Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi Review 2022
Why trust us? Investor.com has no financial relationship with any of the credit card providers whose products we analyze and review. Our opinions are based solely on data and our own extensive independent research — that means unbiased guidance for consumers. Rewards cards in our cashback credit card calculator are listed in descending order according to how much money they pay out annually based on the inputs.
The Costco Anywhere Visa Card from Citi is definitely not your average store credit card. It offers competitive reward rates (up to 4%) on practically everything on your shopping list, and not just on Costco’s own industrial-sized cans of tuna and pallets of TP. The cashback redemption rules, however … woof.
Annual fee: $0 | Welcome Bonus: $0
The Costco Anywhere Visa card can be very rewarding for the right kind of spender — as in one who favors the warehouse retailer for groceries and other random ephemera that catches their eye. A computer? Absolutely. A casket? Actually, yes. A cruise? That, too!
It’s also a valuable card for travelers, whether by land (that 4% cashback rate on gas will rev up your rewards), sea or sky (cruises, airfare and hotels and restaurant spending earn 3% unlimited cashback).
Further stretching our shopping analogy, there are some parts of the Costco Anywhere Visa that should be tossed in the returns/exchanges bin. For example, don’t shop here for a cut-rate APR on balance transfers or new purchases (those are out of stock on this card). Also note the absence of a sign-up bonus greeting you at the door.
Lastly, the line to redeem all that cashback you racked up is one 👏 year 👏 long 👏 — which is about as long as it takes to find a parking space at Costco, incidentally.
- Even more money off on Costco purchases. Attention Costco shoppers: Take an extra 2% off everything in your shopping cart (at the store or online). Though an obvious perk, it thumbs its nose at the card competition that pointedly deem wholesale club purchases ineligible for higher rewards rates. But even better ...
- Earn 4% cash back year-round on gas. Up to $7,000 annually at 4% (that’s $280 right there) and 1% thereafter.
- Makes for a decent travel rewards card, too. You can earn an unlimited 3% cash back on worldwide travel purchases including airfare, hotels, car rentals, travel agencies, cruise lines and Costco Travel purchases.
- Supersized rewards for Costco Executive Members. The elevated membership plan ($120 a year) qualifies you for a 4% (vs. 2%) rewards rate — 2% using the card and an extra 2% in exec membership rewards. The latter caps out at $1,000 in rewards per year — if you drop $50,000 on merch annually — on qualifying Costco purchases. (“Qualifying” deets: gas, no; Costco Travel, yes.)
- Charges no foreign transaction fees. This means you’ll save 3% (what other cards charge) on that case of duty-free ouzo you plan on buying during your layover at the Thessaloniki airport in Greece, to use a completely random example.
- Includes Citi Entertainment perks. Get special access to buy tickets to concerts, sporting events and more.
- 1% default cashback rate. Buying groceries somewhere besides Costco? You’ll have to settle for a measly 1% rewards rate. Same with gas (after you hit the annual spending cap) and entertainment and pharmacy purchases.
- Membership (and its associated costs) is required. Technically, there’s no annual fee to carry this card. Technically. You do have to be a Costco member, though, which runs from $60 for a Gold Star plan to $120 for an Executive membership each year.
- Reward redemption rules are 🤨. Cashback is issued once annually as a reward certificate after your February billing statement closes. Yes, annually. And not after every billing cycle like other rewards cards.
- There’s more. Your credit card rewards certificate is only redeemable through Dec. 31 the year it’s issued — in a Costco store, FYI — as cash (a check or electronic transfer, at Costco’s discretion) or to use to buy merchandise.
- And another thing. Wave buh-bye to any rewards amount not redeemed by that date. This is why obnoxiously loud calendar reminders were invented.
- The card lacks some frills you’ll find elsewhere. The Costco card offers just the bare minimum in protections — damage/theft protection and an extended manufacturer’s warranty; no travel coverages or insurance.
- Also missing: Sign-up perks. Costco assumes the cashback terms will be enough to get you through the door. The card lacks even a nominal sign-up bonus and offers no introductory low-APR rate on purchases or balance transfers.
- Cash advance and balance transfer rates are meh. This is a card built for those who pay off balances in full each month. Moving over a balance or withdrawing cash will cost you a pretty penny (specifically, 5% of the transaction amount).
