Best Credit Cards to Use at Costco (If You Want to Maximize Rewards)

Find out which cards can earn you the most rewards when shopping at the wholesale club.
Last updated Oct. 2, 2022 | By Lindsay Frankel
Using credit card at costco for earning reward points

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There are certain treasures you can only find at Costco that make the membership cost well worth it. Besides the vast savings on items like organic spinach and pure maple syrup, if you’re planning a party or preparing for a holiday meal, you might as well reap the rewards by putting your purchases on a credit card that earns points.

If you’ve wondered what credit cards are accepted at Costco and how to maximize earning rewards, here’s what you need to know.

In this article

What credit cards does Costco accept?

Costco warehouses and gas stations only accept Visa credit cards, cash, debit cards, and Costco Shop Cards (gift cards). They do not accept Mastercard, American Express, or Discover cards.

Credit card type Accepted at Costco?
Visa Yes
Mastercard No
American Express No
Discover No

History: For 16 years, Costco accepted only American Express credit cards due to an exclusive partnership. But a few years ago, the retailer made the switch to Citi Visa. The branded cards also switched over at that time, and cardholders received the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi.

Fortunately, cardholders enjoyed more perks with this card than were previously provided with Costco’s Amex cards.

These days, non-Visa cards no longer work at Costco, so you’ll need a Visa card to pay and earn rewards.

Best credit cards to use at Costco

Here are some of the top contenders that can help you earn generous rewards on Costco purchases:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Rewards: Earn 5X points on Lyft rides and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on eligible dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases; 2X points on travel; and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases (including Costco purchases)
  • Sign-up Bonus: Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Annual Fee: $95

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has an impressive welcome bonus that gets you $750 toward travel if you redeem your points through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The generous bonus points on travel and dining make this card a great choice if you enjoy traveling and could take advantage of the extra perks, as it's a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

Since you’ll need to spend a fair amount within the first few months of having the card to earn the bonus, you may want to funnel all your Costco purchases (and other purchases, especially Lyft, travel, and dining purchases) onto your new card to help you get there faster.

That said, you could potentially earn more points by using a card with a higher cashback value, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, and then moving the points to your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Then, once you’ve racked up enough points, you can redeem them for travel or other rewards instead of cash back, since your points could stretch further that way.

Our #1 Travel Card

Intro Offer

Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months

Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

5X points on Lyft rides and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on eligible dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases; 2X points on travel; and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • 60,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 5X points on Lyft rides and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 10% anniversary point bonus each year
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through Ultimate Rewards
  • Premium travel protection benefits

Drawbacks

  • Has annual fee
  • Typically need to spend thousands to reap rewards
Card Details
  • Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • 5X points on Lyft rides and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on eligible dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases; 2X points on travel; and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards: Earn 10X miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel and car shares booked through Turo; 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel; and 2X miles per dollar spent on everything else
  • Sign-up Bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Annual Fee: $395

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers a generous early spend bonus after qualifying for the card. The miles earned from this bonus can be used in the Capital One travel portal for flights, hotel stays, and more. Or you can transfer them to over a dozen travel partners. 

To help fulfill the requirements of the welcome offer, it might make sense to start using your Venture X for all eligible purchases (including at Costco) once you receive it. This card has no bonus categories, which means you'll earn the same 2X rate on all your spending. 

For rewards credit cards, this is one of the highest rates out there. This equates to being able to earn a large number of rewards at all times without any specific categories to worry about. Not many premium travel cards offer this same type of convenience.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • Rewards: 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • Sign-up Bonus: Earn an extra 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases, on up to $20,000, in the first year 
  • Annual Fee: $0

If you're looking to rack up your cashback with one of the best rewards credit cards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® can be a great way to earn up to 5% cash back. Also, the opportunity to earn an extra 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases, on up to $20,000, in the first year is an added bonus, especially since this card has no annual fee.

This is a great card to use for Costco purchases, and the savings you’ll receive at the wholesale club are a great way to maximize the value of your membership.

Unlimited Cash Back

Intro Offer

Earn an extra 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases, on up to $20,000, in the first year

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Earn an extra 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases, on up to $20,000, in the first year
  • Bonus rewards on travel, dining, and drugstores
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers

Drawbacks

  • Has foreign transaction fee
Card Details
  • Earn an extra 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases, on up to $20,000, in the first year
  • 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases
  • Intro purchase 0% APR offer: 0% for 15 months then 17.24% to 25.99% (variable)
  • Intro balance transfer 0% APR offer: 0% for 15 months then 17.24% to 25.99% (variable)

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

  • Rewards: Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases (up to $7,000), 3% on restaurant and travel purchases, 2% on all other Costco purchases, and 1% on everything else.
  • Sign-up Bonus: None
  • Annual Fee: $0 with your paid Costco membership

While there’s no sign-up bonus on the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, the 3% back on eligible restaurant and travel purchases and 4% back for eligible gas and EV charging purchases (on up to $7,000 per year) are impressive benefits for a card with no annual fee. 

