The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Tuesday, November 12, 2019

10 Best Credit Cards to Use at Costco

10 Best Credit Cards to Use at Costco

credit card advice

Eric Bank
By: Eric Bank
Posted: October 28, 2019

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In the interest of full disclosure, I am one of the more than 94 million people who are Costco members. I love shopping for huge packages of paper towels and seedless grapes, and the prices are great.

Our experts took a look at the best credit cards to use at Costco and identified 10 strong candidates. And while you may think you can use any credit card you want to pay for Costco purchases, that’s not correct, because Costco only accepts cards on the Visa payment network.

Read on to see which Visa cards can help you maximize your Costco purchases.

The Best Visa Cards to Use at Costco

Since you can use any credit card at Costco that operates on the Visa network, you do not have to settle on the co-branded Costco credit cards, which offer 2% cash back on Costco purchases.

The other cards reviewed below all meet or exceed the cash back amount of the Costco-branded cards, and the reward redemptions are not confined to Costco.

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

While its unlimited 1.5% cash back rate is less than that of the co-branded Costco card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card gives you access to Chase Ultimate Rewards, where you can earn one to 15 bonus points at more than 350 stores through Shop with Chase®. Furthermore, you can convert your cash back to Chase Ultimate Reward points worth an estimated 3.2% to 6% reward rate.

In addition to cash back and Shop with Chase®, the no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited® card lets you redeem your rewards as gift certificates, payments on Amazon.com, or travel points. Rewards don’t expire as long as the account remains open, and there are no minimum redemption amounts.

VISA® RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74 - 25.49%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Chase Freedom® card allows you to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 of combined purchases in quarterly rotating bonus categories that you activate. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1% cash back. Furthermore, you can convert your cash back to Chase Ultimate Reward points that are worth even more.

In addition to cash back, you can use your card rewards for purchasing gift cards, travel, and products and services at third-party merchants such as Amazon.com. The card charges no annual fee, and your rewards don’t expire as long as you keep the account open. The card also offers additional benefits to new cardmembers, including bonus rewards and a special introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers.

VISA® RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.49% - 24.74% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card lets you earn unlimited 2X miles (that’s two miles per dollar) on every purchase. You can redeem your miles to pay for hotels, rental cars, travel, and more. The card charges no annual fee for the first year.

You can also get cash, gift cards, or an account credit for your miles. The redemption rates of these options can vary over time. In addition, you can transfer your miles to select external travel loyalty programs. Another card perk is a $100 credit toward the TSA Preè or Global Entry application fee when you pay with the card.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

at Bank Of America'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

0.0/5.0
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings
  • Plus, earn 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% cash back on everything else
  • Bonus rewards capped at $2,500 is combined bonus category purchases each quarter
  • No annual fee
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR for 12 Billing Cycles
0% Intro APR for 12 Billing Cycles (for balance transfers made in the first 60 days)
16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card lets you select which of its merchant categories will earn you 3% cash rewards. The default category is gas, but from month to month you can substitute dining, online shopping, travel, drug stores, or home improvement and furnishing stores. You earn 2% cash rewards at grocery stores and wholesale clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club. The 3% and 2% reward tiers limit qualifying purchases to a combined $2,500 per quarter. All other purchases earn unlimited 1% cash rewards.

This card charges no annual fee. You can increase your cash rewards by 25% to 75% if you participate in the Bank of America® Preferred Rewards program. You’ll need to open an eligible checking account and keep a specified minimum balance in your banking accounts and/or Merrill investment accounts.

VISA® RATING

★★★★★
4.6

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card earns you 2X points on travel and restaurant dining around the world and 1X points on all other purchases. Your points go 25% further when you redeem them through Chase Ultimate Rewards for airfare, car rentals, hotels, and cruises.

If you prefer, you can transfer your points 1:1 to more than a dozen airline and hotel loyalty programs. The card offers 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchase in the first three months. In addition, you can earn up to 75,000 bonus points per year for recommending friends who get the card.

6. Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is available exclusively to Costco members. While the card charges no annual fee, membership costs at least $60 per year. The card offers four certificate reward tiers, the top one being 4% on eligible gas purchases of up to $7,000 per year. You earn 3% on purchases at restaurants and on eligible travel, 2% on all Costco and Costco.com purchases, and 1% on all other purchases.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

  • 4-3-2-1 cash back rewards structure in various categories, including gas, restaurants, and Costco
  • Must have a Costco membership to apply
  • Cash back only redeemable for cash or Costco merchandise

You can redeem your annual reward certificate for merchandise at U.S. Costco warehouses. You’ll receive the reward certificate in March and will forfeit any rewards you don’t redeem by the end of the year or before you close the account, whichever is sooner. The card also extends the warranties on eligible purchases by two years and gives you access to member-only deals.

7. Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi provides 2% cash back on all purchases from Costco and Costco.com. You earn 4% on up to $7,000 per year of eligible gas purchases, 3% on eligible travel and dining purchases, and 1% on all other purchases. The card is available only to Costco members who are authorized officers or controlling parties of a business.

Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi

  • 4-3-2-1 cash back rewards structure in various categories, including gas, restaurants, and Costco
  • Must have a Costco membership to apply
  • Cash back only redeemable for cash or Costco merchandise

Costco membership costs at least $60 per year, but the card charges no annual fee. You can redeem your rewards for Costco purchases. Unused rewards expire when you close the account or fail to redeem them before the end of the year. The card provides other benefits such as special deals and extended warranties.

CITI® RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

0.0/5.0
  • Earn cash back twice on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases.
  • Receive 0% for 18 months on balance transfers made within 4 months of account opening
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back; transfer fee applies
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month
  • No categories to track and no caps on cash back
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% for 18 months
15.74% - 25.74% (variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

The Citi® Double Cash Card lets you earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. Your cash back comes in two installments: 1% when you buy and 1% as you pay. This is a boon to consumers who like simple rewards with no categories or caps. In addition, this card charges no annual fee.

This card also appeals to folks looking to consolidate credit card debt. It charges a 0% APR during the first 18 months to new cardmembers for balance transfers completed in the first four months after opening the account (fees apply). You can redeem cash rewards as low as $25 through a check, statement credit, or credit to a Citi bank account. Your cash rewards balance will expire if you close the account or do not earn any cash back for 12 months.

VISA® RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to $2,000 in cash bonuses
  • Earn a $500 cash bonus when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and earn $1,500 when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of your account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions
  • $0 annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
  • Free employee cards, which also earn unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases
  • $0 Fraud Liability if your card is lost or stolen
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.74% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business earns your business an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. You can redeem cash back rewards at any time, in any amount. New cardmembers can earn a one-time $500 cash bonus after spending $4,500 purchases during the first three months. The card waives annual fees for the first year.

The card offers several business-friendly benefits. There’s no fee for foreign transactions, and you can pick the monthly due date that best suits your business. You can set up automatic monthly payments and recurring transactions. The issuer offers free employee cards and lets you track employee spending against customized spending limits. You also get $0 fraud liability, extended warranties and protection, and various travel benefits.

VISA® RATING

★★★★★
4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.7/5.0
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 200,000 bonus miles worth up to $2,000 to spend on travel—flights, hotels and more
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and earn 150,000 bonus miles when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months of your account opening
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, everywhere, no limits or category restrictions, and miles won't expire for the life of the account
  • Earn 5X miles on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel℠ using a Spark Miles card
  • Transfer your miles to 10+ leading travel loyalty programs like JetBlue™, Air Canada, and Emirates™
  • Redeem your miles instantly for any travel-related purchases, from flights and hotels to ride-sharing services
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
18.74% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Excellent, Good

The Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business is tailored to businesses that prefer reward miles to cash back. Your company earns unlimited 2X miles (i.e., two miles per $1 spent) on all your purchases. The miles have no seat restrictions, blackout dates, or minimum redemption amounts. No annual fees apply for the first year.

You can use your miles for vacation packages, hotels, flights, or for transfers to a travel partner’s reward program. In addition, you can receive a credit of up to $100 to offset the cost of a TSA Pre√® or Global Entry application fee paid with the card.

What is the Best Credit Card to Use at Costco?

If you don’t want your rewards limited to purchases at Costco, then we think you’ll prefer our top pick, the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. The card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, but in reality, you can earn as much as 6% if you take full advantage of the card’s rewards.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® CardThat’s because Chase Ultimate Rewards enhances the value of your cash rewards when you convert them to points. You can then redeem those points for select merchant purchases, gift certificates, or travel. The card has no annual fee and you can redeem rewards in any amount, any time.

