Full Review of Costco Anywhere Visa Business Card by Citi
Generous cash back rewards on gas purchases
Strong travel rewards
Rewards redemption is limited—and infrequent
Costco membership is required—and a dubious buy for business purchases alone
- Generous Cash Back Rewards on Gas Purchases: With earnings of 4% cash back on gasoline purchases, the Costco Anywhere Visa Business card by Citi offers one of the better rewards rates now available on gas. And while there’s a cap on the purchases eligible for this rate, the limit—of $7,000 a year, or $583 a month—should allow your business to buy upwards of 150 gallons of gas a month at the 4% rate.
- Strong Travel Rewards: For a card that isn’t billed as a business travel card, the Costco Anywhere Visa Business has surprising strength in dining and travel rewards. At 3% cash back, the card’s earnings in those categories compare favorably with cards like the Chase Ink Business Preferred, which offers 3 points per dollar on travel. And those rewards, like the 4% cash back on gas purchases, apply worldwide. On the other hand, when it comes to travel benefits such as rental-car insurance, this card has few to none, which means it probably shouldn’t be the only card in your wallet during a business trip.
- Rewards Redemption Is Limited and Infrequent: While some business cash back cards have multiple ways to redeem, the Costco Anywhere Visa Business card has only one, and it requires visiting a Costco store. Rewards are issued as a credit card certificate which you redeem for merchandise or cash back at U.S. Costco warehouse locations. Further, where almost all other cash back cards distribute rewards at least every quarter, this card makes you wait up to a year to receive your money. Costco’s credit card reward certificates are issued only annually.
- Costco Membership Is Required: If you already frequent Costco as a consumer, this stipulation will not be a burden; a personal membership qualifies you for this business card, provided you meet all other requirements. If, however, you’re not a member, you’ll need to pay $60 (or $120 for executive membership) to join the club.
- So-So Rewards on Business Purchases: Do your homework before getting a Costco membership primarily for business purchases, especially if those don’t include gas, which earns a special high rate of cash back. While Costco prices on office supplies can be lower than those elsewhere, and the card’s 2% cash back lowers them still more, you could get better rewards rates with another card, including another Visa card—which could also be used for payment at Costco. For example, the Chase Ink Business Cash, a Visa card, offers 5% cash back on the first $25,000 in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services each year.
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize cash back earnings across spending categories
Earning a primary or side income from a small business
Incurs gasoline or other commuting expenses each month
The Costco Anywhere Visa Business by Citi is best suited to business owners who will spend significantly on the card’s most rewarding categories: gas, dining, and travel. It helps if the business owner already has a Costco membership for personal reasons, since that reduces the prerogative to justify the membership cost from rewards on business purchases alone.While the card lacks travel benefits, it’s also a fine choice nonetheless for foreign purchases. businesses. Where many cards restrict premium rewards for gas to the U.S., the Costco Anywhere Visa Business card offers its 4% rate for purchases worldwide—where, with generally higher gas prices, the cash back could easily amount to 20 cents or more per gallon. The 3% rate on dining and travel expenses also applies internationally. The Costco Anywhere Visa Business also charges no foreign transaction fee, which is useful not only for travel abroad but when placing orders from the U.S. with foreign suppliers.
Rewards Earning Details
The Costco Anywhere Visa Business card by Citi earns the following tiered rewards by category:
- 4% cash back on gas worldwide, including Costco gas
- 3% cash back at restaurants and on travel
- 2% cash back at Costco stores and Costco.com
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
Rewards are unlimited at the 3%, 2% and 1% tiers; the more you spend for your business, the more cash back rewards you can earn. If you typically spend $2,000 per month on dining and travel, for instance, you could earn $720 a year in cash back.
Gas rewards, however, are limited to earning the 4% cash back rate on the first $7,000 of gasoline purchases every year. After that, your rewards on gas transactions drops to the default level of 1% cash back until the beginning of your new account anniversary year.
So to put that in perspective, let's say you hit the $7,000 spending cap within the first seven months of the year. You'd earn $280 in cash back for those purchases. If you continued to spend $1,000 a month over the remaining five months of the year, you'd earn only a further $50 in cash back on that additional $5,000 in gas spending.
