Is It Worth It Getting The Costco Executive Membership?
I am sure at one point or another, as you are waiting in line to pay at Costco you may have had an employee come up to you with their hand held scanner at the register and scanned the back of your card. They are doing this not only to see what level your membership is, but also to let you know an estimate of you executive membership reward. If you aren’t an executive member, they will let you know what you could have been getting and if it is worth it for you to upgrade.
Here are the numbers
Gold Star Membership – $55/year – There is no cash back with this membership. It is the basic membership that lets you come in and shop.
Executive Membership – $110/year – 2% cash back on MOST purchases
The 2% does not include liquor, gasoline, tobacco, stamps, or Costco cash cards.
If for some reason you are unhappy with your executive membership, you can downgrade anytime throughout the year and receive a full refund of the upgrade price of the membership. So if you don’t think you are going to get at least $55 back to cover the price of the upgrade, you can go to the membership desk and request to be downgraded back to the gold star. This can be done anytime throughout the year, the important thing is that it has to be done BEFORE your membership expires. (Ex: Can be done a week, a month or even a few days before you expire).
For the executive membership to pay for itself, you would need to spend over $2,750 a year at Costco. When spending $2,750 you would receive a check for $55.00, anything over that in spending and you are paying less than you would have with the Gold Star membership. You could use that towards next year’s renewal, while at the register or even cash it out.
Now here is what most people don’t know about the Costco Executive Membership. There are many services that Costco offers that are going to get you greater benefits by being an Executive Member. Here are just a few examples.
Costco Auto Program
When buying a car through many manufactures you will receive a Costco Cash Card, this will vary throughout the year and the manufacturer. Ex: Receive a $50 dealership gift certificate after purchasing a vehicle through the Costco Auto Program
Receive 15% off parts, service, and accessories at participating dealerships. For you to receive the discount the car does not to have been purchased at that dealer.
Auto & Home Insurance
Receive free roadside assistance for covered vehicles and home lockout assistance for covered homes. This is provided through Ameriprise Financial, and many have reported that it was much cheaper for them than the alternatives.
$7.49/month for Executive Members compared to $9.49 for Gold Star Members.
The list goes on and on. You can read the full list by clicking here.
So if you take those services into account you might be making that $55.00 upgrade fee back just by the different discounts on services and perks that Costco is providing you by being an Executive Member.
The last point to help you get even more money back from Costco is the Costco True Earning’s Card from American Express.
This is going to give you an addition 1% back on everything you purchase at Costco and elsewhere. So you are essentially getting 3% back instead of the normal 2% with the executive membership. With getting 3% back on everything you are purchasing at Costco (this is assuming you have the Executive Membership and the Costco Amex) you only need to spend $1835 a year to make that $55 back. I know that every time I go shopping at Costco I can’t seem to get out for less than 250 so I never have a problem hitting the $1835 let alone the $2750.
The Costco American Express is not only going to get you 1% cash back everywhere you shop but it’s also going to get you 3% cash back on gasoline (4% for the business version) and 2% on U.S restaurants and travel.
The Costco American Express card has no annual fee as long as you are a Costco member, and if you would like to apply for your FREE Costco American Express you can click here.
Worst case scenario is before you are going to expire you ask one of the people scanning membership cards what your estimated refund is, and if you aren’t going to hit the magic $55.00 you can go over to the membership desk and get your $55.00 back. No harm no foul. If you are frequently shopping at Costco or even semi-frequently, your purchases will add up fast and you might as well try and earn that membership fee in the process. I highly recommend that everyone start out with the Executive membership, because you will shop more than you think. This way, you are getting money back on all those purchases, and on the chance that you are one of those few shoppers who don’t find the value in the Executive and it’s services, you can always downgrade and get your upgrade fee back.