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How to Use Any Credit Card to Buy Stuff at Costco

By , January 20th, 2015 | 5 Comments »

Use any credit card at Costco
One of the restrictions which frustrates a lot of Costco members is the fact Costco doesn’t allow members to use just any credit card when shopping at their warehouses. The choices are limited to cash, a check, a debit card, or American Express. Since most people don’t have American Express as their primary credit card, this means most people believe they have to shop at Costco without getting any credit card rewards. This simply isn’t true.

There is a simple Costco hack which will allow you to use any credit card you want to pay for all the stuff you buy at Costco. This can be great if you have an airline credit card or other reward credit card, and you want to get miles or rewards for all the money you spend at Costco. So, how can you use your Visa or MasterCard when shopping at Costco? By shopping online first.

If you don’t already have an online account, you’ll need to register at Costco.com. Once registered, you will purchase a Costco Cash Card. While you can’t use Visa or MasterCard when shopping at the warehouses, the Costco website does allow you to make purchases with Visa and MasterCard credit cards when you buy online. There’s no shipping fee for purchasing cash cards, so you get the full value of the amount you purchase. The cash card usually takes 3 to 5 days to arrive. A phone call will activate the card, and then you can use it to make your purchases at Costco. While there is an extra step to the process, it’s fairly easy, painless, and can be worthwhile for those who like to maximize their credit card rewards.

It’s that simple. This works great for those who have a standard Costco membership. For those with an Executive membership, using the American Express card that comes with your Executive Membership and the 2% cash back is probably the way to go. The value there is usually more than the airline miles or other rewards you can get for other credit cards (but not always). For those who don’t have an Costco Executive Membership, this is a great alternative which will allow you to accumulate rewards you would otherwise miss out on getting.

The more shopping you do at Costco, the more valuable this hack becomes. It can be especially lucrative to your airline miles or other rewards if you buy your gas at Costco gas stations as well. Unfortunately, this hack only works if you do have a Costco Membership. It’s possible to shop at Costco without a membership, but you must have a membership to buy the cash cards so it’s not possible to to both.

For more info on Costco check out these articles.

Is the Costco Membership Fee Worth it?

Is a Costco Executive Membership Worth the Price?
Costco Gas Calculator: Will I Save Money Buying a Membership if All I Buy is Fuel?

Costco Return Policy

Costco Holiday Schedule

Costco Tires


You can check out our articles for Target as well.

Target Christmas Store Hours

Target Holiday Schedule and Store Hours

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  • Alex says:

    I wonder why I never thought of doing this before? I’ll have to give it a try!

  • Bob says:

    While clever, it doesn’t really make sense. If you’re buying enough stuff to want to get rewards for it, you should get the Executive membership. It will pay for itself. If you aren’t, then the effort to just get a few extra miles doesn’t seem worth it. Creative, but not worth it in my opinion.

    • Tracy says:

      This would be helpful if you were to buy a large item that you wanted to be put onto a cc vs your debit card. We bought a bed and mattress set last year for our guest room but with our other purchases, we went over our (personally set, for security reasons) daily limit. It was also a Sunday, so we couldn’t just run to our bank that was 2 blocks away. It was a pain in the butt. If we were to do it again, we’d just buy a large gift card (getting the points on our cc) and do it that way.

  • Mike says:

    This is very timely as I needed this solution right now. Thanks!

    This is also nice because one can earn more rewards this way. The best I know of for AmEx general spending is 2% cash back with the Fidelity AmEx if you have a Fidelity account, otherwise it’s 1.6%.

    However, with the BankAmericard Tavel Rewards Card plus Bank of American Platinum Honors Status, you can get 2.625% on all spending.

  • peanut says:

    This is a great idea I had never considered. I try to use my airline credit card whenever I can, but, of course, I can’t use it at Costco. This is a solution to that problem I have wanted to solve for a long time.


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