snowbirds florida

Snowbirds: Save on Costco warehouse purchases in the U.S.

To the point For Snowbirds, there are a few ways to save money in the U.S. by shopping at Costco, and avoid unecessary fees.

Costco in the U.S.

Every year, thousands of snowbirds migrate to the warm climate of Florida to escape the rigors of the Canadian winter. During these winter months, one of the essential shopping stops is Costco.

Costco membership allows you to enter any Costco warehouse worldwide. So you might as well take advantage of this US$1.50 hot dog and US$4.99 cooked chicken!

Épicerie Canada-09- Costco

Costco in the U.S. and Visa

In Canada, all Mastercard cards are accepted in the warehouse (and Visa cards with this tip).

The other side of the border is different. Only Visa and Canadian CIBC Costco Mastercard credit cards are accepted at Costco warehouses in the United States.

When using a Canadian credit card outside the country, a foreign currency conversion fee of 2.5% applies to all transactions.

For example, this means that a purchase of $100 USD made in the U.S. and charged to a Canadian credit card costs you $139.40:

  • Approximately $136 in Canadian dollars (based on the current exchange rate, established by Visa or Mastercard)
  • CA$3.40 conversion fee ($136 X 2.5%)

A few rare Canadian credit cards allow you to avoid this sneaky conversion fee:

Only one Visa is on this list for our use at Costco: the Scotiabank Visa Infinite* Passport® card.

With this welcome offer for the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card, you earn up to 35,000 Scene+ points as a welcome bonus (a $350 value) :

  • 25,000 points after just $1,000 in purchases
  • 10,000 points after $40,000 in purchases in the first year

Then, each year, if you make at least $40,000 in purchases on the card, you’ll earn an annual bonus of 10,000 points, a $100 value.

With the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card, you earn 3 points per dollar spent at Sobeys, IGA, Safeway, Foodland, FreshCo, Voilà by Sobeys, Voilà by IGA, Voilà by Safeway, Chalo! FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, IGA West, Les Marchés Tradition, Rachelle Béry and Co-Op.

You’ll also earn 2 points for every dollar you spend, including on foreign transactions, in the following categories:

  • Grocery shopping
  • Restaurants
  • Entertainment centers
  • Transit

The Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card is an excellent Visa credit card for this type of purchase.

You can redeem your points for any travel purchase at the rate of 1,000 points = $10 (flights, hotels, all-inclusive properties and even Airbnb). You can also use your points as cash back with Scene+, such as at your grocery store checkout at the same rate of 1,000 points = $10.

The Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card also offers:

  • No fees for foreign currency transactions
  • 6 complimentary passes to airport VIP lounges
  • Excellent insurance for your travels and purchases
  • Concierge service

We voted this credit card the Best No-FX Fee Credit Card of 2024.

Scene+ points from this credit card can be used to deduct your Florida travel expenses! In fact, 1,000 Scene+ points means $10 less on your Scotiabank Visa Infinite* Passport® card balance. This way, you can :

Échange points Scene-

Another alternative

Do you have a Social Security Number (SSN), an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or a U.S. address? If so, you may be eligible for an American credit card.

This could earn you the Chase Aeroplan® World Elite Mastercard. This way, your seasonal flights south of the border can be financed with your accumulated Aeroplan points!

In addition, it gives its holder :

  • First bag free of charge
  • No foreign currency conversion charges
  • $ 100 credit towards NEXUS membership or renewal
  • A preferential rate for tickets paid for with Aeroplan points.
  • Aeroplan 25K Status

Its only drawback is that it cannot be used in Costco warehouses. But it can be a good combination to have with the Scotiabank Visa Infinite* Passport® card all year round.

Bottom Line

These tips are available to make life easier and less costly during the annual migration south.

Don’t forget to pay your credit card balance in full every month! Otherwise, the savings will be wiped out by interest charges.

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Caroline Tremblay
I'm Caroline, a loyalty program specialist! I use my points to travel more often and at a lower price with my spouse and our two children. I'm passionate about writing about the latest rewards news and how to put more points in your pocket.

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