As I do not live in an area with Costco locations, I was not aware until Doctor of Credit posted today that Costco is now accepting mobile payments in-store. I imagine those with Samsung Pay have been able to use it at Costco for quite a while since Samsung Pay works almost anywhere, but for Apple Pay and Google Pay users, this could be great news as a way to earn an effective 4.5% back at Costco via the Altitude Reserve card.
This was announced a couple of weeks ago and is great news for those with the Altitude Reserve card, since that card earns 3x FlexPerks for payments made via mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. Those points can then be used to book travel at a rate of 1.5 cents per point. Better yet, US Bank earlier this year rolled out their Real-Time Mobile Rewards (See: US Bank makes Real-Time Mobile Rewards awesome. Are you listening Chase? Amex? Citi?). In a nutshell, Real-Time Mobile Rewards allows you to book directly with a hotel, airline, etc and redeem your points instantly via text message (note: there are some caveats and gotchas — read this resource page for more: US Bank Real-Time Mobile Rewards. What works where?). That enables you to, for example, book directly with the hotel and earn loyalty points / elite credit / access elite benefits rather than being forced to book through the bank’s portal, which likely would not give you access to those things (note that one of the aforementioned “gotchas” is that hotel redemptions must be at least $500, whereas most other purchases only need to be $10 or more – see that post linked above for more).
I suspect that Costco loyalists stand to gain quite a bit from this development as I am not aware of another card with a bonus category for Costco purchases, and 4.5% back is pretty darn good for daily essentials bought in bulk. We have also seen periodic deals for mobile payments with Chase cards – I wouldn’t be surprised if this holiday season brings some enhanced competition for various cards to become “top of app” rather than just top of wallet.
Keep in mind that Costco only accepts Visa, even via mobile payment platforms.
H/T: Doctor of Credit