How Much is a Costco Membership: The Ultimate Guide to Costs and Benefits


Did you know that a Costco membership offers a myriad of benefits, from wholesale prices to exclusive deals on travel, insurance, and more? In this ultimate guide, we delve into the various membership tiers, their costs, and the perks that come with each. Ready to unlock the full potential of your Costco membership and find out how much it costs? Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Costco offers a range of membership tiers to suit individual needs and preferences.

  • Evaluating the value of a Costco membership requires comparing existing grocery expenses with potential savings.

  • Special discounts are available for college students, teachers, first responders, government employees, military personnel and hospital employees on their sign up.

Understanding Costco Membership Tiers

Costco provides 3 different membership options. These include Executive, Gold Star and Business. Each tier comes with its unique benefits and a specific membership fee, with annual fees ranging from $60 to $120.

Next, we will delve into the specifics of each membership tier to assist you in finding the one that best suits your needs.

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Executive Membership

The Executive Membership is Costco’s premium tier, costing $120 per year. With this membership, you’ll enjoy a 2% cash back reward on qualified purchases, additional benefits on select Costco Travel purchases, and increased savings on Costco services.

Ideal for regular Costco shoppers, the Executive Membership is designed to offer greater returns for those who frequently purchase groceries and other items at Costco. If you plan to make the most of your Costco shopping experience, this tier might be the perfect choice.

Gold Star Membership

Gold Star Membership, priced at $60 annually, includes:

  • Access to Costco warehouses

  • Online shopping

  • Two membership cards

  • Ability to purchase items at wholesale membership prices

If you’re looking for a more affordable option to enjoy the benefits of Costco without the additional perks of the Executive Membership, the Gold Star Membership is an excellent choice. This tier grants you access to the vast selection of products and savings that Costco is known for, all at a budget-friendly price.

Business Membership

Tailored specifically for business owners, the Business Membership also costs an annual membership fee of $60. This tier offers perks such as the ability to add cardholders for $60 each and purchase items for resale. Costco’s quarterly earnings call often provides updates on membership growth and benefits.

If you’re a business owner looking to capitalize on Costco’s wholesale prices and bulk purchasing options, the Business Membership is the ideal choice. This tier caters to your business needs, allowing you to maximize your savings and streamline your purchasing process.

Evaluating the Value of a Costco Membership

The suitability of a Costco membership for you hinges on various factors like:

  • the size of your household

  • your culinary habits

  • available storage space

  • how close you live to a Costco store

For example, if you have a large family and often cook meals at home, a Costco membership could lead to significant savings on groceries and household items.

A comprehensive assessment of a Costco membership’s value involves comparing your existing grocery expenses with the potential savings Costco offers. By carefully evaluating your spending habits and needs, you can determine if investing in a Costco membership is a financially sound decision for you and your household.

Payment Methods Accepted at Costco

For your convenience, Costco accepts numerous payment options at Costco locations worldwide. In the United States, you can pay using:

  • Visa credit cards

  • Debit/ATM cards

  • Cash

  • Checks

  • Traveler’s checks

  • EBT cards

  • Mobile payment options such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

This flexibility in payment methods ensures a smooth and hassle-free shopping experience at Costco. Whether you prefer using credit cards or mobile payment options, rest assured that you can make your purchases with ease at any Costco location.

Maximizing Your Costco Membership

Beyond offering access to wholesale prices on groceries and household items, your Costco membership provides much more. To truly maximize your membership, take advantage of additional benefits such as:

  • Discounts on gas

  • Travel discounts

  • Insurance discounts

  • Prescription savings

  • Tire services

  • Business services

  • Special events and promotions

For instance, Costco offers the following benefits to its members:

  • Gasoline that is approximately 21 cents less per gallon than its direct competition, resulting in potential savings of around $2.90 for a full tank of 14.5 gallons

  • Discounts on home and condo insurance, business health insurance, and car insurance

  • Exclusive travel packages and deals through Costco Travel

By utilizing the reward on qualified Costco purchases and these extra perks, you can make your Costco membership worth even more.

