Effective June 20, 2016, Costco replaced the American Express True Earnings Reward Card with the CITI Anywhere VISA card. In addition, Costco is not limited to accepting just the CITI Anywhere Card as they do accept all VISA card regardless of the issuing bank.
But how good is the Costco CITI Anywhere Rewards Visa Card? Will this be the right card for you? Here is a closer look of the good and the bad aspects to determine if this is right for you before signing up or opening a new account!
The Good – Costco CITI Anywhere VISA Card
1. Costco and Credit Card Into One
Well, it is a credit card and a Costco Membership card at the same time. This allows you to carry just one card when you go to Costco to shop. The card shows both the credit card and membership numbers and a photo of you. This is also very convenient when you use this at Costco gasoline stations since you only have to slide the card once.
2. Pay Annual Costco Membership Automatically Using the Card.
You also have the convenience of paying the annual Costco membership automatically using the True Earnings card. One reason that I have this done is to avoid missing the rewards because of not having have a valid Costco membership as discuss later on the “The Bad” side.
3. No annual fee
There is no annual fee for the card with a paid Costco membership.
4. Cash Back on Purchases
The rewards is tiered into four rates: from 1% to 4%. The biggest cash back is 4% but it only applies to gasoline purchase of up to $7,000 and the rate is reduced to 1% thereafter. It offers 3% cash back when you use it on restaurant (including cafes, bars, lounges and fast food restaurants) and eligible travel purchases worldwide, including airfare, hotels, car rentals, travel agencies, cruise lines and Costco Travel. 2% cash back can be received on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com and 1% cash back on all other purchases, including the non-qualifying purchases.
When compared to the AMEX True Earnings Rewards Card, the CITI card rewards is much better when it comes to the rates of the rebates.
5. No Limit On The Cash Back
Unlike the Costco Executive Membership that limits the cash back to just $750 (November 1, 2011), there is no limit to how much cash back rewards for your purchase.
6. Rewards can be converted to cash
The rewards coupon can be redeemed at the Costco warehouse stores for Costco merchandise, cash, or cash equivalent. The coupon has no value if not redeemed in person at a Costco Warehouse before the expiration date (usually December 31 of the year of issuance). If you do not use the entire coupons on a Costco purchase, any unused portion of your reward coupon may be issued in cash or cash equivalent at the Costco Warehouse.
You can avail additional travel protection such as trip cancellation and interruption protection, worldwide travel accident insurance, worldwide car rental insurance, travel and emergency assistance.
8. Purchase Protection
You can shop with more confidence as it provides damage & theft Purchase protection, which may cover you for repairs or a refund if purchases made with your Citi card are damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase (90 days for New York residents). Also, the card provides additional warranty on your purchase by extending the manufacturer’s warranty.
9. Low Price Guarantee
The card provides lowest price guarantee through the Citi Price Rewind, which searches for a lower price on the registered items you pay for with your Citi card at hundreds of online merchants. If the same item is found at a lower price within 60 days of your initial purchase date, you may receive the difference between the price you paid and the lower price found by Citi Price Rewind. Citi Price Rewind does that hard work for you.
The Bad – Costco Anywhere VISA Card by CITI
1. Cancellation and Forfeiture of Rewards With No Valid Costco Membership
The problem with the earned rewards is that you must have a valid Costco membership at the time of receiving the rewards. Your CITI Anywhere VISA account will be cancelled and your annual rewards forfeited automatically if you cancel your Costco membership. So if you have this card and you intend on canceling your Costco membership, make sure that you review your reward statement to see if you still have cash back rewards available before canceling. In addition, if you inadvertently forgot to pay for your membership, you may end up not receiving the rewards. One convenient way to ensure that your Costco membership stays active is to have your annual membership fee automatically billed to your CITI Anywhere Card. Please contact Costco at 1-800-774-2678 to enroll in the auto-bill feature if you are not already enrolled.
2. Forfeiture of Rewards When VISA Card is Closed
If your Card Account is closed, you will no longer be able to earn or redeem your Costco Cash Rewards, and you will forfeit any accumulated Costco Cash Rewards. If you close or convert your Card Account prior to receiving the credit card reward certificate in your February billing statement, any earned Costco Cash Rewards will be forfeited.
3. Annual Rewards Expire on December 31 on the year of issuance
The rewards expire really soon. Usually, the cash back rewards are issued on February of each year and must be used by December 31 of the same year. Otherwise, it will be forfeited.
4. Need To Replace Both Cards When Lost
It inherited the same feature of the AMEX True Earnings card when your card is lost. When I lost my True Earnings card, I have to call AMEX to cancel the card and to send me a new one. Little that I know that my Costco membership card was canceled as well. When I went to pay using the old Costco membership card, it was not working as the old number was no longer recognized so I ended up getting a new Costco membership card with the new number.
5. Limitations on the Additional Cardholder
Because the Costco CITI Anywhere VISA card is tied to your Costco membership, you cannot just add any other card holder unless he or she is also the “additional household member” card holder for the Costco membership card.
6. Rewards Are Not Transferable
The coupons may only be redeemed by either one of the card members listed on the account (the main member or the additional Cardmember on the CITI Anywhere VISA account). However, additional Costco card holder Household Membership Card holder cannot redeem the Annual Reward Coupon of the costco member unless he or she is also a Cardmember on the CITI Anywhere VISA account.
7. Interest Rate Is Really High
The annual interest rate is at least 15.49% aon purchases and 25.99% on cash advances nd they do not offer anything lower even if you have excellent credit history. So if you do not pay off your card after the purchase, then any rebates that you’ll get will be offset by the interest that you’ll pay in the long run.
8. Other Limitations:
- Rewards coupon may not be used to pay for the outstanding balance on your Costco Anywhere VISA card
- Rewards coupon cannot be redeemed at Costco.com, only at the stores.
I own the card and the cash backs are a thing of beauty since I do get quite a bit. Using the card for purchases really add up to the savings. The limitations, in my opinion, are very minor compared to the overall benefits of having one.
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