How Much Is a Costco Membership?

Costco offers two $60 plans, one personal and one for businesses, as well as a $120 executive level.
Tiffany Curtis
By Tiffany Curtis 
Updated
Edited by Kathy Hinson

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It's important to make the most of your money when shopping for groceries and household items. And sometimes buying in bulk can be more cost effective and convenient than purchasing items one at a time.

Some potential benefits to buying in bulk include:

  • Less frequent shopping trips to stores and fewer online orders — which means fewer opportunities for impulse buys to run up your bill.

  • Less packaging waste.

  • Less money spent, over time, on items you use frequently. Bulk packages may have a higher upfront cost initially, but can be cheaper over time than buying smaller single items at a larger markup.

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What is Costco?

A retailer like Costco can be a good option if you are interested in buying in bulk and getting discounted prices on items. Costco is a wholesale club that sells products at reduced prices. You can access Costco by paying an annual membership fee.

Costco membership price

Costco membership prices are based on a tiered structure, with different prices for the options. Keep in mind, membership prices may be subject to sales tax based on where you reside:

  • Executive Membership: $120 per year. 

  • Gold Star Membership: $60 per year. 

  • Business Membership: $60 per year. 

Are there free or discounted Costco memberships?

While Costco doesn’t provide free memberships, there are new-member promotions for certain groups of people. Teachers, college students, medical professionals, military personnel, government employees and first responders are eligible to receive a $30 digital Costco gift card when they sign up.

What is the difference between Costco memberships?

The Executive and Gold Star memberships are both personal membership options. There is only one Business option, and you must also be a business owner.

Two people can be on a Gold Star or Executive membership — one primary member and a second household member who lives at the same residence and who is over the age of 16. If you’re a Business member, you can add more than one person to your membership for an additional fee.

Here are the benefits of a Costco membership:

Executive Membership

  • Valid at all Costco locations worldwide and online at Costco.com.

  • A free household card is included.

  • Annual 2% reward, up to $1,000, on qualified Costco purchases. Rewards can be redeemed on eligible Costco merchandise.

  • Extra benefits and savings on Costco Services, which include auto and home insurance, pet insurance, photo printing and more.

Gold Star Membership

  • Valid at all Costco locations worldwide and online at Costco.com.

  • A free household card is included.

Business Membership

  • A free household card is included.

  • Add affiliate cardholders for $60 each.

  • Valid at all Costco locations worldwide and online at Costco.com.

  • Can purchase items for resale, pending appropriate resale information is provided.

Before you build a budget
NerdWallet breaks down your spending and shows you ways to save.

How do you sign up for a Costco membership?

To sign up, visit the membership desk at any location. You can also sign up online or call Costco’s Member Services line at 1-800-774-2678.

You’ll be asked for your name, date of birth, address, email address and phone number. If you sign up online, you’ll also need the confirmation email you get from Costco and a valid government-issued photo ID to receive your membership card in store.

How do you pay for purchases at Costco?

Visa credit cards are the only credit card type accepted at brick-and-mortar Costco stores in the U.S. They also accept debit/ATM cards, cash, checks and traveler's checks, EBT cards and mobile payment methods such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Costco.com accepts a wider variety of credit card types.

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Is a Costco membership worth it?

A Costco membership may be worth it if you live in a multiperson household and want to purchase items in bulk and potentially save on groceries and home goods. A benefit of all Costco memberships is savings on gas, travel deals, medications (in some states) and certain business-related expenses (if you opt for the Business membership).

However, with the cheapest Costco membership costing $60 a year, it may not be worth it if you don’t plan to shop at Costco often or use its services, and if buying in bulk isn’t practical for your living situation.

You might be able to earn more money back with the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi. Compare that credit card with other cash-back cards you may already carry.