Home Credit Cards Credit Card Review: Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

Credit Card Review: Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

by joeheg

Most of the credit cards I’ve reviewed focus on earning airline miles, hotel points or some form of transferable points (Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points or AMEX Membership rewards). However, when I talked about the differences in reward credit cards, there was another category I mentioned – the cashback card.

I know that many people are buying more supplies and groceries from Costco right now. Since shopping at a club like Costco doesn’t qualify for the new grocery category bonuses from many of the other credit cards, it makes sense to take another look at their co-brand card from Citi.

Most cashback cards offer a flat 1.5% to 2% back on purchases but one card stands out offering up to 4% back in some categories, albeit with some restrictions. If you’re already a member of Costco, this is an excellent card for your spending.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

On April 1, 2016, Costco went from solely accepting American Express cards to only accepting Visa cards. This caused a massive shift because, until that time, the Costco credit card was issued by American Express. Citi was chosen to issue the new Costco Visa card and all previous holders of the AMEX card were transferred to the new Citi card.

The Citi Costco Anywhere Visa card earns cash back on every purchase and the money is issued as a check each February – it can be used to purchase merchandise or redeemed for cash at a Costco location. If you’re a frequent Costco shopper, this card might be an excellent choice for you. Here are the details on the card:

Annual Fee – There’s no annual fee for this card if you have a Costco membership. Gold Star membership at Costco starts at $60 a year (plus tax).

Costco store

Sign Up Benefits –  The Costco Anywhere Visa doesn’t give any sign-up bonus. This isn’t why you sign up for this card. So if you’re looking for a huge points bump, this isn’t the card for you.

Spending Bonus Categories – The Costco Anywhere Visa has some great bonus categories.

  • 4% cashback on eligible gas worldwide, including gas at Costco, for the first $7,000 each year and then 1% thereafter.
  • 3% cashback on restaurants and eligible travel purchases worldwide.
  • 2% cashback on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com
  • 1% cashback on all other purchases.

Those are some generous categories and are better than other cashback cards since they don’t typically offer any bonus categories. The ability to earn 4% back on gas purchases anywhere, including Costco gas, which usually is not included in gas bonus categories for other cards, AND is generally cheaper than other gas stations, puts it towards the top of the list of cards to use for gas purchases. Earning 3% back on restaurant and travel is the same bonus as the 3x points with the Sapphire Reserve for the same categories. Now, people will argue that Ultimate Rewards are worth more than 1 cent each but the Sapphire Reserve costs $450 a year while the Costco Anywhere Visa is free if you already have a Costco membership. You can do the math to see how that works out and how much you have to spend to break even.

No Foreign Transaction Fees – As of January 25, 2018, the Costco Anywhere Visa doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees. This is a huge bonus for a card with no annual fee. Since you can earn rewards on gas, restaurant and travel purchases worldwide, not having to pay a transaction fee makes this a great card to use outside of the U.S. if you don’t have another travel credit card that waives those fees, as you can take advantage of the bonus categories without having to pay the fees.

Card

Contactless Payments – The Citi Costco Anywhere Visa is a contactless card featuring technology allowing you to tap your card on the reader instead of using the chip or swiping the card. This means you can use the card to pay for your tickets on the Chicago Transit Authority or London Underground systems just by tapping your card on the turnstiles. This is also the form of payment used at many places around the world, so because they’ve eliminated the foreign transaction fees, you can use your Costco card around the world and look like an enlightened traveler.

Claiming Your Reward Cash

There are some restrictions placed on redeeming your reward cash. Here’s the breakdown from the Citi website:

You must maintain your Costco Membership to receive and redeem your Costco Cash Rewards.

Receiving & Redeeming Costco Cash Rewards: Your reward is distributed annually once your February billing statement closes. Your reward is distributed in the form of a credit card reward certificate, unless your annual reward amount is greater than $10,000, in which case Citi and Costco reserve the right to distribute your reward in an alternative form (e.g., a check or electronic transfer), at Citi and/or Costco’s discretion. Credit card reward certificates are redeemable through December 31 of the year issued in a single transaction at any U.S. Costco warehouse, including in Puerto Rico, for merchandise or cash back. The credit card reward certificate, or alternative-form distribution, will contain your Costco Cash Rewards balance based on your eligible purchases during the annual reward period. The annual reward period is based on January through December billing statements. Should you choose to redeem only a portion of the certificate for merchandise, you will receive the remaining balance in cash at the Costco warehouse register upon checkout. Some warehouses may not permit the credit card reward certificate to be redeemed for alcohol purchases. Requests to redeem the credit card reward certificate for cash may be fulfilled in an alternative form (e.g., a check or electronic transfer), at Costco’s discretion. Your credit card reward certificate must be redeemed in person on or prior to its expiration date of December 31 in the year in which it is issued. Any Costco Cash Rewards you have earned on purchases made by authorized users on your Card Account will be added to your Costco Cash Rewards total. Only you, the primary cardmember, are eligible to receive the annual credit card reward certificate; however, you or anyone you authorize may redeem the certificate. You will not receive a credit card reward certificate if your reward is less than $1 or your account is closed at the time your credit card reward certificate is scheduled to be sent; any Costco Cash Rewards that had been accrued at that time will be forfeited. You must maintain your Costco Membership to redeem your credit card reward certificate.

