Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi – Review

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi – Review

Do you have a warehouse club membership with Costco? If so, you probably already know about the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi. If not, this generous cash back credit card is a good reason to take a closer look.

Costco Anywhere Visa is specifically designed for Costco members. It’s not available to the general public, and you have to maintain a paid-up Costco membership to remain in good standing. The standard household (Gold Star) or business Costco membership costs $60 per year, plus any applicable local tax. Executive membership, which entitles members to special rewards and discounts on certain Costco purchases, costs $120 per year, plus applicable tax. Regardless of your chosen membership plan, your Anywhere Visa doubles as your Costco ID, so you don’t need to remember a separate piece of plastic when you hit the warehouse.

On paper, Costco Anywhere Visa has an extremely generous cash back program. For example, it earns 4% cash back on the first $7,000 spent on eligible gas purchases (including at Costco gas stations, but excluding many other types of gas stations), and unlimited 3% back on travel and restaurant purchases. However,  it lacks a sign-up bonus and 0% APR introductory promotion, both of which are common features of competing cash back cards.

Costco Anywhere Visa has a tiered cash back rewards program with 4 distinct levels:

With every February billing statement, you receive a coupon for the full amount of the cash back you earned during the previous calendar year. You can redeem this coupon at any Costco warehouse location, either as credit against in-store purchases, or for hard cash or a paper check. If your coupon’s value is greater than your redemption transaction’s value, you receive the remainder in cash or by check, your preference.

The minimum coupon value is $1. If you fail to earn at least $1 in rewards in a given year, you’ll receive nothing the following February.

There is no annual fee for the card itself, but the issuer does require a paid-up Costco membership at a minimum annual cost of $55 plus applicable local tax. Foreign transactions normally cost 3%, but the fee is waived at international Costco locations. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%, while cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%. Late and returned payments cost $37.

This card comes with some additional cardholder benefits. The most notable include:

This card requires excellent credit. Any significant credit issues are likely to disqualify your application.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is one of the more generous rewards credit cards on the market. It combines the best elements of travel credit cards, gas credit cards, and store discount cards, yet still allows cardholders to redeem their accumulated rewards for cold cash. Because of its generosity, its lack of a direct annual fee, and the fact that it can be used anywhere Visa cards are accepted, there’s little downside to applying for this card if you’re a current Costco member who plans to maintain membership indefinitely. Likewise, if you’re on the fence about joining Costco, this card could be enough to convince you that it’s worthwhile.

On the other hand, this card isn’t a slam dunk for households that thrive outside the Costco bubble. If you’re perfectly happy without a Costco membership and aren’t sure that membership makes financial or practical sense for your family, you shouldn’t get one for the sole purpose of applying for this card.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is an awesome credit card for happy Costco members who drive enough to maximize their earnings in the 4% gas category, but not so much that they’d be better served by a competing card with an unlimited 3% gas benefit. It’s also great for Costco members who travel and dine out often, and for those who want to earn 2% back on Costco purchases without paying an extra $60 per year or more for the privilege.

By the same token, this card is not ideal for people who have no need for a Costco membership, nor those who prefer convenient, flexible redemption options.

This card has excellent dining and travel rewards, very good gas rewards, solid rewards on Costco purchases (without an expensive Executive membership), no annual fee on top of the Costco membership requirement, and no foreign transaction fees on international Costco purchases.

Its big drawbacks include the Costco membership requirement, inconvenient and infrequent rewards redemption, questionable fraud detection practices, and penalty interest charges.

Overall, Costco Anywhere Visa is an awesome card for current Costco members who drive, travel, dine out, and shop at Costco a lot.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Categories: Citi, Credit and Debt, Credit Cards, Reviews

Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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