Reviews

Citi Costco Anywhere Visa® Card – Review

Do you have a warehouse club membership with Costco? If so, you are probably already familiar with Citi’s Costco Anywhere Visa® card. If not, this generous cash-back credit card is a good reason to take a closer look.

Costco Anywhere Visa is designed specifically for Costco members. It is not available to the general public and you must maintain a paid Costco membership to stay current. The membership standard Costco for home (Gold Star) or the company costs $ 60 per year, plus any applicable local taxes. Executive membership, which entitles members to special rewards and discounts on select Costco purchases, costs $ 120 per year, plus applicable taxes. Regardless of your chosen membership plan, your Visa Anywhere works like your Costco ID, so you don’t need to remember a separate piece of plastic when you arrive at the warehouse.

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

Key features

Earn cash back rewards

Costco Anywhere Visa has a tiered cash back rewards program with 4 different tiers:

  • 4% Tier : Gasoline purchases at qualifying gas stations, including Costco pumps and merchants coded as gas stations, earn 4% cash back up to the first $ 7,000 spent per year. Above the $ 7,000 annual limit, qualifying gasoline purchases earn unlimited 1%. Purchases at non-qualifying gas stations, including stations in department stores, supermarkets, convenience stores and warehouse clubs other than Costco, get a 1% cash back.
  • 3% Tier : Travel and restaurant purchases, including airfare, hotels , rental cars, and vacation packages (including those offered by Costco Travel), earn unlimited 3% cash back. This tier makes Costco Anywhere Visa a great way to save money on restaurants and international travel . 
  • 2% level : purchases other than gas at Costco and Costco.com get a refund unlimited 2% cash.
  • 1% Tier – All other purchases get unlimited 1% cash back.

Redeem cash back rewards

With each February 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 store, either as a credit against in-store purchases or for cash or a paper check. If the value of your coupon is greater than the value of your redemption transaction, you will receive the remainder in cash or by check, whichever you prefer.

The minimum coupon value is $ 1. If you don’t earn at least $ 1 in rewards in a given year, you won’t receive anything the following February.

Important fees

There is no annual fee for the card itself, but the issuer requires a Costco membership paid at a minimum annual cost of $ 60 plus applicable local tax.

Overseas transactions typically cost 3%, but the fee does not apply at Costco international locations. Balance transfers cost between $ 5 or 3%, while cash advances cost between $ 10 or 5%, whichever is greater.

Additional benefits

This card includes some additional benefits for the cardholder. The most notable include:

  • Purchase protection against loss or damage for 90-120 days from purchase, subject to per-item limits
  • Free rental car insurance on rentals paid in full with your card
  • Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance (a basic form of travel insurance that is not a substitute for a comprehensive policy)
  • 24/7 emergency assistance for travellers

Credit required

This card requires excellent credit. Any significant credit problem is likely to disqualify your application.

Advantage

  1. Excellent rewards on meals and travel . This card’s unlimited 3% travel and restaurant benefit is unrivalled among comparable rewards cards. Even among the best travel rewards cards on the market, it’s hard to find that kind of payback. And it’s also worth noting that Costco’s now-defunct American Express credit card offered just a 2% cash back on travel and restaurant purchases, excluding restaurants outside of the US from the deal.         
  2. Very nice gas cash back rewards. Costco Anywhere Visa offers very good gas rewards. Although gasoline purchases at non-Costco supermarkets, department stores, and warehouse clubs do not qualify, the 4% gasoline benefit and $ 7,000 annual spending limit is still better than most competing cards. . Also, if you are a Costco member, chances are good that you buy much of your gas at Costco locations anyway. If you spend to the limit, you will earn $ 280 per year on the gas benefit alone.
  3. 2% cash back on Costco purchases without executive membership . Costco Anywhere Visa earns unlimited 2% cash back on Costco purchases. Costco executive members also get a 2% cash back on most Costco purchases, even if they don’t have this card, but must earn a $ 120 annual membership (plus tax). The Anywhere Visa 2% offer is also available to regular members.
  4. No annual fee for the card itself . Although it requires cardholders to be Costco members, an expense of $ 60 per year (plus tax), this card does not have its own annual fee.
  5. No fees for foreign transactions . This card does not charge transaction fees on foreign purchases. That’s great news for frequent international travellers, whether they have time to shop at Costco international locations or not.

Disadvantages

  1. Requires Costco membership . This card requires a paid Costco membership, which costs at least $ 60 per year, plus any applicable local sales tax. Although the Costco membership makes financial sense anyway for many larger households that consume food in bulk, the annual spending definitely eats away the potential earnings from this card. If you’re single or in a household of two and don’t spend a lot on gas, restaurants, and travel, a cash-back card with no annual fee is probably a better deal.
  2. You must visit Costco to redeem rewards . Costco Anywhere Visa doesn’t make it easy to redeem your rewards. You must visit Costco in person and present the coupon you received with your February statement. If you live far from the nearest warehouse or shop at Costco only once in a while, this is a huge drawback – imagine how annoying it would be after driving 50 miles one way to your “local” Costco, only to find out. he had left his coupon at home. Most other rewards cards allow you to redeem cash back online, often by making a deposit to an electronic bank account.
  3. Rewards can only be redeemed once a year . The inconvenience of the requirements of an exchange of this card sum that can only redeem their rewards once a year. In practice, this will likely be your first trip to Costco after receiving your cash back rewards coupon with your February statement. Most other cash back cards avoid artificial redemption deadlines – you can redeem whenever you want, subject to minimum redemption thresholds, if applicable.
  4. The gas benefit is restrictive . The gas category of this card is not as good as it sounds. The 4% cash back benefit (up to $ 7,000 in expenses per year) applies only to gas purchased at Costco and merchants coded as gas stations. It does not cover gas purchased at convenience stores, supermarkets, department stores, and other storage clubs. Gasoline purchases at these locations earn just 1% cash back. If you can’t fill at Costco or traditional gas stations every time (or most of the time), this is a critical disadvantage.       
  5. Fraud detection too sensitive . A preponderance of anecdotal evidence collected from Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi customers suggests that this card’s fraud detection mechanism is overly sensitive, meaning it marks normal, everyday transactions and spending patterns as suspicious. For example, users have received fraud alerts and their accounts have been frozen for spending more than $ 200 on a single Walmart transaction and for making five purchases in a day within a 60-mile radius, among other innocuous behaviors. Although Citi could certainly improve its fraud detection practices in the future, they appear to be lagging behind today.
  6. It has a penalty APR . This card has a penalty APR of 29.99%, subject to change with current rates. Once imposed, it remains in force indefinitely. Over time, that can add up for cardholders who have balances and sometimes face cash flow issues that affect their payment schedules. Many competing cards do not charge penalty interest.

Final word

The Citi Costco Anywhere Visa® card     is one of the most generous rewards credit cards on the market. Combine the best elements of travel credit cards, gas credit cards , and store discount cards , and still allow cardholders to redeem their accumulated rewards for cash. Due to its generosity, the lack of a direct annual fee, and the fact that it can be used anywhere Visa cards are accepted, there are few downsides to applying for this card if you are a current Costco member planning to maintain membership indefinitely. Likewise, if you’re unsure about joining Costco, this card might be enough to convince you that it’s worth it.

On the other hand, this card is not a hit for households that thrive outside of the Costco bubble. If you are perfectly satisfied without a Costco membership and you are not sure whether membership makes economic or practical sense for your family, you should not obtain one for the sole purpose of applying for this card.

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