My BJ’s Perks® Elite Mastercard® is a rewards credit card that provides BJ’s Warehouse Club members with opportunities to earn up to 5% cash back on in-club purchases, $0.10 off BJ’s gas purchases, and variable cash back rates on other types of purchases, including restaurants and non-BJ’s gas.
My BJ’s Perks Elite does not charge an annual fee, but does require a paid-up BJ’s Perks Elite warehouse club membership, which normally costs $100 plus applicable state and local sales tax. However, BJ’s automatically enrolls new cardholders in BJ’s EASY renewal program, which discounts the annual fee by 25% – dropping the price to $75 plus tax. Cardholders who don’t want to auto-renew each year can opt out and pay full membership.
My BJ’s Perks Elite Mastercard is issued by Comenity Bank, which manages retail credit card programs for some of the country’s best-known vendors. Since it earns rewards for general-purpose and category-specific spending, it appears to have much in common with major cash back credit cards such as Chase Freedom and the BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card. However, it has a key limitation in that its rewards can only be redeemed inside BJ’s Warehouse Clubs for membership fees or merchandise purchases. There’s no other way to redeem – not even for BJs.com purchases or hard cash. Additionally, BJ’s rewards points expire 6 months after they’re earned, complicating matters for occasional BJ’s shoppers.
My BJ’s Perks Elite Mastercard is closely related to My BJ’s Perks Plus Mastercard, which offsets a less generous cash back scheme with a lower annual membership fee.
Earning Cash Back Rewards
My BJ’s Perks Elite Mastercard’s cash back and discounting program is broken into several tiers. First, all gas purchases made at BJ’s Wholesale Club gas stations instantly earn $0.10 off per gallon. In other words, if you purchase 25 gallons at a regular rate of $3 per gallon (normally a $75 purchase), you’d pay just $72.50.
Next, purchases made at BJ’s Warehouse Club locations or BJs.com earn unlimited 5% cash back. Dining and non-BJ’s gas purchases earn unlimited 2% cash back. All other spending earns unlimited 1% cash back, with the exception of gas purchases made at BJ’s gas stations.
Awards accrue only to 1 BJ’s membership account number per credit card, meaning only primary accountholders are eligible to earn rewards.
Redeeming Cash Back Rewards
Within 2 to 3 business days after you accumulate $20 in rewards, excluding instant gas discounts, BJ’s sends you a digital certificate for their value. You receive an additional certificate for every $20 increment you clear. For example, if you have $85 in rewards to date, you’ll have a digital certificate worth $80.
Accumulated rewards can be redeemed for merchandise or BJ’s membership fees inside BJ’s Warehouse Club locations. Online or mail-in redemptions are not allowed, and rewards cannot be redeemed for cash under any circumstances.
Importantly, the redemption process cannot produce a negative cash register balance, so if your rewards balance exceeds the size of your redemption transaction, the unused rewards remain in your account and roll over to the next redemption transaction.
Once you hit each $20 threshold, you have 6 months to redeem that batch of rewards. If you don’t, they expire. If you fail to clear the $20 threshold in any consecutive 36-month period, you’ll lose the rewards you earned during that period. For instance, if you slowly accumulate rewards over the course of 3 years and end up with a $17 balance at the end of that period, your entire rewards balance will zero out and you’ll be forced to start again from scratch.
BJ’s Membership Discount With EASY Renewal Program
When you sign up for a My BJ’s Perks Elite Mastercard account, you’re automatically enrolled in BJ’s EASY renewal program. EASY renewal automatically renews your membership each year with no action on your part. In exchange, you get a 25% discount to the regular BJ’s membership fee, dropping your annual cost from $100 plus applicable tax to $75 plus applicable tax.
If you choose to opt out of auto-renew, you can do so without affecting your membership or cardholder status, but you’re required to pay the full annual fee going forward.
Though the card itself does not charge an annual fee, you’re required to maintain a current BJ’s Warehouse Club membership at a minimum annual cost of $75 plus applicable local tax, or $100 without auto-renew. Balance transfers cost the greater of $10 or 3%, while cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%. The foreign transaction fee is 3%.
My BJ’s Perks Elite Mastercard users enjoy some nice World Mastercard benefits, including:
- Complimentary rental car upgrades under certain circumstances
- Price protection on purchased items for up to 120 days from purchase
- Extended warranties on items with original warranties under 24 months
This card requires good to excellent credit. If you have any noteworthy credit issues in the recent past, you may struggle to qualify.
- No Limit to Earning Power. My BJ’s Perks Elite Mastercard has no caps on cash back earnings or gas discounts, which is great news for super heavy spenders. The Sam’s Club Mastercard, a close competitor, caps annual cash back earnings at $5,000 per year, no matter how much the cardholder spends.
- Unlimited Instant Discount on BJ’s Gas. This card offers an instant, unlimited $0.10 discount on gas purchases at BJ’s. Unlike other warehouse club cards, which offer cash back on gas (and can take up to a year to send those rewards along to cardholders), this benefit accrues immediately. Also, when gas costs less than $2 per gallon, the discount amounts to a 5% or better return on spending, making it a better deal than Costco Anywhere Visa’s 5% gas cash back.
