Review of the Costco Anywhere Visa® and Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Reviews

Apr 04, 2019 | Updated May 14, 2019

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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).

The savings are enormous. Image credit: Random meme-makers.

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 American Express 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
  • Good 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 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 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 and travel protections: The Costco cards come with solid benefits to help protect your purchases and cover you while traveling; check them out before making important purchases or going on trips.

The Rewards

Both of the Costco Anywhere Visa cards have the same rewards program for earning and redeeming cash back.

Earning

Spending Rewards
  • 4% cash back on eligible gas worldwide, including gas at Costco; up to $7,000 per year (then 1% back)
  • 3% cash back for:
    • Restaurants
    • Travel (including Costco Travel)
  • 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

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
  • Supermarkets
  • Superstores
  • 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.

Redeeming

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 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.
  • At Costco’s discretion, you can request your certificate be redeemed for cash in the form of a check.
  • 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.

Costco Cash Rewards Certificate. Image credit: Citi.

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 Benefits

Once again, the Costco cards are above average when it comes to their extra benefits. You’ll get a set of protections to help cover your purchases, and insure you against unforeseen circumstances while traveling.

The shopping protections will help for any eligible items you buy — including Costco purchases — and the travel protections will pair nicely with the 3% back on travel. You can also get one of the best price-matching services available on any credit card.

The consumer card and the business card offer slightly different sets of benefits. Here’s an overview of each, followed by some details of the more useful benefits (in our opinion).

Costco Anywhere Visa – Consumer
Shopping Travel
Citi Price Rewind Travel & Emergency Assistance
Damage & Theft Purchase Protection Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service
Extended Warranty Worldwide Car Rental Insurance
$0 Fraud Liability Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance
Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance
Costco Anywhere Visa – Business
Shopping Travel
Damage & Theft Purchase Protection Travel & Emergency Assistance
Extended Warranty Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service
Worldwide Car Rental Insurance
Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance
Lost Baggage Protection

Notably, the business card does not come with Price Rewind or $0 Fraud Liability, and has Lost Baggage Protection instead of Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance.

  • Citi Price Rewind: Did hot tubs go on sale at Costco right after you bought one? If you find a lower price, Price Rewind will reimburse you for the difference on eligible items (up to $200 per item, up to $1,000 per year), and it will even help by searching online merchants for you. This can alleviate some of the stress of searching for the lowest prices before you buy.
  • 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.
  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance: (Consumer card only.) Layovers and cancellations can be nightmares, but you’ll feel better knowing you can be reimbursed for certain expenses. Coverage is available in eligible circumstances, which include severe weather, natural disasters, and if you or a family member gets sick (even if a pet gets sick!).

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.

You can read more about these benefits, including all the nitty-gritty details and how to make use of them, in the Guide to Benefits for your card:

The Terms & Fees

Card Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
Costco Anywhere Visa 17.49% Variable 17.49% Variable 27.49% Variable
Costco Anywhere Visa Business 17.49% Variable N/A 24.24% Variable
Card Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
Costco Anywhere Visa $0 (Costco membership required)  None 3%, $5 minimum 5%, $10 minimum
Costco Anywhere Visa Business $0 (Costco membership required)  None N/A 5%, $10 minimum
Card Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Costco Anywhere Visa Up to 29.99% Variable Up to $39 Up to $39
Costco Anywhere Visa Business Up to 29.99% Variable Up to $37 Up to $37

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).

Check the official terms and conditions of these cards here:

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 a Costco member
  • Must be 18
  • Personal identifying information, including birth date, Social Security number, and phone number
  • Total household income and source of income
  • Monthly mortgage/rent payment

Alternatives to the Costco Anywhere Visa Cards

As mentioned above, Costco only accepts Visa credit cards, which limits your options quite a bit. But you still have some good choices for Costco shopping, and there are other grocery and gas cards for shopping elsewhere. All of these cards offer 0% intro APRs as well.

