On the weekend, friends can find you at Costco stocking up on paper towels, cases of soda, and those tasty little hors d’oeuvres found in the freezer section.
Costco is your go-to place for groceries, prescriptions, and health and beauty items. Plus, it’s where you shop for big ticket items like furniture, appliances, and computers.
You also have the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, which earns Costco cash rewards for all the purchases you make at Costco and everywhere else.
Time to fill up the gas tank!
Card Summary Table
- Card Bonus & Info (Partner Content)
- Card Provider
- Card Type(s):
- Card Focus:
- Car Rental Agencies
- Gas (Driving)
- Travel (General)
- Annual Fee
- Rewards CenterCash-back is accumulated on your card and delivered to you once per year in the form of a coupon, which can be used in a single transaction at Costco.
- Foreign Transaction Fees3%
- Typical UsersThe Average Spender
- Customer Service Number
- Login Link
- PartnersThere are no travel partners with this card. Costco is your partner!
- Interest Rates ?
- 0% introductory APR for 7 months from date of account opening.
- After that, your APR will be 15.99%. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
- Late fees ?
- Up to $37
- Penalty APR of 29.99%
- Balance Transfers
- $5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater.
- Cash Forwarding
- $10 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater.
- 25.99% APR
The Ideal Cardholder
Card Benefits and Bonus Categories
Costco ended its relationship with American Express on June 20, 2016. As a result, the card they co-branded with American Express reached the end of the line too.
Fortunately, the new Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi appears to be an improvement!
The new credit card, exclusive to the warehouse giant’s customers, is available in 2 versions: the personal card and the Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi.
There is typically no sign-up bonus for either card (see card summary table for any current offer), but you do get a couple of great perks.
First, there is no annual fee for either card as long as you have a paid Costco membership ($55). In addition, enjoy a 0% APR on purchases for 7 months (then it’s back to the normal listed above)!
That means you have over half a year to make big purchases without having to worry about interest. And Costco certainly provides plenty of opportunities to buy the things you need!
With the cards, you get 4% cash back on gas at Costco for the first $7,000 you spend in a year. After that point, it is reduced to 1%.
You only earn 1% cash-back for gas purchased at supermarkets, convenience stores, and warehouse clubs (other than Costco).
You also get 3% cash-back on restaurant and travel purchases, and 2% on all purchases you make at Costco and Costco.com. This includes the Costco Travel Center.
All other purchases earn 1% cash back.
Improvements to the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
The gas benefit alone makes this card more valuable than many cash-back cards. Plus, the old American Express version only earned 2% cash-back for restaurants, and did not include international dining like the Citi version does.
With the American Express version, you could only earn 1% cash-back on Costco purchases.
Costco Cash Rewards and Benefits
Use your card at any merchant where Visa is accepted. The card also becomes your Costco membership ID!
Costco Cash Rewards can add up steadily over the course of a year. For instance, spend $1,000 on groceries every month at Costco for a year and you’ll get $240 in cash-back rewards. And that’s just groceries!
You’ll receive a Costco Cash Reward coupon every year in your February billing statement. Then, you have until December 31 to exchange it for merchandise or cash at a Costco warehouse near you.
Both the Costco credit cards come with Citi Private Pass, which is a benefit available to many Citi credit card customers. The program allows you to buy presale tickets to sporting events, shows, and concerts.
Sometimes you can even buy “sold-out” tickets set aside for Citi Private Pass members.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi Benefits
The Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi serves as a line of credit for small business owners. It has most of the same features and benefits as the personal card.
The main difference is that the personal card allows you to make balance transfers, but the business card doesn’t.
Also, the business card does not include 2 of the benefits that come with many Citi cards: trip cancellation insurance and Price Rewind.
Drawbacks to the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
If you are a Costco member and will put all of your spending on the card, it can be quite valuable. If not, there are several drawbacks.
First, if you’re not a Costco member (and don’t want to be), the card won’t have much value. (Although the 4% cash-back bonus you earn for buying gas at Costco is a huge benefit!)
Also, there’s no sign-up bonus with the card. While you don’t need a bonus to find value with a credit card, it does help. Of course, the American Express version of the Costco card didn’t have a sign-up bonus either.
Another drawback is that you are limited in how you can use your rewards. Your options are to either cash them in or use them toward a Costco purchase.
Additionally, you have to wait an entire year to get access to your cash-back. If your account is cancelled during that time, you’ll lose all the cash-back you’ve accumulated.
