapphire or other card, and then using the cash card to buy items at Costco and can confirm that they do indeed receive their 2% discount?   I’m afraid I’ll have to just use my Costco Amex when making purchases there to get the annual rebate.

  • It’s so sad that a company in the USA has to outsource their customer service to other countries when so many of our people are out of work.  Yes, if I contact customer service for an American company, I expect the representative that I speak to to be able to communicate eloquently in English.  If I call Costco of Mexico, I expect that I should be able to communicate in Spanish.  Get real!

  • Oliver Niles

     Dave seems to be Indian Idiot to me. 🙂

  • Matthew F

    Are you expecting him to speak Hindu so that He can talk to American Express or At&t phone representatives? He is a customer and expects good service. not speaking English does not make anyone stupid, yet  claiming that you can speak and working as a English speaking help desk rep. DOES.

  • Lucy’sMom

     Lucy is HEAVILY RETAR-DEAD . I’ve been AMEX member close a decade.. It has been the BEST Customer Service compared to any other company in the business. They have been continuously winning the top rank in the JD Power rankings. I always get the direct representative when I hit “0” after my card verification. When you have listen to an INDIAN on responding to your call, you must be sleeping or dreaming. AMEX customer support has always been US based.. You racist, you are not sure that you have a history of Indian in your family..

  • thanks so much. we just had to leave the store without our groceries b/c we only had a visa credit card. so annoyed!

  • we wrote costco off because of the American Express requirement.

  • Missy2

    American Express representatives and so-called supervisors are idiots, very evil, cruel, lie, cheat, charge late fees and interest when they received payments before date due (proof), but they don’t care because your CEO Chenault is connected to the white house and government. I will never use American Express card again, there’s better companies that appreciate our business. No wonder they have been forced to reimburse $85 million to customers for violating federal law and everyone should know this and boycott this company and Costco.

  • Thanks for the reminder!!! I HATE the AMEX card BTW. LOUSY customer service–another company that outsources its customer service off to India where they have idiots who can’t understand or speak English properly and just can’t communicate either.

  • Rob Klaproth

    Nice find!  Too bad you can’t reload them online with a credit card… I wonder if they could eventually black list you if you buy too many costco cash cards online using your credit card?  

  • Rachel

    In Lucy’s defense, I don’t think she’s saying they’re idiots because they don’t understand or speak English well – it’s in addition to. I don’t believe that’s true, though. In my encounters, though it was clear they were from India, I was able to understand them in most cases. They were also able to understand me. As for the idiot part, well, how competent are customer service representatives usually? They’re not doctors or rocket scientists for a reason. Apple’s “Genius Bar” is full of run-of-the-mill Americans and they’re all idiots. What’s unfortunate is that because they have the title “genius”, they think they’re actual geniuses and speak and act as if they’re superior when they’re usually teeny boppers with double digit IQs. The only thing they’ve ever succeeded at is wasting my time.

  • Stephanie

    I would seriously check on how this works jaredmeyer as I was customer service for Amex.

  • Stephanie

    I just want to make you aware that not all reps are out sourced to India all Canadian cards are dealt with customer service reps in Canada. I will tell you that you mention lousy customer service I was one of them for 5 years and I took a lot from customers swearing at me and stuff do to Amex policy and procedures. We we paid min wage do we were out sourced to a third party. I will tell you though when you lose all your bonus pay for asking two questions like why can’t we send outa sympathy card and why can’t we put a limit on a card something that would have benefited their company and get fired for that now you know how we get treated.

  • Stephanie

    Think twice before doing that

  • johnporter

    I love your
    blog,helpful, thanks for sharing!

  • Jennifer H

    Yep. I’ve been doing it my whole Costco career. You don’t get the 2% when you originally buy the cash card, but you do get the 2% when you make a purchase at the register, regardless of your payment method (cash, debit, AmEx, or Cash card). I actually never even thought of this being a problem, but have always gotten my $90 rewards certificate each year without exception, and only pay with Costco Cash Card.

  • Jennifer H

    This isn’t true. I’ve been doing it my whole Costco career. You don’t get the 2% when you originally buy the cash card, but you do get the 2% when you make a purchase at the register (“redeem” as you called it), regardless of your payment method (cash, debit, AmEx, or Cash card). I have always gotten my $90 rewards certificate each year without exception, and only pay with Costco Cash Card.

  • JaneSmith100

    It’s not USA based dear. It’s overseas based, with people who do not speak English very well.


  • AnotherDumbAmerican

    Atta boy Dave! Frank, and most other Americans who think like Frank, are not capable of understanding what you’re talking about. I doubt any of them have broadened their mind through any worthwhile travels other than here in the good ole USA.

