Wholesale clubs offer exceptional value for members. These members-only stores provide significant savings on big-ticket items like TVs, computers, furniture, and bulk grocery items. BJ’s and Sam’s Club are two of the better-known clubs out there – and both issue co-branded credit cards that provide savings on everyday purchases. But which card is right for you – the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi or the BJ’s Perks Elite® Mastercard®?
Costco Anywhere Visa® or BJ’s Perks Elite® Mastercard®: Which Is Right for You?
BJ’s issues two credit cards through Comenity: the BJ’s Perks Plus® Mastercard® and the BJ’s Perks Elite® Mastercard®. Both cards feature no annual fee, but the Plus version resembles Citi’s Costco Anywhere Visa® Card.
Here is how the two cards breakdown across several key metrics:
Pre-Qualification Before Applying
Applying for a credit card requires a credit check. Often, these credit checks (or credit inquiries) are known as “hard inquiries,” meaning the bank pulls your full credit report before approving (or denying) your credit card application. If you apply for a credit card and are declined, your credit score will likely take a minor hit. One way to avoid a negative impact on your credit score before getting a new credit card is by pre-qualifying before you apply.
Does the Costco Visa Let You Pre-Qualify?
Citibank provides a helpful pre-screening service for potential applicants. This service offers pre-qualification for select Citi credit cards, including Costco ones.
Does the BJ’s Perks Elite Mastercard Provide Pre-Qualification?
The BJ’s credit cards do not provide a pre-qualification service.
Credit Score Needed
How to Apply
Both cards require similar information to apply. Here are the types of information you can expect to provide before applying for either the Costco Anywhere Visa or the BJ’s Perks Elite Mastercard:
- Address (including email address)
- Phone number
- BJ’s/Costco membership number
- Social Security Number
- Annual income
As stated, both cards feature no annual fee. However, that doesn’t mean there are no costs associated with the opening (and maintaining) of an account since membership with the warehouse club is required.
BJ’s offers two tiers of membership: Inner Circle membership and BJ’s Perks Rewards membership. Inner Circle membership is $55 per year. BJ’s Perks Rewards membership costs $110 per year.
With Costco, the costs are very similar. The company offers two personal membership levels and one business membership.
Gold Star is the basic Costco membership level and costs $60 per year to join. Costco Gold Star provides access to Costco warehouses and two membership cards. Costco Executive is the top-tier personal membership, providing 2% back in annual rewards. Executive membership costs $120 per year.
Both cards serve as membership cards, saving the cardholder space in their wallet and time when checking out at the register.
Where Can You Use It?
BJ’s Elite credit card uses the Mastercard payment network. Mastercard is currently accepted in 212 countries worldwide. Here is what you can expect from a Mastercard credit card:
|Zero Liability Protection||Mastercard Global Services||ID Theft Protection|
The Costco credit card uses the Visa payment network. Visa is the world’s largest credit card network in terms of the number of merchants who accept Visa, meaning both cards can be used practically anywhere you want to spend – or earn rewards.
Here is what you can expect from a Visa credit card:
|Zero Fraud Liability||Cardholder Inquiry Services||Emergency Card Replacement|
|Roadside Dispatch and Auto Collision Damage Waiver||Lost/Stolen Card Reporting||ID Navigator from Norton|
Earning Cash Back Rewards
Both the Costco Anywhere Visa, as well as the BJ’s Perks Elite Mastercard are exceptional gas rewards credit cards. Beyond just gas, both cards also provide quality rewards on dining and purchases made at the respective warehouse clubs.
Here’s how the cash back rewards breakdown with the two credit cards:
Savings on Gas
The Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi is one of the very best gas credit cards, thanks to the impressive rewards rate in that category and the lack of an annual fee. The Costco Visa offers 4% back on eligible gas, including gas at Costco for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% after that
In contrast, the BJ’s Elite Mastercard offers 10¢ off per gallon at BJ’s Gas, plus 2% cash back on purchases at gas stations not associated with BJ’s. According to statistics, the average American fills up their car at least twice per month, with the average fuel tank around 14 gallons in size. Based on those statistics, this would represent around $3 in savings each month, or $36 per year.
Savings at the Wholesale Club
The BJ’s Elite Card offers 5% cash back on BJ’s purchases. This cash back rate is an improvement versus the entry-level BJ’s Perks Plus® Mastercard®, which works with the basic, Inner Circle tier of membership. BJ’s Plus Perks cardholders earn 3% back on purchases with BJ’s.
The Costco Anywhere Card offers 2% cash back on purchases from Costco and Costco.com. That flat rate is comparable to another credit card offering from Citibank – the Citi® Double Cash Card.
Other Ways to Earn Rewards
Both versions of BJ’s Mastercard offer 2% cash back on dining and 1% back on all other purchases. The Costco Anywhere Visa provides 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases worldwide, and 1% back on all other purchases.
The travel bonus category is great for Costco members who prefer cash back at their favorite box store but also want rewards when exploring the world on vacation. Citi’s “eligible travel” categories fit this purpose to a T, with airfare, car rentals, cruise lines, Costco Travel purchases, hotel, and travel agency bookings all eligible for 3% back.
Do Rewards Expire?
Rewards with the BJ’s Mastercard expire after six months. For Costco Anywhere Visa, the rewards are automatically redeemed, meaning cardholders have nothing to worry about – besides racking up the rewards.
Here is a quick recap of all the features of both cards:
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card
BJ's Perks Elite® Mastercard®
|No annual fee||No annual fee|