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4 Best Visa Credit Cards to Use at Costco


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Costco has quirks, some of which take more getting used to than others. One of the most intriguing, from my perspective as someone who spends lots of time thinking about credit cards, is Costco’s apparent distaste for American Express. You can’t use Amex anywhere in the Costco universe — not in its stores, not on its website, not even at its budget-friendly gas pumps.

In addition, Costco’s warehouse stores and gas stations only accept Visa credit cards: no Mastercard or Discover — and certainly not Amex — according to Costco’s list of acceptable payment methods. Costco.com does accept Mastercard and Discover, but that’s cold comfort for people who prefer to shop in person.

Payments-wise, the one silver lining for in-store shoppers is a relatively recent accommodation for popular mobile wallets, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. If you have a non-Visa card tied to one of those wallets, you should be able to use it in-store.

Best Visa Credit Cards to Use at Costco

Still, the best way to deal with Costco’s payment pickiness is to identify a trusty Visa card to use online, at the warehouse, and at the gas pump — and stick to it.

These credit cards are all excellent spending aids for people who regularly shop at Costco. The first two are clear winners in this category, so I’d highly recommend applying for one or the other if you like what you see.

1. Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

4% Back on Gas Purchases, Including at Costco Gas Stations (Up to the First $7,000 in Eligible Purchases Each Year); 2% Back on Purchases at Costco Stores and Costco.com

Citi Costco Anywhere Visa Credit Card

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The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is the best credit card to use at Costco, period. Indeed, the card itself is a Costco shopping hack: It’s virtually guaranteed to save Costco shoppers more than another payment method.

The Costco Anywhere Visa card really shines at the gas pump, where it earns 4% back on the first $7,000 in eligible purchases each year. This includes non-Costco gas too. In-store and online Costco purchases earn 2% back.

That means you’d need to spend $3,000 on eligible Costco purchases to break even on the $60 annual membership fee through Costco-earned credit card rewards alone. But with such an attractive rewards structure, chances are good you’ll break even well before then.

  • Sign-Up Bonus: There’s currently no sign-up bonus. Check back for the latest offers.
  • Rewards Rate: Earn 4% back on the first $7,000 in gas purchases at Costco stations and other qualifying gas stations, excluding stations affiliated with other warehouse clubs and certain supermarkets, superstores, and convenience stores. Earn unlimited 3% back on eligible travel and restaurant purchases. Earn unlimited 2% back on all non-gas purchases at Costco and Costco.com and unlimited 1% back on everything else, including gas purchases above the $7,000 annual limit.
  • Redeeming Rewards: You’ll receive a coupon for the full amount of cash back earned during the previous calendar year with your February billing statement. You can redeem this coupon at any Costco warehouse location as a credit against in-store purchases or for cash. If the coupon value is greater than the in-store purchases you’re attempting to redeem for, you’ll redeem the remainder in cash.
  • Introductory APR: None.
  • Important Fees: There’s no annual fee other than the annual Costco membership fee — currently $60.
  • Credit Required: This card requires excellent credit.

See our Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi review for more information. Learn more about this card and find out how you can apply here.

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2. Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi

4% Back on Gas Purchases, Including at Costco Gas Stations (Up to the First $7,000 in Eligible Purchases Each Year); 2% Back on Purchases at Costco Stores and Costco.com

Costco Anywhere Business Credit Card

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The Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi is the small-business version of the consumer Costco Anywhere Visa card and is functionally identical to its counterpart: same rewards scheme, same redemption procedures, same fee schedule.

The only difference is right there in the name. This card is ideal for business owners, solopreneurs, even freelancers and gig economy workers — anyone who qualifies for a Costco business membership.

  • Sign-Up Bonus: There’s currently no sign-up bonus. Check back for the latest offers.
  • Rewards Rate: This card’s rewards scheme is identical to the consumer Costco Anywhere Visa’s.
  • Redeeming Rewards: This card’s coupon-based redemption procedures are the same as those of the consumer Costco card.
  • Introductory APR: None.
  • Important Fees: There’s no annual fee for the card other than the $60 annual Costco membership. The foreign transaction fee is 3%, except at international Costco locations.
  • Credit Required: This card requires excellent credit.

