A lot of people consider buying in bulk a great way to help cut costs. That’s why wholesale clubs like Costco are a go-to for many when it comes to groceries, household items, prescriptions, electronics, and even car tires.
If you’re a Costco shopper, chances are you’ve probably heard about their store-branded credit card but you might be wondering – Is it worth it? Can it really save me more money?
We aim to answer that question with this review. We’re covering the Costco Anywhere Visa Card in depth, outlining its benefits, cash rewards progam, fees, drawbacks and more.
By the end of the article, you should have a much better idea if this is the right card for your wallet.
Table of contents
Table of Contents
The Costco Anywhere Visa Card At A Glance
|Costco Anywhere Visa|
|Main Benefits||⛽ 4% cash back on gas (limits apply)|
🍽 3% cash back on dining
✈ 3% cash back on travel
🛒 2% cash back at Costco & Costco.com
🛍 1% cash back on all other purchases
|Late Fee||Up to $37|
We discuss the benefits in depth in the following section however one important thing to note here is the annual fee. *While the annual fee is technically $0, cardholders DO have to have a valid Costco membership in order to apply. The price of a basic annual Costco Membership is $60.
Cardholders must also keep their Costco membership open and in good standing in order to earn benefits and redeem rewards.
Once you receive your Costco Anywhere Visa, it can be used in place of your membership card so you don’t have to carry around two different cards when you shop.
Costco Cash Rewards (Benefits In Depth)
The benefits of the Costco Anywhere Visa card are actually pretty great for a cash-back card. The tiered bonus categories highlight establishments where the typical cardholder would allocate a majority of their yearly spend.
The primary cardholder may add authorized users to the card. These authorized users are also eligible to earn Costco Cash Rewards which will be added to the Cash Rewards total of the primary cardholder.
In terms of fuel rewards, cardholders receive 4% cash back on up to $7,000 in gas purchases for the year. After the $7K threshold is reached, cardholders earn 1% cash-back on all additional gas purchases for that year.
Hot Tip: The 4% cash back on gas does not apply to fuel purchased at superstores, supermarkets, convenience stores and warehouse clubs other than Costco. Additionally, Citi states it does not apply to fuel used for non-automobile purposes. (You’ll only receive 1% for these purchases)
Dining & Travel
Cardholders will receive 3% cash back on both dining AND travel purchases.
Dining rewards include purchases made at restaurants, cafes, lounges, fast food restaurants, and bars. Similar to the fuel exception, the 3% back does not apply to dining at locations within grocery stores, department stores, supercenters or other wholesale clubs (you’ll only get 1% at those establishments).
Travel rewards apply to all eligible travel purchases worldwide (without any foreign transaction fees!) which includes airfare, hotels, car rentals, cruise lines, travel agencies and Costco Travel.
Costco & Costco.com Purchases
For frequent Costco shoppers, a big perk of this card is the 2% back on all Costco & Costco.com purchases. This is a nice benefit compared to the Sam’s Club credit card which doesn’t reward its cardholders with any type of extra % bonus for spending at Sam’s or Walmart.
All Additional Purchases
Costco Anywhere Visa cardholders will receive 1% cash back on all additional purchases where Visa is accepted.
At times, the rewards program may offer bonuses and special offers such as an increased % cashback when you make specific purchases.
In the past, this has included offers such as the above on Samsung TVs and also one for $100 off a set of 4 Michelin tires.
Redeeming Your Cash Rewards
When it comes to Costco Cash Rewards, a significant consideration is that they are paid out annually vs. monthly.
Cardholders earn rewards from Jan-Dec each calendar year (regardless of the month in which they open the card). Rewards are then distributed in the form of a single reward certificate the following February (once the billing statement closes). Once a cardholder has their certificate, it is available for redemption through Dec 31 of that same year.
If you are enrolled in paperless statements, you will receive the certificate via e-mail separately – this will not be attached to your online statement. If you are not enrolled in paperless, you can find the certificate on the last page of your February billing statement when you receive it in the mail.
Cardholders may utilize the certificate for cash back or Costco merchandise. Terms and conditions of the Cash Rewards Program do state that Cardholders have the option of redeeming a portion for merchandise and receiving the remaining balance in cash at the register upon check-out.
One last consideration is the certificate has to be redeemed in person at a Costco store – it is not available in the form of a statement credit, available to redeem online, or available to redeem with Costco Travel.
