Best credit cards for wholesale clubs

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Bulk shopping at stores like Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s can help you save time and money—but wholesale club credit cards can take your savings to another level. After all, credit cards geared to wholesale club purchases help consumers each cash back and other benefits for every dollar they spend.

The top rewards credit cards in this space don’t even charge an annual fee, provided you already have a paid membership with the club. Still, you should take the time to compare all rewards credit cards before you settle on a wholesale club credit card.

What are wholesale club credit cards?

Wholesale club credit cards are credit cards that are co-branded with a specific store such as Costco, Sam’s Club or BJ’s. You should note, however, that some club credit cards are store cards that can be used only in specific brands of stores, while others are traditional credit cards that carry the Visa or Mastercard logo, meaning you can use them anywhere.

Is a wholesale club credit card right for me?

Of course, not all credit cards for wholesale clubs are co-branded with a specific store, and in fact, many cash back credit cards are perfect for wholesale clubs and other regular purchases you make.

Whether or not you should get a wholesale club credit card should depend on several factors, including:

  • Whether you want a credit card you can only use in one store, or whether you want a credit card you can use everywhere you shop
  • Other spending categories you’re interested in earning rewards in
  • Cardholder benefits you want to have

At the end of the day, it’s best to compare wholesale credit cards with all the best rewards credit cards on the market today. Just remember that some wholesale clubs don’t take every type of credit card. For example, Costco doesn’t accept credit cards with the Mastercard logo.

Best credit cards for wholesale clubs of 2021

Here are Bankrate’s best credit cards for wholesale clubs in 2021:

Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi: Best card for Costco shoppers

  • Earn 4 percent back on up to $7,000 per year spent at eligible gas stations (including gas at Costco), then 1 percent back; 3 percent back at restaurants and on eligible travel purchases; 2 percent back on Costco and Costco.com purchases; 1 percent back on everything else
  • No annual fee with a paid Costco membership

The Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi is an excellent choice for Costco shoppers who already pay for a membership. Not only does this card offer an exceptionally high rate on gas purchases (4 percent back on up to $7,000 per year spent at eligible gas stations (including gas at Costco, then 1 percent back) but you’ll earn 3 percent back at restaurants and on eligible travel purchases, 2 percent back on Costco and Costco.com purchases and 1 percent back on everything else.

There’s no annual fee if you’re already a Costco member, and you’ll get perks like no foreign transaction fees. Just be aware that you can only redeem rewards once per year when your February billing statement closes, and your rewards are good only for merchandise or a check in brick-and-mortar stores.

Pro tip: If you’re a business owner, you should also look into the Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi.

BJ’s Perks Plus® Mastercard® Credit Card or BJ’s Perks Elite Mastercard Credit Card: Best for BJ’s shoppers

  • The BJ’s Perks Plus gives you 3 percent cash back on most in-club and BJs.com purchases, while the BJ’s Perks Elite offers 5 percent cash back on most in-club and BJs.com purchases
  • Both cards give you 10 cents off each gallon of gas at BJ’s, 2 percent back on dining out and non-BJ’s gas purchases (or purchases from other gas stations) and 1 percent back on all other purchases

If you’re a major BJ’s enthusiast, you should know this wholesale club offers two different co-branded credit cards in conjunction with Comenity Bank.

The BJ’s Perks Plus is geared to shoppers who have a standard BJ’s membership, and it lets you earn 3 percent back on most in-club and BJs.com purchases, as well as 10 cents off each gallon of BJ’s gas. You’ll also earn 2 percent back on dining and non-BJ’s gas purchases and 1 percent back on all other purchases.

Meanwhile, the BJ’s Perks Elite is geared to BJ’s shoppers with a higher tier BJ’s Rewards membership. This card lets you earn 5 percent back on in-club ad online BJ’s purchases, plus the same 2 percent back on dining and non-BJ’s gas purchases, plus 1 percent back on all other purchases.

Neither BJ’s credit card charges an annual fee, although you do have to pay for club membership to qualify. However, one downside to consider is the fact that your rewards are good only for certificates you can use for more BJ’s merchandise, and they expire six months after the date they’re issued.

