The Best Credit Cards for Shopping at Costco and Costco.com [2020]

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If you frequently shop at Costco, you know it’s easy to rack up a big purchase quickly buying vast quantities of items in bulk. Over an entire year, you could spend significant dollars at the popular warehouse club.

As with any big annual outlay of funds, we’re always on the lookout for ways to make sure those purchases earn as many rewards as possible.

Costco is unique in that not all types of payments or credit cards are accepted in-store. With that obstacle in the forefront, we’ll zero-in on the cards that do earn rewards at Costco to help you make your selection.

If you’re a Costco lover, which many shoppers are, you’re probably wondering which cards made our list. Let’s dig in and find out the best ways to earn more rewards at Costco.

How Does Costco Work?

Costco is an American-based warehouse retailer operating membership-based wholesale shopping clubs with hundreds of locations across 8 countries.

Retail locations offer members savings on things like groceries, clothing, household products, business and restaurant supplies, and travel services. You’ll also find a photo, auto, and optical center, as well as a pharmacy, located in each store.

You may also purchase products and services at Costco.com and at Costco gas stations.

A basic Gold Star or Business membership costs $60 per year, while a Gold Star Executive or Business Executive Membership costs $120 per year. Business memberships allow you to add additional people to your membership and purchase items for resale. Executive-level memberships, both personal and business, earn 2% rewards on eligible purchases, paid out annually.

Best Credit Cards for Shopping In-Store at Costco or Online at Costco.com

Costco Items
Costco offerings include a complete line of its own branded products. Image Credit: Kirkland

You won’t be able to use your American Express, Mastercard, or Discover-issued cards at Costco as the retailer accepts only Visa for in-store shopping. Let’s take a look at some of the best cards you can use for shopping in-store at Costco or online at Costco.com, and the associated card benefits.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

The Costco Anywhere card is an obvious choice for shopping in-store. The card earns well on specific everyday purchases, purchases at Costco, and at Costco.com. But there are a few drawbacks to the card.

Why We Like the Card for Shopping at Costco

  • 4% cash-back at gas stations, including Costco, up to $7,000 in purchases each year, then 1%
  • 2% cash-back at Costco and Costco.com

Why We Like the Card Overall

  • 3% cash-back at restaurants and on travel purchases
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Good anywhere Visa is accepted
  • Shopping protections such as purchase protection and extended warranty

Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi

It’s always good to keep business and personal purchases separate. Fortunately, in addition to the personal card, Citi offers the Costco Anywhere Business card.

Like the personal Costco Anywhere card, the Costco Anywhere Business card comes with the same bonus category earnings, redemption options, benefits, and no annual fee.

Also, like the personal Costco Anywhere card, you must have a Costco membership to be approved.

Drawbacks of the Costco Anywhere Card and Costco Anywhere Business Card

  • No welcome bonus offer
  • You must have a Costco membership to be approved for the card (at a cost of $60 to $120 per year)
  • Cash-back earnings are paid out just once per year in-store

You can accept your cash-back earnings in the form of a store credit or cash.

Bottom Line: If you’re a frequent Costco shopper, either Costco Anywhere card could be a viable option for earning rewards when shopping at Costco. The drawbacks are minimal and since neither card charges an annual fee, if you receive value in excess of your membership fee, the card could be worthwhile.

Chase Freedom® Unlimited Card

Mattress at Costco
The Chase Freedom® card or the Freedom Unlimited card may be perfect for a large Costco purchase. Image Credit: Sleep Science

Why We Like the Card for Shopping at Costco

  • 1.5% cash-back on all purchases, including Costco and Costco.com
  • No annual fee

Why We Like the Card Overall

  • 5% cash-back on Lyft purchases through March 2022
  • Automatic earning, no special categories to remember or need to register the card each quarter
  • Cash-back is earned in the form of Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred to premium Chase cards and redeemed for greater value for travel or transferred to airline and hotel partners for potentially even more value
  • 3 months complimentary DoorDash DashPass and 9 additional months at 50% discount
  • Secondary car rental insurance
  • Shopping benefits such as purchase protection and extended warranty

Chase Freedom® Card

Normally, the Freedom card earns just 1 Ultimate Reward point for every dollar spent, but the card has the potential each quarter to be 1 of the best cards to use when shopping in-store at Costco.

