Costco is raising its annual membership fees on June 1, 2017. But if you renew your membership by Wednesday, you can avoid the price bump. Gold Star and Business memberships will increase by $5 to $60. Executive level members get a $10 hike to $120.
Members can save the $5 to $10 only if their membership renewal date is before August 1, according to a Costco membership desk employee. Renew online or in the store.
Costco tends to raise its membership fees every five or six years. The last increase was in 2011. The $2.6 billion that Costco makes on membership fees contributes nearly three-quarters of its operating income, according to Fortune. Membership fees are a key driver of its profits.
Don't want to buy a Costco membership but still want to shop occasionally? Ask a friend or family member who's a member to let you tag along. I used to belong to Sam's Club, but a Costco location is closer to my house so I dropped it. Now I have a friend get me Sam's pre-cooked, frozen hamburger patties a few times a year. Costco only sells uncooked patties, fresh or frozen.
Customers who only want to want to shop at the Costco or Sam's Club liquor stores don't need a membership. It's a Minnesota law. It's also a state law that you do not have to be a Costco or Sam's member to use their pharmacy for prescriptions. You can call or check Rx prices online in a directory at Costco.com. Tell the greeter at the entrance that you only plan to use the pharmacy to be allowed in without a membership card.
Kiplinger's has a few other suggestions to save money at Costco in its article called "14 Things You Should Know about Shopping at Costco.". Caskets, yep caskets, supposedly cost a lot less at Costco.com. Call the casket provider at the number listed on Costco.com to confirm product, pricing and shipping/delivery details before processing.
Members who think the renewal price after the increase is too expensive or rarely use their membership can ask for a full refund (not pro-rated) at any time.
If you're considering a new Costco membership, VISA is now the club's new credit card of choice. The relationship with American Express was terminated last year. Amex is no longer accepted at Costco.