Will Costco US Replace American Express Too?

December 9th, 2014 by Kimberly · 13 Comments

In September I wrote about Costco Canada replacing American Express with Capital One MasterCard as their exclusive credit card provider.  Now it seems that Costco US might be considering replacing American Express too.  This would be a really big step for Costco US, as well as a big change for all of the Costco US members.

Currently, Costco US accepts one single credit card, American Express, in their stores.  Although, you can always use your debit card or cash (you remember what that is, right?).  Costco US also has a co-branded membership card with American Express that a lot of members, including myself, have used for years.  But now it looks like there is at least the potential for a change in that relationship.  It has been reported that Costco US is accepting bids for both an issuer and a payment network for their co-branded credit card and stores.  I speculated that the change at Costco Canada could spell a cooling of the relationship between Costco and American Express.  This news definitely makes it look like that is indeed the situation.

Could this be the end of American Express at Costco US?

Could this be the end of American Express at Costco US?

For years and years, Costco has had an exclusive relationship with American Express, not just in the US but also in several of their other locations around the world.  This kind of exclusive relationship with a retailer is extremely rare, almost unheard of really, but it definitely represented a great way for American Express to build up their membership with a certain type of consumer and have access to the Costco demographic without much advertising or work.  The only reason a lot of Costco members have an American Express is because of the co-branded card with Costco.  If that is no longer an option, a lot of Costco members will probably just get rid of their American Express in favour of using an existing card or signing up for the new co-branded card.

This potential change could cause huge financial losses at American Express in 2015.  According to various analysts the loss of the deal with Costco US could result in a loss of anywhere between 15 to 30 cents of profit per share.  That kind of negative impact on earnings would prove very detrimental for American Express, and their shareholders.  And I’m not even sure that accounts for all of the other spending that American Express could lose out on if Costco members canceled their cards altogether.  That could be really huge.

Given that thinking, it is hard to believe that American Express won’t try their utmost to keep hold of the relationship with Costco.   This news came out about a month ago, but so far I haven’t heard anything to indicate that Costco has made a decision or a change to their credit card relationship with American Express.

I know a lot of people have expressed displeasure about how they’ve been treated by American Express, especially with regards to getting their rewards checks.  So, if Costco US does change card providers I’m wondering if people will be happy or sad about it.  I’m also wondering how this will change the exclusivity agreements that Costco and American Express have in the UK, Japan, and Korea.  I’ll be sure to keep an eye on how this develops and post about it as soon as I hear the outcome.

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This Week at Costco – November 30, 2014

December 6th, 2014 by Kimberly · No Comments

I hope everyone has gotten over Black Friday and Cyber Monday….and Cyber Tuesday and the rest of the week.  I can’t believe it is already so close to the end of the year!  The week has been pretty gloomy here in London because it’s all cold and rainy.  I secretly keep hoping for some snow because that always makes it seem much more festive this time of year.  There are still plenty of deals at Costco to take advantage of though if you didn’t find quite everything you were looking for this year.  If you’re in one of the countries where you can shop Costco online (US, Canada, UK, and Mexico), there are definitely some really great gift items that you won’t find in the warehouses. So don’t forget to check them out, plus those can come right to your door.

If you know someone that is a bit of a fan of cosmetics and beauty products that you were trying to find a gift for, I’ve got a couple of beauty items to review today that would be perfect for them, or yourself (there’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a little holiday gift).

