Earn United Miles at Costco

We’ve shopped at Costco for years and it’s always bugged me that our purchases didn’t accumulate any United air miles. And we’re talking significant dollars – agghhhh!

So, imagine how happy I was to discover that Costco members can buy Costco Cash Cards online, using any major credit card. The cash cards can then be used to pay for purchases when you shop or gas up at Costco.

Register online at www.costco.com to establish an account, if you don’t already have one. Search the website for costco cash card, select the cards you want to purchase, etc. There’s no shipping fee and they usually arrive in 3-5 business days. You do have to activate them once they arrive, but it’s just a quick phone call. If you shop there as often as we do, it’s worth it – especially if those extra miles make the difference between getting bonus miles or not.

Notes:

–           If you have an Executive membership, where you get 2% cash back, you might want to keep using your American Express for in-store purchases. I discuss this in another post.

–           The Costco website says “Members and non-members may use the cash cards to shop at any Costco location in the United States, Puerto Rico or on costco.com” but my experience has been that you need your membership card at the checkout, so I’m not sure how non-members could use the cash cards inside the store. I haven’t tried it at the self check out, though.

–           My experience does show that you only need the cash card, not the membership card, at the gas pump. So you could buy the cash cards and give them as gifts, even to non-members.

–           The cards are reloadable, but only in person at the store. I just buy new cards instead of bothering with reloading. If Costco ever makes it possible to reload online, I will take advantage of it.

–           Since the cards are like cash, I don’t like to load too much money on a card – in case it gets lost or stolen. You, in effect, register the cards to activate them, so it may be possible to freeze a missing card and transfer it to a new card or get a refund. I will post about this if I find out anything.


7 thoughts on “Earn United Miles at Costco

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  5. Great idea on buying COSTCO’s cash cards with a different card such as one connected to UAL’s MileagePlus, but remember that you could also use other airlines’ cards via a respective C.C. or Debit Card that issue through a local bank.

    I’ on my way to a faster Free flight to Paris now!

  6. With United’s devaluation, you’re better off just using Amex SPG at checkout. SPG can be transferred to airline partners and you will get 25% bonus for every 20K SPG transferred, so in effect a 1.25x mileage card. While most airline partners are 1:1, United is 0.5:1, so not a good choice. We have >1MM UA miles, but have not used them in a year as we redeem other, more useful miles (like AA/BA/AS).

    Question: How many cards do you get with an Exec Membership? One? Or can I get second card for spouse?

    • I’m not familiar with the Amex SPG. United is the only airline with direct, non-stop flights to Calgary. The miles that are the most valuable to me, may not be the miles most valuable to others. We get two cards with our Costco Exec membership – one for me and one for my husband.

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