Last Updated on February 5, 2023
In 2015 Costco Canada switched from only accepting American Express Cards to only accepting Mastercard cards. Even though Capital One took the co-branded card away from American Express to offer a Costco Mastercard, and then CIBC took it away from Capital One in 2022, it does not mean you have to use the CIBC card to shop at Costco. In fact, any Mastercard card is accepted at Costco locations across Canada and with so many Mastercards 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.
This card has a base earn rate of 1.5% back in WestJet dollars which is equal to the RBC Cash Back Preferred World Elite Mastercard and the Rogers World Elite Mastercard that follow it. The reason why we rank it second is that it has a more valuable welcome bonus and some additional valuable benefits 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 is RBC's Cash Back Preferred World Elite Mastercard. This card 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.
The Desjardins Odyssey World Elite Mastercard awards 1.5% BONUSDOLLARS per $1 spent as Costco. One BONUSDOLLAR equals $1 so that works out to a 1.5% return on your Costco purchases. There is no cap to the 1.5% spending on the card so you will always earn that rate regardless of your spending habits.
This card fits more of a niche in the Canadian loyalty rewards landscape as its rewards are specific to the Air France KLM Flying Blue program. Points and miles aficionados know this loyalty program well as it can provide some huge outsized value when utilized right for economy or business class flights. 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 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.
Rwrds reminder: You can now use Instacart to circumvent Costco's non-acceptance of Amex and to earn 5x points with the Cobalt Card
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?
This article was first posted on January 13, 2015 and is continually updated
Title image via Costco Canada