  • Guest

    I agree. AMEX is the best customer service provider in its industry. Hands down, the best. They’ve ALWAYS taken care of my financial issues, when and where they’ve come up in a very satisfactory manner. AND IT’S BECAUSE THEY DO KNOW HOW TO EFFECTIVELY COMMUNICATE WITH THEIR CUSTOMERS. I’ll be keeping my card.

  • A_Ware

    What is *your* experience on the topic Dave? My experience is that the smartest Indians I know are the ones we brought over here to keep american wages down (those work visas that “both” parties support.) The ones over there are commonly less experienced, less skilled and simply less valuable team members. The worst service I have experienced has been from outsourced call centers but not specifically in India – they have also been in latin countries/areas and other places. The people our cheeseball companies pay for are often the bottom of the barrel of what is available offshore.

    tl;dr: Many offshore customer service suck more than their average american counterparts yet it is not their fault, they were chosen by our wonderful american owners.

  • A_Ware

    From the sound of it, I have much more experience on the topic than you do and you should not be calling anybody a moron. I do agree they *should* speak clear english – but our businesses don’t pay for that.

  • A_Ware

    Sheesh people. This will be my last comment on this topic and then I move on to cooler, better lit pastures: Have you seen “Transformers: Dark Of The Moon”? Do you recall the offshore customer disservice person when they are trying to call the USA? That’s the type of treatment I’ve often gotten from offshore resources in many contexts (and from onshore but less often.) Acting as a robot unable to deviate from script is idiotic no matter location. (Yes, I think a lot of fast food workers are effectively idiots too. I despise fast food.)

  • A_Ware

    By the way, while Hindi is one of their “official” languages (English is the other), my smart and friendly Indian coworker tells me that in truth English is the common tongue and otherwise they default to their regional tongues. India is made up of 29 states and 7 territories with (as he told me) their own languages with varying amounts of overlap and mutual comprehension.

  • Costco Bob

    Your wrong..you only get 2% reward for cash amex debit or check…I work there!!

  • raifon

    If you want to take full advantage of what Costco offers you have no choice but to accept their registered credit card of the day. Unless you do, you lose the annual rebate program. Costco Canada and Costco USA have only further complicated the credit world. Effective Jan.1/15 Canadian Costco Members will only be able to use a new Registered Card, Capital One. It identifies you as a member and makes you elligable to the annual rebate program. Capital One which is a MasterCard is not accepted at Costco USA who only recognizes American Express Cards but not the former AMEX Canadian Membership Card that was the former card of choice at Costco Canada. So for Canadians you have to have a Capital One Card to obtain all the perks Costco Canada offers, but it isn’t any good in the USA. There Canadians must get a new American Express Card either with a Member IDed Card or a separate Costco Member ID. They will accept the Canadian AMEX card for membership entry but thats all. In my opinion not a very good corporate move by Costco either in the US or for Canada. I am seriously considering letting my membership lapse as it is too convoluted. The current regimine for credit cards is subject to change at anytime and who wants to be encumbered by that. American Express today, MasterCard tomorrow, Visa next week, and finally The Discover Card next year who needs it. I don’t know about the US but here in Canada it is against the law to designate one card as the medium for transacting a sale and how Costco is bypassing that law isn’t obvious and may just be that those who are concerned with such matters don’t really care what the law says for whatever reason. Costco shopping is a shot in the dark at best, better buys contaminated with higher pricing here and there, at most, a crap shoot.

  • raifon

    If I were shopping in India I suppose I would have to have a working knowlege of Hindi, but here in Canada or the US English is the official language along with French in Canada, not Hindi, not Cantonese not Japanese, so it encumbant on Corporate America and Canada to give services to their members and customers in the official languages of their countries.

  • Traci Singh

    WOW what a subject. Then why do we have to learn spanish since English is the offcial language. These people do not even try to learn because they know they don’t have to in the US. Yet everyone down talks people from India.

  • Pixie

    (No beef with your idea to buy gift cards online, especially if it helps you earn free stuff. Very clever, might do it myself if I didn’t like my cash rebate AMEX)

    Costco has a Contract with AMEX so they don’t get charged the service fees that ALL credit card companies charge. They also have a special Costco AMEX reward card, which is better than some, but worse than others. Everytime the contracts run out, they shop Visa, Mastercard, and DIscover, but they don’t want/need the business, so AMEX wins again. Even the Costco employees seem to hate the AMEX customer service, but VISA and MC just don’t want to offer the same deal. In Mexico, instead of AMEX, there’s a Costco MasterCard, so maybe there will be a change someday. I’d love to be a fly on the wall during the negotiations, which are not public record like the other info I just listed.