Is the Costco Anywhere Visa worth it?
One of the notable benefits that comes with using Costco’s cashback Visa is how well its menu of rewards — especially for gas, restaurant, and travel spending — stacks up against non-store cashback cards.
In categories like groceries and pharmacy where the cashback rate is a lowly 1%, owning a Costco Anywhere Visa gives you a nifty workaround: just fill your prescriptions and buy your bread and milk (and $5 rotisserie chickens) directly from Costco to snag at least 2% cashback in those categories.
|Cashback reward category||Cashback reward rates|
|Gas||4% on first $7K/year; 1% thereafter|
Even if you don’t do all your shopping at Costco, how much is it worth carrying the card?
The average consumer unit (as we’re called by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) who puts $1,000 a month on the Costco credit card will earn $226 in cashback per year based on average expenditures across six biggest spending categories.
Using a different $1,000 monthly spending distribution across rewards categories — more on entertainment and pharmacy purchases, less on gas, restaurants and travel — our calculations show that you’d earn $20 to $75 more cash back annually with a tiered rewards-rate credit card that offers a 1.5% default cashback rate, or one that pays a higher rewards rate on groceries purchased at any supermarket.
To borrow a line from another credit card company (until its lawyers send a cease-and-desist letter), membership has its privileges. Costco Executive members can stack their rewards to get 4% back on Costco and Costco.com purchases — 2% unlimited cashback using the Costco Anywhere Visa, and then stack an additional 2% back (up to $1,000 a year) with the Executive membership perk offered on qualifying Costco purchases.
Notable reward restrictions
The Costco Anywhere Visa’s big selling point is that it pays 4% cash back on gas purchases. However, that rate reverts to 1% cash back after $7,000 spent on gas per year – or, according to our math, after roughly 75 fill-ups for a Chevy Suburban. Note that gas purchased at warehouse clubs other than Costco earn only 1%. Plus you’ll probably pay more per gallon.
Unredeemed rewards expire on Dec. 31 (...Happy New Year?) in the year in which they are issued, which is unusual for a cashback rewards credit card.
See Costco’s rewards explainer for all rules and restrictions
Statement credits and monthly cashback redemptions are standard in the cashback card world. Costco didn’t get that memo.
Costco Cash Rewards are distributed just once per year after the February billing cycle closes. At that time cardholders must make their way to a physical Costco store to be issued a credit card reward certificate that’s redeemable for merchandise or cash back (in the form of a check or electronic transfer, at Costco’s discretion). As noted above, you have until Dec. 31 to redeem what you earn, or — poof! — rewards expire.
Costco Anywhere Visa card deets
The terms and conditions attached to the Costco Anywhere Visa from Citi favor those who pay off their purchases every month and don’t need a card to transfer a balance or withdraw cash – both of which will cost you 5% (or a $5 to $10 minimum) of the transaction amount.
While technically there is no annual fee, a current Costco membership is required to apply for and carry the card. That will run you $60 to $120 yearly, depending on the level of membership you choose.
The Costco card’s 0% foreign transaction fee — compared to the 3% or more that other cards charge — makes it a fine traveling companion for global sojourns and purchasing stuff in foreign currencies.
|Costco Card Basics|
|Annual fee||None with paid Costco membership ($60-$120 annually)|
|APR (purchases)||Variable; prime rate + 11.99%, $0.50 minimum interest charge if interest is due|
|APR (cash advances)||Prime rate + 21.99%|
|Introductory APR on purchases||None|
|Introductory APR on balance transfers||None|
|Transaction fees||Balance transfer: either $5 or 5% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater
Cash advance: either $10 or 5% of the cash advance, whichever is greater
Foreign transaction: None
|Penalty fees||Late payment: Up to $40
Missed payment: Up to $40
Penalty interest rate: Up to 29.99%
|Card extras||Damage and theft purchase protection
Access to Citi Entertainment
|Reward redemption options||Reward certificate, check or electronic transfer issued once annually|
|Reward redemption minimum||$1|
|The fine print||Costco Cash Rewards Program Terms and Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi Terms & Conditions|
Source: Citi rates and fee disclosure for the Costco Anywhere Visa Card
*Balance transfers must be completed within two months from the date of account opening.
