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, it is true that 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. For those reasons, we’re going to take a deep dive into the Costco Anywhere card, as well as compare 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 against which to compare 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.
Finding the answer may not be simple but the journey will certainly be interesting. Let’s get started.
The Value of a Welcome Bonus
Most rewards-earning credit cards offer an opportunity to earn a welcome bonus during the immediate months 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 as much as $1,200 when redeemed for travel.
The Costco Anywhere card does not offer a welcome bonus.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs. Costco Anywhere Card — Overview
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:
|Benefit||Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||Costco Anywhere Card|
- 5x points for travel purchased via Chase travel portal
- 3x points on dining, online grocery stores, and select streaming services
- 2x points on travel
- 1x points on all other purchases
- 4% cash-back at gas stations and EV charging purchases, up to $7,000 in purchases per year
- 3% cash-back on dining and select travel purchases
- 2% cash-back at Costco and Costco online
- 1% cash-back on all other purchases
- Redeem for travel via Chase travel portal for 1.25 cents per point
- Transfer points to airline and hotel partners
- Pay Yourself Back
- Amazon, Apple, PayPal, gift cards, experiences
- Cash-back earned during the calendar year is issued as a reward certificate once a year
|Travel Benefits and Protections|
- Car rental insurance
- Roadside assistance for a flat pre-negotiated fee
- No foreign transaction fees
|Additional Travel Benefits and Protections|
- $50 hotel credit each card anniversary
- Luxury Resorts & Hotels Collection benefits
- Trip cancellation, trip interruption, and trip delay reimbursement coverage
- Lost or delayed baggage insurance
- Chase Offers
- Shop through Chase
- Instacart benefits
- Special shopping offers and discounts
- Purchase protection
- Extended warranty
|Annual Fees and Authorized Users|
- $95 annual fee, no charge to add authorized users
- No annual fee but you must be a Costco member to be approved, no charge to add authorized users
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)
- 4% cash-back at gas stations, including Costco gas stations, and EV charging purchases, up to $7,000 in purchases each year
|Costco and Costco Online|
|Online Grocery Stores and Select Streaming Services|
|All Other Purchases|
- 10% anniversary points boost
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:
- $300 per month at Costco
- $200 per month on gas
- $100 per month on dining
- Average $200 per month on travel (using the Chase travel portal for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and qualifying travel purchases on the Costco Anywhere card)
If using the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, the yearly earnings would be:
- 1x on $3,600 = 3,600 points
- 1x on $2,400 = 2,400 points
- 3x on $1,200 = 3,600 points
- 5x on $2,400 = 12,000 points
- Total: 21,600 Ultimate Rewards points
Let’s add up the yearly earnings if using the Costco Anywhere card:
- 2% x $3,600 = $72
- 4% x $2,400 = $56
- 3% x $1,200 = $36
- 3% x $2,400 = $72
- Total: $236 in cash-back
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 1 factor in determining a card’s value. Let’s continue and look at the purchasing power of those earnings at redemption time for each of our featured cards.
Bottom Line: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns the most on travel purchased via the Chase travel portal, on dining, at online grocery stores, and select streaming services. The Costco Anywhere card’s biggest earning categories are gas stations, select travel, and dining. The mix of your actual spending will determine which card delivers the most total earnings.
While 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 received would be $270 (1.25 cents per point).
You also have the option to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners where you have the potential to receive even greater value.
If you don’t spend a lot on travel and don’t prefer to redeem your rewards for travel, however, you may find cash-back rewards a better fit for you.
Bottom Line: Your spending mix, redemption preferences, and card benefits will determine which card is a better fit for your circumstances. If you prefer to redeem your rewards for travel, however, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card can deliver greater value.
Travel Benefits and Protections
Travel benefits and protections can provide peace of mind during your travels, help when you need it, save you 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:
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver — Pay for your entire rental with your card, decline the agency’s CDW/LDW coverage, and receive primary worldwide coverage for damage or theft with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Primary coverage means that you do not have to file a claim with other insurance before card coverage kicks in. The Costco Anywhere card also offers primary worldwide coverage outside of the U.S. and secondary coverage within the U.S.
- Roadside Assistance — Make just 1 call and pay 1 low pre-negotiated fee with either card for a service call that includes limited towing, lockout service, fuel delivery (cost of fuel not included), tire changing, winching, and jump-starting service.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees — Both of our featured cards do not charge foreign transaction fees.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
You’ll find these additional travel benefits and protections on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card:
- $50 Hotel Credit — Make a hotel booking with your card via the Chase travel portal and receive a $50 statement credit each card anniversary year.
- Visa Signature Luxury Hotels & Resorts Collection Benefits — Enjoy hotel VIP status, an upgraded room (when available), daily breakfast for 2, late checkout (when available), and a $25 food and beverage credit.
- Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance — If your trip is canceled or disrupted for a covered reason, you could receive up to $10,000 per person, $20,000 per trip.
- Trip Delay Reimbursement — For common carrier trips where you are delayed for a covered reason, you could receive up to $500 for eligible unreimbursed expenses.
- Lost Luggage reimbursement — If your luggage is lost or damaged, you could receive up to $3,000.
- Baggage Delay — Receive up to $100 per day — with a maximum of $500 — in reimbursement for eligible incidentals, if your bags are delayed more than 6 hours.
Shopping Benefits and Protections
Shopping benefits 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:
- Purchase Protection — Make an eligible purchase with either card and receive coverage for theft or damage for 120 days from the purchase date. Coverage for the Chase Sapphire card is limited to $500 per item, $50,000 per account. The Costco Anywhere card limits coverage to $1,000 per item, $50,000 per calendar year, per account.
- Extended Warranty — Eligible items purchased with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card having a manufacturer’s warranty of 3 years or less will receive coverage for 1 additional year. Items purchased with the Costco Anywhere card can receive 2 additional years for a maximum total of 7 years.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Save money on your purchases and receive elevated earnings with these Chase shopping benefits.
- Chase Offers — Savings on everyday purchases add up when you log in to your online Chase card account and add merchant offers to your card.
- Shop through Chase — Earn additional Ultimate Rewards points by first visiting the Shop through Chase section of your online card account. Earn up to 20x more rewards by making your purchase via the portal.
- Instacart Benefits — Cardholders are eligible for a free 6-month Instacart+ membership plus a $15 quarterly credit.
Costco Anywhere Card
Costco Anywhere cardholders enjoy targeted savings on a regular basis.
- Shopping Offers — Receive special offers for purchasing discounted gift cards and coupons to use for specific in-store purchases.
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.
Bottom Line: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has a broader collection of travel and shopping benefits and protections. The Costco Anywhere card, however, does offer primary car rental insurance outside of the U.S. and shopping protections that include purchase protection and extended warranty coverage.
Annual Fees and Authorized Users
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 and 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 does charge 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, the 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.
Bottom Line: There is an annual cost associated with having each of our featured cards. However, both cards require a low threshold of spending to realize enough earnings to offset those costs.
If you’re a Costco shopper, there is value to be found 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 10,000-point annual bonus (valued at approximately $100 to $200) 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, remember to be aware of Chase’s 5/24 rule.