So you need to remain a Costco member to cash in your rewards and you’ll be able to use it to pay for a single transaction and receive the difference back in cash or just cash the check at a Costco location before December 31st of the year you receive the check. Since the checks are issued in February, that gives you ten months to cash your check.

Final Thoughts

If you often shop for gas, groceries, and everything else at Costco, this may be a good card for you to get. Very few cards offer bonus categories for wholesale clubs and that is even narrowed down when considering that you have to use a VISA card. The 2% back on Costco and Costco.com purchases and 4% back on all gas purchases (including Costco Gas) are some of the best out there. The one negative about the card is that you have to wait a year to get your bonus check and it needs to be redeemed at a Costco location. That’s not a big hardship for diehard Costco shoppers, but for someone who only goes there a few times a year, it might be a bit of a hassle.

*** Thanks to Mary B. for the heads up about the perks of having the Costco Anywhere Visa card.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

13 comments

Stacey April 5, 2019 - 7:13 pm

It is the worst card ever. Only one person cam see statements so when my husbhus travels i i cant check any of our statememts or check for fraud. He also is the only person that can use the cash back slip and i am a second class citizen. So many different websites we have to change password every month because God forbid you make a mistake logging in more than twice. Stay away.

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Belynda J Frieden June 14, 2019 - 4:13 pm

Never can access online!!! Frustrated!!!!

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iadtosyd May 6, 2020 - 9:45 am

I think the issue is that if you save account information or have a password manager it masks the userid. I finally realized I had to unmask that so I could see every letter that I stopped having the issues you mentioned.

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Jason November 2, 2019 - 3:43 pm

Just get a 2% cash back card with no annual fee. Make life simple

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joeheg November 3, 2019 - 7:18 pm

I’m trying to think of a 2% cashback Visa card? Fidelity? But then you need to have a Fidelity account.

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Annie O November 2, 2019 - 11:21 pm

This is by far the best credit card I have ever had. I am tracking to redeem $1400 in Feb. just on the purchases I have made this past year. No annual fee, 4% back on gas, 3% restaurants & travel, 2% on all Costco purchases and anything I buy that has a warranty, it extends the warranty by 2 more years. Hands down, the only credit card you ever need!

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joeheg November 3, 2019 - 7:18 pm

If you’re not looking to use your points for premium travel, this sounds like a good plan for you. I didn’t think much about the warranty aspect of the card.

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Sheril Spearing November 3, 2019 - 10:58 pm

Annie O, where did you find out about the extended warranty? I didn’t know this, and just have purchased a new washer and dryer with my card. Info please???
Thanks!

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DaninMCI November 3, 2019 - 6:15 am

It’s an ok card if you shop at Costco and I’ve had it for years (converted by force from the old Amex version). However I rarely put my Costco purchases on this card. I either use my freedom card if there is a quarterly bonus for warehouse clubs or another visa for spending purposes. In fact, frankly I’d rather have chase UR points than Costco credit just because of ease of use.

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Nikki Renee November 4, 2019 - 12:50 am

Just a heads up the primary on the account is NOT the only one who could use the certificate. The only this with the certificate is you have to cash it at Costco, you dont even need to spend it there ( when it’s a huge certificate you can ask management to write you a check that you can deposit it in your bank.

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Points For Four November 11, 2019 - 12:30 am

We use the gift cards that go on sale at office supply stores.

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chris T May 5, 2020 - 7:00 pm

I bought kitchen appliances at Costco and by paying for it with the Costco Visa, I got a bonus of a doubling warranty life. https://www.cardbenefits.citi.com/Products/Costco-Extended-Warranty.aspx

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Steve May 5, 2020 - 10:16 pm

I get the bonus for gas stations when I fill up at Costco. Ink Business Cash. Assume would work with other Visa cards.
Costco is one of the best places to use Visa Gift Cards. Cashiers are very used to them. No hassles at all. (In my town, Costco is right next to Staples, so buy for 5x UR and then spend it next door- convenient)

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