My BJ's Perks® Plus MasterCard®
- Sign-up Bonus: None
- Rewards: Instant $0.10 off every gallon of gas purchased at BJ’s Wholesale Club gas stations; unlimited 3% cash back on in-club and BJs.com purchases; unlimited 2% cash back on restaurant and non-BJ’s gas purchases; unlimited 1% cash back on everything else; $10 off annual BJ’s membership renewal with auto-renew
- Fees: Balance transfer fee 3% of amount transferred ($10 minimum); cash advance fee 5% of amount advanced ($10 minimum)
- Annual Fee: $0, but requires paid-up BJ’s membership ($50 per year, plus applicable local sales tax, or $40 per year with auto-renewal)
- Credit Needed: Good/excellent
My BJ’s Perks® Plus MasterCard® is a rewards credit card that rewards spending at BJ’s Warehouse Clubs and in other favored spending categories, including restaurants and gas. Though the card itself does not charge an annual fee, it does require a paid BJ’s warehouse club membership, which normally costs $50 plus applicable state and local sales tax. New cardholders are automatically enrolled in BJ’s EASY renewal program, which auto-renews their memberships every year at a 20% discount – dropping the price to $40 plus tax. Cardholders can opt out of auto-renewal and pay the full membership fee at any time.
Issued by Comenity Bank, My BJ’s Perks Plus Mastercard resembles major cash back credit cards that earn rewards for general-purpose and category-specific spending. However, it has an important catch: Its rewards can only be redeemed for merchandise or membership fees inside BJ’s Warehouse Clubs. They can’t be converted to hard cash or even used for online BJ’s purchases. They also expire 6 months after they’re earned, potentially posing problems for infrequent BJ’s shoppers.
Earning Cash Back Rewards
My BJ’s Perks Plus Mastercard has a multi-tiered cash back and discount program.
First, all gas purchases made with the card at BJ’s Wholesale Club gas stations instantly earn $0.10 off per gallon. So, if a cardholder purchases 20 gallons at a regular rate of $3 per gallon (normally $60), they pay just $58.
Next, purchases made at BJ’s Warehouse Club locations or BJs.com earn unlimited 3% cash back. Purchases made at restaurants and on gas at non-BJ’s gas stations earn unlimited 2% cash back. All other purchases earn unlimited 1% cash back. Gas purchases made at BJ’s gas stations do not earn additional cash back.
Point earnings are limited to a single BJ’s membership account number per credit card. In other words, only primary cardholders can earn rewards on spending.
Redeeming Cash Back Rewards
Once you earn $20 in rewards, not including instant gas discounts, you receive a digital certificate for their full value. This process repeats at every $20 increment, so if you’ve earned $75 in rewards to date, you’ll have a digital certificate worth $60. Rewards become available within 2 to 3 business days after you hit the threshold.
You can redeem your accumulated rewards for purchased merchandise or BJ’s membership fees at BJ’s Warehouse Club locations. Rewards have no cash value and cannot be redeemed for cash. Also, redemption cannot result in a negative cash register balance.
After hitting each $20 threshold, you have 6 months to redeem your rewards, otherwise you lose them for good. Program balances that fail to hit $20 for 36 consecutive months expire in their entirety. For instance, if your rewards program balance slowly creeps up to $17 over the course of 3 consecutive years, but never hits $20, your $17 balance will zero out at the end of that 3-year period.
BJ’s Membership Discount With EASY Renewal Program
New My BJ’s Perks Plus Mastercard cardholders are automatically enrolled in BJ’s EASY renewal program, which automatically renews memberships each year with no action from the cardholder. This comes with a 20% discount to BJ’s regular membership fee of $50 plus tax, dropping the fee to $40 plus tax.
Cardholders can opt out of auto-renew at any time, but they must pay full membership fees thereafter. Supplemental memberships, which cost $30 apiece, aren’t discounted any further by this promotion.
There is no annual fee for the card itself, but cardholders are required to keep a current BJ’s Warehouse Club membership at a minimum annual cost of $40 plus applicable local tax ($50 without auto-renew). The foreign transaction fee is 3%. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%, and balance transfers cost the greater of $10 or 3%.
This card comes with some additional World Mastercard benefits, including extended warranties on items with original warranties under 24 months, price protection (reimbursing the difference) on purchased items for up to 120 days, 24/7 concierge service for travelers, and complimentary rental car upgrades where available.
This card requires good to excellent credit. Any notable blemishes in your recent past are likely to disqualify you from consideration.
- No Limit to Earning Power. My BJ’s Perks Plus MasterCard’s earning power is totally unlimited. You don’t have to worry about caps on your gas discounts or BJ’s club cash back rewards, even if you’re a super-heavy spender. By contrast, the Sam’s Club Mastercard caps annual reward earnings at $5,000 per year.
- Generous, Unlimited Instant Discount on BJ’s Gas. This card’s instant $0.10 discount on gas purchases is a nice way of saying “thank you” right away. And, when and where gas is cheap (less than $2 to $2.50 per gallon), it’s a better deal than competing warehouse club cards’ 4% to 5% cash back on gas spending.
- Cash Back Rewards Can Be Redeemed Almost Immediately. This card doesn’t require you to wait a full year to redeem your rewards. When you hit a new $20 increment, your rewards are ready to redeem within 2 to 3 business days. That’s a big advantage over the Costco Anywhere Visa and Sam’s Club Mastercard, which only allow you to redeem your rewards once per year.
