EDITOR’S NOTE: THE TRUEEARNINGS® CARD FROM COSTCO AND AMERICAN EXPRESS OFFER HAS EXPIRED AND IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE
For years, Costco has only accepted credit cards on the American Express (American Express is a CreditSesame.com advertiser) network for purchases made in-store. If you’re a loyal Costco shopper, you may already know that as of June 20, 2016, that relationship ended and from that date forward, Costco will only accept credit cards on the Visa network for purchases made in-store.
If you currently have a TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express, then in late May or early June 2016 you’ll receive a replacement card, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi (Citi is a CreditSesame.com advertiser). You’ll be able to start using that card, or any other card issued on the Visa payment network, at Costco store locations starting June 20, 2016.
With that in mind, here’s some things you may want to know about the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi.
Are there any fees?
Like the current card issued by American Express, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi doesn’t charge its own annual fee, but you’ll need to continue paying your annual Costco membership fee. So there is no annual fee for this credit card with your paid Costco Membership.
Additional information, including the Annual Percentage Rate (APR), balance transfer and cash advance fees for the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi should arrive in your mailbox with your card.
Are there any benefits?
The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi has three big advantages over the retiring TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express.
First, while the American Express version of the card offered 3% cash back on purchases at U.S. gas stations on up to $4,000 per year and 1% cash back after that, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi offers 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter. So what that amounts to in differences between the two cards if you spent the full $7,000 at gas stations each calendar year on qualifying purchases with the Citi card, that’s an additional $160 per year in cash back just on gas purchases at the higher rate of earning.
Second, TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express offered 2% cash back at U.S. restaurants and on eligible travel purchases, while Citi’s card offers 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases.
Third, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi offers 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com, while the TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express offered 1% on eligible purchases at Costco.
Finally, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi offers 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Are there any drawbacks?
The biggest drawback to Costco co-branded credit cards is the way the cards issue the cash back you earn each year. Rather than awarding your earnings monthly on each statement, instead your rewards will be distributed annually once your February billing statement closes. Your rewards is distributed in the form of a credit card reward certificate, unless your annual reward amount is greater than $10,000, and if that’s the case Citi and Costco reserve the right to distribute your rewards in an alternative form, at Citi and/or Costco’s discretion. That credit card reward certificate can be redeemed in a single transaction for either cash or merchandise at any U.S. Costco Warehouse location in person, and expires December 31 of the year it’s issued. Your credit card account must be open and you must maintain your Costco Membership to receive and redeem the credit card reward certificate.
In other words, you won’t see the cash back earned for your purchases in January until 13 months later, when your February billing statement closes! That’s a long time to wait. Then if you forget about your credit card reward certificate until after December 31st of the year issued, it will have expired.
Needless to say, the most important thing to remember is to redeem your credit card reward certificate for cash or merchandise at a U.S. Costco Warehouse as soon as you receive it!
Is the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi right for you?
If you’re already a Costco member, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is a fantastic deal for its 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 spent per year, then 1% thereafter; and 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases; and 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com; and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Those are best-in-class earning rates, notwithstanding having to wait until your February billing statement closes each year to receive the previous year’s credit card reward certificate.
Alternatives to the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
If you’re not a Costco member, or you don’t expect to get much value from the Costco card’s gas and restaurant rewards, a few other credit cards are available with no annual fee and no Costco membership requirement, one we want to mention is.
The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card earns 2 Rewards Points on your eligible net purchases. Whenever you’ve earned $50 in cash back, you can deposit the cash back into an eligible Fidelity account. Beginning June 20, 2016, you’ll be able to use a Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card for purchases at Costco and earn 2 Rewards Points on your eligible net purchases — but without having to wait until February of each year to redeem your rewards! The 2% cash back rewards value applies only to points redeemed for a deposit into an eligible Fidelity account. In other words the redemption value is different if you choose to redeem your points for other rewards such as travel options, merchandise, gift cards, and/or a statement credit. If you’re interested be sure to check out Fidelity’s website for terms and any restrictions that apply.
Be sure to check your specific credit card as some cards exclude purchases at warehouse clubs, discount stores, wholesale distributors and Costco from their rewards program.
Terms, limitations and restrictions apply. See the credit card issuer’s website for current information and more details about the offers.
Independent Review Disclosure: All the information about the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card, Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express has been collected independently by CreditSesame.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of these cards. The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card, Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express cards are not available through CreditSesame.com.
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