Citi Costco Anywhere Visa Review
The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is a Costco store card/credit card hybrid. This card is offered by Citi, following a recent move away from American Express.
The Citi Costco Anywhere Visa Card is exclusively for Costco members. While the card itself does not carry an annual fee, you must have a paid Costco membership. Currently, a basic business membership for Costco is $60 per year.
With cash back rewards of up to 4%, businesses might be able to save a fair amount of money with Costco Anywhere Visa. While the 4% category has a spending limit of $7,000, the 3% and the 2% cash back categories do not have a spending limit. On the other hand, because the cash back tiers are limited to certain types of purchases, businesses that don’t spend a lot in the high-earning categories will be able to save more with a different card. Additionally, the rewards redemption process is rather cumbersome and inconvenient.
While you don’t need to be a business owner to sign up for the card, business travelers and restaurant owners (to name just a few potential business beneficiaries) stand to benefit from the Costco Anywhere Visa’s cash back earning structure.
Is Costco Anywhere Visa the credit card for you and your business? Read on to find out!
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Costco Anywhere Visa At A Glance
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
The Costco Anywhere Visa is available to US residents aged 18+ who have a current Costco membership. Costco membership must be renewed annually and is offered for $60 or $120 per year (a $120/year membership gets you extra perks).
While Citi doesn’t list credit score requirements for the card on its website, you must generally have excellent credit to qualify for the card — you’ll likely need a credit score around 740 or above to qualify.
Rewards For Spending
Let’s go through the rewards you’ll earn for your spending with the Citi Costco Anywhere Visa card.
4% Cash Back On Gas Purchases Up To $7,000 Per Year
This is Costco Anywhere Visa’s most lucrative rewards-earning spending category. When using the card, you’ll earn 4% cash back on fuel purchases — both at Costco gas stations and most other gas stations. However, this earning rate is limited to your first $7,000 in gas purchases each year, after which you’ll earn 1% cash back on gas purchases.
This means that if you spend a lot of time on the road as part of owning your business, you’ll be able to earn $280 a year when earning cash back for gas at the 4% rate. While you can earn more than $280 a year for your gas purchases, any amount earned beyond $280 per year will be at the 1% rate.
However, keep in mind that not all fuel purchases are eligible for extra cash back. Regarding the fuel purchases that aren’t eligible for 4% cash back, Citi states the following: “You will only earn 1% cash back, not 4%, for gas purchased at superstores, supermarkets, convenience stores and warehouse clubs other than Costco or for fuel used for non-automobile purposes.”
3% Cash Back On Restaurant & Travel Purchases
The Costco Anywhere Visa lets you earn 3% cash back on your restaurant and travel purchases. Unlike the 4% cash back rate for gas, the 3% cash back categories are uncapped, meaning there are no limits to the amount of spending in these categories that will earn you 3% cash back.
However, as with the 4% cash back category, not all restaurant and travel purchases are eligible, according to Citi: “You will only earn 1%, not 3%, for purchases made at bakeries and certain restaurants/cafes inside department stores, grocery or warehouse clubs. Additionally, you will only earn 1%, not 3%, for purchases made at timeshares, campgrounds, bed & breakfasts, and of train and commuter travel.” Sorry, rail travel fans.
2% Cash Back On Costco Purchases
With the Costco Anywhere Visa, you’ll earn an unlimited 2% cash back on all Costco purchases, including in-store purchases and online purchases from Costco.com.
While we approve of the fact that this 2% cash back rate is uncapped, keep in mind that this card is only for Costco members. Considering the fact that if you’re applying for this card, you probably do a lot of spending at Costco as it is, so this 2% cash back rate for Costco purchases isn’t particularly high.
As it happens, you can get credit cards from competing retailers that offer a significantly higher rewards rate for purchases made with that retailer. For instance, the Amazon Business Prime card offers an unlimited 5% cash back on all Amazon and Whole Foods purchases.
1% Cash Back On All Other Purchases
For all purchases not covered by the above categories, you’ll earn an unlimited 1% cash back. Remember that if you hit the $7,000 annual limit on the fuel spending that will earn you 4% cash back, you’ll be earning 1% cash back on all subsequent gas purchases for that year.
Reward redemption with the Costco Anywhere Visa is unnecessarily cumbersome and inflexible. Let’s explain.