eos Smooth Sphere Lip Balm

eos Smooth Sphere Lip Balm

eos Smooth Sphere Lip Balm – This time of year can definitely be hard on your lips.  The weather outside isn’t great for skin, in general, and lips seem to really get chapped and painful.  So, it’s great to have a decent lip balm that can protect your lips and keep them soft and pain free.  It’s even better when you can get that job done by something that is all natural and almost completely organic.  The eos lip balm comes in a five pack at Costco, in five different scents/flavours, and are in these cute little spherical containers that are a nice change from a tube of Chapstick.  Despite being round-ish they are still perfectly portable in your purse, backpack, or whatever, though probably not a pocket.  Oh and don’t worry, the containers have a flat bottom so that they will stand up and not just roll away.  Once you take the lid off there’s a sphere of smooth lip balm that is pretty good sized.  The size makes it easy and quick to apply your lip balm, even making it possible to smooth it onto both lips at once.  But of course, the nicest thing is that the lip balm feels great on your lips and doesn’t leave you with that waxy feeling at all.  The lip balm glides on so easily because of the mix of natural oils that it is made from, and of course, it helps that there are no petroleum products or derivatives either.  The balm is also paraben and gluten free. The lip balm is made from a mix of olive oil, shea butter, jojoba oil, beeswax, and coconut oil.  All of that means that your lips are getting a healthy dose of vitamin E with each swipe of the lip balm and that’s what is going to keep your lips looking great all winter long.  As I mentioned, you get five different flavours of lip balm: Passion Fruit, Strawberry Sorbet, Blueberry Acai, Summer Fruit, and Sweet Mint.  Each of the different flavours are made with a selection of extracts and oils to give them a really nice amount of scent, it also keeps the lip balm from tasting weird I think.  Since the balm is 95% organic though, and definitely 100% natural, you don’t have to feel like you’re just exposing yourself to a bunch of chemicals.  At night when I put it on, it will definitely last until morning and maybe even through your first cup of coffee or tea.  You might just feel a slight layer of protection on your lips after all that time, but it still seems to be working and protecting.  I’ve found that only after doing something like brushing my teeth or eating a meal do I really feel like I need to reapply because it has been rubbed off.  Though, these natural oils absorb really well into your skin and are probably doing their job even when you feel like there’s nothing on your lips.  I’ve been trying this out for a number of days now and really like it.  My lips were in pretty rough shape because I’m getting over a nasty cold (thanks to a long flight from the US, I’m sure) and were definitely in need of some soothing intervention.  But this balm made them feel instantly better and has healed them up wonderfully.  Now that I’ve been using it for a few days too my lips are soft and feel great well hydrated and look cared for, not like I’ve been kissing a belt sander.  Since there are five little spheres in the pack at Costco, these would be a great stock stuffer or little gift.  But they’d also be great to keep handy at work, home, and in your car, so that you can make sure you keep your lips happy throughout the winter.  If you can’t find this in your local warehouse, or can’t make it there soon, you can also find the eos lip balm at Costco.com in a 6 pack of 2 Strawberry Sorbet, 2 Summer Fruit, 1 Pomegranate Raspberry, and 1 Blueberry Acai for $14.99.   Or, you can get a package of 3 lip balms and 3 hand lotions (also organic and 97% natural) for $13.99. 3 pack of lip balm with a 3 pack of hand cream.  5, 0.25 oz/7 gram spheres for $10.99.  Item #: 676476.

New Beauty Magazine Beauty Box

New Beauty Magazine Beauty Box

New Beauty Magazine Beauty Box – This would be an excellent gift for any beauty lover you know.  Or, it would make a nice holiday season treat for yourself if you could use a little pampering.  This is a great bundle of a magazine with seven beauty products, it really is like a little subscription beauty box, like Glossybox or Birchbox.   They say there are eight beauty products, but I’m not counting the toothbrush. The magazine is great, even if there are a lot of ads in it.  But what magazine like this isn’t chockablock with ads?  Inbetween all of the ads there are some really great articles and suggestions though.  They talk about a lot of beauty products, beauty and body issues, and ways to look and feel better in various ways throughout the magazine, in a readable style with topical statistics highlighted throughout that I found really interesting. They talk about skin, teeth, and hair, along with body topics like fitness and nutrition.   All in all, I really  enjoyed the magazine and might actually start getting it on my iPad (because of course, there’s an app for that).  But aside from the Fall/Winter edition of the magazine, you get all of these great beauty products to try out.  The editors of New Beauty selected some of their favourite can’t-live-without beauty items and created this little beauty box just for Costco, so you won’t be able to find this anywhere else.  I  haven’t tried all of the products yet but I have given the majority of them (five out of the seven) a try.  The beauty must-haves are:  Mally Undermakeup Perfector Duo, StriVectin Present Perfect Antioxidant Defense Lotion, Stila Smudge Stick Watefproof Eyeliner in Deep Burgundy, Supersmile Professional Whitening System, TanTowel Classic Self-Tan Towelettes, Jenna Hipp Nail Polish, and Balanced Guru No Frizz Hair Oil.

