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Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi: Should I Buy a Costco Membership for Gas Rewards?

This card offers high rewards on gas, travel, dining and Costco purchases, but cashing out your rewards requires a visit to a Costco warehouse.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards

At a glance

If you frequently visit Costco for bulk purchases or gas, the rewards on the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi can help lower your bill on a future Costco purchase. But this credit card has strict rewards redemption rules that don’t give you much time or flexibility to spend your hard-earned cash back. 

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Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
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Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
No current offer
Annual fee
$0
APR
20.49% (Variable)
Rewards rate
1% – 4% 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases 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
Rewards Rate
4%
4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter
3%
3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases
2%
2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com
1%
1% cash back on all other purchases

Citi is an advertising partner.

With travel picking back up with the warmer months approaching, now’s the time to look for ways to save money on gas, dining and travel. The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi* lets you earn rewards on all of these purchases and more. 

We like that this card offers some of the best gas rewards rates on the market, along with strong rewards rates on restaurants, eligible travel and Costco spending. But, because it’s co-branded with Costco as a retailer, there are some rules that make it less accessible than other gas credit cards.

If you frequently shop at Costco, you can earn and redeem rewards easily. But you have to have the patience to redeem your rewards on an annual basis, rather than on demand like most traditional cash-back cards. And while this card has no annual fee, you’ll have to pay for a Costco membership -- which costs $60 a year for the most basic level -- to maintain your account. Read on for details about the cash-back program, how to redeem rewards and recommendations for worthy alternatives.

Our take 

The Costco Anywhere Card offers a higher rewards rate on eligible gas and EV charging than most rewards credit cards. However, this card may not be worthwhile for a few reasons. It requires a Costco membership, your rewards are only available for a limited amount of time (less than a year) and you have to redeem all your rewards in-store. If you need more flexibility or don’t live near a Costco, it’s best to consider a generic cash-back card instead. 

Pros and cons of the Costco Anywhere Visa Card

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • No foreign transaction fee 

  • Rewards on eligible gas and EV charging 

Cons

  • Limited reward redemption time period

  • Rewards can only be redeemed at Costco

  • Requires a Costco membership 

Who the Costco Anywhere Visa Card is best for 

The Costco Anywhere Card is a good choice if you regularly shop or get gas at Costco and also want to maximize rewards on gas and dining. Whether you have an electric vehicle or gas-powered car, you’ll earn the most rewards on charging or gas. We also like that you’ll earn 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel. You’ll earn boosted rewards on Costco purchases, but not as much as gas, EV charging, restaurants or travel. 

But to earn the most value, the rewards still come back around to Costco. You’ll receive your rewards in the form of a reward certificate that you can redeem at any Costco location in the US (including Puerto Rico) for cash or merchandise in a single transaction. While the option to redeem your rewards for cash as well as store credit gives it a leg up over some other retail credit cards, the fact that you must redeem your reward certificate in-store within a specific timeframe still makes it less flexible than most non-co-branded cash-back cards that let you quickly and easily cash out your rewards online.

Who this card isn’t best for

If you don’t live near a Costco or visit one regularly, you won’t be able to easily earn or redeem the rewards that make this card valuable. Instead, consider other wholesale club credit cards or a generic rewards or cash-back credit card that lets you earn rewards on your wholesale club purchases but requires you to jump through fewer hoops to redeem them. 

Cash-back rewards

You’ll earn 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging 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 earns 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 eligible 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, which earns 2% cash rewards on purchases regardless of category. For all other purchases outside of these categories, you’ll earn 1% cash back with the Anywhere Visa.

Read more: For Business Owners: The Costco Anywhere Visa Business Card by Citi

Cash-back redemption

The cash-back redemption process is unique to this card -- and not in a good way. You can only redeem your earned cash back on an annual basis. Most credit cards credit your rewards on a monthly basis and let you redeem your accumulated rewards at will.

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 Dec. 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, while you don’t necessarily need to be a frequent Costco shopper to take advantage of the card’s appealing rewards rates on gas, dining and travel, you’ll want to make sure you at least have access to a Costco warehouse within traveling distance.

Other perks

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’re in the state of New York, your purchases are only covered for 90 days.

This card also comes with Citi Entertainment® benefits. You’ll get special access to tickets for events, plus exclusive events and experiences. The perk ranges from sports to dining, concerts and more.

Comparable cards

Citi Custom Cash® Card

The Citi Custom Cash card has the potential to beat the Costco Anywhere Visa when it comes to gas rewards. It offers 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 $1,500 within the first six months of account opening, you’ll also earn $200 cash back (fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back) -- another part of the offer that the Costco Anywhere Visa can’t live up to.

See our full review of the Citi Custom Cash Card for more information.

Citi Premier® Card

While the Citi Premier Card will only earn you 1x point per dollar spent at Costco -- and all other purchases that don’t fall into the other rewards categories -- for a limited time, you’ll earn 10x points on hotels, car rentals and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal (through June 30, 2024). Plus you’ll earn 3x points on restaurants, air travel and other hotels, supermarkets and gas stations. Points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for a statement credit through the ThankYou portal. While the rewards rate on gas is a little lower, for many budgets the rewards on supermarkets, air travel and hotels and 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.

Prime Visa

If you’re primarily motivated by grocery rewards and bulk purchasing, the Prime Visa may be worth consideration. The cash-back rates on extra categories are less -- 2% cash back for restaurants, gas stations, local transit and commuting (like rideshares) -- but you’ll earn 5% cash back on Amazon purchases, including Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods. For most 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 Prime Visa for more details.

How Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi compares to other cards

CNET’S PICK
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
Learn More

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
No current offer
Annual fee
$0
APR
20.49% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
1% – 4% 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases 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
Citi Custom Cash® Card
Apply Now

Citi Custom Cash® Card

7.5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
$200 Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $1500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
Annual fee
$0
APR
19.24% – 29.24% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 15 months on purchases
Rewards rate
1% – 5% Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter.; Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Apply Now
On Citi’s secure website
Citi Premier® Card
Apply Now

Citi Premier® Card

7/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
60,000 points Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Annual fee
$95
APR
21.24% – 29.24% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
1x – 3x Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Other Hotels; Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets; Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Apply Now
On Citi’s secure website

The bottom line

The Costco Anywhere card can help you maximize rewards, even when you’re not shopping at Costco. However, your rewards won’t be available to use until your February billing statement closes each year and you must visit a Costco warehouse to redeem them. If you don’t use your rewards in time, you’ll lose them. Even if you’re a frequent Costco shopper and you already have a membership, you still might want to consider other cards that offer better perks and more flexible redemptions. 

FAQs

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 reviews to further narrow down what terms will work best for you.

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.

Some Costco warehouses have a gas station, but not all of them do. To find a Costco warehouse and to see which locations have gas stations available, visit the Costco website. Gas station purchases made at Costco that fall within the $7,000 annual rewards spending threshold will get a 4% rewards rate (then 1%).

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 by Citi 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.

Jaclyn is a CNET Money editor who relishes the sweet spot between numbers and words. With responsibility for overseeing CNET's credit card coverage, she writes and edits news, reviews and advice. She has experience covering business, personal finance and economics, and previously managed contracts and investments as a real estate agent. Her tech interests include Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company and Neuralink.