Overdue 2020 Update: Fidelity changed card management firms and now the Amex version is gone, replaced by an equally excellent Visa version, which nicely coincided with Costco’s move from only accepting Amex to only accepting Visa, so the advice still stands. 🙂
TL;DR – The Fidelity American Express earns 2% cash back on all purchases, even at Amex-only Costco. Both firms are ending their relationship with AmEx, but this card and Costco are both transitioning to Visa network cards sometime this summer, so the 2% will continue.
After a long work day yesterday, Ms. PTM and I were looking forward to a relaxing night on the couch watching a movie. We get home, take care of the pups, order a pizza (#treatyoself), go to turn on the TV, and… nothing. TV was dead. No light, no sound, no nothing. Thanks to an alert from SimpliSafe earlier in the day, we knew we lost power for about 15 minutes, which was confirmed by the blinking time on the oven and microwave, but power loss doesn’t typically break shit. It did this time though. After a Google search to find a quick fix, it looked like power supply problems were fairly common with this model TV and would require a more in-depth repair than was worth our time. I’ll also admit that this looked to be a good opportunity to replace an old, heavy, power-hungry plasma TV.
So it was off to Costco!
We made a quick decision to get a replacement that night from Costco (it was fastest electronics purchase decision I’ve ever made and apparently the slowest for Ms. PTM). Why Costco? They tend to have comparable prices to Amazon (especially now that Amazon is collecting CO sales tax) and have a highly respectable return policy. How did we decide which TV to get? I’m partial to Vizio TVs for providing a nice sweet-spot between affordability and features and their recently released D-series seem to fit the bill. Power efficient (seriously, like $18 a year), ‘Smart TV’ apps built in (hooray Netflix, Amazon Video, PLEX!), and 4K resolution (not a lot of content, but Netflix seems to be adding more and more), plus their sister M-series was well reviewed by CNET. Although we were looking for a 50″ version, Costco was sold out except for the display (which was minimally discounted), so we went big: $699 58″ big. The difference between the 55″ and 58″: $10. So what were we to do but buy the giant ass TV?
Now to the #protip!
Costco, at least until this summer, is still an Amex-only shop. Their own True Earnings card issued by American Express only earns 1%, but the Fidelity Investment Rewards card (issued by FIA Card Services, a subsidiary of Bank of America) earns a full 2%. This card has earned a top spot in my wallet for its simple 2% cashback program. The scheme is simple: each dollar in purchases yields 2 WorldPoints, which can be auto-swept into a Fidelity Cash Management Account, i.e. checking, at $50 increments (5k points). Once in the Cash Management Account, you can ACH that money out to your primary bank, use free bill pay and free ATM withdrawal, or even invest it. Now what about Costco’s switch to Visa this summer? Conveniently, this is about the same time that Fidelity Investment Rewards cardholders are being transitioned to a Visa card themselves, which is issued by Elan Financial Services, a U.S. Bank subsidiary (bad news for AmEx, good news for you), so the 2%-cashback-at-Costco-love will continue.
Hope this was helpful. Thanks for tuning in! 😉