See our Costco Anywhere Visa Business Card by Citi review for more information. Learn more about this card and find out how you can apply here.

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3. Chase Freedom Unlimited® Credit Card

Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on Most Eligible Purchases After the First Year or First $20,000 Spent; 0% APR on Purchases for 15 Months From Account Opening

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

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The Chase Freedom Unlimited® Credit Card is another cash-back credit card that delivers a solid rate of return on Costco purchases: 3% for the first year or $20,000 in eligible card purchases, then unlimited 1.5%.

Freedom Unlimited’s ongoing 3% and 5% bonus categories don’t extend to Costco, but its unusually generous 0% APR introductory promotion — good for 15 months on purchases — certainly does. Few cards are better choices for financing a massive Costco spree.

  • Sign-Up Bonus: During the first year your account is open, earn an additional 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases (up to the first $20,000) spent. That's 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service; and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • Rewards Rate: After the first year or first $20,000 in eligible purchases, earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on most purchases. Exceptions include: Unlimited 5% cash back on all eligible travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards travel; unlimited 3% cash back on eligible drugstore and dining purchases (including takeout and delivery); and unlimited 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022.
  • Redeeming Rewards: Redeem in any amount for statement credits, bank account deposits, gift cards, travel and general merchandise purchases made through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal, and merchandise purchases made directly with online retailers such as Amazon. You can also transfer points to participating Chase travel partners at a favorable 1-to-1 ratio.
  • Introductory APR: Enjoy 0% APR on purchases for 15 months from account opening. Thereafter, variable regular APR applies.
  • Important Fees: There is no annual fee. Foreign transactions cost 3%.
  • Credit Required: This card requires good to excellent credit.

See our Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card review for more information. Find out how to apply for this card here.

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4. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Fantastic Sign-Up Bonus

Sapphire Preferred Card Art 8 17 21

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, a leading travel rewards credit card, doesn’t confer any special privileges on Costco shoppers and doesn’t have a super-long 0% APR promotion for purchases.

But it does have an excellent sign-up bonus that’s reason enough to make it part of your Costco rotation. And it delivers a 10% boost on base point earnings (points earned at a rate of 1 point per $1 spent) after your account anniversary. That bonus applies to Costco purchases, naturally.

Don’t miss out on this card’s amazing Visa Signature benefits, either, like basic travel and purchase protections.

  • Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points, worth up to $750 on travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards, when you spend at least $4,000 within 3 months.
  • Rewards Rate: Earn 5 points total per $1 spent on eligible travel purchases made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, after exhausting the $50 annual Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel credit. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on eligible restaurant purchases, select streaming service purchases, and online grocery purchases. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on all other travel purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases. Through March 2022, earn 5 points per $1 spent on qualifying Lyft rides.
  • Redeeming Rewards: The best way to redeem points is for travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or — for a limited time only — statement credits against select purchases using Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature. Both methods increase points’ redemption value by 25%. Alternatively, you can transfer points to about a dozen Chase travel partners at a favorable 1-to-1 ratio.
  • Introductory APR: None.
  • Important Fees: The annual fee is $95. There are no foreign transaction fees.
  • Credit Required: This card requires good to excellent credit.

See our Chase Sapphire Preferred Card review for more information. Learn more about this card and find out how you can apply here.

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Final Word

These credit cards serve Costco members well. That said, none — not even the excellent Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi and its business-friendly counterpart, both of which are tailored to Costco loyalists — is worth getting a Costco membership for.

Before applying for a card to use at Costco, crunch the numbers and confirm that a warehouse club membership is worth it for you and your family. Consumers for whom buying in bulk doesn’t make economic sense aren’t likely to get much value out of a Costco membership and might not even recoup the annual membership fee.

If you’re reasonably sure that a Costco membership will reduce your net household expenses in the long run, consider applying for one of these cards shortly after signing up. You might as well be ready to reap the rewards on your very first Costco shopping trip.

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Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

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