Reward Programs

Costco Got Me Hook, Line, and Sinker With Their Reward Programs

costco, rewards program, loyalty program
I’m not a huge credit card fan, so I was surprised to suddenly find myself filling out an application for the Costco Anywhere Visa by Citibank card on Sunday afternoon.

My wife and I were doing some shopping, and stopped by Costco to pick up a few things on our list. We realized our membership had expired, and stopped by the customer service desk to renew.
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Our first decision was whether to pay $55 for their regular membership, or $110 for their executive membership. The difference between the two is with the executive membership we would receive 2% back on all purchases. Doing some quick math, I determined that we would have to spend $2750, or about $230 a month, at Costco over the next year to make up for the difference in price. We decided to go with the executive membership because:

  • We are looking to by a new patio set this year, which would go a long towards that $2750
  • We have relatives nearby that love shopping at Costco, don’t have a membership of their own, and have us bring them in.
  • If we don’t spend enough to recoup the cost, Costco will actually pay you the difference so there’s no way to lose money on the executive membership.

I swiped my debit card, signed a form and figured that was that.

But just as I was preparing to leave, the employee asked another question, “Are you interested in applying for the Costo Anywhere Visa by Citibank card?”

I quickly said, “No,” but my wife wanted to hear more. The employee placed a fact sheet on the counter in front of us that listed the benefits:

  • 4% cash back on gasoline purchases
  • 3% cash back at eligible restaurant and travel purchases
  • 2% cash back on purchases made at Costco, or
  • 1% cash back on other purchases

I have to admit to you, this is my entrance into the credit card rewards game. I’m a little bit nervous that it may cause me to actually spend more because I’ll be swiping my Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi card instead of using cash in my pocket. The plan is to stick to our same budget, and pay off the balance each month.

Can I do it? Stay tuned.

Do you use credit card reward programs? Do you think it causes you to spend more than you would if you used cash?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • Wow, great job! I am surprised that it was that easy to get the credit card. My only question is, would you prefer to get 3% cash back on groceries instead of gas? If so, consider getting a Capital One bank credit card.

  • Make sure you write off the patio furniture if you buy it to entertain potential clients of yours. If it has a business intent, and purpose, it can be an expense.

    My CC gives me 5% back at restaurants, and fast food places. And I have a Chase Visa that gives me 3% for gas and anything else I spend at a gas station, like car washer too. And 3% at Home improvement stores.

    Before they discontinued it, I was getting almost 7% back at Home Improvement stores… As a landlord, that is HUGE.

  • I haven’t got any credit card, and I’m not sure if I’ll have one in the future. If managed well I think the rewards are great, but if a credit card makes you end up in debts it’s definitely not worth it. Just wondering, do you have to pay annual fees for the credit card?

  • @nononsenseLandLord – I’m sure that 7% was huge…there’s always improvements that have to be done on your own home not to mention any rental properties. I’ll keep the patio furniture deduction in mind…maybe I’ll need to schedule some business meetings on the deck. 🙂

  • @Stefanie – I could see how bulk buying may not be feasible in NYC…definitely be picky about any credit card you sign up for – if it doesn’t have any incentives, keep saying NO!

  • @poorstudent – I agree with you 100%….credit cards tend to make people spend more, so it’s important to stick with your original budget. There’s no annual fee for the card….there’s no way I’m getting a card with an annual fee unless they have some sort of reward that makes it absolutely worth it!

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