A recent study showed the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi draws heavy interest from consumers online. It offers bonus cash back in some everyday spending categories, but a few alternative options provide a higher rate of return with fewer restrictions. Here’s what you should know.
A closely guarded secret within the credit card industry is how many cardholders own a particular card, and a clever way to approximate a card’s popularity is to examine search interest.
Business Insider did so in 2020, and it found a runaway winner – the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi. This card reportedly received 935,000 monthly searches (more than five times as many as the second-place finisher, “Southwest credit cards.”
So, here’s the question everyone and their mother seems to want answered: Is the Costco Anywhere Visa worth it?
When is the Costco Anywhere Visa card worth it?
As the name implies, the Costco Anywhere Visa card is worth it for those who already prefer to shop at Costco (and pay for the membership) but are looking to save money in the long run. With the Costco Anywhere Visa card, you’ll earn 2% cash back on Costco purchases, which, depending on your spending habits, could prove to be worth it for these rewards alone.
Furthermore, since the card rewards you 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases (up to $7,000 per year, then 1%), those who spend a lot on gas will earn significant rewards with this card. The best part is, you don’t have to fill up at Costco fuel stations – any gas station besides those at a warehouse club, grocery store, superstore or convenience store are eligible. Cardholders also earn 3% cash back at restaurants and on eligible travel, double cash back at Costco (as already noted) and 1% back on everything else.
Note, cash back earnings are rewarded once per year and are issued as a certificate each February.
When is the Costco Anywhere Visa card not worth it?
When compared to other cash back credit cards, the Costco Anywhere Visa card offers way fewer options when it comes to redeeming rewards. Further, with the Costco Anywhere Visa, you must redeem your certificate at a physical Costco location, either for cash or merchandise.
The Costco Anywhere Visa isn’t a bad card, but it is pretty restrictive when it comes to redeeming rewards:
- You only get cash back once a year, as a certificate, in February
- The certificate expires 12/31 of the same year
- Must redeem your certificate at Costco
- You lose your rewards if you close your account before you receive your certificate
Although the card offers upsides on gas, travel and dining, those categories can be easier to optimize elsewhere. If you’re not a frequent enough shopper at Costco locations to make the annual membership pay off, or if you don’t want to be restricted to spending your rewards at Costco, the card is most likely not worth it.
Should you get the Costco Anywhere Visa card?
Overall, you should get the Costco Anywhere Visa card if you already have a Costco membership, shop there frequently to make the membership worth it or spend a decent amount of money there. If you’re spending enough to make the membership pay off in the long run, then this card is for you. It’ll effectively be a no-annual-fee card and save you extra money on future Costco purchases.
But if you’re not incredibly tied to making purchases solely at Costco, there are other cards that offer cash back rewards in similar categories. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, for example, can get you 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1% back), as well as 3% back at U.S. gas stations (among other categories). This card charges a $95 annual fee (waived the first year), and you have more than just one redemption option – cash back in the form of a statement credit, gift cards and merchandise.
Before you apply for the Costco Anywhere Visa card, it’s beneficial to weigh the card’s pros and cons to decide if it’s worth it for you.
When taking into account the card’s offerings category by category, it’s easy to find other cash back options that give higher rewards on each type of spending – but finding a single card that does all of this in one package is a tad more difficult.
Overall, the Costco Anywhere Visa can prove to be valuable for frequent Costco shoppers who’re both patient and looking for ways to save money in the long run.