In 2015 Costco Canada switched from only accepting American Express Cards to only accepting Mastercard cards. While Capital One® took the co-branded card away from American Express with essentially the same offering on their Capital
One® Platinum Mastercard® it does not mean you have to have that card to shop at Costco. In fact any Mastercard card is accepted at Costco locations across Canada and with so many Mastercard cards to choose from here in the Great White North we thought it would be best to pass along our picks for the five best cards to use at Costco.
The Brim World Elite Mastercard has one of the highest returns for purchases at 2% but there is a reason we have that asterisk above. The 2% on the Brim World Elite Mastercard is limited to $25,000 in annual spending - not just at Costco. So if you spend more than this your rate of return drops to 1% on any spending over and above $25K so it will dilute your return over time.
The card itself will earn 3 HSBC Rewards points per dollar spent at Costco. Those 3 points equate to a 1.5% return towards any travel. On top of that the card has excellent benefits and insurance coverage plus right now it offers a welcome of up to 80,000 points and your first year annual fee rebated!
This card has a base earn rate of 1.5% back in WestJet dollars which is equal to the HSBC World Elite Mastercard and the Rogers World Elite Mastercard. The reason why it falls in between the two is that the HSBC's card 1.5% can be used on WestJet flights but also on any other travel so it is more valuable in that regard. You could almost say the same thing about the Rogers card as it's 1.5% is more flexible but the Rogers card itself doesn't have as valuable of a welcome bonus like the WestJet nor the benefits that are afforded to the WestJet card like first checked bag free and an annual companion voucher.
This card used to be the number one card to use at Costco but it was devlaued on June 2, 2020. The old 1.75% earn rate at Costco has now dropped to 1.5% The Rogers card is a cash back card and you can redeem for cash back against a purchase once your rewards balance hits $20. The card doesn't have a huge sign up bonus but does provide a decent insurance package and best of all - it has no annual fee.
A card that barely seems to get noticed in our market may just do so now. RBC's Cash Back Preferred World Elite Mastercard earns 1.5% cash back on Costco purchases however like the Brim Card we have an asterisk. And that asterisk is there for the same reason as Brim, the 1.5% cash back on this card is limited to $25,000 in spending annually and then drops to 1% after that.
This card fits more of a niche in the Canadian loyalty rewards landscape as its rewards are specific to Alaska Airline's Mileage Plan program. Points and miles aficionados know this card and this loyalty program well as it can provide some huge outsized value when utilized right for business or first class flights on airlines like Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines. That outsized value can blow any of the above cards out of the water (think a 3, 5, or even 10% return) but like we said it's kind of a niche card that some Canadians just won't find the right value out of.
Remember all of the above cards come with the latest Mastercard World Elite benefits
The CIBC Costco Mastercard hit the market on March 4, 2022 and replaced the Capital One version of the card. Existing Capital One Costco cardholders were transferred over to this card. Here are the quick details on the new CIBC Costco card:
The new CIBC Costco Mastercard will continue to be a no annual fee cash back rewards card and will earn cash back as follows:
As you can see it will earn 1 % for shopping at physical Costco stores warehouses which much like the Capital One card it replaces has a lower return than the cards we present as the top 5 options. There is one hack around this and that is buying Costco Gift Cards online at Costco.ca so that you can earn 2% and then use those gift cards in store.
You also have the option of shopping with Costco online which opens it up to using a Visa card as Costco.ca takes both Mastercard and Visa or you can use a delivery service like Instacart and thus use a high earning American Express card like the Cobalt™ Card to earn big time points on those deliveries.
Even if you have a Mastercard card that is not on this list but it earns rewards you are ahead of the game, it doesn't mean that your card is bad. It could very well be the right card for you or perhaps it is just OK and one of these will work better for you, especially if you spend a lot at Costco stores. You should also take into account all your other purchasing and loyalty program miles/points accumulation before applying for a new card or jumping ship from the card you currently have.
There are two other cards that are decent to use at Costco - the Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite Mastercard and the Diners Club Club Rewards Mastercard, both of which provide a 1.5% return. The only issue with these two cards is that they aren't available for new applications. Only those people who currently have them can use them at Costco.
What do you think of this list? Are any of these cards in your wallet? If not are you apt to choose one of them or will you go with another Mastercard card?
Title image via Costco Canada