- Excellent Rewards Rate on BJ’s Club and BJs.com Purchases. This card’s 5% earning rate on BJ’s club and online purchases is much better than its principal competitors, Costco Anywhere Visa and Sam’s Club Mastercard. Both offer 2% back on in-store and online purchases. My BJ’s Perks Elite’s cash back benefit is also better than the Perks Plus card’s 3% rate.
- No Need to Wait to Redeem Cash Back Rewards. This card lets you redeem your rewards almost as soon as you hit each $20 increment, which can happen monthly (or faster) if you spend heavily in favored categories). This card doesn’t require you to wait a full year to redeem your rewards. By contrast, Costco Anywhere Visa and Sam’s Club Mastercard hold all the rewards you earn in a given calendar year until the following February, delaying redemption up to or beyond a full year in some cases.
- 2% Back on Gas at Non-BJ’s Stations. My BJ’s Perks Elite Mastercard earns 2% cash back on non-BJ’s gas purchases, no matter who owns and operates them. If your travels take you far from your local BJ’s, or even outside the BJ’s East Coast trade area altogether, this can be hugely beneficial. Other warehouse club cards pointedly exclude gas purchases made with direct competitors, such as other warehouse clubs and big-box stores like Walmart.
- Auto-Renewal Discount for Loyal Cardholders. If you keep EASY renewal going, you get 25% off your BJ’s membership each year. That drops your fees from $100 plus tax to $75 plus tax. If you’re on a tight budget and don’t plan to get rid of your membership anytime soon, this can give you some much-needed breathing room.
- No Penalty APR. My BJ’s Perks Elite Mastercard doesn’t have a penalty APR. If you occasionally miss payments due to liquidity issues or other problems, this can dramatically reduce your card ownership costs. Many other cards indefinitely impose penalty APRs approaching 30%.
- Can’t Redeem Rewards for Cash. My BJ’s Perks Elite Mastercard doesn’t allow you to redeem for cash. If you don’t want to redeem your rewards for store credit or membership fees, that could be a deal-breaker. Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi and Sam’s Club Mastercard both allow cash redemptions, as do the vast majority of rewards credit cards not tied to specific retailers.
- Must Redeem Rewards In-Store. This card has another hurdle to easy redemption: a requirement that cardholders redeem their rewards at BJ’s Warehouse Club locations. This is hugely inconvenient if you don’t live close to a BJ’s club or pass one in your daily routine. Even if you do, warehouse clubs are huge and frequently crowded, so visiting one simply to redeem rewards can be a hassle.
- No Rewards for Secondary Cardholders. Only one person per credit card account can earn rewards with My BJ’s Perks Elite Mastercard. Basically, this means your authorized users can’t pad your earnings. If you live in a large household with multiple adults or older children whom you trust to shop on your behalf (or for themselves), this can be a real problem. By contrast, the Sam’s Club Mastercard doesn’t restrict earnings to primary cardholders. Neither do most general purpose cash back cards.
- Rewards Expire After 6 Months. You have just 6 months to redeem your rewards once you hit the $20 threshold. This can be a huge problem for infrequent BJ’s shoppers, who might visit their local club only once or twice per year. By contrast, competing warehouse club cards have 12-month expiration time-frames, creating more redemption opportunities for infrequent shoppers. Most general-purpose cash back cards have no expiration time-frames at all.
- High Membership Fees for Infrequent or Light Shoppers. This card requires a current Perks Elite membership at a minimum cost of $75 plus tax. Even without an annual fee for the card itself, this can really eat into your earnings if you’re a light spender or infrequent BJ’s shopper.
- De Facto $20 Minimum Redemption Threshold. My BJ’s Perks Elite Mastercard’s rewards accrue in $20 increments, meaning there’s a de facto minimum redemption threshold of $20. If you’re a light spender who goes months without earning $20, this can be a serious problem. Sam’s Club minimum is just $5, and Costco’s $1 minimum is so low that it barely qualifies as such.
- No Sign-up Bonus. My BJ’s Perks Elite Mastercard has no sign-up bonus. If you’re looking to cash out right after opening your account, you need to look for another rewards card. Among warehouse club competitors, the Sam’s Club Mastercard comes out ahead on this measure, thanks to its $40 statement credit for cardholders who spend at least $100 at Sam’s Club on the day they open their accounts. General-purpose cash back credit cards are much more generous in the sign-up bonus department. For example, BankAmericard Cash Rewards offers a $100 bonus, while Chase Freedom Unlimited’s bonus is worth up to $175.
If you live in or near a major East Coast city, there’s probably a BJ’s Warehouse Club within easy driving distance of your home. BJ’s has more than 200 outposts on the East Coast, running from north of Boston down to Miami.
On the other hand, if you live west of the Appalachian Mountains, you’re almost certainly outside the coverage area of BJ’s. Unlike Costco and Sam’s Club, BJ’s has virtually no presence outside the Eastern Seaboard states. At some point in the future, this could change – but for now, the majority of Americans can only dream about My BJ’s Perks® Elite Mastercard®.