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5 key things to know about the Costco Anywhere Visa Card

Costco store in Teterboro, New Jersey.
SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

Few retailers inspire such strong customer loyalty as Costco (one couple even got married there). But is it smart for Costco members to sign up for the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi to maximize their savings?

CNBC Select took a deeper look at the card's benefits and drawbacks and here are five important things you should know about the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card.

1. It has a robust rewards program

While we usually don't recommend signing up for a store credit card, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card is an exception, thanks in part to its tiered rewards program that benefits gas guzzlers, foodies and frequent travelers.

Here are the rewards you earn:

  • 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter
  • 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases
  • 2% cash back on all purchases from Costco and Costco.com
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

2. Costco purchases don't earn the highest cash-back rate

Though this card is co-branded with Costco, purchases at the store don't earn the highest amount of cash back. You earn 2% cash back on purchases from Costco and Costco.com.

While this may seem rather low, if you frequently shop at Costco for groceries, it can still help you maximize your savings. Many rewards cards that offer bonus rewards at supermarkets exclude purchases at big box stores like Costco, so while you can earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%) with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, that doesn't apply to Costco purchases.

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card is still one of your best options for Costco purchases with 2% cash back.

3. You can only collect rewards once a year

The cash back you earn with the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card is provided via an annual reward certificate once your February billing statement closes. To redeem the certificate for cash or merchandise, you have to head to a U.S. Costco Warehouse. That may come as an unexpected surprise if you didn't read the fine print.

4. You have to be a Costco member

While the card itself has no annual fee, cardholders must have a paid Costco membership, which start at $60 for Gold Star and Business levels, then doubles in price to $120 for Gold Star Executive and Business Executive members.

If you're already a Costco member, this isn't really an added cost. But if you're considering this card and already have a membership with BJ's or Sam's Club, you may think twice about adding the cost of another warehouse club membership.

5. The card offers helpful perks for travelers

Frequent travelers will benefit from the various perks provided by the Costco Anywhere Visa Card, which include travel and emergency assistance, worldwide travel accident insurance and worldwide car rental insurance.

Additionally, there are no foreign transaction fees, so purchases made outside the U.S. won't incur the typical 3% charge. This can add up to substantial savings if you regularly travel abroad.

Bottom line

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card is a good choice for Costco members who want to earn competitive rewards on gas, dining and travel purchases, and don't mind receiving rewards once a year.

However, if you're not loyal to Costco and want a card that doesn't require membership but still earns high rewards, check out our list of the best credit cards and break outs for rewards, cash-back, travel, dining, grocery and gas credit cards.

Information about the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.