Review of the Costco Anywhere Visa® and Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi
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The Costco Anywhere credit cards are excellent for avid Costco shoppers. They offer 2% back on purchases from Costco and Costco.com, plus surprisingly good reward rates on gas, restaurants, and travel.
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It’s easy to poke fun at Costco’s larger-than-life products and incredible return policy — watch this.
Are there any other one-stop shops where you can buy a pair of pants, check prices on grand pianos, and book a vacation? Do you need a wheel of cheese so big you could use it as a spare tire? And where else can you return an empty bottle of wine?
But the Costco credit cards are no joke:
They’re better than most store cards: more rewarding, more useful outside the co-branded store, and backed by a more reliable issuer (Citibank). This makes them good for everyday spending — again, unlike most store cards.
The main focus is the gas bonus category — you’ll enjoy one of the best rates available on any credit card. The other bonus categories are a bit less impressive, although they’re still pretty competitive and nothing to sneeze at (but you can get big boxes of Kleenex at Costco, just in case).
These cards are only available to Costco members, where they’ll serve as your member ID. They provide a rewards program that starts and ends at Costco, for the most part: Use your card at Costco (or anywhere else) to earn cash back, and then use your rewards for more Costco purchases. Rinse and repeat.
If you’re already a Costco member, you have plenty of good reasons to get a Costco credit card (unless you’re already earning better rewards through other cards).
Where Can I Use the Costco Credit Cards?
You can use both of the Costco cards anywhere Visa is accepted, which is pretty much everywhere.
Costco began accepting Visa credit cards exclusively in 2016 — Mastercard, American Express, and Discover credit cards are not currently accepted. This only applies to credit cards, however; all debit and prepaid cards will be accepted. Before 2016, Costco only accepted Amex credit cards.
Our Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars
We give the Costco Anywhere Visa credit cards 5 out of 5 Stars — and if you know us, that’s pretty rare for store credit cards.
Why We Like Them
- Excellent rewards at gas stations, making them some of the best credit cards for gas
- Competitive bonus categories make these cards useful outside of Costco
- Decent protections to help safeguard you and your purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
Why They Could Be Better
- Rewards are only disbursed once per year at the end of February, and expire at the end of the year
- 2% cash back at Costco is not too bad, but it’s nothing to write home about
- No signup bonus for online applications (in-store applicants may receive a small bonus offer)
- Must be a Costco member to qualify, at a minimum of $60 per year (not a big downside — this is normal for co-branded wholesale club cards)
Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Cards
- For all your Costco purchases: Use your card for every purchase at Costco or Costco.com, where you’ll get 2% cash back.
- Great for gas: The Costco cards offer 4% back on eligible gas purchases, including gas at Costco, but take note of the restrictions on this category below.
- Above average for travel and dining too: This is a nice surprise on a store card. 3% cash back on those purchases is competitive with some of the top dining and travel rewards credit cards.
- Mark your calendar for February: At the end of February you’ll get a Costco Cash Rewards certificate including all your rewards from the past year, which has to be used in-store at Costco by the end of the year.
- You can redeem for cash: For partial redemptions of Costco Cash Rewards certificates you can get the remainder of your rewards balance back in cash. And you can request the full cash value be provided by check, though this will be at Costco’s discretion.
- Look into the shopping protections: The Costco cards come with benefits to help protect your purchases; check them out before you start shopping.
Both of the Costco Anywhere Visa cards have the same rewards program for earning and redeeming cash back.
Here we see one downside of these cards: There’s no signup bonus, at least when applying online. If you apply in-store you may be offered a rotisserie chicken or five gallon bucket, which is pretty meager compared to most signup bonus offers but might be nice if you didn’t have dinner plans. Costco Executive members may be offered in-store bonuses as well.
As for the rewards: These are some great rates, especially for anyone who travels frequently, but there are a couple important limitations to keep in mind about the gas category.
