You Might Want to Upgrade to the Costco Executive Membership. Here's Why (2024)

Costco offers two levels of membership to its warehouse clubs. The basic membership costs $60 per year, while the upgraded version -- known as the Costco Executive membership -- costs exactly twice as much, or $120 per year.

Not surprisingly, many Costco shoppers opt for the lower-priced membership. After all, the whole point of going to Costco is to save money, and many people approach the membership itself with that in mind.

However, it's important to know that just because something has a higher price tag doesn't necessarily mean that it's expensive, and that's the case here.

With that in mind, here's why frequent Costco shoppers may want to seriously consider upgrading to an Executive membership, even if your goal is to keep your living expenses as low as possible.

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What do you get with the Executive membership?

The Executive membership has several perks, but for most shoppers, the most significant by far is an annual 2% reward certificate for your Costco purchases. In other words, Costco will add up how much you spent on qualifying purchases throughout the year and issue you a reward certificate equal to 2% of your spending, redeemable for Costco purchases.

There are only a few types of Costco purchases that are excluded. Most notable are gas, tobacco, gift cards, and food court purchases. In some states, alcohol and prescription purchases also don't count.

We'll get into the math of the annual reward in the next section. But in addition to the 2% reward, there are a couple of other benefits.

  • Extra benefits on travel: If you use Costco's travel platform to book vacations, the Executive membership can get you additional benefits, such as resort credits.
  • Extra perks and savings on services: If you're an Executive member and you use Costco to purchase certain services, such as auto insurance, you can get extra perks and/or discounts.

To be sure, these perks can be great if you use them. But the 2% reward is the major benefit that applies to everyone who shops at Costco.

The rewards can add up more than you think

At first glance, a 2% reward might not sound like it's worth paying an extra $60 per year. But consider the math behind it.

Here's the key point. In order for a 2% reward to be more than the $60 difference in membership costs, you'll need to spend at least $3,000 per year on Costco purchases.

You might be surprised by how much your Costco spending can add up, especially if you do most of your grocery shopping there. Spending $3,000 per year translates to $250 per month, or about $58 per week. It's fair to say that many frequent Costco shoppers' budgets far exceed these spending thresholds. If yours does, an Executive membership will pay for itself.

The bottom line on the Costco Executive membership

Again, if you spend more than $3,000 per year on Costco purchases, a Costco Executive membership can earn more in rewards than the $60 annual difference in price. It can really be worth the cost if you spend significantly more, or if you frequently book travel or buy other services through Costco.

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You Might Want to Upgrade to the Costco Executive Membership. Here's Why (2024)

FAQs

You Might Want to Upgrade to the Costco Executive Membership. Here's Why? ›

Costco's Executive membership costs $120 per year, twice as much as its standard membership. The main perk of the Executive membership is 2% back in Costco rewards on qualifying purchases. If you spend more than $3,000 per year at Costco, an Executive membership can pay for itself.

Why upgrade to Costco Executive membership? ›

Again, if you spend more than $3,000 per year on Costco purchases, a Costco Executive membership can earn more in rewards than the $60 annual difference in price. It can really be worth the cost if you spend significantly more, or if you frequently book travel or buy other services through Costco.

Is it worth becoming a Costco executive member? ›

At first, you might think that it's silly to pay double for a Costco membership. But you should know that the Executive membership gives you 2% cash back on your Costco purchases. So if you do enough shopping, the Executive membership makes sense.

Does the Costco Executive membership pay for itself? ›

Annual 2% Reward

So if you spend more than $3,000 per year at Costco (most people do), the executive membership pays for itself. Every additional dollar spent means that higher tier membership is even more financially effective.

What is the difference between the $60 and $120 Costco membership? ›

For most people, the primary difference between the $120 Executive membership and the $60 Gold Star membership is the Costco Reward. As a Costco Executive member, you earn 2% back on your in-store purchases in the form of an annual Costco Reward (up to $1,000 back).

What is the advantage of an Executive membership at Costco? ›

Executive Members earn an annual 2% Reward on qualifying purchases at Costco, Costco.com, and Costco Travel. Plus, additional benefits are available on our suite of Costco Services. We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and will cancel and refund membership fees at any time if a member is dissatisfied.

What's the difference between Standard and Executive Costco? ›

Executive membership is available to anyone who qualifies for membership at Costco Wholesale. As an Executive member, you accumulate a 2% Reward on most purchases each time you shop! As well as the benefits of the 2% Reward you can also make the most of Executive only coupons and events throughout the year.

What percentage of Costco members are executive members? ›

Costco members get some bad holiday news

Executive members are about 45% of the warehouse club's paid membership, but they account for roughly 73% of the chain's global sales. The chain's steady growth and continually strong renewal rates raise the question of when it will raise membership rates.

How do you break even on Costco Executive membership? ›

You'd need to spend an average of $250 a month -- or $3,000 a year -- at Costco for you to break even on your Executive upgrade. If you can't meet that bottom limit, you're losing money. Unless you're going to increase your spending, you should downgrade your membership.

How do I get a $30 Costco membership online? ›

To receive a Digital Costco Shop Card, you must provide a valid email address and set up auto-renewal of your Costco membership. Limit one membership per household. Qualified members will receive their $30 Digital Costco Shop Card by email within 2 weeks of redeeming their purchase.

Does gas count towards Costco Executive membership? ›

In the U.S., Rewards are not calculated: (i) on purchases of cigarettes or tobacco-related products, gasoline, Costco Cash Cards, postage stamps, alcoholic beverages in certain states (including Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee), and at food courts; (ii) on membership fees; (iii) on ...

Can Costco executive members get in early? ›

You no longer get early access to stores. There was a point in time many years ago when a Costco Executive membership gave you early access to your local warehouse club store. Not anymore. Costco did away with that benefit ages ago, but I really miss it.

Can you add a 3rd person to Costco Executive Membership? ›

Additional People (optional)

When signing up on Costco.com, six (6) additional people may be added to your membership during one transaction. See the Costco membership counter to add more. Each member will need to stop by the membership counter to pick up their new card.

Is it worth upgrading my Costco membership? ›

Upgrading your Costco membership can make sense if you're spending at least $3,000 a year at the warehouse club. You can get special travel discounts as a Costco Executive member. You can also save on insurance coverage if you buy home, auto, or pet insurance through Costco's partners.

How much for Costco membership in 2024? ›

If you're convinced you're going to join Costco in 2024, the question then becomes: Which membership should you get? You have two options. Costco's basic membership costs $60 a year. An Executive membership costs $120, but for that $60 upgrade, you get 2% cash back on Costco purchases.

How to get a $20 Costco membership? ›

Here's how to snag the deal: Purchase your Costco membership through StackSocial, and make sure you provide a valid email address. Within two weeks, you'll receive your $20 Digital Costco Shop Card via email. Once you receive the digital shop card, you can use it to make Costco purchases online or in person.

How do I get the most out of my Costco Executive membership? ›

Costco Executive Members receive a 2% Reward on qualified purchases (see calculation of 2% Reward below). Reward is capped at and will not exceed $1,000 for any 12-month period. Only purchases made by the Primary and active Primary Household Cardholder on the account will apply toward the Reward.

What do you get with the Costco Executive membership at the end of the year? ›

An Executive Membership is an additional $60 upgrade fee a year and includes an annual 2% Reward (up to $1,000) on qualified Costco.

Can I change my Costco membership from executive to regular? ›

If you want to downgrade your Costco Executive membership, go to the membership counter at a Costco warehouse. You'll be able to downgrade there, and you'll also get a refund for the additional $60 you paid for the Executive membership fee.

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