You’ll also earn the best cashback rewards for Costco purchases of any of the cards on our list. However, in terms of a rewards card, you may get more value from one of the best cash back credit cards, like the Chase Freedom Unlimited - especially when paired with a Chase premium card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

If you don’t have a Chase premium card, this card can be an excellent choice for your Costco purchases. Take advantage of member savings on big-ticket items like furniture and appliances, since the more you spend with your card, the more you’ll earn. You should also make a point of purchasing your gas from Costco in order to maximize the rewards.

Earn up to 4% cash back

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Intro Offer

Get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events with Citi Entertainment

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases (up to $7,000), 3% on restaurant and travel purchases, 2% on all other Costco purchases, and 1% on everything else

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Up to 4% cash back on popular categories including eligible gas and EV charging purchases
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees

Drawbacks

  • Must be a Costco member
  • Cash back is only redeemed once a year
Card Details
  • Get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events with Citi Entertainment
  • 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases (up to $7,000), 3% on restaurant and travel purchases, 2% on all other Costco purchases, and 1% on everything else

Methodology

When selecting the best credit cards to use at Costco, we first began by identifying which cards this big box store accepts. We then analyzed credit card terms, including bonus rewards offered for Costco purchases as well as annual fees, cardholder perks, and spending bonuses for new card members. Our goal was to find affordable cards that offered both ample perks for cardholders as well as extra rewards for those who tend to spend a lot at Costco stores.

Alternative ways to pay at Costco

While a Visa credit card is the best payment method to use if you want to earn rewards on purchases you would make anyway, there’s no need to fret if you leave your card at home or are still waiting for it to arrive in the mail.

Costco also accepts cash, checks, debit/ATM, EBT, and Costco Shop Cards. Note that you’ll need a valid government-issued ID to pay by check.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Costco gas stations and car washes don’t accept cash, checks, or EBT, so you’ll need to pay with your Visa card, debit/ATM card, or Costco Shop Card to complete a transaction.

Frequently asked questions

What debit cards are accepted at Costco?

Costco indicates that it accepts most PIN-based debit cards, so you shouldn't have a problem using your card as long as you know your personal identification number (PIN). If you want to use your debit card as credit in store, you will first need to check that your card has a Visa logo on it and then you will know this is possible.

Does Costco accept the Apple Card?

The Apple Card is on the MasterCard network and is not accepted at Costco stores. You could, however, load your Apple Card into your Apple Pay account and pay for your Costco purchases that way.

Can I use Samsung Pay at Costco?

You can use Samsung Pay at Costco, as well as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

What credit cards does Costco accept online?

When shopping online with Costco, you will have more payment options than when you are shopping in the store. Costco online accepts all Visa Cards, MasterCard, Discover Cards, Costco Shop cards, the majority of PIN-based debit or ATM cards, and Visa checkout.

One of the best cards for online shopping is the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer where you can earn up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay for those purchases. Other cards you can use online at Costco.com include the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Does Costco accept credit cards?

Yes, Costco warehouses and gas stations accept Visa credit cards. They do not accept Mastercard, American Express, or Discover cards.

Unlimited Cash Back

Intro Offer

Earn an extra 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases, on up to $20,000, in the first year

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • Earn an extra 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases, on up to $20,000, in the first year
  • Bonus rewards on travel, dining, and drugstores
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers

Drawbacks

  • Has foreign transaction fee
Card Details
  • Earn an extra 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases, on up to $20,000, in the first year
  • 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases
  • Intro purchase 0% APR offer: 0% for 15 months then 17.24% to 25.99% (variable)
  • Intro balance transfer 0% APR offer: 0% for 15 months then 17.24% to 25.99% (variable)

Author Details

Lindsay Frankel Lindsay Frankel is a Denver-based freelance writer who specializes in credit cards, travel, budgeting/saving, and shopping. She has been featured in several finance publications, including LendingTree. When she's not writing, you can find her enjoying the great outdoors, playing music, or cuddling with her rescue pup.