February is a special month for me for two reasons. First, it’s the month in which I receive my Costco membership renewal notification, which means I also receive my Costco Executive Membership rewards check. Second, it’s the month in which Costco members with a Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi receive their cash back rewards earned from purchases made during the previous calendar year. While both of these may be described as cash back rewards, they are two separate rebates from very different programs available to Costco members.
Let’s examine, compare, and contrast both programs.
Costco Executive Membership Cash Back
As executive members my wife and I earn 2% cash back, up to $1000, for qualifying purchases at Costco. The executive membership costs an extra $60 on top of the price of a standard membership. As the current year’s membership comes to a close, Costco sends out a renewal notification along with a coupon for the cash back earned over the previous year. This coupon can be used at Costco for the purchase of merchandise through the check out line. It cannot be used for the purchase of alcohol, tobacco, or at their food court.
An interesting fact some people don’t know is while the Costco Executive Membership rebate check can’t be cashed at your bank, it CAN be cashed at the Costco customer service counter. The executive membership documentation states the rewards check has no value outside of Costco, however it does not state they can be cashed at the customer service desk. I’ve done this each year I’ve been a member.
Costco Anywhere Visa Cash Back
Costco members who have a Costco Anywhere Visa card earn cash back throughout the year by purchasing goods and services using the card. The breakdown of the cash back rewards cardholders can earn is as follows:
- 4% cash back on gasoline purchases (for the first $7000 per year, 1% thereafter)
- 3% cash back at eligible restaurant and travel purchases
- 2% cash back on purchases made at Costco, or Costco.com
- 1% cash back on other purchases
The rewards come in the form of a voucher in the February credit card statement. The first year I had a Costco Anywhere Visa I didn’t realize this, and ended up looking through my trash for the voucher. While you can exchange the voucher for cash, you can’t just take it to your bank. The voucher must be taken to the customer service desk at Costco where it can be cashed. Then, you can spend your money however you wish!
Get The Most Cash Back From Your Costco Membership
- Recoup Your Executive Membership Fee : To recoup the $60 fee to upgrade to the executive membership, you’ll have to spend $3000 annually at Costco. If your rewards check doesn’t exceed $60, you can go to customer service and receive the difference. This makes upgrading to the executive membership a can’t lose proposition.
- Use Your Costco Anywhere Visa : You earn cash back using your Costco Anywhere Visa, so use it for every purchase possible.. Even though the funds are sitting in your checking account, leave the debit card in your wallet or purse and use the Costco Anywhere Visa instead. Earn the cash back, and pay the bill as soon as you get home.
- Double Up Rewards By Shopping At Costco : By purchasing as much as you can at Costco using the Costco Anywhere Visa, you’ll earn the 2% Executive Membership rewards AND the 2% cash back from the credit card cash back program. That’s a total of 4% cash back for everyday items you buy anyway!
- Know What Costco Sells : Many people don’t realize the range of products Costco sells. Consider Costco when you’re looking for computers, small appliances, water heaters, indoor and outdoor furniture, mattresses and even carpeting!
- Don’t Forget Costco.com : Costco warehouses are huge, but they don’t contain everything Costco sells. If you don’t see it in the warehouse, check Costco.com. You may be surprised at what else you can find online that can help boost your rewards checks.
Last year, with an Executive Membership rebate of $64, I barely exceeded the $60 additional cost of the membership upgrade. I could have done better, but I found it too convenient to stop at the much closer Walmart to pick up necessities. I was much more successful with the Costco Anywhere Visa By Citi cash back, earning $364 cash back. These two Costco cash back programs are a wonderful opportunity to earn cash back simply by changing where I buy my day to day necessities. I’m looking forward to earning as much cash back as possible using my Costco membership next year!
If you want to learn more about how you can use your Costco rewards, check out my other articles on Costco:
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