 

Use this cash back card to earn 3% back everywhere in your first year, including at Costco. That’s better than the 2% back you’d get from a Costco card. It’s more flexible (offering the same rate everywhere) and you don’t need to wait til after February to get your rewards.

After that first year the rewards drop to 1.5% for every purchase, but that’s still not too bad.

Spending Rewards
  • 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year, up to $20,000 spent
  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases after that

Key Features

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, then 17.24% - 25.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0

Read more in our Review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card.

 

The Chase Freedom® (Review) is a Visa, so you can use it at Costco.

It’s like the Freedom Unlimited card above, but you’ll earn 5% cash back in categories that change every three months. The categories are published shortly before they’re active, so we’re not yet sure if Costco will be included in 2019; but wholesale clubs were included from October through December of 2018, and in prior years, so it’s possible they’ll show up again.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent per quarter (then 1%), in categories that rotate throughout the year (see calendar below)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $150 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Return on spend: 30%
Quarter 5% Cash Back Category
2018: April – June Grocery Stores, PayPal, Chase Pay
2018: July – September Gas Stations, Lyft, Walgreens
2018: October – December Department Stores, Wholesale Clubs, Chase Pay
2019: January – March Gas Stations, Tolls, Drugstores
2019: April – June Grocery Stores, Home Improvement Stores

Key Features

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, then 17.24 - 25.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0

Read more in our Chase Freedom Review – Cash Back Reward Credit Card.

 

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review) is a Mastercard, so you can’t use it at Costco. But it does have a handy 2% category for grocery stores and wholesale clubs, making it useful for groceries and other clubs like Sam’s Club and BJ’s.

You’ll also get to pick your own 3% category every month, from a selection of choices — we recommend using this to get an above-average rate for online shopping, but you can adjust it to fit your spending habits.

Spending Rewards
  • 3% cash back in one category of your choice:
    • Gas
    • Online shopping
    • Dining
    • Travel
    • Drugstores
    • Home improvement/furnishings stores
  • 2% cash back at:
    • Grocery stores
    • Wholesale clubs
  • 1% cash back for all other purchases
  • Spending limit: 3% and 2% rewards are limited to the first $2,500 spent per quarter
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $200 cash rewards bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days after account opening
    • Return on spend: 20%
Redemption Bonus
  • 10–75% redemption bonus for redeeming into an eligible Bank of America or Merrill Lynch bank account

Key Features

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 billing cycles, then 16.24%–26.24% Variable (for transfers made during the first 60 days)
  • Annual fee: $0

Read more in our Review of the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

 

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Review) is a bit different than the others in this post, because its main course blends groceries and streaming services with a side of gas. If you don’t usually shop at wholesale clubs, or you have a different card for clubs, this could be an excellent pick because you’ll get an industry-leading rate at U.S. supermarkets.

It’s issued by American Express, so the Blue Cash Preferred is not accepted at Costco.

Spending Rewards
  • 6% cash back for:
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000, then 1%)
    • Select U.S. streaming services
  • 3% cash back for:
    • U.S. gas stations
    • Transit
    • Select U.S. department stores (former cardholders only, until 7/31/19)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $250 cash back for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
    • Return on spend: 25%

Key Features

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% on purchases for 12 months, then 15.24% - 26.24% Variable (for transfers made during the first 60 days)
  • Annual fee: $95

Read more in our Review of the American Express Blue Cash Everyday® and Blue Cash Preferred® Cards.

 

Was this review helpful to you? Go ahead and share it with a friend! And if you use one of these cards, leave your own review of the Costco Anywhere Visa or the Costco Anywhere Visa Business, we’d love to hear from you!

Check out our picks for the Best Store Credit Cards for shopping at specific merchants, and our picks for the Best Rewards Credit Cards in general.
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The responses below are not provided or commissioned by bank advertisers. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers' responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  • Angelina Moncada Guidroz

    This card doesn’t have foreign transaction fees anymore.

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