While the certificate will be issued to the primary cardholder, you may authorize someone else to redeem the certificate if necessary.
Hot Tip: Remember, cardholders must maintain an open Costco membership in order to redeem their cash back rewards. If your Costo membership is closed before you redeem your certificate, you forfeit your hard earned rewards.
See our Online Account Management section below for information on how to view your rewards online throughout the year.
Additional Costco Credit Card Features
There are a number of additional benefits of the Costco Anywhere Visa Card, most of which apply due to its connection with Citi Bank.
💱 No Foreign Transaction Fees
🗓 Extended Warranty
🕵️♂️ Damage & Theft Purchase Protection
🚗 Worldwide Car Rental Insurance
🌎 Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection
🆘 Travel & Emergency Assistance
🚧 Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service
🎤 Citi® Private Pass®
💸 $0 Liability on Unauthorized Charges
🔐 Citi® Quick Lock
📱 Citi® Mobile App
You can read more about the specific details of these benefits here.
Fees & Drawbacks of the Card
As with any card, the Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi Bank does come with some fees any applicant or cardholder should be aware of.
|Costco Anywhere Visa Card|
|Purchase APR||16.74% (variable)|
|Balance Transfer APR||16.74% (variable)|
|Balance Transfer Fee||$5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer (whichever is greater)|
|Cash Advance APR||26.74% (variable)|
|Cash Advance Fee||$10 or 5% of the amount of each transfer (whichever is greater)|
|Penalty APR||Up to 29.99%(variable), based on creditworthiness|
|Minimum Interest Charge||$0.50|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||NONE|
|Late Fee||Up to $37|
|Returned Payment Fee||Up to $37|
The best way to avoid added fees is to always act as a responsible cardholder.
A responsible cardholder pays off their balance in full, each month. If you cannot pay off the balance completely, you should pay as much as you can, as a result carrying as small a balance as possible (if any).
The purchase APR for this card actually isn’t all that bad, likely because the card is generally issued to individuals with good-excellent overall credit. You’ll see much higher APR fees on other store-branded credit cards, especially those issued by Synchrony Bank. If a low APR card is important to you, there are many 0% APR credit cards for up to 18 months.
Hot Tip: You’ll notice the Penalty APR for this card is extremely high – a whopping 29.99%. Cardholders should be aware that the Penalty APR could be applied to their account if they happen to make a late payment, or make a payment that is returned. This is on top of the listed fees which will also be applied to these actions.
*Remember, while this card technically has no annual fee, it requires an annual Costco membership which is priced at $60 (Basic Membership).
While this card is generally a pretty great cash back card, other than the abovementioned fees there are a couple other potential drawbacks to consider.
- Must be a Costco Member
- Rewards can only be redeemed once per year
- Generally requires good-excellent credit for approval
- Not a “points & miles” friendly card
Alternative Rewards Credit Cards
As this is a cash-back card, we would also recommend considering these other cards either instead or in combination with the Costco Anywhere® Visa card.
|CREDIT CARD||CARD INFO|
|💳 Blue Cash EveryDay® from American Express|
|💳 The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express|
Applying for the Costco Anywhere Visa
There are a few different ways to apply for the Costco credit card:
- In person at a Costco Wholesale store
- By phone: 1-800-970-3019
In general, most credit card review sites state the recommended a good to excellent credit score in order to get approved for this card.
While your credit score is important, it is not the only factor in consideration for approval, so if you have an average to above average score and you really want this card, it may be worth applying.
Some applicants may be approved instantly for the card, however, some submissions may require further review resulting in a 7-10 day waiting period.
Log In & Online Account Management
Online, cardholders can perform the following tasks:
- View account activity
- View billing statements
- Set up paperless statements and e-communications
- Make a payment
If you’re an avid Costco shopper and enjoy earning cash back on a variety of your everyday purchases, the Costco Anywhere Visa card could be a great card to add to your wallet. This is especially true if you’re a responsible cardholder and therefore don’t usually have to worry about any added fees or charges.
Remember, with this card, cash back rewards are only available to be redeemed once per calendar year. Plus, the cardholder must keep their Costco membership open (and their card account in good standing) or the ability to earn and redeem rewards is forfeited.
All in all, the Costco Anywhere Visa is a pretty good cash back card when compared to others on the market.
However, if you’re looking for a credit card that is more geared towards travel and maximizing your points and miles, this isn’t the card for you.
Featured Image Editorial credit: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com