How to Get Costco Membership at a Discount

How to Get Costco Membership at a Discount

Costco is a popular membership-only warehouse club that provides brand-named merchandise typically sold in bulk at a substantial discounted prices. They offer a large selection of products and departments in one location to make shopping cheaper and more convenient for consumers. Costco has been in business since 1976 when it started out as Price Club and operated out of a converted airplane hangar in California. It used to only provide sales to small business but soon changed protocol and began selling to the general public.

How to Get Costco Membership at a Discount 1

Photo by RodBegbie via Flickr

Should You Become a Costco Member?

Will a Costco membership be worth the membership fee? Will it benefit you to become a member? Well, it really depends on the individual and their shopping habits and needs. Explore the Costco website to see what kinds of products and services they offer and if there is a location convenient to you.

Costco membership comes in three flavors:

Costco Executive Member

How to Get Costco Membership at a Discount 2Executive membership is the highest level a consumer can join. The cost is $120 per year. Executive members will receive in addition to access to the warehouse stores, a 2% reward on nearly all purchases made at Costco. Executive members also receive lower rates on check printing, payroll services and identity protection. Members also get free roadside assistance under the Costco auto insurance plan, and additional travel benefits.

Costco Business Member

How to Get Costco Membership at a Discount 3Business membership is open to any licensed business, non profit organization, government agency, farmer, and rancher for a $60 membership fee. Business members will receive one card with up to 6 additional business cards for $60 each. Business identification is required when applying for membership and provide appropriate resale information is merchandise is purchased for that reason.

Costco Gold Star Member

How to Get Costco Membership at a Discount 4Gold Star membership is open to any person not qualified for a Business Membership.  Membership for individuals under the Gold Star program is $60 annually and includes one household card per membership.



For any member who is not satisfied with their membership at any time, Costco will refund your membership fee in full.

Costco Membership Discount

Current Offers

Currently, Citi.com is offering Costco Cash Card when you purchase new membership. Offer expires 12/31/2019. (see offer details)

  • Gold Star Members – receive a $10 Costco Cash Card
  • Executive Members – receive a $20 Costco Cash Card

Other Methods

There are some other ways ways to get membership at a discounted price if you wish to join the club and are eligible for the following offers that can save you money.

  • Online Coupon Sites – there are some websites that specialize in online coupons and discount codes. Costco membership is often featured on these sites, e.g., check Groupon or LivingSocial and can save you a few bucks on your membership or even grant you a free membership with some deals.
  • Direct Membership Discount – Occasionally Costco will offer special membership promotions directly to customers in-store or through their website.
  • Costco Employer Discount – If you happen to work for a company associated with Costco, you may have the opportunity to save up to $20 on your membership fee. Typically, representatives of Costco will visit affiliate companies to sign up new members who must pay full price for the membership but will receive in turn a gift card for up to $20 as a gift.
  • Costco Association Discount – As a member of some professional organizations, you may be entitled to a special discount. Costco uses this as a marketing technique for large companies and organizations to promote memberships so they do it at a reduced rate.

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How to Get Costco Membership at a Discount 5

28 thoughts on “How to Get Costco Membership at a Discount”

  1. Even if the membership comes at a discount, if you end up paying more overall than at the “regular” stores, is there any real savings?

    So, the bottom line question is: Does Costco help a family’s household budget save money?


  2. As a Costco Executive member, I have to say that in many cases Costco saves money. Milk is $2.79/gallon and much of the produce is about 40% less than the grocery store. Those two things alone save us enough to pay for the membership. There is a risk of overbuying since much of it comes in bulk. Also, you might be able to do better on some things by clipping coupons and tracking sales at other stores, but that was something we just don’t wish to spend our time doing, so I feel like it saves us money.

    One note about the Executive membership. You pay a $50 premium over a standard membership, but you get 2% of your purchased in cash back at the end of the year. (Sort-of cash back, since you have to use it at Costco) They guarantee this check to be at least $50 regardless of you spending so you get the $50 premium back at the end of the year anyway. We have always exceeded the $50 minimum. Costco gets a lot of our money.

  3. The Costco Executive Membership costs you $100 per year, but you get 2% back on purchases. But like James said, they guarantee you $50 minimum in cash back.

    Also, it is a Costco cash check they send you, but you can take it to any Costco cashier and they will cash it out for you.

  4. We have been a Costco regular shoppers for years. We are executive members who pays $100/year. We also get cash back for every purchase and we pretty much get the membership fee back every year. We are a family of four and we buy most of our home supplies from Costco plus other stuffs. We love Costco but you have to know what you are buying. If you do not have to buy a certain items in bulk then don’t, buy it somewhere else.

  5. I am planning on buying the Motorola Atrix and found that I can get a $50 membership at Costco and get the phone from Costco at a discounted price… for a total of $180 which is $20 cheaper than if I were to walk into an AT&T store.

    Bottom line: Phone I want, “free” Costco membership, and $20 extra $$$. Find something that makes the membership worth it, then the rest of the year you can save a lot on stuff you would buy anyway.