First, the 4% rate is limited to $7,000 in spending per year (≈$583 per month), so you can earn up to $280 cash back per year at that rate. Keep an eye on your spending so you can switch to a different gas credit card if you hit the limit.
Second, the 4% rate does not apply to gas purchased for non-automobile purposes, or gas purchased at:
- Convenience stores
- Wholesale clubs other than Costco
So you’re a bit limited in where you can fill up, but if you’re going to Costco regularly that shouldn’t be much of a problem (gas is often cheaper there, too). And these restrictions aren’t quite as restrictive as they may seem at first glance. Pretty much every gas station includes a convenience store, but this doesn’t actually mean your purchases will be coded as “convenience store” — in many of those cases you’ll still get 4% back on gas.
Many people have reported that their gas purchases earned 4% back, even when they bought gas at supermarkets like Kroger (check the comments in that thread, not just the initial post). But others have said gas purchases from Kroger did not earn 4% back. This might be confusing, but it’s because Kroger stores aren’t all categorized in the same way — and this is true for every retail brand. Some specific store locations could be categorized one way, while other locations are categorized differently.
You can assume that many fuel pumps will qualify, like those at big gas station brands, but you may want to test with a small purchase before buying a lot of gas. You may also find that, in some cases, when you pay at the pump it will be categorized as a gas station, but when you pay inside it will be categorized differently.
If you’d like to do some research before going out, you can check Visa’s Supplier Locator tool. Search for the specific merchant in question (including location), and if it’s listed you’ll be able to see how it’s categorized. Overall, you’ll probably find that you can get 4% back on gas at more merchants than the terms would imply.
The eligible travel purchases include airfare, hotels, car rentals, and travel agencies, as well as Costco Travel purchases.
There are a lot of credit cards for buying groceries, but they usually don’t count wholesale clubs like Costco as a grocery store. This makes the Costco cards all the more valuable, as they’re some of the best ways to get more than 1% cash back at Costco (especially with the Visa credit card limitation).
If you have a Gold Star Executive or Business Executive membership at Costco, you’ll earn 2% cash back on eligible Costco purchases (up to $1,000 in rewards per year). Those rewards will be in addition to any rewards you earn from a Costco Anywhere Visa Card. So, if you have a card and one of those memberships, you would effectively earn 4% cash back on eligible Costco purchases.
The rewards you earn with these cards will be provided in the form of Costco Cash Rewards certificates. Here’s everything you need to know about redeeming:
- You will only receive one Costco Cash Rewards certificate per year, after your February billing statement closes.
- The certificate will expire later that year, on December 31.
- The certificate will include all the rewards you earned from January through December of the previous year.
- The certificate can only be used for eligible in-store Costco purchases in the U.S., not online (some Costco stores may not allow alcohol purchases with rewards).
- If you only use a portion of the balance on the certificate, you can get the rest in cash at a register when checking out.
- Your certificate can be redeemed for cash at a register (at Costco’s discretion, you may receive a check or electronic transfer instead).
- You will forfeit any accrued rewards if you close your card account or cancel your Costco membership.
You can learn more about how to view and redeem your rewards here.
This rewards program is a bit unusual, with just a single disbursement per year. This could easily be seen as a downside. Who wants to wait? Indeed, some card issuers allow you to redeem as much as you want, whenever you want.
But it’s not necessarily a bad thing — you’re not going to get rich from credit card rewards. In a way, this could be a load off your mind. Instead of obsessing over cashing in each month, counting the nickels as they add up and checking back to see if they’re ready to redeem, you can just forget about it until after February. Then you might be in for a nice surprise, which could pay for groceries for a month or so. (Just don’t forget to keep track of the $7,000 spending limit on gas.)
If you’re planning on cancelling your Costco membership, you should probably wait until after February so you can cash in your rewards.
The Costco cards are a bit below average when it comes to their extra benefits. You’ll get a small set of protections to help cover your purchases, and that’s about it.
