The Best Costco Membership Deals and Offers

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If you are on a tight budget, Costco is a great place to shop. You can save money on food, alcohol, and other purchases. But while Costco is a great place to save money, the catch is the membership fee.

At first glance, the fees don’t look budget-friendly at all. And you might have heard that there you can have a membership at Costco free of charge. Well, that simply isn’t true at all.

Regardless of what other articles say, there is no “free” membership coupon that will allow you to walk into the store and start shopping.

The Cost of a Costco Membership

Memberships at Costco range from $60 to $120. These are not insignificant fees. And they happen to be how Costco makes a large portion of its earnings. In fact, according to their 2020 annual report, membership fees from their 100 million global members account for 88.5% of Costco’s net income. Costco’s grocery pricing markups are razor-thin, which helps its customers. The more food essentials you purchase and consume from Costco, the greater your savings.

Costco Membership Options

Gold Star Membership:

  • $60.00 Annual membership fee*
  • Includes a free Household Card
  • Valid at all Costco locations worldwide

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Business Membership:

  • $60.00 Annual membership fee*
  • Includes a free Household Card
  • Add Affiliate Cardholders for $60 each*
  • Valid at all Costco locations worldwide
  • Purchase for resale
  • Business Members must provide Costco with the appropriate resale information

Executive Membership:

  • $120.00 Annual membership fee ($60 membership fee, plus $60 upgrade fee)*
  • Includes a free Household Card
  • Valid at all Costco locations worldwide
  • Annual 2% Reward on qualified Costco purchases
  • Additional benefits and greater savings on Costco Services
  • Extra benefits on select Costco Travel products

A Gold Star Membership can be shared by two people: one Primary Member and one free household member who is over the age of 18 and lives at the same address. If you are the Primary Member, you choose who gets the second card, which you can change at any time by visiting your Account Details or the membership counter at your local Costco.

The main distinction between Gold Star Membership and Business Membership is that the Primary Member on a Business Membership may add more than one individual for a fee.

Is there a Free Costco Membership or Trial?

There are no free Costco memberships, shopping passes, day passes, trial passes, guest passes, trial memberships, or other trial periods where you can walk up to the door, walk-in, and purchase anything you want.

However, if you just want to look around to see what the store has to sell, you are welcome to enter and walk around. Most goods can only be purchased if you are a member or have a member making the purchase on your behalf.

What is the Option for Non-Members?

If you’re not at all willing or ready to pay for the membership fee, you can still buy at Costco, but with a caveat:

Non-members can make purchases at any time on Costco’s website, Costco.com. However, there is a catch: if you are not a member, you will be charged a 5% surcharge over the posted rates for members (except for prescription drugs). This is due in large part to Costco’s membership scheme, which is structured to reward members for their loyalty and allows the company to deliver low rates on brand-name products.

In comparison to the warehouse, the food selection on Costco.com is also limited.

Costco Shop Card

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Costco also offers a cash card known as the “Costco Shop Card.” Any non-member may use a Costco Shop Card to gain access to the store and make a purchase.

The Costco cash card has a catch: it can only be purchased by members. Once the card is expired, you must obtain a new one from a member or request a reload from a member. The cards can be filled with up to $2,000 in value.

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