Should I get the Costco Visa card?
If you can look at a 500-pound pallet of canned tuna on display and know, from experience, how many hungry adult softball players it will feed, this may be the card for you.
Costco’s already got a rep for low prices in stores and on its website. The Costco Anywhere Visa issued by Citi piles on even more savings. It pays out 2% cashback on all Costco and Costco.com purchases. For Executive Members who already snag 2% back on qualifying Costco spending up to $1,000 a year, the card essentially doubles your cashback to 4% – at least until you hit that yearly limit.
The benefits of carrying the Costco card also extend beyond the walls of its warehouses. Based on 14 “swipe types” — card user profiles we developed to help consumers more easily identify credit cards that best match their spending habits and rewards preferences — the Costco Anywhere Visa Card from Citi is best for Road Warriors (who get 4% cashback on gas), Foodies and Explorers (3% cashback on restaurants and travel), Bulk Shoppers (who concentrate their spending at Costco), and Worldly Spenders (no foreign transaction fees here!).
|Best for||Swipe type|
|Bulk shoppers||Make the time — and money — you spend on necessities pay off with a rewards card that favors grocery and/or warehouse store purchases.|
|Explorers||Whether by land, air, sea, rail or (eventually) rocket, racking up the rewards of travel — memories, miles, upgrades, discounts — fuels your travel bug.|
|Foodies||Dining in or delivery? You don’t care. As long as someone else is doing the cooking, you’ll clean up every crumb in rewards.|
|Road warriors||Drive a gas guzzler? Got a killer commute? “Fill ‘er up” applies to your gas and gas rewards tanks.|
|Worldly spenders||Whether traveling abroad or purchasing goods in foreign currencies, you need a card that doesn’t charge you extra fees.|
Other swipe types that may be better served by a different rewards credit card are: Big Spenders, Business Owners, Low-Hassle Rewards, Perfect Pairings, Reward Card Newbies, Rewards Rotators, Sign-up Sweethearts, Small Budgets and Students.
The drawbacks of the Costco Anywhere Visa are its lack of a sign-up bonus and introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers. It also doesn’t carry as many additional protections as some other rewards cards. And while technically there’s no annual fee for warehouse club members to carry the Costco Visa, the $60 to $120 annual membership fee is essentially an annual fee, so just make sure it’s worth it to you.
Other cashback credit cards worth a look
Based on someone who puts $1,000 a month in purchases on a credit card, broken down proportionally based on Bureau of Labor Statistics spending data, the following cashback credit cards yield the highest rewards.
As a reminder, investor.com has no financial relationship with any of the credit card providers we write about. Our opinions are based solely on data and our own independent research. Rewards cards in our cashback credit card calculator are listed in descending order according to how much money they pay out annually based on the inputs.
- Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express: Pays 6% cash back on grocery store purchases (up to $6,000 in purchases a year, and 1% thereafter) and select streaming subscriptions and 3% on transit and gas station spending. $95 annual card membership fee waived for the first year. Sign-up bonus available.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: Unlimited 1.5% cashback rate applies to all purchases. Additional 1.5% (for a total of 3% unlimited) on dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services) and drugstore purchases. Earn an unlimited 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Sign-up bonus available.
- Capital One SavorOne:Unlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, supermarket and streaming services; 1% cashback on everything else. Sign-up bonus available.
» HOW MUCH CASHBACK CAN YOU EARN? Use the investor.com Cashback Card Calculator to find the best credit card based on your spending habits.
Explore our other reviews:
- PayPal Cashback Mastercard Review
- Best Cashback Credit Cards
- Best High-Yield Savings Accounts
- Top Financial Advisor Firms
About the author: Investor.com senior writer/editor Dayana Yochim has been writing (articles, books, podcasts, stirring speeches) about personal finance and investing for more than two decades, focusing on bringing clarity and the occasional comedic aside to what is often a murky, humorless topic. She’s written for NerdWallet, The Motley Fool, HerMoney.com, Woman’s Day, Forbes, Newsweek and others, and been a guest expert on The Today Show, GMA, CNN, NPR and wherever they’ll hand her a mic. Read more about Dayana.