The shopping protections will help for any eligible items you buy — including Costco purchases.
The consumer card and the business card offer basically the same sets of benefits, outlined below.
- Damage & Theft Purchase Protection: The aptly named Damage & Theft Purchase Protection will… protect your eligible purchases against damage and theft! Eligible items are covered for 120 days (90 days for NY residents).
- Extended Warranty: Cardholders can enjoy Costco’s Two Plus Two Warranty program. Costco automatically extends the manufacturer’s warranty for eligible items by two years with its Concierge Service; but if you have a Costco card, Citi will extend eligible warranties for an additional two years — so you can get up to seven years of coverage in total.
- $0 Liability on Unauthorized Charges: You won’t be held responsible for any fraudulent charges (consumer card only).
In addition to the benefits above, each card comes with the Citi Private Pass perk, which provides access to exclusive tickets for sports, music, and dining.
The Terms & Fees
|Card||Purchase APR||Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|Costco Anywhere Visa||15.24% (Variable)||15.24% (Variable)||25.24% (Variable)|
|Costco Anywhere Visa Business||15.24% (Variable)||N/A||25.24% (Variable)|
|Card||Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|Costco Anywhere Visa||$0 (Costco membership required)||None||3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum||5% of each cash advance; $10 minimum|
|Costco Anywhere Visa Business||$0 (Costco membership required)||None||N/A||5% of each cash advance; $10 minimum|
|Card||Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|Costco Anywhere Visa||Up to 29.99% (Variable)||Up to $40||Up to $40|
|Costco Anywhere Visa Business||Up to 29.99% (Variable)||$39||$39|
There’s only one significant difference to note here: The regular consumer card allows balance transfers, while the business card does not. But the consumer card isn’t very good for balance transfers — if that’s what you need, check out the Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards.
These cards have no annual fees, but you’ll need a Costco membership to qualify for them. That starts at $60 for a basic Gold Star membership, while a Gold Star Executive membership costs $120. Business memberships are also available, at the same prices.
You don’t need a Costco business membership to qualify for the Costco business card; you just need to be a member of any kind.
If you’re the Primary Member on your Costco membership, the membership fee will automatically be billed to your Costco credit card every year (unless you specify a different payment method).
The Bottom Line
If you’re already paying for a Costco membership, it shouldn’t be hard to decide whether to apply for one of these cards or not.
Take a look at your receipts for the past few months, and any rewards you earned from credit cards — how would things be different with a Costco card? Would you earn more in rewards, or less?
The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi will work for regular consumers, while the Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi could be a good fit for small business owners. But just because you have a business, that doesn’t mean you need to get the business version — you may opt for the consumer version if you want those slightly different features.
If you’re not a Costco member, it probably wouldn’t make sense to become one just to qualify for one of these cards — unless you also plan to start shopping at Costco. There are plenty of other great cash back credit cards for everyday spending to choose from, in any case.
Maybe you were wondering if a Costco membership would be worth it — how do those calculations change when you throw a Costco credit card in the mix? That extra cash back should sweeten the pot a bit.
Keep reading to learn how to apply for these cards, and to see some other credit card alternatives — some for shopping at Costco, and some for shopping elsewhere.
How to Apply for the Costco Anywhere Visa Cards
To apply for either card, just click the appropriate Apply Now button below.
Most applicants will receive an instant decision, either approved or denied. In some cases the decision could take a bit longer, and Citi may request more information from you. If you’re denied, you’ll receive an adverse action letter explaining why.
Qualifications and Requirements
- Must be 18 to apply
- Must be a Costco member: Have your membership number ready
- Personal information: Name, date of birth, Social Security number, and U.S. citizenship status.
- Address and contact information: Home address, phone number, email address
- Financial information: Total annual income, monthly mortgage or rent payment, accounts held (checking, savings, money market)
Alternatives to the Costco Anywhere Visa and Costco Anywhere Business Visa
The information related to Chase Freedom Flex℠ has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.
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