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TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express: Big Savings On Gas

Costco True Earnings Card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express: Big Savings On Gas

Good gas rewards credit card that is unfortunately being discontinued March 31st, 2016
Editor's Rating: 4.5/5.0

Editor's Rating

4.5/5.0

The Amex TrueEarnings® Card from Costco is one of our favorite credit cards to use on purchases of gas. Unfortunately, the credit card is going to be discontinued at the end of March 2016. Costco customers with budgets predominantly focused in restaurant, travel, and gas categories should still consider the card, so long as it is available – however, you should have a plan set to replace this card when the time comes.

Good For…Bad For…
  • Individuals with big gas, travel, and restaurant expenses
  • Consumers who wish to use a credit card at Costco stores
  • Long-term value: the card will be discontinued next year
  • Someone who doesn't like any other Amex credit card

Review: Is the TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express Any Good?

Despite some minor shortcomings, the Costco TrueEarnings® credit card from American Express is one of our favorite credit cards for rewards on gas spending. This credit card comes free of charge, for individuals with Costco membership, and provides 2% savings on restaurant and travel spending, and up to 3% on the first $4,000 in gas purchases annually (1% after that). This annual cap on gas spending comes out to about $333 monthly – more than the national average gasoline budget.

The two major gripes we have with the Costco credit card come from restrictions with its rewards redemption and lack of a welcome bonus. All the cash back you earn through the credit card is awarded to users once per year, every February, in the form of a rewards coupon. Most rewards credit cards make their bounties readily available to consumers – at most locked by a minimum spend amount. Furthermore, the lack of a welcome bonus means this card does not have as much of an initial value – given the fact that it will be discontinued in less than a year, it may not make up that difference for most cardholders.

The fact that this card is going to be discontinued March 31st of next year is an elephant in the room that can’t be ignored. If you aren’t comfortable changing to another Amex card then, you will have to close down this line of credit – which can damage your credit score. Therefore, before applying for this credit card, take into consideration the fact that it has a short lifespan.

Bottom Line: Consumers who already shop with Costco, and spend a lot of money on gasoline may be hard-pressed to find a better credit card. Decent cash back value on travel purchases, restaurants, and gas is a rewards combination that is hard to come by.

TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express Benefits & Features

The TrueEarnings® Card from Amex is a straightforward cash back credit card, with a particular focus on gas rewards. Cardholders get up to 3% cash back at US gas stations (including gasoline at Costco), on the first $4,000 in purchases each year. Using the TrueEarnings® Card as payment at US restaurants, and some travel purchases get 2% cash back. All other purchases on the card earn back just 1% cash back.

Costco True Earnings Card
Costco True Earnings Card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.
Annual Fee
No Annual Fee
Purchase APR
15.24%
Credit Needed Good
Details
  • Roadside assistance
  • Car rental insurance
  • Global assist hotline
  • Travel insurance
  • Return protection
  • Purchase protection

Unlike a majority of rewards credit cards, the TrueEarnings® Card from American Express has no welcome bonus. This greatly hurts the card's short-term worth. As a point of comparison, some of our favorite cash back credit cards offer bonuses as high as $100.

How Do The TrueEarnings® Rewards Work? All the cash back you earn with the Costco TrueEarnings® credit card is awarded to users once a year – in the form of rebate checks, received every February. After receiving their rebate, cardholders have between February and August 31st of the same year to use their rewards. Furthermore, you can only use them for Costco merchandise, or redeem them for cash at a Costco store.

What Will Happen After The Costco TrueEarnings® Card Is Discontinued?

On March 31st, 2016, the TrueEarnings® credit card program is scheduled to end, due to American Express and Costco dissolving their partnership. All Costco TrueEarnings® cardholders will have the option of either closing their accounts or changing them to another American Express product. Costco has also announced they will be replacing their Amex credit card with one from Citi – this new card is yet to be revealed, and no details have been announced.

Amex is likely to stop processing card applications some time before March 31st, 2015. Therefore, consumers who want to take advantage of the deals it offers should apply sooner rather than later.

What Are Good Replacements for the Costco TrueEarnings® Card?

