Thursday, October 22, 2015

Costco Visa with 'generous rebate package' will replace Amex in 2016

How big is the new Costco Wholesale in Teterboro? Too big, in the opinion of many shoppers, including me, who couldn't find items on their list, and tramped back and forth looking for them and asking others for directions. In the distance, you can barely see the food court photos, which are just beyond the checkout lanes.

Editor's note: The bigger Costco Wholesale warehouse in Teterboro signed up more than 1,000 new members since a preview party on Oct. 13. Meanwhile, Costco announced the end of its relationship with American Express by next April.


Costco Wholesale has begun preparing members for the transition to a Visa credit card from longtime partner American Express.

In a letter to members, Costco said the warehouse giant "will stop accepting American Express credit cards, including the co-branded Costco American Express Cards," sometime after March 31, 2016.

"As part of our continuing commitment to provide members with the best value possible, we have partnered with Citi and Visa to develop new credit cards ... that will provide you with the opportunity to earn generous rewards ....," the company said.

Costco American Express Card holders won't have to apply for new cards or take any other immediate action.

Details of the new Costco Visa Card's "very generous rebate package" will be provided in early 2016.

Now, the Costco American Express Cards give members cash rebates on their purchases in the warehouse store, as well as at outside gas stations, restaurants and other businesses.

Many members easily recoup their membership fee of $55 or $110, and hundreds of dollars more.

Today, I couldn't find Kirkland Signature Himalayan Pink Salt, said to be the purest salt on earth. Instead, Costco is offering a grinder of Kirkland Signature Mediterranean Sea Salt ($3.49), left, or Pure Sea Salt from Brazil ($2.79), but the latter doesn't provide iodide.

Another Kirkland Signature item that was missing was 2% Lactose Free Milk in three 64-ounce cartons. Instead, I had to buy a 96-ounce container of 2% Lactaid Lactose Free Milk for a pricey $4.99, compared to three half-gallons of Costco's product for $7.99.

Shopping in Teterboro

On my second visit to the bigger Teterboro Costco, which opened on Oct. 14, I had a longer list than I did last Friday, and had trouble finding several items.

But just inside the door today, I was delighted to see an Aroma-brand 10-cup combination electric rice cooker, slow cooker and food steamer, just what I needed to replace my 15-year-old Panasonic cooker with a chipped inner pot.

The cooker, with a "quick rice" setting for white rice in 10 minutes, was only $29.99.

I picked up my usual 1-pound package of Earthbound Farm Organic Spring Mix for $4.59, as well as three heads of Butter Lettuce hydroponically greenhouse grown in Quebec, Canada, for $4.79.

A 4-pound bag of Nature's Intent Organic Quinoa is $14.79, and Kirkland Signature Organic Diced Tomatoes are $6.49 (eight 14.5-ounce cans).

The Poland Springs water pack is bigger than before, with 40 16.9-ounce bottles for $4.99 or about 12.5 cents each. 

And the price of six wonderful frozen Maryland-style jumbo lump crab cakes from Phillips Seafood Restaurants dropped to $15.99 from $18.99.

Another shopper walked away in a huff when I told her about Fresh Atlantic Salmon from Norway, where the farmed fish are raised without harmful antibiotics, for $8.99 a pound, above and below, or $2 more a pound than the enormous hunk of fresh farmed salmon from Chile she had put in her cart. Chilean fish farmers are said to use a tremendous amount of antibiotics to prevent disease and promote growth.

I wanted to buy wild-caught whole red snapper from Nicaragua for $6.59 a pound, but wasn't sure the fish were scaled.

Buying Legal Sea Foods Alaskan King Crab & Sweet Corn Chowder at Costco is a lot cheaper than having lunch at the upscale chain restaurant in Paramus.

Tonight, I used my remaining Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto with a use by or freeze date of Oct. 25 to dress a full pound of Luigi Vitelli-brand Organic Whole Wheat Linguine ($1.25 from ShopRite), and added Chinese pignoli nuts. I had less than half of the 22-ounce jar left, and added a little hot pasta water as I mixed the rich sauce into the linguine.

Costco's pesto, which uses basil from Italy, extra-virgin olive oil and imported cheese, also complements the fresh tomato slices in a frittata, served here with organic quinoa, black beans and organic diced tomatoes prepared in a rice cooker.

I started the egg mixture, which included minced garlic, and chopped sweet peppers and onions, on top of the stove, above, and finished it under the broiler. The pesto is added when the pan comes out of the oven.

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