Why We Like the Card for Shopping at Costco

  • 5% cash-back at warehouse clubs, including Costco, when warehouse clubs are a quarterly bonus-earning category
  • No annual fee

Why We Like the Card Overall

CHASE CARDBENEFITS & INFO
Chase Freedom® Card
  • Earn 5% cash-back for the first $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in rotating bonus categories (new categories every 3 months and activation is required)
  • Earn 1x on all other purchases
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases.pricing and terms reference link. After the intro period, a variable APR of 14.99% - 23.74%
  • 5% cash-back on Lyft purchases through March 2022
  • The card earns cash-back in the form of Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to premium Chase cards and redeemed for up to 50% more in value for travel or transferred to airline and hotel partners for even greater potential value
  • 3 months complimentary DoorDash DashPass and 9 additional months at 50% discount
  • Secondary car rental insurance
  • Shopping benefits such as purchase protection and extended warranty

Bottom Line: The Freedom card and Freedom Unlimited card will offer an introductory 0% APR period for purchases from time to time. This could work well for paying off a large purchase over time without incurring interest rate charges. 

Additional Cards for Shopping In-Store at Costco and Online at Costco.com

  • U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card — if you travel frequently and don’t mind paying a higher annual fee, the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card comes with plenty of travel benefits, statement credits, and earns 3x points on mobile wallet purchases
  • Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card — earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend on the card, including Costco

Additional Payment Methods Accepted In-Store at Costco

In addition to the cards we’ve mentioned here, Costco accepts the following forms of payment in-store:

  • Visa credit cards
  • Costco Shop Card (gift card)
  • Most pin-enabled debit/ATM cards
  • Mobile wallet transactions including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay that are not linked to Amex, Mastercard, or Discover cards
  • Cash or checks from an existing member
  • Traveler’s checks
  • Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards

Costco gas stations accept Visa, pin-enabled debit/ATM cards, and Costco Shop Cards gift cards.

Bottom Line: Costco warehouse clubs, gas stations, and Costco.com differ in the types of credit cards and payment methods accepted. You will not be able to use American Express, Discover, or Mastercard in-store at Costco or at Costco gas stations, even via mobile-wallet transactions. 

Additional Credit Cards for Shopping Online at Costco.com

Woman Using Credit Card on Laptop
Shopping at Costco online allows you to use additional payment methods such as Mastercard. Image Credit: Kite_lin via Shutterstock

The Costco Anywhere card, Costco Anywhere Business card, Costco gift cards, and ATM/debit cards that are accepted in-store are also accepted for Costco online purchases. Online shopping at Costco, however, allows you to use additional credit cards compared to in-store purchases.

Here are some of the best cards that earn rewards shopping at Costco online.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

If you shop online at Costco frequently, the Bank of America Cash Rewards card could be a consideration for earning up to 3% cash-back on your purchases.

Why We Like the Card for Shopping Online at Costco.com

  • 2% cash-back at wholesale clubs, including Costco
  • Select your own bonus category, including online purchases, to earn 3% cash-back, up to $2,500 in purchases per quarter, for 3% and 2% cash-back categories combined
  • No annual fee

Why We Like the Card Overall

  • Welcome bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements in the first 90 days after card approval
  • Other 3% cash-back categories from which to select include gas, dining, travel, drug stores, and home improvement/furnishings
  • 2% cash-back at grocery stores
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases
  • Additional earning bonuses and redemption options for those who have relationships with Bank of America and are members of Preferred Rewards

Citi® Double Cash Card

Using the Double Cash card ensures every purchase you make at Costco online earns rewards.

Why We Like the Card for Shopping Online at Costco.com

  • 2% cash-back on every purchase; 1% when you buy, 1% when you pay
  • No annual fee

Why We Like the Card Overall

  • No need to register for special bonus earnings or remember bonus-earning categories
  • Convert cash rewards to ThankYou Points

Huntington Voice Credit Card℠  and Huntington Voice Business Credit Card℠

You won’t be able to use Mastercard for in-store Costco purchases, however, you can use these Huntington Bank-issued Mastercards for online purchases.

Why We Like the Cards for Shopping Online at Costco.com

Huntington Voice Credit Card℠

  • Earn 3% cash-back on your selected quarterly bonus category that can include warehouse and discount stores, up to $2,000 in purchases per quarter
  • No annual fee

Huntington Voice Business Credit Card℠

  • Earn 4% cash-back on your selected quarterly bonus category that can include warehouse and discount stores, up to $7,000 per quarter in purchases
  • No annual fee

Why We Like the Cards Overall

Each quarter you’ll have the option to select your own bonus earnings category from 10 different merchant groups. Options include gas stations, travel/entertainment, restaurants, discount/warehouse stores, home improvement, utilities/office supply stores, electronic/computer/camera stores, department/apparel/sporting goods stores, and auto parts/service.

