|Cash Back Rating:||2.5 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||3.6|
|Issuer Customer Experience||3.3|
In a Nutshell:
The Costco Anywhere Visa excels as a card for Costco and gas purchases, though you’ll have to contend with an annual membership fee for Costco and only redeeming your cash back once a year.
Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
Citi Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fee, free FICO score, purchase protection, extended warranty
Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi Review: More Details
If you regularly shop for deals at Costco, you could potentially get even more value from your membership – and put some money back into your pocket – by using a co-branded store card to pay for your Costco purchases. Capitalizing on Costco’s reputation for offering cheaper gas than the average fuel provider, the Costco Anywhere Visa card offers one of the best bonuses you can get on year-round gas purchases. It also offers a strong cash-back bonus on restaurant and travel spending and a decent bonus on other Costco purchases.
This card requires some patience, though, since it only lets you claim your earnings once a year.
Earning cash back
If you spend a lot on gas each month, you should get a pretty good return from this co-branded store card. You’ll get 4 percent cash back on every dollar you spend filling up your tank. It doesn’t matter if you’re braving the lines at Costco’s fuel station or at another qualifying station. The only merchants that are excluded are gas stations at another warehouse club, grocery store, superstore or convenience store. Gas also has to be used to fill up a car to qualify for the bonus.
|Tip: Though convenience store purchases are technically excluded from the Citi Costco card’s 4 percent gas bonus, most gas stations attached to convenience stores will still earn the bonus, since the Visa network codes these stations as gas stations rather than convenience stores. To see whether a purchase at a particular station qualifies as a gas purchase, you should check the merchant’s MCC code.|
See related: FAQs on Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi
Citi caps bonus spending for gas purchases at $7,000 a year. But that still gives you just over $580 a month to earn 4 percent per dollar spent – allowing you to collect up to $280 every year.
You’ll also get 3 percent cash back on dining (including fast food and sit down restaurants, bars, lounges and cafes) and select travel purchases, such as airfare, hotel bookings, car rental charges, travel agent expenses, cruise bookings and purchases you make on CostcoTravel.com.
In addition, you’ll get 2 percent cash back on purchases you make at Costco and Costco.com and 1 percent cash back on everything else.
The wide variety of bonus opportunities makes the Costco Anywhere Visa a good card for everyday purchases. We estimate that you’ll earn roughly 1.91 cents for every dollar that you spend. That’s significantly more generous than other popular cash back cards, such as the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card – both of which earn, on average, just over 1.60 cents per dollar spent. In fact, one of the only cards without an annual fee that beats the Costco card’s earning rate is the Citi Double Cash Card, which gives cardholders 2 cents back for every dollar that’s charged — 1 cent when you make a purchase and 1 cent when you pay your bill on time.
See related: Best fixed bonus category cash back cards
No sign-up bonus
The Costco card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, though. So if you’re looking for a quick cash infusion, you’d be better off looking at another gas card, such as the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card* or the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card – both of which offer generous bonuses to brand-new cardholders.
Costco membership fee
The Costco Anywhere Visa doesn’t technically charge an annual fee. However, you will have to pay a yearly $60 fee to Costco to remain a member. If you upgrade to executive status, your yearly membership will cost $120.
Redeeming cash back
The biggest downside to the Costco Anywhere Visa is its highly restrictive redemption policy, which makes it a pain to redeem the cash you earned. Rather than allow you to claim your cash whenever you’re ready for it (as most issuers do), Costco makes you wait until the end of February for an annual rewards certificate. The certificate only covers the cash you earned the previous year (between January and December), so you’ll have to wait another year to claim whatever cash you earned in January and February, just before your certificate was issued. You will then have until December 31 of that year to redeem your one-time certificate at your local Costco for cash or merchandise. If you fail to claim your cash before the December 31 deadline (or if your Costco membership expires before you’ve presented your certificate), you’ll lose your rewards altogether.
Costco’s restrictive policy essentially forces you to maintain your membership indefinitely in order to redeem everything you’ve earned. So you may want to think twice about this card if you don’t plan on staying a Costco shopper forever.
No foreign transaction fee
Despite its restrictive redemption policies, the Costco Anywhere Visa is still an unusually generous card for everyday purchases. Unlike many of its cash back competitors, for example, it doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, allowing you to freely use your card abroad. Foreign transaction fees have become all-but-extinct on travel rewards credit cards. However, many cash back cards still charge a small fee for international purchases.
The Costco Anywhere Visa also offers some pretty good benefits for a cash back card, including:
- Extended warranty. If you charge a big-ticket item to your Costco card, Citi will extend your warranty for up to two additional years. That’s on top of the two-year extended warranty that Costco Concierge offers for TVs, appliances and computers you buy from Costco.
- Purchase protection. You may be reimbursed if your purchases are stolen or damaged within three to four months after you bought them.