Your cash-back comes as a reward coupon in your February billing statement, and must be redeemed at Costco during a single transaction.
Costco shoppers who will purchase gas, travel, and dining with the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi (personal or business) will probably find the cash-back worth it. The card is free with your paid Costco membership, so you really have nothing to lose.
However, it’s important to be patient since rewards only come around once a year.
Great Card If
- You are a frequent Costco shopper
- You will put gas, travel, and dining purchases on the card
- You don’t mind waiting a year to redeem all your rewards at once
Don't Get If
- You don’t live near Costco
- You want a sign-up bonus
- You want to earn travel rewards
- You don’t buy in bulk
U.P. Pro Tips
The best way to earn cash-back on the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is to always fill up your gas tank at Costco. The 4% bonus on your first $7,000 can make signing up for the card worth it for many people!
Remember, if you fill ‘er up anywhere else, you’ll only earn 1%.
How To Use the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi: The Upgraded Way
Best Way To Maximize Points
To really maximize your cash-back earnings, don’t limit your Costco spending to gas. Buy all of your regular purchases at Costco so you can take advantage of the 2% cash-back.
Costco sells groceries, electronics, appliances, tires and automotive supplies, clothing, jewelry, and so much more. It should be your first stop when you need to make a purchase!
Here are some more tips for getting the most out of your Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi.
Tip #1: You earn 3% cash-back for restaurants, including fast food, cafes, bars, and lounges. Personal cardmembers should put all dining purchases on the card. Business cardmembers can use the card for client dinners, office lunches, and meals while traveling.
Tip #2: Speaking of traveling, the card earns 3% cash-back on a wide range of travel spending including car rentals, hotels, airfare, travel agencies, and cruise lines.
It even includes Costco Travel, so keep them in mind when you’re planning a getaway or business trip.
Tip #3: If you use the Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi, make sure to get all of your office supplies at Costco. The Costco Business Center also sells paper products, snacks, beverages, groceries, and janitorial supplies; all these purchases count too!
In fact, if you have the business card, you may want to put your household Costco purchases on it too if possible.
Tip #4: Use the card in combination with other cards. You get 1% for purchases other than travel, dining, gas, and other purchases at Costco. Pay for those 1% categories with a card that earns more!
Tip #5: Buy gift cards at Costco and earn 2% back. Costco sells practically anything you can think of, but try to purchase gift cards for anything it doesn’t.
For example, Costco doesn’t sell Apple products. Pick up a gift card for a store that sells Macs, iPads, and iPhones, and you’ll effectively get 2% cash-back for shopping somewhere else.
Best Way To Redeem Points
Unfortunately, you don’t have many options for redeeming rewards on your Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi.
The Costco Cash Reward will arrive once a year in February with your credit card billing statement. You have to use it by December 31, or you’ll forfeit the cash-back you spent 12 months earning.
Your cash-back will have the same value whether you turn in your rewards certificate at a Costco warehouse for cash or merchandise.
Costco is your main partner!
While the card does not have an annual fee, you do have to be a Costco member to sign up. A Costco membership costs $55, so you will want to earn at least that much cash-back to come out ahead as far as the card is concerned.
In this section, we will calculate the value of the card in terms of the budgets associated with our model families. We’ll also compare the card to other similar cards.
A Quick Card Recap
Here is a summary of the cost and earnings of the card:
|Annual Fee||Costco / Other Gas||Dining and Travel||Other Costco Purchases||Other Purchases|
For this example, we’ll assume our spending families purchase all of their gas at Costco.
Cash-Back Value of Our Model Families’ Spending
Using the budgets we created for our model families, we will assume the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is used for everything for a year of expenses. The amount spent per category is detailed in the table below.
When creating the model families’ budgets, we didn’t specify how much each family would spend on purchases they could make at Costco (other than food). In addition to including food/supermarkets, we will take a portion of each family’s “other” spending to cover Costco purchases.
We will conservatively assume the families spend $2,000, $3,000, and $4,000 on Costco purchases (in addition to food).
We will also assume that only $5,000, $6,000, and $7,000 of the “other” spending can be purchased with a card, and will leave the rest out of the equation.
|Family||Costco / Other Gas||Dining and Travel||Other Costco Purchases||Other Purchases|
*This table assumes spending for Costco and other purchases based on the “other” category of spending for the model families.
Value of the Cash-Back Rewards
At the spending levels discussed, the families will earn the following amounts of cash-back by making a year of purchases with the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi.
