Full Review of Costco Anywhere Visa® Credit Card
Outstanding rewards on gas
Comparable restaurant and travel rewards to top travel rewards cards
Rewards not limited to Costco spending
No annual fee with a paid Costco membership
Limited cash back redemption options
Card membership linked to a paid Costco membership
Cap on gas rewards
- Outstanding Rewards on Gas: The Costco Anywhere Visa card offers 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases, including the already discounted gas at Costco. This rewards rate is generous—many other cards max out gas rewards at 3%. You could quickly accumulate a significant amount of cash back if you commute to work or school or take frequent road trips.
- Comparable Dining and Travel Rewards to Top Travel Rewards Cards: This card doesn't scrimp on dining and travel rewards. Cardholders earn 3% cash back on eligible restaurant and travel purchases worldwide and, as an added benefit, pay no foreign transaction fees for purchases made outside the U.S. These rewards are in the same league as premium travel rewards cards.
- Rewards not Limited to Costco Spending: Although this card is co-branded with the Costco name, you can use it to make purchases and earn rewards anywhere Visa is accepted. The rewards rate for purchases is higher at Costco and Costco.com, at 2% cash back versus 1% everywhere else, but the 4% cash back on gas is good worldwide.
- Limited Cash Back Redemption Options: This card has just one way to redeem the rewards you earn. Cash back is issued as a single reward certificate once a year that can only be redeemed for cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco stores.
- Card Membership Linked to a Paid Costco Membership: If you fail to pay your annual Costco membership fee, Citi reserves the right to cancel your Costco Anywhere Visa account.
- Cap on Gas Rewards: This card limits how much cash back you can earn on gas purchases at the 4% rewards rate. After $7,000 in gas purchases annually, rewards on gas drop to the 1% rewards rate.
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize cash back earnings across spending categories
Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
Primarily responsible for household grocery and other major purchases
Incurs gasoline or other commuting expenses each month
This card is well-suited for consumers who spend at least $7,000 per year on gas and routinely charge dining, travel, and Costco purchases. If you already have a Costco membership, signing up for this card won't cost you anything extra since there's no annual fee, and the Costco Anywhere Visa doubles as your membership card.
This card is also a good option for those who like the simplicity of rewards issued once a year and having that amount to spend at Costco.
Rewards Earning Details
This card has four tiers of cash back rewards. Gas purchases earn 4% cash back, which includes but isn’t limited to gas at Costco. That rewards rate does max out at $7,000 in gas purchases yearly and once you reach that limit, you earn only 1% cash back. In addition, that 4% cash back rewards rate does not apply to gas purchased at supermarkets, superstores, convenience stores, and warehouse clubs other than Costco, or on gas that's purchased for non-automobile purposes. Those gas purchases earn the 1% cash back rate.
Spending on restaurants and travel earns unlimited 3% cash back. Again, there are certain limitations. You only earn 1% cash back on purchases made at bakers and certain restaurants and cafes inside department stores, grocery stores, and warehouse clubs. Travel purchases made at timeshares, campgrounds, bed and breakfasts, and on train or commuter travel also earn 1% back, rather than 3%.
The 2% cash back you can earn at Costo stores and Costco.com and the 1% cash back on all other purchases is also unlimited.
Rewards Redemption Details
Cash back rewards are issued once annually in the form of a credit card reward certificate when your February billing statement closes. You can redeem your reward certificate for cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco warehouses.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
The first and best way to maximize rewards with this card is to charge all of your gas purchases for the year, up to the $7,000 spending cap, to get the full 4% cash back rewards rate. From there, regular spending at Costco and Costco.com will further maximize how much cash back you can earn.
First, assume a family typically spends $40 per week on gas, which reflects the average household spending for 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On total annual gas spending of $2,094, you would earn approximately $84 in cash back at the 4% rewards rate.
Add in spending of $387 per month on groceries, which reflects the national household average, shopping exclusively at Costco stores. At 2% cash back, those purchases would earn another $93 in cash back for the year. Charging $3,000 in eligible travel expenses for a family vacation would earn an additional $90 in cash back at the 3% rewards rate, along with $105 for dining out, on which the average family spends $3,526 per year. To round things out, $5,000 in miscellaneous purchases for the year at the 1% cash back would net another $50 in rewards.
Altogether, these typical spending habits would yield $417 in rewards on $18,032 in purchases. That effectively works out to earning approximately 2.3% cash back on average on every dollar spent.
More frequent spenders could really maximize rewards. Let’s assume that you max out the 4% cash back rewards on gas by charging $7,000 in eligible gas purchases for the year. That's $280 in cash back right off the bat.
Next, let's add in $157 in weekly grocery spending, which reflects the highest average household spend by income, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At 2% back, assuming you buy groceries at Costco, you'd earn another $163 in rewards. Add in an average of $6,500 for travel purchases and $8,000 for miscellaneous spending, earning $195 and $80 back respectively.
Your total cash back for the year would total $718 on $29,669 in spending, earning a slightly higher cash back rewards rate of 2.4% on average.
- Damage and theft purchase protection
Citi earned an 801 rating in J.D. Power's 2020 Credit Card Satisfaction Survey. That puts it below the national average of 810 and behind competitors such as Discover and American Express.
Citi offers cardmembers numerous security features and protections, including:
- Citi Identity Theft Solutions
- $0 liability on unauthorized transactions
- Fraud detection and early warning for suspected fraudulent activity
- Online and mobile security protections
- Virtual account numbers
- Customizable account alerts
- Paperless statements
- Two-step authentication when you log into your Citi mobile app or online accounts
You can also set up Citi Quick Lock, which allows you to lock your card through the mobile app if it’s lost or stolen. This feature blocks new purchases and cash advances from being made until you recover your card and unlock it.
The Costco Anywhere Visa card is a great choice for regular Costco shoppers who want to earn competitive cash back rewards on gas, travel, and dining. With no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee, it's a cost-friendly alternative to pricier travel cards.
Be sure to consider how rewards are redeemed. Receiving a reward certificate once a year and only being able to redeem that certificate for cash or merchandise at Costco may feel limiting to some consumers. If you prefer more choices in how you receive and use your rewards, you may want to consider a different cash back rewards cards.