- Generous Earning Rate on In-Store Purchases. My BJ’s Perks Plus Mastercard earns 3% back on purchases at BJ’s Warehouse Club locations and BJs.com, a generous earning rate that neither the Costco Anywhere Visa (2%) nor the Sam’s Club Mastercard (2%) can match.
- Earns 2% on Non-BJ’s Gas Purchases. This card earns 2% cash back on gas purchases made at non-BJ’s gas stations, regardless of who owns and operates them. That’s great news for BJ’s members whose travels take them outside the warehouse club’s home turf. It’s also a notable advantage over other warehouse club cards, which restrict point earnings on gas purchases made at direct competitors, such as Walmart, Kroger, and other warehouse clubs.
- Discount for Cardholders Who Automatically Renew. If you keep the automatic renewal going, you get 20% off your BJ’s membership each year – paying $40, not $50. This is a nice break for frugal BJ’s members who remain committed to the club and don’t plan to quit or change their membership.
- No Penalty APR. This card doesn’t charge penalty interest. That helps cardholders who sometimes miss payments due to liquidity issues. Some competing cards carry penalty APRs approaching 30%, and often impose them indefinitely once a payment is missed.
- Rewards Can’t Be Redeemed for Cash. My BJ’s Perks Plus Mastercard doesn’t have a cash redemption option. That’s a huge problem for cardholders who don’t want to redeem their rewards for credit against in-store purchases or membership fees. Both Costco Anywhere Visa and Sam’s Club Mastercard allow cash redemptions.
- Rewards Must Be Redeemed In-Store. Further adding to the rewards program’s inflexibility is the requirement that cardholders redeem rewards in-store. Most other rewards credit cards have online or snail mail redemption options, which are clearly more convenient than in-person redemptions.
- Only the Primary Cardholder Can Earn Rewards. Only primary accountholders – one person per credit card account – can earn rewards with My BJ’s Perks Plus Mastercard. If you have a large household, this can really eat into your earning potential. The Sam’s Club MasterCard, along with most general-purpose cash back credit cards, doesn’t restrict earnings to primary cardholders.
- Rewards Expire After 6 Months. Once your rewards stockpile grows past $20, you have 6 months to redeem. If you’re an infrequent BJ’s shopper who only hits the club a couple times per year, that’s a pretty short time-frame. The Costco and Sam’s Club cards have 12-month expiration time-frames, and most general-purpose cash back cards allow cardholders in good standing to sit on their rewards indefinitely.
- De Facto $20 Minimum Redemption Threshold. This card issues rewards in $20 increments, so there’s a de facto $20 minimum redemption threshold. This can be a problem for light spenders, who can go months without reaching the $20 mark. Costco and Sam’s Club have much lower thresholds – $1 and $5, respectively.
- Requires a Current BJ’s Membership. This card requires a current, paid-up BJ’s Warehouse Club membership, which costs at least $40 plus tax per year. Though the card itself doesn’t have an annual fee, this recurring charge can definitely eat into the earning power of infrequent card users (and occasional BJ’s shoppers).
- No Sign-up Bonus. This card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus. While direct competitor cards aren’t known for especially generous bonuses, the Sam’s Club Mastercard offers a $40 statement credit to cardholders who spend at least $100 at Sam’s Club immediately after opening their accounts. General-purpose cash back credit cards such as Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card extend even more generous offers to new cardholders.
Unlike Costco and Sam’s Club, BJ’s Warehouse Club is very much a regional player. Though there are more than 200 BJ’s stores, virtually all are located within 200 miles of the Atlantic Ocean, in a narrow swathe from Maine to Florida. If you don’t live on the Eastern Seaboard, you’re unlikely to benefit from a BJ’s membership or have any use for this card. One day, perhaps, BJ’s will realize its national ambitions and open stores in other time zones. For now, consumers from Ohio to California have other great warehouse clubs to choose from.
My BJ's Perks® Plus MasterCard®
My BJ’s Perks® Plus MasterCard® is ideal for committed BJ’s members who shop heavily at BJ’s warehouse clubs, BJs.com, and BJ’s gas stations, and who don’t mind redeeming their accumulated rewards for store credit. Thanks to the far-reaching 2% cash back benefit on non-BJs gas, it’s also useful for cardholders who put lots of miles on their cars, even if they don’t always fill up at BJ’s.
On the other hand, this card falls short for consumers who don’t shop heavily at BJ’s, as well as those who want the flexibility to redeem their rewards in hard cash.
This card’s benefits include its unlimited earning power, unlimited instant gas discount, no need to wait to redeem rewards over the threshold, generous earning rate on in-store and online purchases, broad non-BJ’s gas rewards, membership fee discount, and lack of penalty interest.
These benefits are offset by some key drawbacks, including the inability to redeem rewards for cash or outside physical BJ’s Warehouse Club locations, secondary cardholders’ inability to earn rewards with their own cards, a short expiration time-frame, the minimum redemption threshold, current BJ’s membership requirement, and a lack of a sign-up bonus.
Overall, this is a great card for diehard BJ’s fans, for whom its rewards are nearly as good as cash. For everyone else, it’s outshined by the alternatives.