  • 7 Must-Have Beauty Products Selected for Costco

    7 Must-Have Beauty Products Selected for Costco

    TanTowel Self-Tanning Towelettes:  I’ll be honest, the TanTowels are probably not for me because I’m just not a self-tanning kind of girl; I’m pale and I’m okay with it.  However, that said, this seems like a clever way to apply self-tan and I have heard good things about these, like how they don’t leave you looking like an Oompa Loompa, which is always a plus.  From what I’ve read and been told, they leave your skin just a shade or two darker than your actual skin tone and you don’t have to do a lot of prep or complicated stuff to apply it.  The cloths work as an exfoliator, moisturizer and self-tanner all in one.  So, all you have to do is wipe it on and in a couple of hours, you’ll have a nice subtle tan.  They say that the formula works with your natural amino acids and proteins in your skin to develop a more natural looking colour.  And from reviews that I have read, I think you really do end up with a natural looking tan, like you just came from the beach, even if you have quite fair skin.  Maybe I’ve actually talked myself into trying them out.

  • Balanced Guru No Frizz Oil: I have curly hair that has a very fine texture, and I live in London, so that’s a really unfavourable combination for those of us that would like to be frizz free.  Humidity here is really hard for my hair to deal with, and since I really would prefer something to smooth down that frizzy issue, this was something I had to try almost immediately.  I’ve tried a number of hair oils because they are supposed to be good for keeping your hair healthy and frizz or fly-away free, plus they give you a nice shine.  Most of the oils I’ve tried though are either just okay with middling results or they are too much for my hair and leave it looking oily instead of shiny.  The No Frizz Oil is made from a combination of sesame, grapeseed, argan, jojoba, and tamanu oils, along with essential oils from lemongrass and eucalyptus.  The lemongrass and eucalyptus give it a really zingy smell that I really like, but might be a bit strong for some people.  The oil combination works quite well for my hair and leaves it shiny and healthy looking.  If I put it on when my hair is dry it really perks up the shine without killing all of my natural curl.  If I put it on after towel drying my hair it helps my curl look a bit bouncier and more defined.  As with any hair oil, you need to avoid the roots or you will end up looking greasy instead of polished.  If you blow dry your hair into a smooth style a couple of drops of this smoothed over your hair really does keep it looking smooth and shiny.  I also have to say that I like the eye dropper applicator because that means you can really control how much you are using much more precisely than if it were just an open top on the bottle.
  • Stila Smudge Stick Eye Liner: I’ve used Stila eye liner for a long time and have some of this eye liner in a different colour.  It has really good staying power and doesn’t end up everywhere around your eye but where you want it.  And that’s always great since most of us don’t like that dark, smudgy eye area zombie look.  The eye liner goes on really smooth without tugging at your skin, which usually means that you’ll keep a shaky looking application instead of a smooth line.  After you’ve put it on, if you move quickly you can smudge it to soften the look, or if you really want to smudge away you can also use it for an eye shadow.  But really, you can’t take your time about this because the colour sets fairly quickly and becomes much harder to manipulate.  I’ve never tried it as a full eye shadow, but have used it smudged out a bit from the corner of my eye to give a bit of oomph to my regular eye shadow.  But really, it is all about the fact that it doesn’t end up in every crease and line around my eyes that makes me like this so much.  This is great for putting in your purse or traveling too because you don’t need a sharpener, you just twist it up, and it is pretty compact too.