    I’ve learned that bigger is almost never better. We have to be smart shoppers, and use our iPhones for more than social networking and games. If we price shop when we have the extra 2-15 minutes, and we’ll see where we can save the most money, and where it’s not worth it. If you buy a giant bag of lettuce for $5 instead of paying $10 for the same amount at the grocery store, GREAT! Until it goes bad and you have to throw out half because you can’t consume it fast enough. Now you’ve saved nothing and wasted food. We have a 2 person household, so we stick to the snack portions, frozen foods, canned or boxed foods, and things that I can re-portion and freeze myself. The vitamins, allergy meds, and pain relievers are an awesome deal when you need the big bottles, but it never hurts to bring a friend along and see when they might want to split. There are better ways to save without engaging in round-a-bout bordering on sneaky tactics where the biggest result is an increase in prices or membership fees for the more frequent shoppers.

    And don’t get me started on how many times I’ve seen my fellow shoppers leave a gallon of milk or bag of frozen vegetables no where near the fridge/freezer, and I’ve been compelled to put the item away myself. Greed is real, but so are basic math and business formulas. “Rant” over.

  • Anna

    Or you buy Costco Cash at Cardpool.com and saving 1%.

  • Kayla

    The american express that comes with a costco membership is one of the best cards around. No annual fee, you can use it anywhere amx is accepted, you earn 3 to 4 % back at almost any gas station 2% back on travel, and restaurants. They give you straight cash back in your February statement every year.. And you can redeem that for cash and use it anywhere. The reason behind costco only accepting American express is we have a deal worked they don’t charge us as much to run that card, which in turn allows costco to keep prices down on the items everyone has come to love. No scam, just smart business practice.

  • Calvin Coolidge

    In 1975, Sweden had 476 rapes. In 2014, because of the broadening of the mind, Sweden had over 6000 rapes. Why are you so heartless? Your type of thinking has caused significant misery and suffering around the world, but don’t let that bother you. Stay on your moral high horse.

  • 2nd amendment vs evil govt

    barbara spectre will take credit for the increase in rapes in sweden…..sometimes you have to break a few multicultural eggs to make a multicultural omlet.

  • JoeAAbernathy

    They don’t “have to” outsource it. They do it because we, the consumers, will shop somewhere else if they have to raise their prices to pay living wages to Americans. We are all caught in a cycle of quanity over quality…we want to pay less, companies cut costs by outsourcing, Americans lose jobs, Americans now HAVE to pay less to survive, companies outsource more…cut the prices a little and keep the profits for their executives…regular Americans get poorer but keep voting for the same idiots who are for deregulation of business and the ficticious “supply side” economics theories that have tanked the American dream over the last thirty years and evaporated the middle class.

  • JoeAAbernathy

    Good point…I could put that $300 in a money market account for a month and make twenty five cents off it. Versus the $3 I’ll get back from Discover Card.

  • Laura

    Thank you so much! My credit union charges 25 cents each time I go to Costco…which is a LOT. This is a great idea til I open another bank account elsewhere…not to excited to do that though.

  • Cliff Andrews

    If Costco still does not offer Visa next year (2016), I will not renew Costco member. I still resist applying AmEx and avoiding any debit cards as not good security by hackers accessing my bank accounts.

  • AGrant

    Great idea! I wish you could purchase and pick up in store though! Have to wait for the card to be shipped to you. I need to go today! 🙁

  • Mark Wheeler

    American Express is the Tops in Customer Service. I have been with them for decades. My only complaint is that the reward points take FOREVER to post !!!

  • MGB36

    Thanks for the *great* tip! I’ll be using this.

    BTW, you can also use the reward calculator at CreditCardTuneUp.com to see which cards will pay you more in reward value for your Costco spending and regular monthly expenses.

  • Nancy Nurse

    OK, here is what many of you do not understand about the people from India on the other end of the phone. Their English is usually grammatically correct. What IS off, is their CADENCE.

    (Cadence | Define Cadence at Dictionary.com
    noun, Also, cadency. 1. rhythmic flow of a sequence of sounds or words: the cadence of language. 2. (in free verse) a rhythmic pattern that is nonmetrical)
    So, they are saying the correct WORDS but their speech RYTHM is different than American speech.
    Imagine someone telling you a phone number. You expect to hear, “555-623-5555”. But INSTEAD, they say, “5-556-23555-6”. It would throw you off. That is what happens when you try to understand them. And I would imagine, that is what is happening to them, also.

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  • DKM1017

    Just found out at Costco yesterday that they will soon be accepting VISA INSTEAD OF AMERICAN EXPRESS beginning on June 20th. From what I read online this morning, Costco & American Express couldn’t reach an agreement on their credit card & therefore they will be switching over to Visa by Citi, and Costco will be accepting ANY Visa Card for all purchases. Purchases with American Express can be made only through June 19th.

  • Fernando Rodriguez

    Try ChargeSmart and see if they have your mortgage biller in their system, I have been using them for years to pay my mortgage with my Credit Card

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