However, Citi has stopped advertising other valuable travel protections, such as travel accident insurance, rental car insurance and trip interruption and cancellation insurance. You may want to use a travel card with more robust protections when you’re purchasing airfare or making other big ticket travel purchases.
Alternatives for Costco purchases
The Costco Anywhere Visa’s 2 percent cash back rate for Costco purchases is pretty good for a (technically) no annual fee card. But if you don’t want to wait to receive your cash each year – or commit to an ongoing membership – there are some good alternatives that offer a similar return. For example:
- The Citi Double Cash card offers up to 2 cents back for every dollar that you spend — 1 cent when you make a purchase and another 1 cent when you pay your bill on time — including at Costco.
- Other flat rate cards, such as the American Express Cash Magnet® Card*, offer a slightly lower rewards rate of 1.5 percent back on every purchase. But since you can transfer your points to other airline loyalty programs when you own certain Chase premium cards (thus increasing their value), you may actually be able to get a higher rate of return with the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is also currently offering $200 cash back when you spend $500 in the first 3 months.
- You may also be able to temporarily get 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 worth of Costco purchases using a card with a rotating bonus, such as the Chase Freedom card. These types of cards often include warehouse purchases as a quarterly bonus category. However, categories change every year, so you can’t count on the bonus returning.
Unlike many store cards that don’t require excellent credit, you’ll need a pretty good credit score to get approved for the Costco Anywhere Visa. CreditCards.com, for example, estimates that you would need a score of at least 740 to feel confident about your odds.
Citi has a fairly good reputation for customer service. J.D. Power, for example, ranked Citi sixth for customer satisfaction in its Credit Card Satisfaction Study. Citi customers who log in to their online accounts can chat directly with customer service or they can call a customer service line for 24/7 support. The Citi mobile app also has pretty good online reviews. However, customers do complain about frequent mandatory updates and occasional glitches.
How does it compare to other cash back cards?
With an earning rate of nearly 2 cents for every dollar you spend, the Costco Anywhere Visa stands out as one of the most lucrative no annual fee cash back cards on the market. But unlike many of its competitors, the Costco Anywhere card doesn’t offer a promotional APR. It also doesn’t offer as much flexibility.
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Discover it® chrome
|Rewards rate||Rewards rate||Rewards rate|
$200 if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days
$200 cash back when you spend $500 in the first 3 months
100% match of your first year’s total earnings
|Other things to know||Other things to know||Other things to know|
Like the Costco card, the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card offers 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. It also offers 3 percent cash back on the category of your choice, including gas.
But unlike the Costco card, the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card sharply limits how much you can earn. You can only get 2 to 3 percent cash back on a combined $2,500 in purchases per quarter — limiting you to a maximum of $300 worth of bonus earnings per year. The Costco card, by contrast, limits bonus earnings on gas to $280 per year and doesn’t limit bonus earnings on Costco at all.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card lacks the Costco card’s bonus rate on gas purchases, but matches its rate on dining purchases and can beat its rate on travel purchases if you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. You’ll also get at least 1.5% cash back on all other purchases, regardless of what you buy, and a $200 cash back bonus when you spend $500 in the first three months.
The Discover it chrome doesn’t offer the flashiest spending bonus: you’ll get just 2 percent cash back on gas and restaurant spending (on up to $1,000 in purchases per quarter) and 1 percent cash back on everything else. But Discover’s Cash Back match makes it a lot more attractive in the first year. Since Discover will match 100 percent of your earnings, you’ll essentially get 4 percent cash back on restaurants and gas. Discover limits bonus spending to $1,000 per quarter, though, so the most you could earn through bonuses alone would be $160 in your first year.
Who should get the Costco Visa card?
- You’re a Costco member (or plan to become one) and don’t plan on canceling your membership anytime soon.
- You’re a car owner and are looking for a gas card.
- You don’t mind waiting for your rewards certificate or driving to Costco to redeem it.
How to use the Costco Visa card?
- Use this card for all your gas purchases so that you can get up to 4 percent cash back on your first $7,000 in purchases. However, be aware that some gas stations, such as gas stations tied to convenience or grocery stores, are excluded from the bonus.
- Book travel and pay your bar and restaurant tabs with the Costco card in order to get 3 percent cash back. However, use a different travel card for everyday travel purchases, such as tolls and public transportation, since those don’t count toward the bonus.
- Bring this card with you when you shop at Costco in order to get a 2 percent bonus on your purchases.
- Redeem your rewards certificate on your next Costco shopping trip: You can pay for your merchandise with the certificate and receive cash back for any earnings that remain.
Is the Costco Visa card worth it?
If you’re a regular Costco shopper and don’t mind driving to your local Costco to pick up your annual rewards certificate, then the Costco Anywhere Visa is a great card. But if there’s a chance you’ll cancel your membership within the next few years, it may not be worth the risk of losing all or some of your rewards.
*All information about Wells Fargo Propel American Express card and American Express Cash Magnet® Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express is no longer available.
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