|Rewards Rating:||2.3 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||3.1|
In a Nutshell:
The BJ’s Perks Elite MasterCard gives current BJ’s members a chance to save big on everyday purchases, but others who don’t already frequent BJ’s or a similar warehouse club should factor in the $100 cost of club membership when deciding whether or not the card is worth it.
Average Yearly Savings ($1,325 monthly spend)
Other Notable Features: Online account access, EMV chip technology, exclusive savings and discounts, free shipping on some items
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Most features of the BJ’s Perks Elite MasterCard are par for the course when it comes to retail cards: higher-than-average APR, limited redemption options and unexciting rewards on outside purchases. And just like the card offered by rival Costco, it has no sign-up bonus to speak of. However, a generous 5 percent cash back rate on in-club and online purchases combined with supersized savings on gas, more than make up for what the card lacks, at least for those BJ’s shoppers who are in it for the long haul.
The BJ’s Perks Elite MasterCard comes with some of the best rewards in the retail card category, offering an impressive 5 percent cash back on most in-club and BJs.com purchases. (Items such as alcohol, cigarettes, lottery tickets and gift cards don’t qualify.) Cardholders also receive an instant discount of 10 cents off each gallon of fuel pumped at a BJ’s gas station when they use their card to pay, although such purchases don’t accumulate rewards.
You’ll also collect a decent 2 percent cash back on dining and non-BJ’s gas purchases, along with 1 percent on general purchases, which is comparable to most other store-branded cards. Obviously, you’ll earn the biggest bang for your buck on BJ’s buys, so you might consider using a separate cash back card with better rates for outside purchases – such as the Capital One Premier Dining Rewards card’s 3 percent cash back at restaurants or the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi‘s 4 percent cash back at most gas stations (up to $7,000 annually, then 1%).
No annual fee … sort of
Though the BJ’s Perks Elite MasterCard doesn’t technically have an annual fee, you’ll have to purchase a BJ’s membership if you don’t have one already. To apply for a BJ’s Perks Elite credit card, you’ll need to sign up for a BJ’s Perks Rewards membership at a cost of $100 annually. (Current Inner Circle members will have to upgrade their membership for an additional $50 per year.) While this won’t be a problem for current BJ’s members, newcomers will have to weigh the membership fee against the potential rewards they’ll earn with the card.
BJ’s Perks Elite MasterCard holders are automatically enrolled in the warehouse club’s Easy Renewal program, which means your store membership fee is automatically billed to your credit card when it comes due every year. Doing so gives you a $25 discount, dropping the membership fee to $75 and making it a little easier to ensure the rewards offset your out-of-pocket costs.
Something else to keep in mind: If you do not renew your BJ’s membership, you can continue to accrue and redeem awards with the BJ’s Perks Elite MasterCard; however, a 20 percent surcharge will apply to all of your BJ’s purchases, including purchases that earn awards and purchases made using awards.
More than one way to redeem
BJ’s Perks Elite rewards are issued via digital certificates in $20 increments, redeemable in-club at the register. You can choose to use rewards or save them, but you have just six months to redeem the certificates once they’re handed out (points themselves expire three years after the date they’re earned). This is one of the major downsides of the card, since the expiration date is fairly short – much shorter than the expiration on Costco certificates, which expire in 12 months – and it means that you will have to put in a bit of maintenance to make sure you redeem your rewards before they expire.
On the plus side, the card is very flexible in allowing to stack your card rewards with many types of discounts and offers. Though you cannot combine rewards from multiple memberships, you can combine certificates from the same account and with other offers, including BJ’s deal of the day, in-club coupons and email offers.
Like most other retail credit cards, cash back can only be redeemed at BJ’s – but unlike many of its competitors, the BJ’s Perks Elite MasterCard does give you the option to receive rewards in the form of a check if you contact customer care at 800-BJs-CLUB. This added bit of flexibility could come in handy if you’re planning to cancel your BJ’s membership but don’t want to forfeit your rewards, and is a plus over the Costco membership, which rescinds all of your rewards if you cancel your membership before your annual rewards certificate is issued.
A handful of extras
While the exact suite of MasterCard benefits varies by card, standard perks usually include price protection, extended warranty, $0 liability protection, identity theft resolution services, travel accident insurance and more. Be sure to reference the BJ’s Perks Elite MasterCard benefits guide for more specific details.
Cardholders will also enjoy exclusive savings and discounts, as well as free shipping on some items purchased at BJs.com. The card is issued with an EMV chip, making it one of the more secure store cards available.
Why get the BJ’s Perks Elite MasterCard?
- You’re already a BJ’s member.
- You like to shop at bulk superstores and are willing to switch to BJ’s for the rewards.
- You put a lot of miles on your car and stand to save considerable money at the pump with 10 cents off per gallon.
- You don’t plan to use this card for everyday spending outside of BJ’s.
- You care more about long-term rewards than the immediacy of a large sign-up bonus.
- You don’t plan to carry a balance from month to month.
How to use the BJ’s Perks Elite MasterCard
- Sign up for a BJ’s Perks Rewards membership to apply for the card.
- Use the card for all BJ’s club and BJ’s gas purchases to earn the highest cash back rate and to save an automatic 10 cents at the pump.
- Redeem all points and rewards certificates prior to their expiration.
- If you’re planning to cancel your BJ’s membership, request your rewards in the form of a check so they’re not forfeited.
- Don’t charge more than you can afford to pay off in full every month.
- Refrain from using the card overseas to avoid racking up foreign transaction fees.
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