Sam’s Club Mastercard Vs Costco Anywhere Visa: Read This Before Applying

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Costco 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 warehouse credit card is right for you – the Sam’s Club® Mastercard® or the  Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi?

Sam’s Club® Mastercard® or Costco Anywhere Visa® Card: Which Is Right for You?

Citi issues co-branded credit cards with some of the largest names in U.S. retail – including warehouse giant Costco. The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi closely resembles the Sam’s Club® Mastercard®, which gets its best value with the higher tier Sam’s Club Plus membership.

Both the Sam’s Club and Costco credit card enjoy popularity among fans of stocking up their pantries, saving in bulk, and earning rewards while filing up, but which one is right for you? Here is the breakdown of the cards over crucial categories:

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. Though they may sound similar, pre-qualification and pre-approval are not the same things.  

A pre-approval means that a lender has analyzed your credit profile based on existing credit information it holds, offering a product you will likely be approved for. On the other hand, pre-qualification means the lender has reviewed financial information from a credit profile and believes you may be a good fit for the credit card product. Pre-qualifications are also known as “soft inquiries,” as they have no impact on your credit score.

Related Article: How to Pre-Qualify for a Credit Card

Does the Sam’s Club Mastercard Let You Pre-Qualify?

Yes, the Sam’s Club Mastercard does provide a quick, easy online pre-qualification process. Potential applicants can see their approval odds before applying without impacting their credit score. 

Does the Costco Visa Let You Pre-Qualify?

Similarly, the Costco Anywhere Visa also provides a pre-qualification page. Citibank provides a helpful pre-screening service for potential applicants. This service offers pre-qualification for select Citi credit cards – including the Costco credit cards.

Credit Score Needed

Since both credit card options are retail credit cards, they are intended for consumers with “good” or “excellent” credit.

How to Apply

Both cards require similar information to apply. Here is the types of information you can expect to provide before applying for either the Sam’s Club Mastercard or the Costco Anywhere Visa:

  • Name
  • Address (including email address)
  • Phone number
  • Costco/Sam’s Club membership number
  • Social Security Number
  • Annual income

Annual Fee

As stated, both cards feature no annual fee. However, that doesn’t mean there are no costs associated with opening (and maintaining) an account, since membership with the warehouse club is required.

Sam’s Club offers two tiers of membership: standard Club membership and Plus membership. Club membership is $45 per year, with the ability to add up to 8 additional member accounts for just $40 each. Sam’s Club Plus membership costs $100 per year (although Sam’s sometimes offers a one-time price of $40 to join), with up to 16 additional accounts addable for $40 each.

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 of 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?

The Sam’s Club 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 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 Sam’s Club Mastercard, are exceptional gas rewards credit cards. Beyond just gas, however, 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

As mentioned, both cards provide their greatest value at the pump. The Sam’s Club Mastercard lets cardmembers earn 5% cash back on gas purchases anywhere Mastercard is accepted. While that 5% back is capped on the first $6,000 per year in spending (after that, 1% back on all gas station purchases), that total amounts to $500 per month.

In contrast, the Costco Visa offers 4% back on eligible gas, including gas at Costco for the first $7,000 per year and then 1% thereafter According to statistics, the average American fills up their car at least twice per month, so earning either 4% or 5% back on gas is a great benefit with impressive value.

Savings at the Wholesale Club

The Sam’s Club® Mastercard® also earns accelerated cash back on purchases at the wholesale club. The card earns 3% back on Sam’s Club purchases for Plus members, with regular members earning 1% back on Sam’s Club purchases. That 3% back takes the form of the 1% all Sam’s Club members earn on purchases and the additional 2% Plus members earn on qualifying in-club and Pickup purchases.

The Sam’s Club® Mastercard® also earns accelerated cash back on purchases at the wholesale club. The card earns 3% back on Sam’s Club purchases for Plus members, with regular members earning 1% back on Sam’s Club purchases. That 3% back takes the form of the 1% all Sam’s Club members earn on purchases and the additional 2% Plus members earn on qualifying in-club and Pickup purchases.

In comparison, 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

The Costco Anywhere Visa provides 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchase worldwide, and 1% back on all other purchases. With the Sam’s Club Mastercard, Sam’s Club members earn 3% cash back on dining and takeout and 1% back anywhere else Mastercard is accepted worldwide.

Do Rewards Expire?

Rewards with the Costco Visa and Sam’s Club rewards do not expire (provided the account is open and in good standing). For Costco Vis the rewards are automatically redeemed, meaning cardholders have nothing to worry about – besides racking up the rewards.

Recap

Here is a quick recap of all the features of both cards:

Sam’s Club® Mastercard® Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
  • 5% cash back on gas anywhere Mastercard is accepted (on first $6,000 per year, then 1%)
  • 3% cash back on Sam’s Club purchases for Plus members. Club members earn 1% cash back
  • 3% cash back on dining and takeout
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • 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 other purchases from Costco and Costco.com
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
Learn More

Related Article: The Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Featured image by Gam-Ol  / PixaBay
About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is BestCards.com's "Jack of all trades" and resident credit expert, covering all facets of the credit card space. Cory holds academic degrees in both the U.S. and U.K. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.

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