If you have an American Express Costco credit card in your wallet, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your mail.
Citi has announced that it will be sending out its new Costco Anywhere Visa credit card, beginning in May. The card is replacing the TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express. The bulk retailer ended its long-term exclusive partnership with Amex back in March 2015. (Full Disclosure: Citibank and American Express advertise on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
You won’t need to apply for the new card and Citi won’t be pulling your credit report as part of the account transfer process. (In other words, you don’t need to worry about a hard inquiry dinging your credit score.) You can continue using your Amex card in stores until June 19. After that, you’ll need to have your new Citi card ready to go to shop at Costco stores or online. Citi said on its website anyone who changed their address since applying for the card should call the number on the back to update their contact information.
The new card, like the old one, doesn’t technically carry an annual fee, but you need a Costco membership, which costs at least $59 a year (depending on the membership type), to qualify. Your new Citi card will serve as your Costco membership card; anyone who is currently paying their membership fee through automatic payments with their Amex card will automatically be allowed to do so with the Citi version.
What You Need to Know About Your Rewards
As for the rewards terms and conditions, Citi’s new Costco card allows eligible cardholders to earn 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases (on up to $7,000 of gas purchases per year, then 1% back); 3% back at restaurants and on eligible travel purchases; 2% back on Costco and Costco.com purchases and 1% back everywhere. That improves upon the Amex version’s reward structure, which offered 3% cash back on gas (up to $4,000), 2% back at restaurants and eligible travel and 1% back everywhere else.
One potential short-term downside to the account transfer: While cardholders won’t lose any of the cash back they’ve accrued with their Amex Costco card, they won’t be able to transfer any American Express-specific membership rewards over to the new account. All cash back will be transferred over by the June 20 start date.
Some More Housekeeping
Account balances, too, will carry over. Citi said monthly payments should be directed to whichever issuer you receive a statement from.
Remember, if you have any automatic or recurring payments linked to your old American Express card, you’ll need to update the account information with the merchant. You’ll also need to set up automatic bill pay on the new account if you wish to make your monthly payments from a linked checking account. Forgetting to do either could result in missed payments, which could wind up affecting your credit score. You can see where your credit currently stands by viewing your two free scores every 14 days on Credit.com.
Citi will be sending full terms and conditions — along with payment due dates and interest rates — with the new card, so you’ll want to read these carefully to learn if the transfer is affecting your account in any other way. You can contact a Citi customer service representative about these details if you have any questions.
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