Costco Anywhere Visa Card: Is a Costco Membership Worth the Gas Rewards? – CNET

There are partner offers featured in this article.

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card* has the potential to yield a lot of value for the right cardholder, but it’s not without some drawbacks. 

While this card doesn’t have an annual fee, you’ll have to pay for a Costco membership ($60 per year), and you’ll need access to a Costco warehouse to redeem your rewards. You’ll also need to be patient to receive your earnings because they’re only issued to you once per year. 

On the plus side, the cash-back rates on gas and restaurants — not to mention the rewards on Costco purchases — are competitive with some of the best cards on the market. Besides the cash-back rates and no foreign transaction fees, however, there aren’t many other features — for example, there’s no welcome bonus or introductory APR. Read on for details about the cash-back program, how you redeem rewards and recommendations for worthy alternatives.

In this article

Intro OfferN/A

APR15.49% (Variable)

Recommended Credit Excellent

Reward Rates

  • 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

Annual Fee$0

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Balance Transfer Fee Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

Balance Transfer APR15.49% (Variable)

Late Payment Fee Up to $40

Foreign Transaction Fees 0%

Penalty APR Up to 29.99% (Variable)

  • 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

Cash-back rewards

You’ll earn 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases — including gas from Costco — on the first $7,000 in spending per year, then 1%. If you’re averaging roughly $135 per week or less in gas, this card should cover you throughout the year. There are only a handful of cards that can boast more than 4% cash back on gas, so this is one of the best deals out there.

The Costco Anywhere Visa also nets you 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases worldwide. While it’s not necessarily the best rewards rate available for restaurants, 3% cash back on travel purchases — not subject to booking through any issuer portal — is compelling. Eligible travel purchases include airfare, hotels, car rentals, travel agencies, cruise lines and Costco Travel bookings.

You’ll also earn 2% cash back on purchases at Costco and Costco.com, though you could also use a flat-rate card like the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card for the same result. For all other purchases outside of these categories, you’ll earn 1% cash back with the Anywhere Visa. 

Cash-back redemption

The cash-back redemption process is unique to this card — and not in a good way. Unfortunately, you can only redeem your earned cash back on an annual basis. Most credit cards give you your rewards on a monthly basis, and some even daily.

You’ll be presented with an annual cash back rewards certificate after your February billing statement closes, regardless of when you opened the account. But the limitations go further — if you don’t redeem your certificate by December 31 in the year it’s issued, you’ll forfeit it. For most credit cards, your rewards don’t expire unless you close the account. 

Additionally, you can only redeem your certificate for cash or merchandise in a single transaction at any Costco warehouse in the US (including Puerto Rico). So even though the rewards may be appealing even if you’re not a frequent Costco shopper, you’d want to have one nearby.

Purchase protection

The Costco Anywhere Visa doesn’t offer much beyond its rewards program, but it does include purchase protection on items you buy with the card. This means that if an item you purchased is damaged or stolen within 120 days, Citi may reimburse you for the repairs or a refund. Note that if you are in the state of New York, your purchases are only covered for 90 days.

Comparable cards

Citi Custom Cash

The Citi Custom Cash card has the potential to beat the Costco Anywhere Visa when it comes to gas rewards. Its flagship rewards rate is an automatic 5% cash back on your highest eligible spend category each billing cycle, on up to $500 of expenditure (then 1%). Eligible categories include gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment. You’ll earn 1% on all other purchases.

If you spend $750 within the first three months of account opening, you’ll also earn $200 cash back — another part of the offer that the Costco Anywhere Visa can’t live up to.

Citi Premier Card

While the Citi Premier Card will only net you 1x point per dollar spent at Costco — and all other purchases that don’t fall into the other rewards categories — you’ll earn 3x points on restaurants, air travel and hotels, supermarkets and gas stations. Points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for a statement credit through the ThankYou portal. While the cash back rate on gas is a little lower, for many budgets the rewards on supermarkets and travel may make up for it. You’ll also earn a substantial welcome bonus with this card. 

Check out our full review of the Citi Premier Card for more details about the welcome bonus, annual fee, annual hotel credit and more.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

If you’re primarily motivated by grocery rewards and bulk purchasing, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card* may be worth consideration. The cash-back rates on extra categories are less — 2% cash back for restaurants, gas stations and drugstores — but you’ll earn 5% cash back on Amazon purchases, including Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods. For all other purchases you’ll earn 1% cash back. This card also gives you the option to finance purchases rather than earn rewards, and the cash back is easier to redeem than it is with the Costco Anywhere Visa.

Check out our full review of the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card for more details.

FAQs

How should I choose a credit card?

Ultimately, the right credit card is unique to each person’s goals and preferences. Decide what features you’re looking for: maximized rewards, spaced-out payments on a large purchase, credit building, an emergency credit card or other benefits. From there, you can decide the type of card you’re looking for. You can then use CNET’s online reviews to further narrow down what terms will work best for you.

Do you need to have a Costco membership to shop at Costco?

Yes, you’ll need a Costco membership to shop at Costco. While there are higher tiers of membership available for a higher price, the basic membership costs $60 per year. You’ll need to have this membership to successfully apply for the Costco Anywhere Visa Card.

What types of cash-back credit cards are there?

Cash-back credit cards generally fall into four primary categories: flat rate, tiered, rotating or choose your own. 

Flat-rate cards offer the same rate for every purchase. Tiered cards offer a different rewards rate for different categories of spending. Rotating category cards offer different rewards each quarter, determined by the card issuer. Choose-your-own category cards allow you to choose your rewards category.

Our approach

We review the cards that are in the highest demand and offer the best benefits. We scour the fine print so there aren’t any surprises when you open an account. We find the key factors that make a card stand out and compare them to other top cards. That way, readers can opt for a different card with similar features if our pick isn’t right for them. Our reviews are regularly checked and updated to incorporate new recommendations, as well as to reflect changes in offers and the market. 

*All information about the Costco Anywhere Visa Card and the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

Recent Articles

Related Stories

Stay on op - Ge the daily news in your inbox