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In March we learned that American Express and Costco would be cutting ties, which was a pretty big loss for American Express. The loss of Costco threatens roughly 8% of the annual worldwide spending on American Express cards. But American Express was losing money on the agreement, and it just didn’t make sense to sustain it.
Instead, as of April 2016, Costco’s co-branded credit card will be a Visa issued by Citi.
Sam’s Club now accepts American Express
It seems like American Express wasn’t going to just take the loss without a fight, as they’ve now worked out an agreement with Costco’s biggest competitor, Sam’s Club (which is the eighth largest retailer in the US).
As of October 1, 2015 (today), American Express cards are accepted at more than 650 Sam’s Club locations in the US.
To celebrate the new partnership, card members can receive a one-time $25 statement credit after they use an enrolled, eligible American Express Card to spend $45 or more on a new Sam’s Club membership in-store between October 1 and October 31, 2015.
As a reminder, prior to this the only credit card that Sam’s Club accepted in store was MasterCard. You could use American Express when making purchases online, but not in-store. So this nicely increases the payment options at Sam’s Club.
Which credit card should you use at Sam’s Club?
Now that Sam’s Club accepts both American Express and Sam’s Club, what’s the best credit card to use for Sam’s Club purchases?
Warehouse stores typically don’t qualify as grocery stores for the purposes of credit credit card, so there aren’t really any bonus categories you can take advantage of by shopping at Sam’s Club. So in general you’ll want to use a credit card which maximizes your return on everyday spend.
When it comes to American Express cards, your two best options are as follows:
- Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card — earn a 50% points bonus when you make 30 transactions per billing cycle, meaning you can earn up to 1.5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent (which I value at 1.8 cents each, for a return of ~2.7%)
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express — one Starpoint per dollar spent, which I value at ~2.2%
If you’re a small business owner purchasing supplies at Sam’s Club, the best American Express options are still going to be those that reward based off of everyday spend:
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express — like the consumer card, this offers one Starpoint per dollar spent, which I value at ~2.2%
- The Plum Card® from American Express OPEN — get a 1.5% discount when you pay early, with no cap on what you can earn back
American Express certainly made the best of a bad situation here. Their relationship with Costco wasn’t sustainable, so they managed to accomplish the next best thing, which is partnering with Costco’s biggest rival.
This is great news for consumers, not just because it increases the variety of cards accepted at Sam’s Club, but more importantly that two of the best cards for everyday spend — the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card and Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express — can now be used at Sam’s Club.
Small business owners can now have more options as well, and I would probably use the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express or The Plum Card® from American Express OPEN for Sam’s Club purchases.
If you’re a Sam’s Club customer, are you excited about these changes?