The Bottom Line: Costco loyalists can rack up some nice rewards with this card, but you'll only be able to redeem them once a year — and you'll have to go to a physical Costco store to do it.
- 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
Pros & Cons
Bonus cash back categories
No annual fee
High rewards rates in certain categories
Can use card as Costco membership ID
Requires excellent credit
Needs Costco membership to qualify
Rewards redeemable once a year and only at Costco
Alternate Pick: Simple rewards
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Get 1.5% back on everything, everywhere
This is a Visa card, so you can use it at Costco, but it doesn't bother with a complicated tiered rewards structure and imposes no restrictions on redemption. You get unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and you can redeem rewards in any amount at any time. You even get a sign-up bonus offer and a 0% intro APR period. The annual fee is $0.Read our review
Compare to Other Cards
17.24%* Variable APR
14.99% - 25.99% Variable APR
15.99% - 25.99% Variable APR
0% intro APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months
0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months
For a store card, the ... carries plenty of goodies in its cart.
The card can indeed be used anywhere, not just at Costco, and it offers impressive rewards rates across a wide variety of categories. Its annual fee is ....
But there are a couple of economy-size caveats there: You have to be a Costco member to get the card (or to realize any benefit from it), and that does require a yearly membership fee. And while the card’s rewards rates are generous, redemption isn’t as straightforward as it can be with other credit cards.
If you already pay for a Costco membership and enjoy the wholesale club's low prices, the ... will probably help you save even more. But if you shop around at different grocery stores and don’t spend thousands of dollars a year on gas, you might be better off with a general cash-back credit card.
Key features of the ...
Card type: Store.
Annual fee: ... for the card, but you have to be a Costco member. Memberships start at $60 per year.
4% cash back on gas purchases (both at Costco and other gas stations) on up to $7,000 of spending a year, then 1% back
3% cash back on restaurants and most travel purchases.
2% cash back at Costco and Costco.com.
1% cash back on all other purchases.
Sign-up bonus: ....
Intro APR offer: None.
Additional benefits: The card charges no foreign transaction fees. It also includes trip cancellation protection, travel and emergency assistance, and worldwide travel accident insurance.
Why you might want the ...
Costco loyalists on the fence about getting the ... might be swayed by these features:
It really is an anywhere card. The ... is an "open-loop" store card, meaning you're not limited to using it only at Costco. In fact, you're rewarded more handsomely for using it elsewhere.
Best-in-class gas rewards. You'd be hard-pressed to find a higher rate on gas. At 4% back on up to $7,000 in gas spending a year, you could earn $280 annually just at the pump. And that's not including the 1% back you'd get on any gas purchases beyond that cap.
Rich rewards on dining and travel. The 3% cash back on dining and travel is unlimited. That's as good as the rate offered by some premium travel cards with annual fees in the hundreds of dollars.
No foreign transaction fees. Unlike many other cash-back credit cards, the ... charges no extra fee on purchases abroad. If you travel internationally, you'll continue earning rewards without facing a 3% penalty on every purchase you make.
Drawbacks of the ...
It requires excellent credit for approval. Simply being a Costco member is not enough to qualify.
No sign-up bonus. Costco's annual membership fee — $60 or $120 a year, depending on the type of membership — is a de facto annual fee for this card. Unlike many cash-back cards, the ... offers no sign-up bonus to offset that cost.
Redemption is restricted. While the card's rewards rates are high, the redemption process is peculiar. With most rewards credit cards, cardholders receive their cash back or points within a billing cycle or two and can redeem them once the rewards post to their account. With the ..., cardholders receive their rewards once a year in the form of a certificate included with their February billing statement. They can redeem the certificate in Costco stores (not online) before the end of the year for either merchandise or cash back. If cardholders cancel their Costco membership before redeeming the certificate or don’t redeem before the Dec. 31 deadline, they lose those rewards. To recap: You'll have to wait months for your rewards, you'll have to travel to a store to redeem them, and you'll be on the clock to do so. If any of these are dealbreakers, this isn't the card for you.
Limited rewards at Costco itself. Be aware, too, that while the ... does earn 2% cash back at Costco, other store cards offer higher rewards rates or incentives for shopping with their retailers specifically. For example, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card gives cardholders 5% back on purchases at Amazon, and the Target REDcard offers a 5% discount off almost everything in its stores and online.
Alternatives to the ...
FOR COSTCO SHOPPING: Other Visa cards
If the ... doesn't appeal to you but you still want a credit card to use at Costco, keep in mind that your choices are limited to cards on the Visa payment network. Costco accepts only Visa credit cards, along with cash, checks, debit cards, EBT and Costco Cash cards. Visa cards worth a look:
...: This card pays 1.5% cash back on every purchase and has a ... annual fee. Even better, in the first year you have the card, you get 3% cash back on up to $20,000 in purchases.
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card: This card pays an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. The annual fee is $0.
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card: With this card you earn 3% cash back in your choice category and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases), and unlimited 1% on all other purchases. Annual fee: $0
Chase Freedom®: Get 5% cash back in rotating categories that you activate (on up to $1,500 per quarter in spending) and 1% back on all other spending. Wholesale clubs (including Costco) were a bonus category in the fourth quarter of 2018. The annual fee is $0.
For non-Costco shoppING: general cash-back cards
General cash-back cards offer rewards that are easier to redeem, and they don’t require store membership. You can check out NerdWallet’s roundup of best credit cards to see how your options stack up. For example, depending on your shopping habits, one of these cards could be a better fit:
If you spend a lot on groceries but not at Costco, consider the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. Cardholders earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 a year in spending (then 1%); 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions; 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including such things as taxis, rideshares, parking, tolls, trains and buses); and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Terms apply. The card also offers a bonus for new cardholders: $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express does have an annual fee of $95, but you'll earn it back in rewards if you spend at least $31 a week at the supermarket. You could avoid the issue entirely by applying for the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. That card has an annual fee of $0 and offers the same grocery and gas bonus categories as its sister card, albeit at reduced rewards rates. You won't earn rewards on transit or select U.S. streaming subscriptions, though.
If you don't want to bother with bonus categories, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer offers 2% cash back on every purchase — 1% when you make the purchase and 1% when you pay it off. There are no special categories to remember, and the cash back is easy to redeem (although there's a $25 minimum redemption). The card has an annual fee of $0.
Is the ... right for you?
If you're an avid Costco shopper who spends a significant amount on gas every year and enjoys travel and dining out, then the ... probably comes with more benefits than drawbacks. But if you like to shop at a wide variety of grocery stores and prefer rewards that are easier and faster to redeem, you’d probably prefer a flat-rate cash-back card.
Information related to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card and Target's REDcard products has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuers of these cards.
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