The cards also do not charge foreign transaction fees.

Additional Payment Methods Accepted Online at Costco.com

  • All Visa cards
  • Mastercard
  • Discover cards
  • Pin-enabled debit cards and ATM cards
  • Costco Shop Cards (gift cards)

Best Credit Cards for Shopping at Costco and Costco.com — Summary

Deciding which card works best for shopping at Costco can be tricky. Let’s take a moment and review the cards we’ve mentioned and the benefits of using each specific card for your purchases at Costco and Costco.com.

CardCostco In-StoreCostco OnlineBenefits for Costco Shopping
Costco Anywhere card

Costco Anywhere Business card

XX
  • 4% cash-back at gas stations, including Costco
  • 2% cash-back at Costco and Costco.com
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty coverage
  • No annual fee
Freedom Unlimited cardXX
  • 1.5% cash-back on every purchase
  • Introductory 0% APR on purchases for 15 months from card approval
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty coverage
  • No annual fee
Freedom cardXX
  • 5% cash-back when warehouse stores are a quarterly bonus category
  • Introductory 0% APR on purchases for 15 months from card approval
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty coverage
  • No annual fee
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve cardXX
  • 3x points on mobile-wallet purchases
  • Purchase security and extended warranty coverage
Venture cardXX
  • 2 miles per dollar on every purchase
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty coverage
Bank of America Cash Rewards cardX
  • 2% cash-back at wholesale clubs
  • 3% cash-back when online purchases are selected as your quarterly bonus category, up to $2,500 per quarter
  • Extended warranty
  • No annual fee
Double Cash cardX
  • 2% cash-back on every purchase
  • Purchase protection
  • No annual fee
Huntington Voice cardX
  • 3% cash-back on your selected quarterly bonus category that can include warehouse/discount stores, and gas stations, up to $2,000 per quarter in purchases
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty coverage
  • No annual fee
Huntington Voice Business cardX
  • 4% cash-back on your selected quarterly bonus category that can include warehouse/discount stores, and gas stations, up to $7,000 per quarter in purchases
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty coverage
  • No annual fee

Bottom Line: If you shop frequently at Costco in-store, selecting a card that earns well on those in-store purchases will be a plus as you will also be able to use that card to earn rewards when you shop online at Costco.com.

Final Thoughts

Shopping at wholesale clubs can save you a lot of money. Earning rewards while saving money can be a beneficial double-dip when you select the right card for your purchases.

If you spend significantly at wholesale clubs such as Costco, select a card that maximizes those earnings, but ideally, a card that would also align with your overall spending mix.


The information regarding the Chase Freedom® Unlimited Card, Chase Freedom® Card, U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card, Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Huntington Voice Credit Card℠, and Huntington Voice Business Credit Card℠ were independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

 


Frequently asked questions

Which is the best credit card for Costco purchases?

The best credit card for in-store Costco purchases will be a Visa-issued credit card as the retailer does not accept American Express, Mastercard, or Discover cards in-store.

The Costco Anywhere card, Costco Anywhere Business card, as well as the Freedom Unlimited card and the Freedom card, are all good choices for shopping in-store at Costco or online at Costco.com.

Additionally, Costco online accepts Mastercard and Discover cards which broadens your choice of payment options.

Any card that earns multiple times earnings that align with your spending mix, offers redemption options you prefer, and has benefits you can use is worth considering for Costco purchases.

How does the Costco Anywhere card work?

To qualify for a Costco Anywhere card, you must have an active Costco membership. The card is good anywhere Visa is accepted and earns rewards on every purchase. There is no annual fee charged on the card.

Bonus earning categories include grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, and Costco. Rewards accumulate and are paid out in-store once per year. You can select to receive your rewards in cash or in store credits.

What payment methods are accepted at Costco?

Costco in-store, Costco.com, and Costco gas stations all accept different forms of payment.

In-store, Costco accepts all Visa cards, Costco gift cards, most ATM/debit cards, mobile wallet, cash or member’s checks, traveler’s checks, and EBT cards.

Costco.com accepts additional forms of payment including Mastercard and Discover cards.

Costco gas stations accept Visa, Costco gift cards, and most ATM/debit cards.

Do I have to be a member to get a Costco credit card?

Yes, you must have an active Costco membership to be approved for a Costco Anywhere card or Costco Anywhere Business card.

Does Costco count as a grocery store on your credit card?

No. Most credit card issuers do not categorize wholesale clubs as supermarket or grocery purchases.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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