Earn Rewards Once A Year
Your cash back is distributed annually as a credit card reward certificate, included with your February billing statement. You have to go redeem this certificate at a physical Costco location (the certificate is not redeemable online) for merchandise or cash back before the end of the year. If you don’t redeem your rewards by December 31st, they expire, and you lose them forever.
If this cash back redemption scheme sounds a bit clunky for a modern credit card, that’s because it is. With most cash back credit cards, you can expect to have your cash back posted to your account within a month or two — and you don’t typically have to bring a certificate with you to an actual physical location to redeem your rewards.
Rewards Expire After Less Than A Year
Add the above conditions to the fact that your cash back expires after the calendar year ends (remember that you get your cash back certificate with your February billing statement), and what you have is a rewards redemption program that leaves much to be desired.
Note that if you close your account or your Costco membership, you will lose any rewards that have accumulated but not yet distributed. If you are interested in switching cards, you might want to wait until after you have received and redeemed your credit card reward certificate before officially canceling the card.
The Costco Anywhere Visa carries a number of shopping and travel benefits.
Damage & Theft Purchase Protection
If the purchases you’ve made with your Costco Anywhere Visa card are damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase (90 days for New York residents), Citi offers coverage for repairs or a refund. This isn’t an uncommon credit card benefit, but it’s one you’ll surely appreciate in the event you need it.
Worldwide Car Rental Insurance
Drive a rental car with confidence anywhere in the world because if you use your card to pay for the rental and you decline your car rental company’s collision loss/damage insurance, you’ll be covered against theft and damage.
Additional benefits offered with the Citi Costco Anywhere Visa include the following:
- Extended warranty
- Trip cancellation and trip interruption protection
- Worldwide travel accident insurance
- Travel and emergency assistance
Citi will provide further benefit details when your credit card account is open.
Rates & Fees
With no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and a reasonable APR, there isn’t much to complain about regarding the Citi Costco Anywhere Visa’s rates and fees. However, the lack of a signup bonus or introductory 0% APR period is a bit disappointing.
A Reasonable APR
With an APR of 16.74% (variable) for purchases and balance transfers, the Citi Costco Anywhere Visa card sports a lower interest rate than many cards on the market. However, seeing as the card requires excellent credit to obtain, this isn’t a big surprise.
Of course, you won’t have to worry about the APR at all if you pay your balance in full each month.
No Annual Fee
Perhaps I should have added an asterisk to this heading. As we’ve discussed, the card itself carries no annual fee. However, to be eligible to use the card at all, you must have a current Costco membership, which will cost you either $60 or $120 per year, depending on your membership level.
Since existing Costco members won’t be taking on any additional annual fees with this credit card, it’s not a bad value proposition for them.
No Foreign Transaction Fee
Some Citi credit cards carry a foreign transaction fee, but the Citi Costco Anywhere Visa is not one of them. You’ll be able to make purchases anywhere in the world without having to worry about any such fee. Combine this with the unlimited 3% cash back you’ll earn on all travel purchases, and you have the makings of a decent travel credit card, even if the card isn’t marketed as such.
There are a few additional fees associated with the card, none of which are terribly out of the ordinary:
- Balance transfers incur a fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- Cash advances incur a fee of either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
- The cash advance APR is a variable 26.74%
- The penalty APR is variable and runs up to 29.99%
- Late payment fees run up to $39
Is The Citi Costco Anywhere Visa Right For You?
This card’s weakest point is how rewards are redeemed. You can only receive rewards once a year, they have to be redeemed in person at Costco, and you will lose any accumulated rewards if you close your account or your Costco membership. In other words, you need to have a pretty committed relationship with Costco for this card to be worthwhile.
However, if you’re already a Costco member and you do a lot of shopping at Costco and are likely to continue to do so for a long time, this card is worth considering. In addition to 2% cash back at Costco and 4% cash back on gas purchases, business owners can earn a fair amount of money with purchases for other common business expenses outside of Costco.
You might want to apply if…
- You spend a lot of money at Costco and on gas, restaurants, and travel
- You are likely to have a long relationship with Costco and renew your membership
- You don’t mind that you only receive rewards once a year
You might want to look for a different card if…
- You don’t do a lot of shopping at Costco and don’t particularly want a Costco membership
- You want a signup bonus or a 0% introductory rate
- You want more flexibility with how and when you can redeem your cash back
Business Credit Card Rating Criteria.