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Comparing Rewards: Costco Visa vs. Sam’s Club Mastercard

Aug. 15, 2018
Cash Back Credit Cards, Credit Cards
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If you’re fortunate enough to live in an area that offers choices when it comes to wholesale-club shopping, you may have considered applying for one of the following:

Both cards offer rewards that on certain levels can compete with some of the best cash-back credit cards on the market — and both cards also have their drawbacks.

Let’s compare them side by side:

 Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by CitiSam's Club Mastercard
Rewards on gas purchases4% cash back on gas purchases (both at Costco and other eligible gas stations) on up to $7,000 of spending a year, then 1% back5% cash back at eligible gas stations worldwide, including gas stations at Sam’s Club (on up to $6,000 spent per year, then 1%)
Rewards on travel and dining3% back3% back
Rewards on warehouse club purchases2% back at Costco and Costco.com1% back
Flat rewards on all spending1% back1% back
Annual warehouse club membership fee (minimum)$60 annual Costco membership$45 annual Sam's Club membership
Foreign transaction feesNoneNone
Redemption optionsReceive a coupon for the previous year's rewards mailed in February, redeemable at any Costco store.Receive a check for the previous year's rewards mailed in February, redeemable at any Sam's Club store.
Recommended credit score Credit score ranging from 720 to 850 (excellent credit)Credit score ranging from 690 to 850 (good to excellent credit)
Other detailsNo cap on rewards earned.Rewards are capped at $5,000 per year.

As you can see, each card has its advantages and downsides, and in some cases there’s not a lot of difference between the two. For example:

  • Neither card charges an annual fee — but to get either one of them, you’ll have to shell out an annual membership fee to Costco or Sam’s Club.
  • Both cards offer rich rewards in multiple categories — but in either case, those rewards come only once a year, and you have to redeem them in physical stores.

» MORE: Full review of the Costco Anywhere Visa card

It’s a similar give-and-take as you start comparing the cards’ features side by side.

  • The Sam's Club Mastercard offers a higher rewards rate on gas — but the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi has a higher annual cap in that category.
  • The cost of a baseline Sam’s Club membership ($45 a year) is cheaper than that of a baseline Costco membership ($60 a year), but the Sam's Club Mastercard caps your total annual rewards at $5,000. The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi has no cap on rewards.
  • Neither card offers its highest rewards rate when it comes to actual in-store shopping at either Costco or Sam’s Club.

» MORE: Full review of the Sam’s Club Mastercard

Most likely, your preference for Sam’s Club or Costco will dictate which card is right for you, as opposed to the card’s features determining where you shop.