*Total cash-back value at the spending limits noted in the previous table.
That’s a nice cash-back award, considering the only out-of-pocket fee is your $55 Costco membership! The only negative here is that there is no way to boost the value with different redemption options.
Math Conclusion and Card Alternatives
There’s no question that the Costco credit card has considerable value for Costco members who put all of their purchases on it. But what if you don’t shop at Costco all the time?
In that case, another credit card option is the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. It offers a whopping 6% cash-back on your first $6,000 of U.S. supermarket purchases (then 1% back), compared to the 2% you get for Costco shopping.
Plus, you get 3% cash-back at U.S. gas stations and department stores with the Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express with no maximum.
The caveat here is that you can’t use American Express at Costco. While Costco accepts other Visa cards, it’s pretty tough to find one that gives you bonus cash-back for purchases you make at warehouse clubs.
One idea is to combine the cards, using the American Express card to earn 6% back at supermarkets until you reach $6,000, and then go back to Costco for the 2% cash-back rate.
Similarly, you could use the Costco card to purchase gas at Costco until you reach $7,000, and then get gas elsewhere with your American Express for 3% cash-back.
The Gritty Details: Everything Else You Need To Know
Transactions that don’t qualify for cash-back include (but are not limited to) balance transfers, cash advances, checks that access the account, and items returned for credit.
Costco Cash Rewards are sent via U.S. mail in the form of a reward coupon with the February billing statement, and are redeemable through December 31 of the year issued.
Rewards must be redeemed in a single transaction at a U.S. Costco warehouse for cash-back or merchandise.
You will only earn 1% (not 3%) for restaurant purchases at bakeries, certain restaurants located inside department stores, grocery stores, or warehouse clubs.
Your Costco membership must be current in order to redeem the cash-back reward coupon. If your account is closed, you will forfeit all rewards.
Other Unique Features
The following benefits are included with both the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi and Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi unless otherwise specified.
Damage & theft purchase protection – Covers repairs or refunds if purchases are damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase (90 days in NY).
Extended warranty – Extends the current manufacturer’s warranty for purchases made with a Citi card.
Citi Price Rewind (personal card only) – Automatically searches for lower price on items you pay for with the card and register with the program. If a lower price is found within 60 days of the initial purchase date, you may receive the difference.
Trip cancellation & interruption protection (personal card only) – Get reimbursed for non-refundable trip expenses such as change fees if unforeseen events get in the way of a trip paid for with a Citi card.
Worldwide car rental insurance – Receive coverage against theft or damage to a rental car when you decline the car rental company’s collision loss/damage insurance.
Worldwide travel accident insurance – Get financial help in case of a tragic accident.
Travel & emergency assistance – 24/7 services available for emergency travel arrangements and issues that arise before or during a trip.
Photo Credits/Credit/Copyright Attribution:
Costco Warehouse Photo: mandritoiu/Shutterstock.com
Man Filling Up Gas: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock
Gift Cards: Oleg Romanko/Shutterstock
Thumbs Up: William Perugini/Shutterstock
The card is the exclusive card for Costco members, replacing the American Express version on June 20, 2016.
It offers 4% cash-back on Costco gas purchases (up to $7,000 each year), 3% cash-back on travel and dining worldwide, and 2% cash-back on Costco purchases. All other purchases earn 1% cash-back.
If you are a Costco member, using this card can be a great way to earn cash-back. However, if you're looking for a travel rewards card, you should look for another card.
The Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi is Costco's business credit card. It has almost all of the same features and benefits as the personal card.
Note that you cannot make balance transfers with the business version. Also, the business card does not include trip cancellation insurance or Citi Price Rewind.
The card does not have an annual fee, but you must have a paid Costco membership ($55) to sign up.
The card has a 7-month 0% introductory APR, after which it returns to the values listed in the card summary table above.
The card works just like any other credit card. It can be used anywhere that accepts Visa credit cards.
The card earns 1%-4% cash-back depending on the category of purchase, and the cash-back is issued in a voucher which is redeemable during a single transaction for merchandise or cash at a Costco warehouse.
Citibank is the credit card issuer.
You make payments to Citibank.
Once a year, you will receive a cash-back reward coupon with your February billing statement. You then have until December 31 to bring the coupon to Costco for cash or merchandise.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
10 best ways to use 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (E.g. Fly 2 People To Hawaii, Round-Trip!)
And – discover 10 of the most valuable benefits you’ll get access to as a cardholder.