  6. We are senior citizens, that live on a very tight budget and find that the $50.00 membedrship fee does not fit into our budget. Why dont you give a senior discount or a aarp discount, or any other civic organizational discounts??? I would hate to not have the use of my Costco American Express card

    • I know lots of people who aren’t senior citizens who live on very tight budgets as well. Without dismissing your financial concerns, I’m curious on what basis you feel all senior citizens (some of whom are on small budgets, some of whom are extremely wealth, many of whom are somewhere in-between) deserve a discount?

      Costco exists on extremely tight margins. So much so, in fact, that over 50% of Costco’s profits now come from selling memberships. If I were in their shoes, I doubt I would discount. I think Costco would argue that the discount comes from them (typically, so they say) being cheaper than the competition.

      • I like Costco products. However, I am an empty nester and do not need to buy large quantities of things. I find that I go to Costco three, maybe four times a year, which makes membership pretty expensive. Why not consider a cash admission program. Charge people like me $8 to get in. That way, Costco gets my $24 or $32 cash for the three or four times I visit per year, PLUS whatever profit Costco makes off my purchases. Without a program like this, Costco risks losing me as a member…which means no $55 membership fee plus the loss of profit on whatever I would purchase (which is usually a lot of meat).

        While I have your attention, while I love Costco products, I absolutely HATE that I have to show my card to both enter and leave. Why would I come into Costco if I didn’t have a card? I wouldn’t be able to purchase anything. And having to show my card on the way out tells me I am a thief until proven innocent; the explanation that you offer – “we want to ensure that everything your purchased is in fact in your cart” is baloney, since no actual checking is done. This whole card business puts a really bad taste in my mouth. No warm fuzzy feelings of membership there, for sure. Think about it.

      • @Diane
        No proof of membership? Can you imagine how many times a day an uninformed person would see the store, walk in, fill a cart and at checkout say, ‘What membership? You won’t take my money, credit/debit card without it?’ and then walk away? Now all that stuff has to be returned to the shelves.

      • @observer59
        Yeah, it’s bad enough in there with just members!

        I like your cash admission idea. I’ve never had to show my card on the way out, but I do have to show my receipt. I think Costco could do without those receipt checkers, no offense to them.

      • I would love to shop at Costco because of the way you treat your employees and because your CEO isn’t nearly as greedy as most.

        However, like some other commenters, I’m older and live alone. My budget doesn’t allow me to buy in bulk. In fact, my budget limits my ability to buy many things. That’s why I can’t justify $55 a year to shop with you.

        I will not shop at Walmart, so my options for shopping at discount stores are limited.

        Also, your comments about seniors are mildly offensive. You are not looking at the volume of shopping those of us on a limited income do. When my kids were young, the $55 membership would be well worthwhile.

  7. 2/11/2014 we today stooped at Costco to view the new store in Sioux falls SD being members of Sam’s we wanted to look around, we were greeted by a young person at the door in a wheel chair and wow was he so nice hard to believe he made us feel very comfortable, we look around and were very impressed with the store. we will being buying a member ship soon.

  8. I use target and have been told by several different folks that target prices are within 1 percent of Costco always found Costco way to pricey and must not forget to shop walmart they are always in play .

    • I always choose costco over Walmart because costco treats their employees and vendors much better. Walmart under-pays and squeezes their vendors too hard.

      • Never shop Walmart. Kids of the founder make billions every year while taking advantage of employees. They pay wages the qualify employees for food stamps and they try to prevent their employees from getting affordable with various ploys. Just think of the employees and families that work there, a percentage very sick, maybe even dying and the Walmart clan hoist the champagne glasses,laughing about how little they pay the “little people”.

  9. I am in my 80s and depend on someone driving me to your Costco store. I buy all my paper products, cleaning products, cereals, treats, cooking oils.a little meat, & a few other items. The person that drives me to your store buys much more, but she also comes only 3 or 4 times a year. Can I purchase one Costco membership with two cards, one in her name and one in my name.

    • You may if you can show you belong to the same household, for example if both of your driver’s licenses had the same address. A primary card holder can have a domestic add-on at no extra cost.

  10. Does Costco offer “free membership for the day” like its competitor? This would be ideal for empty nesters like me who are on a fixed income. Thank you so much!

  11. So, how exactly does one obtain a lifetime membership for Costco, without haveing ever worked there, or ever having been married to a top executive?? I have seen one!!!

  12. I would like to know if there is a discount on the first year of membership when a new Costco store is open,thank you,Dave

  13. I really gripes me to have to pay to shop at Costco. I let my card expire every year, but it has to go 2 months beyond expiration or the membership is retroactive. My card is expired at this writing and I do not intend to renew. I am 73 years old and almost all quantities are more than I need. Walmart and Albertsons are within block, BiMart close enough. Costco spent millions to get hard liquor in the stores in Washington State. I do not drink. No more Costco for me.

  14. The small print in terms of membership for California residents: does the law here allow membership with no fee required?

  15. I work as a vendor in the flower case at costco. Is there a chance I can get one free or discounted? If not then that’s complete bull!

    • I’ve never been to a Costco – we now have one fairly near me, but I’d like to be able to have a one day pass to see if it would be worthwhile for me to purchase a membership.

  16. I am a 74 disabled senior on SSI, $800+ a month fixed income, no EBT card. I would so appreciate a discount on a membership card. It’s more expensive to live in San Diego, but as with a lot of us seniors, cant afford to move.

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