  • Jenna Hipp Nail Polish: I bought my sister the set of Jenna Hipp Nail Polishes at Costco earlier this year and she really liked it.  I like that the bottles are small, just 0.16 fl oz/5ml because I don’t like to wear colour on my nails all the time.  These little bottles are a nice way of being able to use a polish a few times but not be stuck with a big bottle of it forever.  This is especially true when you’re trying out really bold colours, or new colours, which you’re not always going to really like.  These little sizes are also perfect for travel too.  I like that the polish dries really quickly too.  The polish is thin though, so you have to be a bit careful when you are applying it.  The thinness also means you might have to do an extra coat to get a really vibrant colour and solid polish.  I think I did three thin coats but it dries so quickly that it didn’t really take all that long, plus my nails looked really good when I was done.  I haven’t had a problem with chipping or peeling, though I had read unflattering reviews that suggest that is a problem with this polish.  Of course, sometimes that says more about your underlying nail health than about the polish.  The big selling point for Jenna Hipp polish is that it is free from all of the scary stuff that you usually find in nail polish:  no dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, or camphor.
  • Mally Highlighter and Corrector Pens:  I love things like this because they make applying highlighter or corrector so much easier because of the pen style applicator.  If you haven’t used something like this before, the business end has a brush applicator that the corrector or highlighter fluid flows through so that you can apply it.  You just twist the end until it starts to come out through the brush and then you apply it to the areas where you want it and then pat it into place with your fingers.  The body heat from your hands really helps to make products like this blend in more seamlessly because no one wants this type of product to be obvious on your face.  The corrector, which kind of looks like thick foundation, is great for the troublesome under eye area and blemishes of any kind really.  It goes on pretty smoothly but you definitely need a moisturizer and/or primer underneath it to avoid it looking chalky.  If you are someone that isn’t big on wearing a lot of makeup, or doesn’t like to wear foundation at all, this is a great way to even out your skin and cover up anything that looks not so great, without needing to wear a lot of stuff on your face. I do this a lot during the summer because I already feel hot enough without adding layers to my face.  This is a nice light corrector formula that doesn’t seem to feel heavy or waxy in any way and does a pretty good job of making my under eye area look much better, even when I haven’t had a good night’s sleep.  The highlighter is the perfect way to apply anywhere you want a natural light look, like across your brow bone or along your cheekbones or even down the center of your nose (makes it look slimmer).  I’m used to highlighters that are white or a light pink or sort of a champagne colour, so I was a bit surprised when this came out like a thick, slightly pink, foundation type colour.  While other highlighters I’ve used seem to go for a more obvious, sparkly thing, this is a really natural and very subtle highlighter.  I will admit I wasn’t that impressed when I first put it on because I didn’t think it was going to do much.  However, after I stepped back from the mirror and really saw the results, I was pretty impressed.  I like a very natural look to my makeup and this definitely gives you that healthy glow without looking like you are planning a big night out at a club.  All in all, I think both of these are pretty nice and the pen applicator makes it really easy to pop these in your purse or take with you when you travel.
  • Supersmile Teeth Whitening System: I haven’t tried this yet because my teeth are bright enough since I just had a visit to the dentist.  So, I’ll be interested to see how this works out when I try it in a couple of months.  The whitening system is made up of two products: toothpaste with Calprox and a whitening accelerator.  When you brush you just add equal parts toothpaste and accelerator to your toothbrush and brush for a couple of minutes and this helps you get rid of plaque and stains from things like coffee, tea, tobacco, and red wine without harsh chemicals or abrasives.  What I found really great was that they claim this will work on dental work like caps, veneers and dentures too.
  • StriVectin Present Perfect Lotion: Unfortunately, this is a pretty small sample tube, just 0.25 fl ozs, which makes it hard to evaluate something like this.  This lotion works to fight the signs of aging with antioxidants and things that are good for you skin.  I’m a big believer in quality skin care and feel like a good moisturizer, along with sunscreen, are essentials for everyone – man or woman, young or old.  I’ve tried other StriVectin products in the past and had kind of hit or miss results.  I will say that my skin looks nice and healthy after trying out the Present Perfect lotion for a couple of days.  Of course, after just a few days it isn’t like I can really tell too much about how it would work long term.

