All The Benefits Of A Costco Membership

Navigating Costco can require advanced planning, focus, and a whole lot of patience. In fact, even the most expert Costco shoppers need to stay on top of their game, as the company is known for moving items around the store. The warehouse giant offers savings on a variety of goods and services, ranging from groceries to vacation packages. However, these items are not just accessible to anyone: You must be a Costco member in order to shop there.

Costco sells a variety of memberships for both individuals and businesses, and they come with a slew of perks and benefits. The differences in perks show that not all memberships are created equal. Some of these membership perks you might be familiar with (like the ability to simply access and shop in the warehouse, and of course, those free food samples), while others you might have never heard of before (like water delivery and home and auto insurance). We will cover all of these benefits so you can see for yourself what is really included in that annual membership fee.

Access to shopping at Costco

Perhaps the most recognizable benefit of having a Costco membership, or at least the first one you would learn about if you were not a member, can be found right at the front door -– literally. The Costco warehouses are for members only, and proof of membership must be shown before entering (via Yahoo Finance). Not only are non-members not allowed to make any purchases (via Costco's website), but they are not even allowed in the warehouse without a member with them. In fact, there is a strict limit for how many guests are allowed inside Costco. According to the store's site, children and no more than two guests can accompany a member.

When it comes time to check out, members must present their cards to be scanned prior to purchasing any items. It all culminates in quite the exclusive shopping experience, where you will know that everyone shopping with you is either a Costco member or the guest of one.

Cheaper gas for your car

Another perk of a Costco membership that you may have noticed while driving by a warehouse is that the average price of gas is cheaper than what you would pay at a regular non-Costco pump. Most Costco warehouse locations have gas stations on-site, making it even easier to fill up your car while running errands. But Costco does not only benefit from the convenience of an on-site gas station; it entices people to get a membership for the cost savings.

Costco's gas prices are cheaper on average because of a combination of membership fees and the average spend per member while in the warehouse, therefore offsetting the price of gas. Essentially, Costco can offer gasoline at a lower price point to its members because they are still earning the difference through membership fees. In addition, according to Yahoo, Costco simply sees more traffic than the average gas station on any given day, allowing them to lower the price.

Rewards on qualifying purchases for Executive members

Costco offers two different membership levels for individuals: Gold Star and Executive. The warehouse also offers a Business membership at the same price as the Gold Star plan. While the two levels are similar in that they allow members to shop in the warehouses and save on everyday purchases, Executive memberships go the extra mile (at a higher annual cost).

The big benefit of being an Executive member at Costco is the 2% annual reward. This means that members paying for Executive perks earn 2% on eligible purchases, which can add up to $1,000 in savings in a single year. Executive Members may also see some additional discounts on various member services, but the big draw to the higher-level membership is the annual reward. Keep in mind, however, that the Executive membership costs double that of the Gold Star membership ($120 versus $60 annually).

Costco Travel

If you love to travel, then a Costco membership may be for you. Beyond access to the physical products and food items you can buy in the warehouse, you can shop for a variety of goods online, too. And while many people associate Costco with buying items in bulk or by the pallet, there are also a number of services you can take advantage of with a membership, including vacation packages. Through Costco Travel, members can book entire vacation packages, cruise ship reservations, hotel reservations, and more.

There seems to be no limit to where you can visit through Costco Travel. For U.S. travel, Reddit users have shared their experiences visiting Hawaii through Costco Travel, and another Redditor shared how they were able to save on a vacation to Mexico. Another commenter in a Reddit thread noted how they almost exclusively use Costco Travel, with yet another person chiming in and adding that all of their cruise vacations are booked via Costco.

Grocery delivery

While Costco offers a variety of products, including clothing, home goods, electronics, and even cars, a large percentage of shoppers visit the warehouse for groceries. The warehouse carries its well-known Kirkland brand of food items, some of which have developed cult followings over the years. To make the shopping experience even easier, Costco offers both same-day and two-day grocery delivery for its members. And that's not all: In 2020, Costco's partnership with Instacart started to include prescription drug deliveries (via Supermarket News).

While grocery delivery can add convenience to a Costco member's week, it may come at a cost. A Reddit thread inquiring about the service included a comment from one member who mentioned various markups that they saw when having their groceries delivered from the store. Another comment noted that, while there may be a markup, it beats having to look for a parking spot at their local Costco.

Access to Costco Next

Another perk available to Costco members is access to what is known as Costco Next. In short, the program allows members to buy from Costco's vendors online directly, often at a lower price than what the item would cost if you were to find it in one of the warehouses. Essentially, it is a win-win for Costco and its members. The members can enjoy bigger savings on items by purchasing through the vendor, and Costco earns commission through the affiliate links that it provides on its website. One Redditor commented that you may be able to find the select items for better prices elsewhere, so it may still be worth it to shop around before purchasing

It is worth pointing out that the 2% Executive membership rewards do not apply when purchasing items through Costco Next (via In addition, one Reddit comment mentioned that items purchased through Costco Next are not eligible for returns or are under any warranty if you bring them back to a warehouse.

