Costco members with a True Rewards American Express card will be getting a new Citibank Visa card in April or May to replace the AmEx card that will be inactivated June 20. But AmEx cardholders won't be getting a new American Express card automatically.
In fact, they won't be getting a new one at all unless they request one.
"We are not replacing Costco co-brand cards with another American Express Card," said Elizabeth Crosta, vice president of public affairs at American Express. "If AmEx Costco card members would like a different American Express card, they should call us to discuss their needs."
Say what? A company with millions of soon-to-be-former card holders (10% of AmEx cardholders had AmEx True Rewards cards) chooses not to market to them? Something doesn't add up.
Jason Steele, credit card expert at Comparecards.com, said it's common for card issuers to offer a new card when a merger happens such as the travel reward credit cards with US Air and American or Northwest and Delta. "But when there's no corporate merger like with Costco and American Express, Costco must be saying, 'Hands off, American Express, you can't go after our customers,' " Steele said.
I reached out to AmEx spokeswoman Crosta to confirm and have not yet received a response.
Several readers reacting to my original story online about the card switch commented that AmEx has excellent customer service that will be missed. I agree. I will also miss AmEx's Premium Car Rental Protection with primary, not secondary, coverage. It's not the only card to offer it, but it's one of only a handful. It costs about $20 per domestic rental.
For cardholders who still want an Amex card, Steele suggests looking at the Blue Cash Everyday card. There is no annual fee and it offers 3% cash rewards for supermarkets, 2% on gas and 1% for everything else. For options, call American Express, go to their website or check one of the credit card rating services such as Cardhub.com or Comparecards.com. Be aware that many card comparison sites are advertising driven.