So, even though I haven’t tried all of these, I like what I have tried.  I can definitely see how these would have gotten picked.  These beauty boxes are a great way to try out products and brands that you might never know about or would just totally overlook.  If you’re in the US, you might want to consider picking this up for beauty fans on your gift list.  If I could buy this online at Costco.com, I have at least three people that I would buy this for, so I’m a bit bummed but you can only find it in the warehouses.   $28.99.  Item#: 940460.

*Update 2014.12.09:  The New Beauty Beauty Box is now available at Costco.com for just $18.99.

Even though I did receive these products from a vendor for free, my opinions are my own and genuinely reflect how I feel.

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December 2014 Locations Update

December 3rd, 2014 by Kimberly · 4 Comments

This time of year there’s usually not a whole lot of news about new locations.  It seems everyone is interested in where they will be doing their holiday shopping right now, not in the future.  There are a few pieces of news though.  Also, I’ve updated my list of opening dates for next year on my Locations page.  A lot of it is still tentative, of course, because anything can happen during the construction process, but this is just to give everyone a better idea of where things are headed in 2015.

Locations opening soon:

This Month’s Openings:
No Openings December 2014

 

Wichita, Kansas

The big news in Costco locations in the last couple of months is that Costco has not only confirmed, but already broken ground on their new store in Wichita, Kansas.  I’ve heard a lot of rumours about this location pretty much the entire time I’ve been writing my blog I think, so I’m glad to see this one is finally coming to fruition.  The new 150,000 square foot store, with a gas station, will be at the northeast corner of Kellogg and Webb. Work on the new site has already started, and unless something bad happens, the new location should open around the middle of 2015.

Hackensack, NJ & Teterboro, NJ

I think I mentioned the new Teterboro store in October or September and at that time people asked about its close proximity to the store in Hackensack.  Well, it turns out that you were all right to question it because the Hackensack store will actually be closing once the new Teterboro location has opened in mid 2015.  The new Teterboro store will be much larger than the existing Hackensack store, by at least 20,000 square foot, so that will make a big difference to how pleasant it is to shop at.  Not to mention, the Hackensack store was opened 20 years ago, so the new store will probably have many other advantages too.  The Hackensack employees will be transferring to the new location when it opens.  Since Costco owns the property that their existing store is on, there is a lot of speculation about what will happen to it once they move.  It appears that there is a lot of redevelopment going on in the area, so perhaps something new and cool will be built on the property.

Getafe (Madrid), Spain

Well, I’ve been thinking this store was much closer to opening than it really is, it seems.  The new location near Madrid, what will be the second in Spain, will actually be opening Summer 2015.  The new location will be a warehouse for shoppers, but will also provide a space for the Costco Spain headquarters.  The new store will be located in the commercial park in Los Gavilanes, near the A4.   The new location will provide 14,000 square meters/150,000 square foot for shopping space, as well as 2,000 square meters/21,500 square foot for the new Costco Spain headquarters offices.  Costco will be looking to hire about 500 new employees to work in the warehouse and headquarters offices.

Holiday Hours & Closures:

  • Christmas Eve: Wednesday, December 24:
    • All US, Canada, Australia stores open 9 am to 5 pm;
    • All UK stores open 10 am to 5 pm; some stores open at 9 am check online for your store’s hours.
  • Christmas Day: Thursday, December 25:
    • All US, UK, Canada, and Australia stores CLOSED.
  • Boxing Day: Friday, December 26:
    • All UK stores CLOSED;
    • Australian stores in VIC, QLD, ACT open 9 am to 5 pm; SA and NSW locations CLOSED;
    • All Canada stores open 9 am to 6 pm; except Province of Quebec stores which are open 1 pm to 6 pm; Atlantic Provinces and Sudbury stores CLOSED.
  • New Year’s Eve: Wednesday, December 31:
    • All US stores open 10 am to 6 pm;
    • All Canada, Australia stores open 9 am to 5 pm;
    • All UK stores open 10 am to 5 pm; some stores open at 9 am check online for your store’s hours;
    • All Japan stores open 9 am to 6 pm.
  • New Year’s Day: Thursday, January 1:
    • All US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Korea stores CLOSED;
    • All Japan stores open 9 am to 6 pm.
  • 2nd January: Friday, January 2:
    • All Scotland stores CLOSED;
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The Latest from the Fall 2014 CDiabetes Magazine

