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Costco doesn’t do traditional “discounts” for anybody. Not military members. Not students. Not doctors. And no, not even teachers. This is probably due to the fact that the warehouse store thinks of themselves as providing great deals from the start.
While there is no Costco teacher discount to use year-round, they do provide a onetime promotional gift card for different professions. This quirky program has a lot of ins and outs, but if you’re a teacher who’s signing up for a Costco membership anyways, it’s worth claiming.
Before we start weaving through the finer details of this promotion, be sure to download the KCL app. That way you can stay up to date on ways to save at Costco even after you’ve paid your membership fee. We’re so good at this that we can even help you get that Costco membership to pay for itself.
Does Costco have a discount for educators?
No, unfortunately Costco doesn’t have a teacher discount. But it does give teachers a onetime $20 gift card.
This card, known as a digital spend card, is issued when you sign up for a Costco membership through Costco’s teacher program.
Who qualifies for the Costco teacher shop card?
Costco advertises their $20 shop card as “for teachers.” But it works with third-party service ID.me to verify your status. All of the ID.me categories that may qualify you for teacher discount programs include:
- Certified teacher (Obvs.)
- Certified teacher aide
- Certified teaching assistant
- Certified educational assistant
- Hold a lifetime teaching credential
- Professors at colleges and universities
- Speech pathologists
- School administrators
How do I sign up for the Costco teacher shop card?
You sign up for the Costco teacher shop card through ID.me, but Costco has their own special landing page that will help you get started.
If you sign up directly through ID.me, you’ll have access to all of their teacher programs. But getting into the Costco program will require extra steps.
Either way, you need to provide documentation of your position and/or credentials. Here are some examples of the paperwork ID.me accepts:
- Teacher ID
- School staff ID
- State-issued educator certificate
- Recent paystub
- Verification on official letterhead signed by an administrator
Are there any other special requirements?
Yes, and it’s a bit of an odd one. You’re going to need a Visa card on file in order to qualify for the $20 teacher shop card.
When you sign up for your new membership, you have to set it up to auto renew the next year. Costco won’t let you put it on a Mastercard or Discover. Your auto renew has to be set up with a Visa.
How long does it take to get your Costco teacher shop card?
Once you officially sign up for your Costco membership, you should receive your $20 digital shop card within two weeks via email.
TIP: Make the most of your $20. Here are 13 Costco pricing secrets that will help you maximize your cash.
Is there a limit on how many shop cards I can claim per household?
Yes. You’re only allowed to claim this promotion once per household.
That means even if your spouse is a teacher, too, they won’t be able to sign up for a separate membership to claim their own gift card. If you live at the same address, only one of you can claim it.
And you can only claim it once. You don’t get another $20 shop card for renewing your membership next year.
TIP: Technically, if you haven’t had a membership in your household for at least 18 months, you count as a new member. So you could conceivably claim the promotion twice if you waited 30 months between sign-ups, assuming the promotion is still running between now and then.
Does Costco have similar promotions for other professions?
Yes. And if you’re participating in two different promotional categories, you may be able to get more than one $20 shop card per household.
The promotion is always the same — a $20 shop card for new members who certify through ID.me. But there’s a separate program for each of these categories:
- Costco military promotion
- Costco first responder promotion
- Costco healthcare worker promotion
- Costco student promotion (run through UniDays rather than ID.me)
- Costco government worker promotion
Related: Best Teacher Freebies
Are there exclusions on my Costco teacher shop card?
There are exclusions, but not for specific items.
It’s more about where you can and can’t use your card. Obviously, you have to spend the $20 at Costco, but you won’t be able to use it in these places at Costco:
- Costco gas stations
- Costco car washes
- The food court kiosk
- The self-checkout line
Which Costco membership should I get?
There are two different Costco memberships: Gold Star and Executive.
Most people are going to get the best value out of the Gold Star membership. It gets you admission to Costco’s lower prices for $60/year.
You have to be a relatively large spender for the Executive membership to make sense. It costs double at $120/year, but it comes with extra benefits like 2% in rewards on your Costco purchases and extra savings on travel booked through Costco.
It’s only really worth it if you feel 100% confident you’ll spend at least $500 at Costco each and every month. With inflation and food prices, this might not be as high a bar as it was just a few years ago.
Does Sam’s Club have a better teacher discount than Costco?
Nope! Sam’s Club doesn’t have a similar program for teachers. It doesn’t do a straight percentage-off teacher discount, either.
But Sam’s Club is running two different promotions right now that can get you an even sweeter deal on membership — even after accounting for the $20 Costco teacher shop card.
The first gives you 50% off a Club Membership, bringing the fee down to just $25 for the first year.
The other gives you a $50 gift card when you sign up for a Club Membership at full price. Since full price is $50, that’s essentially like getting a free Sam’s Club Membership.