Edited by: Jessica Merritt
& Juan Ruiz
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If you’re a Costco shopper, chances are you’ve heard of the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi and wondered about the associated benefits. After all, brand-associated credit cards can frequently offer loyalists elevated rewards earnings, and additional related benefits.
And you’re probably wondering how this card stacks up to some of the competition. We’re taking a deep dive into the Costco Anywhere card, and comparing it to the popular Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to see if it deserves a spot in your wallet.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a good choice as a first travel rewards card, and its flexible, transferable rewards are a great benchmark to compare against the cash-back offerings of the Costco Anywhere card. We’ll also look at redemption options and the additional benefits offered by each card.
Join us as we determine whether the Costco Anywhere card proves to be a worthwhile choice or the Chase Sapphire Preferred card rules, even for the avid Costco shopper. Let’s get started.
Before looking at the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Costco Anywhere card from a few different angles, it might be helpful to summarize the earning potential, redemption options, and the associated card benefits side-by-side.
Here’s how the 2 cards compare in all the key categories:
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi|
|Welcome Offer||Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.||No welcome offer available.|
||Cash-back earned during the calendar year is issued as a reward certificate once a year|
|Travel Benefits and Protections||
|Additional Travel Benefits and Protections||
||Special shopping offers and discounts|
|Annual Fees and Authorized Users||
A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.
Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.
The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is a great Citi’s cash-back rewards card designed specifically for Costco Members.
Most rewards-earning credit cards offer an opportunity to earn a welcome bonus during the months immediately following card approval.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has a generous welcome bonus offer after meeting minimum spending requirements within the first 3 months after card approval. Depending on your redemption choice, which we’ll talk about shortly, the bonus could be worth more than $1,000 when redeemed for travel.
The Costco Anywhere card does not offer a welcome bonus.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns flexible Ultimate Rewards points while the Costco Anywhere card earns cash-back. We’ll discuss how your rewards can be used, but first, let’s look at how rewards are earned on each of our featured cards.
|Earning Category||Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||Costco Anywhere Card|
||3% cash-back on airfare, hotels, car rentals, cruises, rideshares, travel agencies (including Costco Travel)|
|Gas Stations||1x points||4% cash-back at gas stations, including Costco gas stations, and EV charging purchases, up to $7,000 in purchases each year|
|Dining||3x points||3% cash-back|
|Costco and Costco Online||1x points||2% cash-back|
|Online Grocery Stores and Select Streaming Services||3x points||1% cash-back|
|All Other Purchases||1x points||1% cash-back|
|Additional Earning||10% anniversary points boost||N/A|
While the number of rewards you earn will depend on your spending mix, let’s look at a simple spending scenario (including monthly shopping at Costco) to illustrate the earning differences between the 2 cards:
If using the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, the yearly earnings would be:
Let’s add up the yearly earnings if using the Costco Anywhere card:
If you spend a lot at Costco, on gas, and eligible travel, you may fare better with the Costco Anywhere card when it comes to earnings. However, earnings are just one factor in determining a card’s value. Let’s continue and look at the value of those earnings at redemption time for each of our featured cards.
While rewards earnings are important, the real value you’ll get from them is revealed at redemption time. Here are the options for redeeming your rewards for both of our featured cards:
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||Costco Anywhere Card|
|Cash-back is accumulated during the calendar year and issued as a certificate once a year, which can be used in-store to purchase merchandise or redeemed for cash or check|
Let’s refer back to our earlier spending scenario. Spending on the Costco Anywhere card yielded $236 cash-back and the Chase Sapphire Preferred card yielded 21,600 Ultimate Rewards points. If the Ultimate Rewards points were redeemed for travel via the Chase travel portal, the value would be $270 (1.25 cents per point).
However, by our valuations of Chase points at 2 cents per point, those points are actually worth $432 when you transfer Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners. With travel partners, you have the potential to receive greater value than cash-back or travel portal redemptions.
However, if you don’t spend a lot on travel and don’t prefer to redeem your rewards for travel, you may find cash-back rewards a better fit for you.
Travel benefits and protections can provide peace of mind, help when you need it, save money on your travel purchase, or provide elite-style perks.
Here are some of the travel protections found on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and the Costco Anywhere card:
You’ll find these additional travel benefits and protections on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card:
Shopping benefits and protections that come with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card or Costco Anywhere card can save you money. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you’ll also have the additional benefit of earning a lot of bonus Ultimate Rewards points on purchases.
Shopping protections can provide coverage if something should happen to an eligible purchase made with your card. Here are some of the protections you’ll find on both cards:
Both cards also offer zero liability fraud protection against unauthorized purchases and a free FICO credit score.
Save money on your purchases and receive elevated earnings with these Chase shopping benefits.
Costco Anywhere cardholders enjoy targeted savings on a regular basis.
Please note that this is not an all-inclusive list of benefits that come with our featured cards, just a list of key benefits for comparison purposes. We’ve also abbreviated the benefit descriptions. For a complete list of benefits and the applicable terms and conditions, you’ll want to access each card’s guide to benefits.
Annual fees and adding additional users to your card account can add to the cost of being a cardholder.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card charges an annual fee of $95 while the Costco Anywhere card does not charge an annual fee. However, you must be a Costco member to be approved for the Costco Anywhere card. The current price of membership is $60 per year for a Gold Star membership and $120 for a Gold Star Executive membership.
While the Chase Sapphire Preferred card charges an annual fee, its generous welcome bonus can make up for the first year’s annual fee. After receiving the welcome bonus, travelers who use the Chase travel portal could receive value beyond the annual fee after purchasing just $2,000 in travel each year.
If you shop frequently at Costco, your cash-back earnings with the Costco Anywhere card could also more than offset the cost of membership. If you maxed out the 4% cash-back on gas or EV charging purchases alone, you would receive $280 cash-back each year.
If you’re a Costco shopper, there is value with the Costco Anywhere card. If you spend $1,500 a year on gas (4% back) or $3,000 at Costco (2% back), you would cover the cost of a Gold Star membership fee.
One downside to the Costco Anywhere card is that the rewards are only distributed once a year. Fortunately, you can redeem that rewards certificate in-store for cash (or merchandise).
However, if you spend a lot on travel, want greater flexibility and value when redeeming your rewards, and can use the additional travel and shopping benefits, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the better card. The additional value of the 10% anniversary points contributes to making the card difficult to beat.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card also serves a broader purpose of establishing a valuable long-term relationship with Chase, a prominent financial institution providing additional financial services products you may utilize throughout your lifetime.
So, both cards can live harmoniously in the wallet of a Costco shopper. Before you apply for either, though, be aware of Chase’s 5/24 rule.
Yes. For frequent Costco shoppers the card offers plenty of value. The 4% cash-back at gas stations and EV charging alone delivers enough value to more than offset the cost of the Costco membership required to be eligible for the card.
Each February, you’ll receive an email with your rewards certificate (if you’re signed up for paperless delivery) or a paper certificate in the mail. The certificate contains your earnings for the prior calendar year and can be redeemed for merchandise, cash, or check by visiting a Costco warehouse.
Yes. You can redeem your Ultimate Rewards points during checkout at a merchant that accepts PayPal by linking your Chase card to your PayPal account, then selecting to use Ultimate Rewards points to pay. However, it is not recommended that you redeem Ultimate Rewards points via PayPal, as you will only receive 0.8 cents per point in value.
No. The Costco Anywhere card does not offer a welcome bonus.
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