Home » Credit Card Reviews » Costco vs. Sam’s: Which Card Is Better?

Costco vs. Sam’s: Which Card Is Better?

Costco vs. Sam’s: Which Card Is Better?

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated Aug 14, 2020. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

Costco and Sam’s Club both allow consumers to reap substantial savings on groceries, toiletries, household items and more by buying in bulk. Each of these wholesale clubs also offers credit cards with competitive cashback rates — the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi and Sam's Club Mastercard — which can help offset your monthly Costco and Sam’s Club charges.

We review the key features of the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi and Sam's Club Mastercard, including their rewards programs, interest rates, benefits and more, to help you determine which card may be the best fit for your needs.

Comparing the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi and Sam's Club Mastercard

While the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi and the Sam's Club Mastercard share similar rewards structures, annual fees and interest rates, there are important differences that could make one card stand out over the other in each of those categories.

See how the cards stack up side by side:

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi vs. Sam's Club Mastercard

 Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by CitiSam's Club Mastercard
Annual fee$0, membership required$0, membership required
Sign-up bonusNoneGet a $45 statement credit when you open a new account and make $45 in Sam’s Club purchase within 30 days.*
Rewards rate4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter, 3% on restaurants & travel, 2% at Costco & Costco.com, 1% on all other purchases5% cash back on gas (on the first $6,000 per year, then 1%), 3% back on dining and travel, 1% back on other purchases.
Regular purchase APR15.24% (variable)14.90% or 22.90% Variable
Benefits0% foreign transaction fees; damage & theft purchase protection; extended warranty; worldwide car rental insurance; travel & emergency assistance; roadside assistance dispatch service; $0 liability on unauthorized charges and Citi EntertainmentForeign transaction fees: 3%; fraud liability; identity theft solutions

Best annual fee: Sam's Club Mastercard

Both the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi and the Sam's Club Mastercard offer $0 annual fees; however, each card requires annual membership fees for their respective warehouse club.

Sam’s Club charges a slightly lower membership fee of $45 for a standard Club membership and $100 for a Plus membership. Costco, on the other hand, charges $60 for a Gold Star membership and $120 for a Gold Star Executive membership.

Best Credit Cards With No Annual Fee

Best sign-up bonus: Sam's Club Mastercard

Unlike the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi — which doesn’t come with a sign-up bonus — the Sam's Club Mastercard offers the following: Get a $45 statement credit when you open a new account and make $45 in Sam’s Club purchase within 30 days.*

Best Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses

Best rewards rate: Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi wins this category — but just barely.

That’s because the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi offers an elevated rewards rate on Costco and Costco.com purchases, while the Sam's Club Mastercard only offers 1% cash back on Sam’s Club and Samsclub.com purchases. Additionally, the Sam's Club Mastercard limits the total amount of cash back you can earn in a calendar year to $5,000, while the Costco card offers unlimited cash back.

That said, if you spend a large amount on gas, you could earn a slightly higher amount of cash back each year with the Sam's Club Mastercard, due to the card’s higher rewards rate on gas purchases.

For example, if you max out the card’s $6,000 spend cap on gas, you could earn $300 cash back on those purchases in a year. This includes fuel purchased at Sam’s Club and Walmart fuel stations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, as well as gas stations located in the U.S and Puerto Rico (excluding fuel stations that are part of warehouse clubs other than Sam’s Club and certain supercenters and supermarkets other than Walmart).

By contrast, if you max out the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi’s $7,000 spend cap, you can earn $280 cashback in a year on gas. This encompasses eligible gas purchased worldwide, including at Costco, but not gas purchased at superstores, supermarkets, convenience stores or warehouse clubs other than Costco.

Keep in mind, however, that with both cards, your cashback rewards can only be spent on those respective warehouse purchases in the U.S. and Puerto Rico (and with the Sam's Club Mastercard, at Sams.com). Plus, cashback rewards are only distributed once a year.

Best Rewards Credit Cards

Best APR: That depends on which rate you qualify for

Unlike the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, which offers a flat purchase APR of 15.24% (Variable), the Sam's Club Mastercard offers a purchase APR of 14.90% or 22.90% Variable, depending on your creditworthiness. Therefore, if you can qualify for the card’s lower rate, the Sam's Club Mastercard wins this category, but not by much.

However, you can avoid interest charges altogether by paying your credit card balance in full each month.

Best benefits: Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi offers more robust purchase and travel protections and benefits than the Sam's Club Mastercard.

In addition to extending the manufacturer’s warranty, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi covers you for repairs or refunds if purchases made with your card are damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase (90 days for New York residents).

The card also offers worldwide car rental insurance to protect against theft or damage, 24/7 assistance before or during a trip, roadside assistance dispatch services in the U.S., including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as $0 fraud liability against unauthorized charges.

Plus, cardholders receive special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events and experiences through Citi Entertainment.

Best Credit Cards for Costco

Which credit card is best for me?

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi and the Sam's Club Mastercard both offer good cashback rates on gas, dining and travel purchases. But when you’re determining which of these cards is the right fit for you, your preference for Costco or Sam’s Club will most likely play a much bigger role than the cards’ actual rewards rates, membership fees, interest rates or benefits.

That said, if you’re a regular warehouse shopper, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi has the potential to allow you to earn more cash back as it offers a higher cashback rate for Costco purchases.

If you want to earn rewards on your warehouse club purchases — but would like more flexibility in how you can use those rewards — you may want to consider a cashback credit card with more redemption options, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
(219)
Apply Now

on Chase's secure site

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases

  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

  • 14.99% - 23.74% Variable

Highlights
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open

See additional details for Chase Freedom Unlimited®

More Info

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card lets cardholders earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on all other purchases. The $0 annual fee card also offers the following sign-up bonus: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® rewards can be redeemed for a statement credit, direct deposit into a checking or savings account, cash, gift cards, travel or products and services throughout the year, with no minimum redemption amount required. You can also use your points to pay for all or part of purchases at participating Chase Pay merchants.

Whichever card you choose, just know that while Sam’s Club accepts American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa cards in-store and online, Costco only accepts Visa credit cards at its warehouse locations, and Visa, Mastercard and Discover cards at Costco.com. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is co-branded with Visa, so it can be used at either warehouse club.

What Credit Cards Does Costco Accept?


Recommended Posts:

Read More

JetBlue Plus Card Review

The JetBlue Plus Card is best for those who travel on the airline regularly and can take advantage of the travel benefits that come with it. New cardmembers earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. You earn 6X points on JetBlue purchases, 2X at restaurants & grocery stores, 1X on all other purchases that can be used for the carrier’s TrueBlue loyalty program. And you do need excellent credit to get this card. Where this card […]

Read More

Read More

Bank of America Travel Rewards vs Chase Sapphire Preferred

If you’re considering a travel rewards card, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are two cards that should be at the top of your list. Both cards offer rewards on every purchase and neither charges foreign transaction fees. However, one comes with an annual fee, while the other doesn’t offer bonus points in travel categories. While […]

Read More