We’ve all heard of BJ’s, Sam’s Club, and Costco, but did you know they often have perks beyond the discounts?
At Costco, you might be missing several benefits if all you’re doing is showing up with a cart to load up on groceries and toilet paper.
Today, we’re talking about the additional benefits you can get with a Costco membership.
What Is Costco?
Costco is a wholesale club like BJ’s and Sam’s Club. The company is a multi-billion dollar global retailer with locations in eight countries. To shop at Costco, you must have a membership.
This yearly fee gives you access to hundreds of locations, a wide selection of merchandise, exclusive member services and discounts, and brand-name products.
Like other wholesale clubs, Costco’s main operating philosophy is to keep costs down.
How Many Costco Locations Are There?
There are over 550 Costco locations in the United States, with another 200+ scattered worldwide. Even in the next few weeks, seven new sites are set to open in the United States. These spots may include services such as gasoline and propane, a hearing aid center, and an optical center.
How Much Does a Costco Membership Cost?
Anyone over 18 can apply for a Costco membership. The fee covers 12 months from your enrollment date and is valid at any Costo location worldwide.
The Executive Gold Star membership is $120, while the Gold Star membership is $60. The additional perk of the Executive Gold Star membership is an annual 2% reward on Costco purchases. It’s capped at $1,000 for any 12-month period.
Can You Shop at Costco Without a Membership?
Upon entering a Costco store, you must show your membership card. There are no special days or certain hours when non-members can access the stores. There isn’t a 24-hour pass to give non-members access to the discounted items either.
However, Costco pharmacies do allow non-members to refill prescriptions. You don’t have to show your membership card at check-out in the pharmacy.
5 Costco Membership Perks You May Be Missing
The $60 or $120 annual membership to Costco is inexpensive when you consider all the perks of a membership. Not only do you have access to discounted items and great prices, but you also can take advantage of cheap gas, medical screenings, and travel discounts.
1. Cheap Gas
Costco fuel centers are known for being some of the cheapest locations in the country. However, it’s not just cheap. Costco is listed as a TOP TIER gasoline retailer.
The Costco website states, “Kirkland Signature Gasoline contains five times the EPA detergent requirement in both regular unleaded and premium grades.” In addition, the lines flow one way for easy-in and easy-out with no hassles.
2. Hearing/Vision Exams
Costco accepts most hearing and vision insurance plans. Not only can you pick up a new pair of glasses or hearing aid from the centers, but you can also schedule an exam.
Although there aren’t hearing aid centers or optical centers in every Costco location, most locations have at least one of these services. Make sure to call your local Costco to find out more.
3. Gift Card Discounts
When we don’t know what to get that family member or co-worker for the holidays, we tend to go to the gift card aisle. We include a gift card when we want to send our nephew or niece a birthday card. At Costco, members can take advantage of gift card discounts. Instead of paying the full value for a $25 gift card, members might pay $20.
4. Discounts on Travel
Costco Travel is an additional service provided by Costco to its members. From packages to hotels to car rentals to flights to cruises, members have access to travel agents who can plan the logistics for you. If your family is planning a trip to Disney, you can find a package that includes everything you’ll need to experience the magic.
If you want to surprise your spouse with a romantic getaway, choose from packages that include visits to Oahu, Cancun, the Riviera Maya, and more.
5. Prescription Drugs
Finally, the only benefit both non-members and members can enjoy at Costco is access to the pharmacy. But members enjoy the Costco membership prescription program, where they can take advantage of lower prices on medicines for both themselves and their pets at thousands of pharmacy locations.
These include Walgreens, Safeway, Albertsons, and more.
Is a Costco Membership Worth It?
Even if you don’t have a large family or need to buy groceries or household essentials in bulk, a Costco membership could be worth the additional benefits. Just having access to the fueling centers will save you more than the $60 annual fee. Plus, travel and pharmacy discounts available where and when you need them will certainly come in handy.
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