Costco Membership Guide

Updated

If you’re wondering whether or not you should get a Costco membership, you probably know at least one person who swears by the savings. Costco members get exclusive savings in the Costco warehouse and online at Costco.com, plus access to Costco Travel, Costco Gas, and other Costco services. Knowing where to find the best Costco deals is the key to justifying your membership fees. Once you learn all the best ways to save at Costco, you’ll start to see what all the hype is about.

While you weigh the pros and cons, this guide will help answer all your questions.

 

How much does a Costco membership cost?

Costco’s standard Gold Star Membership costs $60 per year.

With a Gold Star Membership, you get:

  • Member-only savings at Costco
  • Two membership cards

Costco’s Executive Membership costs $120 per year.

With an Executive Membership, you get:

  • Member-only savings
  • Two membership cards
  • Annual 2% in rewards on qualified Costco purchases
  • Additional benefits and more savings on Costco Services
  • Extra benefits on select Costco Travel products

Costco’s Business Membership costs $60 per year.

With a Business Membership, you get:

  • Member-only savings
  • Two membership cards
  • Ability to add affiliate cardholders for $60 each
  • Purchases that are eligible for resale

 

Choose an Executive Membership if you spend more than $500 a month at Costco.

coscto cart with chicken and costco card

An Executive Membership costs twice as much as the standard Gold Star Membership, but Executive members get 2% back in rewards on purchases (including experiences you buy through Costco Travel). So, if you spend at least $500 a month at Costco (or $6,000 a year), you’ll earn your membership fees back in rewards. At the end of the year, you’ll receive an annual reward voucher to use on future Costco purchases.

You can earn up to $1,000 in rewards each year. It’s important to note that only the primary cardholder can earn rewards on purchases, and you’ll have to shop in the warehouse to qualify.

 

Costco’s Gold Star Membership is best for everyday savings.

If you’re not a top spender at Costco, the Gold Star Membership is the right choice for you. The savings and everyday benefits are enough to make the $60 membership fee worth it each year. Remember to take advantage of all your member-only savings. Check for deals in the Costco Coupon Book and look for red “Instant Savings” tags throughout the warehouse to save more.

 

Look for Costco membership deals on Groupon.

A person holding a cell phone inside Costco, with a Groupon deal for a Costco membership displayed on the phone

If you’re not a Costco member yet, check Groupon for new member promos and offers. Sometimes Groupon will have a deal, like, get a $10 Costco Shop Card when you join as a Gold Star member and a $20 Costco Shop Card when you join as an Executive member.

If you’re already a Costco member, look for member-only deals on Groupon like $150 off Bridgestone tires.

 

Costco has membership discounts for certain shoppers.

A woman looking at a desk among other furniture at Costco.

Well, they aren’t really “discounts,” per se, but Costco offers bonuses to qualifying members who join. Students, teachers, medical professionals, first responders, government employees, and military personnel will qualify for a bonus gift card (called a Costco Shop Card) when they become members. If you qualify, you’ll have to sign up, verify your status, and enroll in auto-renew in order to get the promo.

Here’s how the membership promos break down:

  • College Students – $30 digital Shop Card
  • Teachers – $30 digital Shop Card
  • Medical Professionals – $20 digital Shop Card
  • First Responders – $20 digital Shop Card
  • Government Employees – $20 digital Shop Card
  • Military Personnel – $20 digital Shop Card

 

Renew your Costco membership online or in the warehouse (or sign up for auto-renew).

A Costco membership renewal screenshot from the website

You can either renew your membership online or at the membership counter inside the warehouse. Your renewal fees are due the day before your Costco membership expires. If you don’t renew before it expires, your renewal fees will be added to your next purchase in the warehouse.

You can also enroll in auto-renew to keep your membership rolling if you don’t plan to cancel it. Costco will automatically charge your Visa or Mastercard on the first day of your renewal month.

 

Can you shop at Costco without a membership?

A person's hand holding up a Costco Shop card near the the membership counter.

Yes, you can shop at Costco without a membership, but it’s not as easy as grabbing a cart and walking into the warehouse. To shop in the Costco warehouse without a membership, you’ll need to get your hands on a Costco Shop Card. Ask a friend with a membership to buy one for you and you’re good to go.

You can also shop online at Costco.com without a membership, but you’ll have to pay a 5% surcharge on your purchase. Non-members don’t have access to the same Instant Savings that Costco members get.

Here’s everything you can do at Costco without a membership.

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Costco Coupon Book


Costco Black Friday Deals


Costco Warehouse Savings


Best Costco Deals


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Can You Shop at Costco Without a Membership?


Does Costco Take Coupons?