Sam’s Club Mastercard: Best for Sam’s Club shoppers

  • Get a $30 statement credit when you open an account and make $30 in Sam’s Club purchases within 30 days
  • Earn 5 percent back on up to $6,000 spent on gas each year, then 1 percent back; 3 percent on dining; 1 percent back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees

While Sam’s Club does offer a store credit card that’s only good for purchases in Walmart and Sam’s Club stores, the Sam’s Club Mastercard really stands out. This card doesn’t charge an annual fee (provided you have a paid club membership), yet you’ll earn 5 percent back on up to $6,000 spent on gas each year (then 1 percent back), 3 percent back on dining and 1 percent back on all other purchases.

This card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees and you can also earn a small bonus of $55 when you open an account and spend at least $55 at Sam’s Club within the first 30 days. Also, for ultimate convenience, your new credit card will double as your membership card.

Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card: Best for several wholesale club brands

  • Earn a $200 cash rewards after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days
  • 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs; 3 percent cash back on category purchases of choice, including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug store or home improvement (up to $2,500 of combined 2 and 3 percent category purchases each quarter, then 1 percent); plus 1 percent on all other purchases
  • 0 percent intro for 15 billing cycles on balance transfers made within the first 60 days and purchases (then 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable). A 3% fee (min. $10) applies.

If you’re looking for a cash back card that rewards spending across a variety of wholesale clubs and bonus categories, the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card is a uniquely flexible option. Not only will you earn 2 percent cash back at multiple wholesale club and grocery store chains, but you can earn 3 percent back on one of six categories covering popular expenses that you can choose to swap each month. The key drawback is that your 2 percent and 3 percent bonus categories share a $2,500 quarterly spending limit in combined purchases. After that, you’ll earn 1 percent back on everything.

This level of flexibility can be fantastic if you don’t shop at one particular wholesale club or if you don’t buy in bulk often. The Cash Rewards card is an even better deal if you already you’re already a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member since you can pocket up to 75 percent more cash back on each purchase. Considering all of these benefits, the $200 cash bonus (after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days) and 15-billing cycle 0 percent balance transfer (made within the first 60 days) and purchase intro APR (then 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable).

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card last updated on 05.03.21

How to further maximize your savings at Costco, BJ’s and Sam’s Club

While picking up a wholesale club credit card can definitely help you earn more rewards when you stock up on bulk supplies, you might also want to consider a basic cash back credit card or a rewards card with rotating categories. Two options, in particular, can be rewarding for all your wholesale club purchases in the first half of 2021—the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Discover it® Cash Back.

With the Chase Freedom Flex,  you earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year, 5 percent back on up to $1,500 spent in activated rotating quarterly categories, then 1 percent back. For January through March of 2021, the Chase Freedom Flex category includes wholesale clubs, internet, cable and phone services, and select streaming services.

As an added bonus, the Chase Freedom Flex gives you 5 percent back on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel purchases, 5 percent back on Lyft rides (through March 2022), 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1 percent back on everything else. You can also earn a $200 cash bonus when you spend $500 within three months of account opening—and you get all of this with no annual fee.

Meanwhile, the Discover it Cash Back offers the same 5 percent back on up to $1,500 spent in activated quarterly bonus categories, then 1 percent back. There’s no annual fee, and Discover will even match all the rewards you earn the first year. In the spirit of earning more rewards at wholesale clubs, you’ll notice the Discover it Cash Back calendar for 2021 includes wholesale clubs, gas stations and select streaming services from April through June.

If you’re eager to boost your rewards in wholesale clubs, you may want to consider these general rewards credit cards for your wallet—and don’t forget to take other steps to save some cash. For example, many wholesale clubs allow you to use manufacturer and store coupons. If you do pay with a credit card, you’ll also want to pay your balance in full each month so you never pay a dime in interest.

The bottom line

Wholesale clubs do help people save money when they buy in bulk, but they also save consumers time and stress. Some wholesale clubs even offer in-store dining and additional perks for members.

Fortunately, you can get even more with your wholesale club membership when you pay with the right credit card. Take the time to compare all the credit cards we’ve profiled here, and you’ll be racking up cash back on all your shopping and bills in no time.

All information about the BJ’s Perks Elite® Mastercard® Credit Card and the Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson began her career working in the funeral industry, which may make you wonder why she works in personal finance now. Yet, the funeral industry taught the author everything she needs to know about the value of one's money and time. Johnson left the mortuary business a decade ago in order to explore her passion for personal finance and travel the world, and since then, she and her husband have built a debt-free lifestyle that has them on the path to retire very wealthy in their 40s. Holly's love of budgeting also led to the creation of her debt payoff book, “Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love."