Costco Anywhere Visa vs. Citi Double Cash
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There was a time when only those with large families or really frugal people shopped at warehouse stores like Costco. But today, Costco is a favorite of just about anyone who wants to get a good deal, even on big screen televisions, jewelry, and other luxury goods.
If you are the kind of person who’s always trying to get the best deal when you are shopping, then you will probably be using one of the most competitive cash back reward cards offered. The Costco Anywhere Visa from Citi and the Citi Double Cash card offer two different ways of earning the most possible cash back from your purchases at Costco and other stores.
The Costco Anywhere Visa card was introduced earlier this year as part of Citi’s new partnership with Costco. It offers 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases worldwide, including gas purchased at Costco. These rewards apply to your first $7,000 spent on gas purchases made each year, and you’ll receive 1% cash back on all additional gas. 3% cash back is earned on all restaurant and eligible travel purchases worldwide, and 2% cash back from all Costco purchases. 1% cash back is earned on all other purchases.
Rewards are earned in the form of a coupon that cardholders receive once a year in February, so long as their account is open and in good standing. The coupon can be redeemed at any Costco store by the end of the year for merchandise or cash.
Benefits include a damage and theft purchase protection program that can repair your purchases or refund you if a covered item is damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase. (90 days for New York residents). Extended warranty coverage can also add a year to your manufacturer’s warranty of a covered item purchased with your card.
Travel benefits include a trip cancellation and interruption policy that reimburses you for certain non-refundable expenses if your travel is disrupted. This card also comes with worldwide rental car insurance, travel accident insurance and access to an emergency travel assistance hotline.
New accounts receive seven months of interest-free financing on new purchases, followed by a standard interest rate of 15.49% APR. There is no annual fee for this card with your paid Costco membership, but there is 3% foreign transaction fee imposed on all charges processed outside of the United States.
Rather than offering several categories of purchases that you can earn a bonus from, the Citi Double Cash card features as much as 2% cash back on all purchases, with no limits. You earn 1% cash back on all charges on the date of the transaction, and another 1% cash back when you pay for your purchases, for a total of up to 2% cash back on everything you buy.
This card also offers new customers 18 months of interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers. To be eligible for the promotional financing offer, balance transfers must be completed within four months of account opening and there is a fee of 3% of the amount transferred.
This card offers the same travel benefits included with the Costco Anywhere Visa including the trip cancellation and interruption policy, worldwide rental car insurance, travel accident insurance and access to an emergency travel assistance hotline. It also offers the same shopping benefits including damage and theft purchase protection and extended warranty coverage.
There is no annual fee for this card, but it also has a 3% foreign transaction fee.
Which card is right for you?
These cards present two different competing paths to earning the most cash back. The Costco Anywhere Visa offers bonus categories to earn as much as 4% cash back on gasoline and 3% cash back on travel and dining. 2% cash back is earned for purchases from Costco while every other purchase only earns a modest 1% cash back.
On the other hand, the Citi Double Cash card simply offers as much as 2% cash back on all purchases, with no limits or bonus categories to worry about. Those who spend heavily on bonus categories such as gas, restaurants and travel might earn more bonus cash back from the Costco Anywhere Visa, while others who have fewer of these expenses might be better off with the Double Cash card.
Another factor is the fact that the Double Cash card offers half of its rewards immediately and the other half upon payment, while Costco Anywhere Visa cardholders will always have to wait until February to receive their rewards. Finally, the Citi Double Cash card offers 18 months of interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, as opposed to the Costco card’s mere seven months of 0% APR financing on new purchases only.
Once you look at the features and benefits offered by these cards, and examine how you plan to use your credit card, the right choice will become clear.