With the impending cancellation of the Costco TrueEarnings® Card, consumers may rightfully begin looking for credit cards that can serve as good replacements – offering equal or, in some cases, better rewards on gas, restaurants, and travel.

Costco TrueEarnings® Card vs Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is another great gas rewards credit card. It matches the 3% rewards rate on gas purchases of the TrueEarnings® Card – though it does not limit it at $4,000 annually. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express also gives 6% back at U.S. supermarkets (on the first $6,000 annually). This card does not, however, offer the same rewards on travel or restaurants that we see with the Costco credit card – if these categories are what matter to you most, other options may be a better choice. This card does however come with a $95 annual fee.

Costco TrueEarnings® Card vs Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card

Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

For those consumers wanting rewards from gas and restaurant spending, the Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card is a great option. It matches the reward rate of the Costco credit card in those two categories. The Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card does, however, come with a $45 annual fee (waived year 1). To compensate for this, a good rule of thumb is to know how much you spend on the categories it rewards you in – you’ll want to at the very least be breaking even. That means spending at least $1,000 annually on gas, and $750 at restaurants.

Costco TrueEarnings® Card vs BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card

If you’re concerned with getting a credit card that will allow you to continue shopping with Costco, you’ll need to have a card on the Visa network – such as the Bank Americard Cash Rewards. The card provides you with 3% cash back on gas, and 2% back on groceries and wholesale clubs. Both categories are each capped at a limit of $2,500 each quarter. All spending outside of those parameters earns just 1% back. If you already bank with Bank of America you can get a relationship bonus that will boost these rewards – the bonus is proportional to the amount of money you have deposited with BofA accounts.

Comparison Tool

You can use our interactive tool below to get a personalized list of credit card rewards based on your spending profile. The choice of a credit card is a process that requires extensive customization, if one wants to reach an optimal decision. Our tool can provide a quick overview, and you should take the time to examine some of the choices in greater detail for yourself – or by reading our reviews.

Assumptions Based On Monthly Spend of: $1,430 Edit
General:
U.S. Gas Stations:
U.S. Supermarkets:
Airlines:
Hotel:
U.S. Restaurants:
Office:
Utilities:
Computing:
Card Annual Fee 2-yr Net Rewards Rate

The Net Rewards Rate is equal to the Rewards Value over two years divided by the total spending. The total spending is equal to the values entered into the tool and multiplied by 24 months. See the rewards Value note to see details on how it is calculated.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s welcome bonus. If the bonus is point or mile based, we multiply the total bonus points/miles by our estimate for their value to arrive at a dollar equivalent. We display $0 if there is no bonus or if the user doesn’t qualify for the bonus based on the current spending entered into the tool. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

2-yr Rewards Value

The Rewards value is calculated by adding together the rewards earned from charging purchases to the card over two years and any welcome bonuses (if applicable). They are then multiplied by our estimated point/mile value, with any annual fees (if applicable) subtracted. All values are based on our own estimates for the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using a card and on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Citi® Double Cash Card
$0* 2.00%
$0
$686
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 686 x $1 = $686
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 686

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0*
APR 15.49% - 25.49%* (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.49% - 25.49% based on your creditworthiness*
  • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*
Chase Freedom®
$0 1.44%
$150
Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
$493
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 343 x $1 = $343
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $150
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 493

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 16.74% - 25.49% Variable

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card
No Annual Fee 1.95%
$150
$150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
$668
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 518 x $1 = $518
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $150
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 668

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee No Annual Fee
APR 12.99% - 22.99% Variable

Card Details

  • 0% APR for the first 12 billing cycles and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 12.99% - 22.99% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
$95 2.46%
$200
Get $200 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $200 back in the form of a statement credit.
$845
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Terms and Limitations Apply

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Point Value Rewards Value
Spending Rewards 835 x $1 = $835
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $200
Less Annual Fees -$190
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 845

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $95
APR 14.99%-25.99% Variable
*Rates and Fees

Card Details

  • $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) - that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.99% to 25.99%.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Comments and Questions

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer's Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers see our disclosure page

* See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's website.

Info about the following cards: Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

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Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products. For more information please see our Advertiser Disclosure.