Comparing Warehouse Club Options

Beyond Costco, there are other warehouse club options such as Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale. Each club offers its distinct set of benefits and membership tiers. For example, Sam’s Club provides a lower price than Costco and grants earlier access to the warehouse for higher-level members. On the other hand, BJ’s Wholesale offers advantages such as same-day delivery on groceries.

To determine the best fit for your needs, compare the benefits, costs, and conveniences of each warehouse club. Keep in mind that the most suitable option will depend on your specific preferences and location.

Let’s take a look at the number of members between Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholsale over the last five years (in millions):

YearCostcoSam’s ClubBJ’s Wholesale

Tips for Reducing Food Waste with a Costco Membership

If not properly managed, buying in bulk at Costco can occasionally result in food waste. To reduce waste, consider planning meals, freezing perishable items, and sharing bulk purchases with friends or family.

Utilize resources and tools for meal planning when shopping at Costco, such as The Ultimate Budget Costco Meal Plan from ChooseFI or The Costco Meal Plan from The Kitchn. When freezing perishable items, follow proper food safety practices and use square, shallow containers to maximize space.

Lastly, consider splitting the cost of bulk items with friends or family members and sharing the items among yourselves to prevent unnecessary waste.

How to Sign Up for a Costco Membership

It’s a simple process to sign up for a Costco membership, which can be done in-store, online, or by reaching out to Member Services at 1-800-774-2678. When signing up, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Your name

  • Date of birth

  • Address

  • Email address

  • Phone number

Costco offers a risk-free 100% satisfaction guarantee, allowing you to try out their services without any worries. With free memberships available for a limited time, whether you choose to sign up in-store or online at one of the many Costco locations, you’ll soon be on your way to enjoying the many benefits and savings that come with a Costco membership.

Special Discounts and Deals on Costco Memberships

Certain groups such as:

  • College students

  • Teachers

  • First responders

  • Government employees

  • Military personnel

  • Hospital employees and medical providers

Qualify for special discounts and deals provided by Costco, including savings on qualified Costco purchases. For example, college students can take advantage of a $30 Digital Costco Shop Card when signing up for a new Gold Star membership.

Similarly, teachers can receive a $30 Costco Shop Card when joining as a new member. First responders, government employees, military personnel, and hospital employees and medical providers can also enjoy discounts on their Costco membership. Be sure to explore these special offers to make the most of your Costco experience.

Sharing a Costco Membership: Rules and Restrictions

Even though Costco memberships include two cards for primary and affiliate members, these cannot be shared among individuals residing at different locations. To stay within Costco’s rules and restrictions, ensure that you only share your membership with those living at the same address, as there is no option for a free household card.

However, you can still share the benefits of bulk purchases with friends or family members by dividing the cost and splitting the items among yourselves. This way, you can enjoy the savings that come with a Costco membership while adhering to the company’s guidelines.


In conclusion, a Costco membership offers an array of benefits and savings across various tiers, catering to different needs and preferences. By understanding the membership tiers, evaluating the value of a membership, and maximizing available benefits, you can unlock the full potential of your Costco experience. So why wait? Embark on your Costco journey today and discover the countless advantages of being a member.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost for one person to join Costco?

A Costco membership for one person costs $60 per year at minimum, and comes with two cards and access to in-club and online shopping.

What is the cheapest Costco membership?

The cheapest Costco membership is the Gold Star or Business membership, with an annual fee of $60. This membership includes two membership cards and access to member benefits worldwide.

How do I get a Costco membership for free?

You cannot get a free Costco membership, but you can have a friend buy you a Costco Shop Card to enjoy discounted items. Alternatively, you can take advantage of their generous refund policy and get a refund if you cancel at any time. You can also benefit from substantial savings on products and services offered by Costco.

What are the different Costco membership tiers?

Costco has three membership tiers available: Executive, Gold Star, and Business, each with their own perks and pricing.

How can I determine if a Costco membership is worth the investment?

Take into account the size of your household, how often you cook, storage capacity, and how close you are to a Costco store in order to determine whether a Costco membership is worth the investment.


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