The runner-up card is from the same issuer. It’s the Chase Freedom® card that allows you to earn up to 5% cash back in bonus categories that rotate each quarter. The 5% reward applies to the first $1,500 each quarter in purchases within the bonus category. Otherwise, you get unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

As with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, this card lets you squeeze out more value through Chase Ultimate Rewards. When you factor in many additional rewards, there’s a lot to like about this card.

If you run a business, you may want to consider the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business or the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business. Whether you prefer your rewards as cash back or miles, these business cards offer rewards on par with those of the Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi.

The cash card pays 2% cash back, while the miles card lets you earn an equivalent 2X points. These rewards apply to all purchases, with no limits. Both cards offer a suite of business benefits and a generous introductory signup offer to new cardmembers. On the downside, these cards charge an annual fee after the first year.

Is it Worth Getting a Costco Credit Card?

There are certainly several compelling reasons to get a Costco co-branded credit card. The first consideration is how often you shop at Costco since these cards offer rewards that can only be redeemed through Costco purchases.

With cash back rates from 1% to 4% on different categories of purchases, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi and the Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi can offer rich rewards to dedicated Costco shoppers.

However, if you’re interested in applying rewards elsewhere, the Costco co-branded cards will hem you in. Many folks redeem credit card rewards for travel and/or like to earn rewards in the form of points or miles. The Costco co-branded cards offer none of these options.

Furthermore, your unredeemed rewards are hostage to your Costco membership, which will set you back at least $60 a year. If you decide to relinquish your membership, you’ll lose your accumulated awards.

Screenshot of Costco's Membership Prices

A Costco membership is required to apply for the Costco-branded credit cards.

You are awarded your Costco rewards once a year as a statement credit in March. You must use those rewards before the end of the year, or they’ll be forfeited. These constraints make it difficult to avoid either losing some rewards or paying for a membership longer than you want.

Nonetheless, millions of Americans count on Costco to stretch their paychecks through bulk purchases. If you live the Costco lifestyle, then the Costco co-branded cards can make a lot of sense.

Can I Pay My Costco Credit Card Bill at Costco?

No, you must pay your Costco credit card bill to Citi, and unless your Costco location houses a Citi ATM, you’ll have to find a different way to pay. You have several payment options:

  1. Citibank® Online: You can go to the Citibank site to make a one-time payment or set up recurring payments through the AutoPay feature. You must first link your bank account, which sources the payment. The bank account can be at any bank acceptable to Citi. Naturally, you must supply your user ID and password to access your account.
  2. Mail: You can mail a check to Citi to pay your credit card bill. You do so by detaching the top portion of your monthly bill and enclose it with a check in the return envelope included with the bill. The address for payments is Citibank, P.O. Box 9001037, Louisville, KY 40290-1037. Be sure to write your credit card account number on your check. You can also use a money order to pay by mail.
  3. Citi Mobile: You can use the Citi Mobile app to make payments and transfer money among different Citi accounts, including credit cards, that you manage at Citibank online.
  4. Phone: The phone number is 1 (855) 473-4583. It connects you to the automated payment service, but you can request to speak to a customer service representative if you prefer. You’ll have to provide identifying information, such as the last four digits of your Social Security number.
  5. ATM: You can make a cash payment on a Citi credit card at a Citibank ATM. You can pay up to $3,000 per credit card per calendar month. You can no longer pay the card at a Citi branch.

You must pay the minimum amount by the due date to avoid penalties. If you pay your balance within the grace period, you’ll avoid interest on your charges. The grace period for the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi and Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi is at least 23 days.

Maximize the Savings on Your Next Wholesale Purchase

Costco is one of America’s top wholesale merchants, known for its huge stores with huge packages of many types of wares, wines, and foods. To shop there, you must become a member, which costs at least $60 a year. If you’d like to pay with a credit card, it must be one that works on the Visa network.

You can use the Costco co-branded cards, but as we point out in this review, you have other choices that are more flexible and at least as rewarding. Consider how much shopping you do at Costco and how you want to use your rewards. One of the cards in this review should perfectly match your preferences.