Rewards Redemption Details
This card is a little different when it comes to redeeming its rewards, and not really in a good way. Most other business cards allow frequent or even continual redemptions over the course of the year; the Capital One Spark Cash, for example, allows you to redeem rewards whenever you like, in any amount.
The Costco Anywhere Visa Business card by Citi, by contrast, awards its cash back only once a year, after the close of your February billing statement. That means all the cash back earned for the previous year is issued to you at once. The reward certificate must then be redeemed for cash back or merchandise by visiting a Costco warehouse in the U.S.
Even using the rewards online at Costco.com requires a visit to a warehouse to exchange the certificate for a Costco Shop card that can be used at the online store.
Receiving rewards annually might encourage you to invest the sum, say, rather than spending it. But it also means you could be left waiting for months to receive rewards, time during which you could have been able to use that money. And redemption could be delayed further until you have the time and need to visit a Costco warehouse, since those are the only locations at which your reward certificate can be redeemed.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Making the most of your rewards earned with this card all comes down to spending strategically. The more you spend, the more rewards you can earn. Here's a comparison of two different spending profiles to give you a sense of your rewards earning potential.
Let's say that you run a business with no employees. Your typical annual spending might look like this:
- $1,000 on gas
- $5,000 on restaurants and travel
- $6,000 on Costco purchases
- $5,000 on miscellaneous purchases
Your cash back rewards total would then add up to these totals:
- $40 on gas
- $150 on restaurants and travel
- $120 on Costco purchases
- $50 on all other purchases
- Total cash back earned: $360
Those are acceptable rewards, working out to an average cash back rewards rate of 2.1%, which is about what you could get with a flat-rate cash back rewards card like Capital One Spark Cash or Chase Ink Business Cash Unlimited.
Now, let's assume your business has a number of employees in addition to yourself, and your annual spending looks more like this:
- $7,000 on gas
- $10,000 on restaurants and travel
- $12,000 on Costco purchases
- $5,000 on miscellaneous purchases
Your cash back rewards total would add up like this:
- $280 on gas
- $300 on restaurants and travel
- $240 on Costco purchases
- $50 on all other purchases
- Total cash back earned: $870
These rewards yield a 2.5% rewards rate, which matches or exceeds what most other business cards would offer on such a diverse array of purchases. That percentage underlines how this card is most rewarding if you spend up, or close to, the $7,000 per year cap on gas purchases. The 4% cash back rewards rate is well above what you can get with other business cards that offer rewards on gas, and even improves on most dedicated gasoline credit cards.
Costco Anywhere Visa Business Card by Citi Standard Benefits
The Costco Anywhere Visa Business credit card by Citi shares these benefits with many or most other business cards:
- Damage and theft purchase protection: This benefit covers you for repairs or a refund if purchases made with your card are damaged or stolen within 120 days or purchase or 90 days for New York residents.
- Extended warranty: This card perk extends the manufacturer's warranty on eligible items purchased with your card.
Citi received a 799 ranking in J.D. Power's 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. That score was just behind the national average of 806.
Customer service is available by phone if you have questions or need help with your account. Help is available seven days a week and you can also manage your account online or through the Citi mobile app.
This card includes standard security features, including chip technology. You can also set up account notifications and alerts to manage your transaction history and monitor for suspicious or potentially fraudulent activity.
Fees to Watch Out For
The only real fee to be aware of is the Costco membership fee that you need to pay to maintain your credit card account. You can set up your membership to have the fee billed to your card automatically each year. Be aware that if you don't pay your Costco membership fee, Citi reserves the right to cancel your card account.
The main appeal to businesses of the Costco Anywhere Visa Business Credit card by Citi is its outstanding 4% cash back on gas bought anywhere, even outside the U.S. (although bigger small businesses may be constrained by the card’s $7,000 annual cap on has spending that earns those rewards). It also works well enough as an all-around travel card, with 3% rewards on travel and dining expenditures.The card also allows 2% cash back savings on office supplies and other purchases for business at Costco. That said, shop around. Other business cards may prove as rewarding, or more so, when it comes to charging office supplies, with greater flexibility about where they’re purchased.