Bulk shopping enthusiasts rejoice; the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi (Citi is a CardRatings advertiser) is a cash-back credit card designed to reward you for your love of giant jars of pickles and enough paper towels to last a year as well as your everyday needs like a tank of gas.
Exclusively for Costco members, Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi cardholders earn cash rewards at Costco, as you'd expect, but also on all their other purchases.
Here's how the rewards categories break down with the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi:
The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi also features an introductory 0 percent APR for seven months on purchases, meaning it could be a great option if you have a big purchase on the horizon (particularly if that purchase is from Costco) and want a few extra months to pay it off interest-free.
The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi certainly lives up to its name; you really can earn cash back rewards anywhere with this card.
And those rewards aren't skimpy. Earning 4 percent cash back on eligible gas purchases worldwide, up to $7,000, including gas at Costco, is a great deal for families driving all over town for after-school activities or individuals who commute long distances for work. And because it covers international locations, even family members away on business trips or vacations can earn rewards when filling the tank. It's actually among the best rewards levels out there when it comes to gas.
With the 3 percent cash back for restaurants, airfare, hotels, car rentals, travel agencies and cruises, and Costco Travel, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi has the rest of your family vacation or business travel expenses covered as well.
The 2 percent cash back rewards on all other purchases at Costco or Costco.com is not bad either. Plus, if you happen to be a Costco Executive member, you'll effectively earn 4 percent back – 2 percent with your card and 2 percent as an executive member. (Sounds like a great excuse to buy your ketchup by the gallon).
Lastly, the 1 percent cash-back rewards on all the other purchases is an expected broad rate with tiered cash-back credit cards, so this card has great potential to earn you serious cash back.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi cardholders receive their cash-back reward annually in the form of a reward certificate mailed to your home with your February billing statement. The reward certificate, which will include all your eligible cash back on purchases made from January through December of the previous year, can be redeemed for purchases at Costco or Costco.com through December of the year in which it is issued.
You can redeem your certificate in entirety to cover a Costco purchase (think of it almost like a gift card in this case) or you can use it for a small purchase and receive the remaining balance in cash at a Costco checkout. It's an extra step beyond simply requesting cash back, but it is possible to get cash back in your wallet with the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi.
Perhaps the greatest drawback is the lack of flexibility when it comes to redeeming your rewards. You'll need to wait until February of each year to redeem your cash rewards from the previous year's purchases and the only way to redeem that cash back is through the aforementioned rewards certificate you'll receive in the mail.
Card customers looking for a speedier, more efficient way to redeem cash rewards may want to consider other cash-back cards that allow ongoing rewards redemption or redemption directly into a checking or savings account.
Additionally, with a 3 percent fee for foreign transactions, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi likely isn't the card to pack for your next overseas trip unless you plan to shop exclusively at Costco during your travels – there are no foreign transaction fees charged when you shop at Costco locations worldwide.
And, while the card doesn't technically have an annual fee of its own you do need to be a Costco member to apply for the card, which means that you'll pay the warehouse membership fee annually, $55 for Gold Star membership or $110 for Executive Membership.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi vs. Chase Freedom®
Chase Freedom® is an annual-fee-free rotating categories cash-back rewards card. It isn't specific to Costco, but that doesn't mean you can't rake in some serious rewards by using it there.
Generally, Chase Freedom® offers cardholders 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 spent in quarterly bonus categories that have included everything from restaurants to Amazon.com purchases in the past (and more). Through the end of 2016, however, Chase Freedom® cardholders will also earn 5 percent cash back on purchases made at wholesale clubs, like Costco, BJ's and Sam's Club, on up to $1,500 in spending quarterly when combined with the other bonus category purchases. You earn 1 percent on all other purchases and after reaching the quarterly cap.
If you primarily shop at Costco or spend disproportionately at gas stations, restaurants or on travel, you'll likely earn more cash back with the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, but if you like the idea of earning 5 percent back in categories that rotate, Chase Freedom® probably makes more sense.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi vs. Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card features no annual fee and the opportunity to earn 3 percent back at gas stations and 2 percent at grocery stores and wholesale clubs like Costco and Sam's Club on up to the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter. All other purchases earn 1 percent cash back.
While your rewards rate on Costco purchases is the same with the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card as with the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, there is a spending cap to consider with the Costco card. Furthermore, your rewards are higher on your gas purchases with the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi (4 percent) and you can be rewarded with 3 percent cash back for eating at restaurants or traveling, both of which only earn 1 percent cash back on the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card.
Still, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers flexibility when it comes to when and how to redeem your rewards and you can use the card to earn bonus rewards at Costco and other wholesale clubs as well as on your everyday grocery purchases. This decision likely comes down to your loyalty to Costco and whether you're comfortable redeeming rewards only annually.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi vs. Sam's Club MasterCard
The comparison and decision between these two cards likely comes down to your loyalty. Still, if you're debating which warehouse club to join and want to look at their respective credit cards for reference, here's the deal:
As with the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, the Sam’s Club® Mastercard® offers members tiered cash-back rewards based on the category in which they do their spending; however the cash back on gas station purchases is slightly higher at 5 percent of each purchase on up to $6,000 spent annually, as compared to 4 percent on up to $7,000 in rewards with the Costco card. If you cap out your gas purchases with the Costco card, you'll earn $280 back; with the Sam’s Club® Mastercard®, you'll earn $300 back annually.
With the Sam's Club MasterCard, you also earn 3 percent cash back on dining and travel and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases, but you don't earn any kind of bonus cash back for your Sam's Club purchases. If you're looking for a card to reward all the shopping you do at a warehouse club, you'll probably be better off with the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi.
The best candidates for the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi are people who are already familiar with wandering the aisles of Costco, munching on samples and looking for 30-pound bags of rice. Additionally, you'll need to be ready to use the card thoughtfully at gas stations, restaurants and on travel as well if you want to fully realize the rewards potential. If you're someone, however, who spends in a wide variety of categories and not necessarily all that often at Costco, you're likely better off with a flat-rate rewards card instead.