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Does Costco Limit the Number of Club Members?

Where would we be without our massive supermarkets in the U.S.? Most of us appreciate the convenience of having everything under one roof. Nowhere is that more true than at Costco.

Not only do you get everything in one place and online, but you also get it in large quantities at discounted rates. But this convenience isn’t open to everyone.

You’ll need a Costco membership. Keep on reading to learn more about Costco, how to become a member, and the membership limitations. Let’s get started! 

What Is Costco? 

Have you never heard of Costco? Never fear because we’re here to enlighten you. Some may say that Costco is only another big box store. While that may be true, it differs from your typical box chain. One difference lies in the no-frills, low-cost, high-quantity merchandise available here. It’s a warehouse club full of bulk goods at discounted prices.

Costco originated under the Price Club name in San Diego in 1976, serving small businesses. Over the next few years, they transitioned from business-only members and opened membership to non-business owners. The first official Costco location serving non-business members opened its doors in Seattle in 1983.

Ten years later, the two companies merged, with 206 locations worldwide. Today, Costco Warehouse generates billions of dollars across 14 countries with more than 800 locations. 

Pro Tip: Don’t commit any of these Seven Deadly Sins of Costco Shopping when using your Costco membership.

What Is a Costco Club Member? 

Another difference that separates Costco from other big box stores is that you need to be a Costco Club Member to take advantage of all they offer. With a membership, you get access to warehouses worldwide full of grocery items, home decor, sporting goods, and more. 

Through physical locations and online options, you’ll also have access to auto services and goods, travel services, insurance services, and even discounted gas. However, to take advantage of all this, you must be a member.

How to Become a Member

Joining the over 100 million Costco Club Members is pretty straightforward. You can visit a warehouse and sign up at the membership desk. Another option is to purchase a membership online without leaving your house. You can also contact Costco Member Services by phone.

Cost of Membership

Costco has three membership options. All will get you in the door and give you access to discounted shopping and services, offering slightly different additional benefits.

The Gold Star and Business Membership cost $60 in annual fees. Each membership includes a card for you and one other household member. You can purchase the Business Membership for resale to employees of your business, and you can add affiliate cardholders to the account for $60.

The third option is Executive Membership. This usually comes with a $120 annual fee which breaks down into a $60 membership fee and a $60 upgrade fee. Like the Gold Star and Business Memberships, you’ll also get a free household card. The upgrade fee gives you additional discounts across an array of services.

Person getting membership card
A Costco membership can save you major bucks on household goods and groceries.

Membership Policies

Costco offers a membership that allows you to shop at Costco warehouse stores worldwide. To become a Costco member, you need to meet specific criteria. First, you must be 18 or older and present valid photo identification. Additionally, Costco requires an annual membership fee that you must renew before the expiration month yearly. They only allow one Costco membership (including one free additional household card) per household or business, and the primary Costco member is responsible for account fees. 

Members must show their Costco Membership Card to enter the warehouse and check out at the payment registers. Each member can bring up to two guests and children into the store; however, only members can pay for goods.

Membership Benefits

Costco memberships are like having a passport to savings. Not only can you enjoy discounts on bulk grocery items and home or sporting goods, but Costco also offers discounts on gas prices, optical purchases, and pharmacy products. It also offers discounted insurance plans for your car and home. Costco provides excellent travel opportunities with car rentals, cruise packages, and vacation options. Add to that the exclusive Costco Anywhere Visa Card and the Costco membership pays for itself in no time.

Gold Star Executive Membership

Costco’s Gold Star Executive Membership gives consumers numerous exclusive perks to help make their Costco shopping experience better than ever. For $120 a year, shoppers get more than the standard Costco membership benefits. They also receive an annual 2% reward on qualified Costco purchases. They’ll have access to Costco services like lower prices on check printing, auto buying, and roadside assistance. 

On top of that, Executive Members will receive the Costco Connection magazine, which shares helpful tips and highlights Costco products. With a Gold Star Executive Membership, Costco will make shopping easy and enjoyable!

Woman shopping at Costco
Costco limits their membership card to two per household.

How Many Costco Cards Can a Family Have?

While we all want to enjoy the benefits, each membership only includes two cards, one for the primary member and one for another person in the same household. While this holds for all membership levels, if you are a Business Member, you can purchase additional cards under the same membership.

Does Costco Limit the Number of Club Members?

Your membership may be two per household, but there are no limits to how many members Costco has across the globe. That means you don’t have to worry about Costco running out of membership spots, and you won’t have to be placed on a waiting list to get your membership card. Whenever you’re ready to become an official Costco Member Cardholder, Costco is ready for you.

Does Costco Make Most of Its Money From Membership Fees?

According to the financial wizard Finance Buzz, Costco makes around $60 million from membership fees for every one million members. They have over 100 million members. While this is a massive chunk of money, Entrepreneur 360 states that this is only around two percent of Costco’s total revenue.

Finance Buzz and Entrepreneur 360 claim that most of Costco’s money comes from in-store merchandise sales. This equals around 91 percent of its total revenue of roughly over $150 billion. 

Their low-price, high-volume approach consistently draws in new card members regularly. Most money comes from in-store sales, but those in-store sales can’t happen without membership purchases to get their cardholders in the door in the first place.

Pro Tip: We took at a closer look at How You Can Park Your RV Overnight At Costco.

Is the Costco Club Membership Worth It?

Stepping into a Costco warehouse for the first time may be a bit overwhelming, but once you get the lay of the land, your membership may seem like an entry ticket into shopping heaven. Famous for its bulk discounted shopping items, there are other benefits to membership here. 

Some benefits are travel discounts, insurance options, and more. So, while you may not need everything in bulk, it might be the benefits of discounted prices and gas discounts that make Costco worth it to you. Whatever it is that draws you in, you’re not alone. One hundred million other people think Costco is worth it, too.

Would a Costco membership work well for you? 

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