You can purchase new and used vehicles (plus tires) through Costco

Did you know you can buy your next car through Costco? Both new and pre-owned vehicles are available through Costco Auto, which comes with the added benefits of member prices, all through local dealers that are in partnership with Costco. Once your car is purchased, you can continue to do business with Costco whenever you need new tires. Not only that, but the warehouse offers tire rotation, balancing, and inflation services as well.

Is it worth using your Costco membership to purchase a car? Some Reddit users are quick to point out that inventory can be very limited, and that the member perks only apply to in-stock vehicles. Though it is worth noting that new cars were in limited supply throughout 2022, with a rebound beginning in October of the same year (via CNBC). Another Redditor noted that they used their Costco member discount to negotiate a better price with the dealership directly. So even if you do not purchase a car through Costco, you may be able to still use your membership indirectly for cost savings.

Home and auto insurance

Everyone with a house and a car needs home and auto insurance, and that is where Costco can step in. Costco members can sign up for home and auto insurance policies through CONNECT. These typically come with savings for the member, with added savings available if you open a new policy through Costco. Executive members can take advantage of even more perks when they sign up for home and auto insurance, including roadside assistance and lockout assistance, among others valuable services.

The savings of your home and auto insurance can be significant when signing up through Costco. One member shared on Reddit that their car insurance payments were cut in half when they switched to the company's program, while another comment noted that prices can vary greatly depending on where you live. So it is still worth it to shop around before committing to one of Costco's insurance program.

Personal and business checks

Whether you need personal checks or checks for your business, you can order them at Costco. Personal checks are available to individual Gold Star and Executive members, whereas business checks are available to those who sign up for Costco's Business membership program. Executive members can also save up to 20% off of Gold Star member pricing when ordering checks online.

One Reddit user commented that the pricing that they found through Costco's website was better than what they found if they were to order checks directly from their bank. Yet another comment pointed out that the checks were even cheaper than ordering on competitor sites like VistaPrint. Costco even offers branded products so you can share your love of Costco every time you write a check. Beyond that, there are dozens of themed checks with countless character designs you can order to add a personal touch to your financial transactions.

Printing services

While we live in a digital era where printing services are not as in-demand as they once were, you will likely still run into situations where you want to print out a photo, perhaps to hang on your wall or display in your office. No matter what you need, the odds are high that you can get it printed out at Costco. Like most of the other services we have covered so far, members are quick to mention that they are able to save some cash by printing their photos through the warehouse. In addition, one Reddit user mentioned that Costco offers some photo printing services that you are not necessarily able to find everywhere else, such as matte finishes.

Not only can you print photos at a low cost, but you can have your images printed on various items, such as mugs as one Reddit user points out -– also at low prices. Another user mentioned that they are able to use Costco's printing services for their family Christmas cards each year. Photos aside, members can also print out various paper goods like business cards.

Car rental services

Whether you are heading out on vacation or you need a temporary vehicle, Costco offers car rental services for its members. Through the company, members are able to book rental cars through partnering brands like Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise. Executive members can also earn their 2% rewards on rental cars (via

Costco members enjoy additional perks when they book rental cars using their memberships as well. One Reddit user commented that they liked being able to add a second driver to the rental car policy through Costco. Another commenter pointed out that canceling their rental car reservation through their membership was hassle-free. Perhaps the biggest perk of all is the cost savings. One user shared that they saved $1,000 on a cross-country car rental. Just keep in mind that you would still be dealing with the rental car companies and not Costco when picking up your car. Still, the various testimonials shared by members seem to add up to pretty sweet savings overall.

Discount on prescription medications

If you need prescription medications, a Costco membership can help you save each time you need a refill. Next time you are visiting the warehouse, keep your eyes peeled for the pharmacy -– you can't miss it; there is usually a big red sign towards the front of the store. These savings on drugs also apply to vaccinations, generics, and even medications for your pets. And, like most of Costco's items that it sells in its warehouses, members can usually save on over-the-counter drugs as well.

In fact, members can save quite a bit on prescriptions through Costco. One member shared on Reddit how they were able to bring the cost of their prescription down from over $200 at the drugstore to just $8 at Costco. This experience also happened to another user who was able to price match their prescription because of their Costco membership, which brought the price down from $200 to $20. Several Costco members also shared positive experiences with the savings on pet medications, which also include heart worm and flea protection.

Water delivery service

If you have never considered Costco water delivery, you may want to do so if you have a membership. Whether you choose to have your water delivered to your home or to your business, you have the potential to save a ton over time. This membership perk is one that many might not know about, but much like the other benefits we have mentioned, it is worth looking into.

As one Reddit user points out, water delivery can be a necessity for people who live in cities or areas of the country that don't have as easy access to reliably clean water. That said, some Costco members have noted that the savings on its water delivery service are not that great, and some Reddit users had less than positive experiences with the companies actually responsible for delivering the water. Some members have been able to save over time and share positive experiences, however, so it is still worth looking into if you have ever considered investing in having your water delivered.