Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi: Is It As Good As Its Predecessor?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.

Editor's Rating

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If you're already a Costco member this card is a no-brainer. It provides some of the best rewards on gas, restaurants and travel we've seen
  • On Citi's Secure Website
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Editor's Rating

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{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers.","showIcon":false,"tooltipLabel":"?"}

If you're already a Costco member this card is a no-brainer. It provides some of the best rewards on gas, restaurants and travel we've seen
  • On Citi's Secure Website
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Citi is an advertising partner.

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is easily one of the best reward credit cards. It is an improvement over the old and popular Amex Costco card. We recommend this card to anyone who is already a Costco member.

Review: Is the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi Worth Getting?

By all measures, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is an improvement over the old American Express version -– a card that was already quite good. The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi provides 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter, 3% on restaurants & travel, 2% at Costco & Costco.com, 1% on all other purchases.

In the categories where it earns more than 1%, the Costco credit card produces far better returns than most credit cards. The 4% rewards rate on gas is enough to make it one of the best credit cards for gas purchases. The travel rewards it offers also allows it to outperform some of the top travel credit cards –- though by not awarding you miles like some of those cards, you have less opportunities to maximize your rewards rate.

Good For…Bad For…
Existing Costco members who spend a lot on dining out, travel, and gasThose who want a big credit card bonus. This card has none.
Those who spend a lot at Costco - when using the card there you can earn an unlimited 2% cash backAnyone who wants instant access to the rewards they accumulated. You can only redeem once per year

We've compared below the estimated annual savings that a family with the average household budget might see when charging everything to the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi versus a top cash back credit card like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by CitiCiti® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Gas$96$48
Dining Out$83$55
Groceries*$79$79
General$80$161

*For the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi we assumed all groceries were purchased at Costco.

One factor that may dissuade some from the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is that redeeming rewards is restricted to once per year. All of your cash back savings is provided as an annual credit card rewards certificate every February. If you are someone who likes to take advantage of the rewards you have saved up when the right moment arises, having to wait a few months can be frustrating. Most of the time, you will be locked out of your rewards.

Worse yet, if your account gets cancelled, all the rewards will be gone. You won’t have a chance to cash them out.

The other thing to note about the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is the fact that it has no signup bonus, just like the old Amex card. While in the long run this doesn’t matter, welcome bonuses attract many consumers to reward credit cards. They have the opportunity to boost short-term value tremendously. For example, the Chase Freedom® earns users $150 if they spend $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. That means the first $500 you spend on the card will essentially earn you a rewards rate between 31% and 35%.

Bottom Line: Despite not having a welcome bonus and having a very limited redemption window, we believe the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is still highly valuable -– especially on purchases of gas, travel, and dining out.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi Benefits & Features

The main benefit of the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is the cash back it provides on gas, travel, restaurant, and Costco purchases. Cardmembers earn 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter, 3% on restaurants & travel, 2% at Costco & Costco.com, 1% on all other purchases.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

  • On Citi's Secure Website

$0

15.24% (Variable)

Excellent

  • Discover one of Citi’s best cash back rewards cards designed exclusively for Costco members
  • 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter
  • 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases
  • 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee with your paid Costco membership and enjoy no foreign transaction fees on purchases
  • Receive an annual credit card reward certificate, which is redeemable for cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco warehouses, including Puerto Rico
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.24%. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
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All the cash back you earn throughout the year is provided in the form of a certificate, every February. You have until December 31st of each year to complete the redemption before the certificate expires. Also, if your account is closed before February, for any reason, the rewards will be forfeited and not mailed to you.

Citi Private Pass

One of the added benefits of the credit card moving from American Express to Citi is the access to Citi® Private Pass, a feature that comes with most Citicards. Private Pass allows members to buy presale tickets to concerts, shows and sporting events. In some cases, tickets are also reserved for Private Pass members, and sold after a show is officially considered “sold out”.

Is It Worth Signing Up For Costco Membership Just For The Credit Card?

If the rewards on the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi appeal to you, but you aren’t currently a member of the wholesale store, it may be worthwhile to sign up just to get the card. The cheapest and most basic membership to Costco costs $60 per year. If we treat that as the annual fee for the credit card, the issue becomes whether or not paying that will get you enough cash back rewards to still come out ahead.

For instance, if you spend approximately $167 a month at restaurants and travel, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi rewards rate is worth paying the fee for a Costco membership.

How Does The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi Compare Against Other Credit Cards?

In order to get a better understanding of the value of the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, one must see it in the context of other available offers. Below you’ll find our analysis of how the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi performs when compared against other top credit cards.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi vs Chase Freedom®

The Chase Freedom®, one of the top cash back credit cards, periodically does offer decent rewards on gas purchases. The card users Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. The Chase credit card never offers more than 1% cash back on travel purchases, compared to the 3% offered by the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi. For consumers who wish to optimize their rewards, our recommendation is to get both cards. Use the Chase Freedom® whenever you can get 5% cash back, and the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi in all other circumstances.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi vs Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is a prime example of a fixed rate cash back card. Those who use it Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay. The purchasing power of the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer comes through on categories other than gas, restaurants, and travel. There, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi will perform better.

If you have significant spending on other things, such as groceries, entertainment, department stores, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer will be the card to use. Since neither of these come with an annual fee, you always have the option of signing up for both, and using them whenever one is best.

The information related to the Chase Freedom® and the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Compare Credit Cards Based On Your Spending

Another good way of seeing how the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi compares against other options is to use our calculator. By inputting your estimated monthly expenditures into the tool below, we can show you our estimated 2-year value of each card, and rank them accordingly.

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Assumptions based on $1,430 monthly spend
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Joe Resendiz

Joe Resendiz is a former investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, where he covered public sector and infrastructure financing. During his time on Wall Street, Joe worked closely with the debt capital markets team, which allowed him to gain unique insights into the credit market. Joe is currently a research analyst who covers credit cards and the payments industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in finance.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

  • On Citi's Secure Website
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