December 2nd, 2014 by Kimberly · No Comments

CDiabetes.com: Fall 2014

CDiabetes.com: Fall 2014

The holidays can be a hard time for people with diabetes because there are so many tempting sweet treats.  Luckily you can get a little bit of support from the Costco online “magazine”, CDiabetes.com.  OmniChannel Health Media has been publishing the Costco diabetes magazine for 18 years, but this year they have switched from a print magazine to being available solely online.  All of the content is written and reviewed by top health educators, including doctors, pharmacists, dieticians, public health officials, and certified diabetes educators.  In between new issues, they keep writing, updating, and adding news, recipes, tips, and videos.  The magazine is a quarterly publication, however, the website is constantly being populated with new information.  So, if you have diabetes, or know someone that does, you should certainly check out CDiabetes.com.  The current  Fall 2014 issue is out, plus you can look through previous issues as well.  Here’s a list of some of the great articles that you can find currently:

Also, CDiabetes.com has started a new section for coupons and discounts on diabetes-related products at Costco with lots of great values.  Also, you can sign up to download e-books (PDF format) filled with diabetes-friendly recipes and five full issues of Costco’s Healthy Living With Diabetes magazine, as well as weekly diabetes and heart health news briefs.
CDiabetes.com is a great resource for people with diabetes or those of us that have a diabetic family member.  If you’re a frequent reader, or would like to be, you should make sure you download the smartphone app.  You can find the app through Apple iTunes or Google Play and then browse the magazine just that bit more easily.
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Cyber Monday at Costco.com and Costco.ca

December 1st, 2014 by Kimberly · No Comments

Cyber Monday Deals at Costco.com & Costco.ca

Cyber Monday Deals at Costco.com & Costco.ca

If you didn’t get enough shopping done this weekend, or maybe you’ve still got a little bit of money left in your holiday shopping budget, then you won’t want to miss the great deals that Costco US and Costco Canada have online for Cyber Monday.  Cyber Monday is supposed to be the online equivalent of Black Friday, but honestly, I’ve seen online sales since the middle of last week, so there’s a lot of blurring of the sales lines now, I think.  But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get some really incredible deals at Costco.com or Costco.ca now.  There is such a wide variety of items that you should be able to find something for anyone on your list, from the practical to the spectacular and a wide variety in between.  There are also a number of things that you might want to check out if you’re planning a holiday party, especially all of the tasty treats at Costco.com.

I’m not going to go into detail about all of the things that you can find in the Cyber Monday sales, because quite honestly, there’s just too much good stuff.  I will just say that everyone should go check out their Costco online, whether you’re in Canada or the US, because there are some really spectacular deals today that you won’t want to miss.  But get over there quick because these deals are only around while supplies last!

  • Costco.com: Cyber Monday Deals – There are a whopping 152 items listed on the Costco US Cyber Monday Deals page.  Some of them are for things that aren’t gifts at all, but just things you might need or want at home or in the office.  But of course, there are also really spectacular deals on computers and jewellery, as well as toys.  And don’t forget, you can have these delivered to anyone on your shopping list; I find this really helpful since I don’t live around everyone that I want to give a gift to.
  • Costco.ca: Cyber Monday Event – Costco Canada’s Cyber Monday Event has a great selection of 67 items.  Much like in the US, the Cyber Monday deals aren’t all about gifts for other people, some of them are things that you’ll want for yourself.  Even though selection is smaller, there are still some really great deals.

So, go check out the Cyber Monday deals, but don’t forget, they’re only around while supplies last!  And while you’re there, you might as well check out some of the other great items you can find at Costco online now since they always have terrific things that you won’t find in the warehouses.

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