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Costco Will Redeem Expired Coupons, Just Don’t Make A Habit Of It

What do you do if your Costco American Express Card rebate coupon expires before you cash or spend it? Hard to believe, but it happens.

Costco will redeem them if you forget once, but tie a piece of string around your finger, because the warehouse club will eventually run out of patience.

With the AmEx Costco card, customers build up credit and receive a yearly coupon with six months to redeem it for goods or cash at a Costco store. The company sends out more than six million such coupons each year, so expired coupons are not as rare as you might think.

Los Angeles-based comedian and writer Laurie McDermott recently let a $657 coupon slip through her fingers. She says she didn’t receive the standard email or postcard to remind her about her first-ever rebate last year. McDermott admits: she overlooked the “tiny” message on the statement alerting her to the attached coupon. She threw out the last couple of pages.

But that was her fault, right? “Correct,” she says, “but I never received any reminders and I feel tricked. What person in their right mind wouldn’t immediately get their cash? I want the money I was owed last year. Checks should come on the first page or in a separate letter altogether. It doesn’t even look like a check.”

American Express calls them coupons. A spokeswoman for American Express says a “very high percentage” of customers redeem their coupons, and insists it has a multi-media blitz to remind customers including emails and postcards. (“Multi-media blitz” is our phrase; but it includes most methods of communication except perhaps carrier pigeon.)

Costco CFO and executive vice president Richard Galanti stepped into the breach and tells Pay Dirt McDermott could buy the equivalent of her unclaimed check in Costco. But he issued a friendly warning too: “We won’t do it every year. We’re asking the member to try to be responsible as well. If she has any problems, give her my name and number.”

“That’s awesome!” McDermott says when we tell her the news.

She vows to cash her check/coupon the next time – with or without the reminders.


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    • Same situation as well. This should be considered unclaimed property and Amex should have to remit in one’s name. I don’t see how this can be considered a ‘coupon’ when it is truly rebate monies earned by someone from charging during the year. I am in the same situation – both referring me back to one another. I feel intentionally designed to be a bit unconspicuous so that folks don’t redeem. And no one wants to help resolve the issue.

    • Allison and Kay, Did you have any luck getting your Reward Coupon reinstated/cashed? I am in the same situation.

    • Hi Allison, Did anyone get back to you about your question? I too have an expired coupon for nearly $600, and Amex nor Costco would honor it. The coupon was so inconspicuous….at the end of an 11 page statement. I want to send a letter of complaint, but do not know who to contact.

    • I find myself in the same situation, and I’m being given the runaround. Amex referred me to the Costco warehouse, and Costco referred me back to Amex. Can you provide a contact name/number I can reach out to to get someone with the knowledge and authority to reissue my check? I would appreciate it so!

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.