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Your Costco Membership Could Get More Expensive in 2017

The warehouse club recently raised rates overseas, and the U.S. is due for an increase. Here's what you can expect to pay.
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Costco membership

Costco isn't a company known for unnecessarily raising prices on anything. In fact, it famously stopped selling Coca-Cola products back in 2009 when the two companies couldn't agree on a price that was low enough.

So members are no doubt alarmed to hear that back in September, the warehouse club increased its membership fees for the U.K., Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and Mexico. Naturally, analysts now expect it to do the same for the U.S. and Canada.

An Increase is Coming... Soon

Generally, Costco raises its membership prices every five to six years, so warehouses in the U.S. and Canada are due for one. According to Richard Galanti, the CFO of the warehouse club, this month marks the 5-year anniversary of the last increase. Even so, he can't confirm or deny that an increase is happening this year, or when it will come.

Gold Star membership, which is the basic tier, could increase from $55 to $60. Executive Gold Star Membership could jump from $110 to $120.

The last time membership fees increased was in 2011, and that was about 10%. Analysts are expecting about the same this time. That would mean that the Gold Star membership, which is the basic tier, could increase about $5, from $55 to $60. The Executive Gold Star membership, which offers an annual membership reward and more services, could jump $10, from $110 to $120.

Costco is Already More Expensive

Costco competitors Sam's Club and BJ's Wholesale Club already have cheaper memberships. Sam's Club charges $100 for its rewards-based membership, and $45 for its basic tier. BJ's is about the same, with $100 for its rewards program, and a basic that's $50. If this increase at Costco goes through in the next couple months, then it'll only be widening that margin even more.

SEE ALSO: You Don't Even Need a Membership to Save Money at Costco

Don't forget that there's even a few ways to take advantage of its services without being a member. If the increase is just too much for you, it's entirely possible to use the pharmacy, and even access the food court at certain clubs without joining. Or you can just tag along with your friend who happens to have a membership.

Readers, does the anticipated increase make you think twice about a Costco membership? Or are the benefits too good to give up? Sound off in the comments below!


Staff Writer

As a college student, Julie wrote for the college newspaper and freelanced for the website College Candy. Since then she has worked as freelancer through Textbroker and has written press releases, feature pages, and other miscellaneous pieces for a software company. She enjoys writing both as a hobby and a career, and is always working on some kind of story.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Unless marked as a "Sponsored Deal," the opinions expressed here are those of the author and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the companies mentioned. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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18 comments
BlueOak
@Mariinthe805,

Quite presumptuous and high & mighty, all caps not withstanding, of you to assume the Executive level membership does not pay back for us.

The executive membership not only pays more cash back, but also offers free installation of tires, a $60 savings by itself. Having three cars, the odds are fair we'll replace tires almost every year on one of them.

The point is, there are alternatives to Costco when they keep raising prices and package sizes. They nick away at the advantages.

Even Discount Tire does a very nice job of competing with Costco, with far more tire choices. So far we have been buying Costco tires because it is slightly easier to maintain them when we regularly visit Costco anyway.
Zickzilla
It stinks that they limit you to 1 associate card. If you want to add another member (dependent in college), you need to add another complete membership at full price - unlike Sam's Club, who has a reduced price student membership. Also, a price increase will result in reduction or elimination of memberships as we, for one, use Amazon Prime for items we would have purchased through Costco and take advantage of the bundled services provided that Costco doesn't offer. Amazon Prime is a much better value proposition.
Mariinthe805
Hi, "BLUEOAK your membership is "over priced " because YOU sighed up for the Executive Card. Which actually reimburses you cash back, you could've just had the $55.00 card. But apparently your planning on cheating Costco and shopping for the whole neighborhood on just one membership. It's not so overpriced after all is it.
JamesZoland
Many years ago - there was '6' of us at home.. now '3'. Nonetheless, we continue to be Costco members.

*** Our biggest savings is purchasing tires, we understand a limited offering, at least one type of tire for each car (three of our cars have Costco tires). Prices for tires, balancing and rotation is more than reasonable.

* Prescription / medical supplies offered at great savings

* Gift vouchers for many local attractions, restaurants, etc.. at about 20% savings.

* Other services we have used = travel packages, wooden blinds, and their special car purchasing program.

As for foods: a growing department of organic foods and meats... few other stores have this great of a selection - but they charge top dollar. 'Many' food products - albeit not everything. Just foods area buyers' can negotiate good prices.

Costco has many services and products available. However, Discernment is needed in choosing products and sizes.

A Customer Service and Return Policy second to none.
ltsden
I just renewed, so I won't see the increase for another year. But yes, I will pay it. I am happy to do business with a company that provides its employees decent wages and benefits, and whose CEO earns a modest salary by comparison to CEOs of similar companies. I never, ever shop at Walmart or Sam's.
anniebannie
I stopped my membership with Costco when it expired. I felt their prices were too high. I love some of the Kirkland brand products (Costco s brand), but I shop on Jet.Com now and find the Kirkland brand on their website. I like the prices at Jet.com, and I love having it delivered. By the way, the Costco in Lake Zurich still sold Coke products in 2014.
illkitty
It works out to about 1.4 cents per day to keep the membership, if they raise it by $5. I save well over that in a single visit when I go to Costco. $5 a year more isn't a deal breaker for me, but I also don't go to more than one shopping club.
BlueOak
We'd have to reconsider Costco and already have been. Been members of both clubs since late '90's.

Costco seems to be doing two irritating things more frequently:

1) Upsizing to an obscene extent - 72 pack AA batteries? Really? (Not long ago were 36 packs.)

2) Getting you hooked on a product and dumping the product.

Costco does not have a Scan & Go app like SAMs so you can completely avoid long check out lines at SAMs. This app alone almost completely equalizes the quality of service differences. Amazing scanner subroutine is fast and forgiving.

If you buy a lot of gas like we do, SAMs has 5% cash back vs 4% for Costco. And their pump prices are virtually identical.

So we already buy most of our staple items and 100% of our gas at SAMs.

Car prices in our market are already competitive and not hard to beat Costco.

We're considering a neighborhood buddy system for Coscto to offset the overpriced membership. (We have the executive.)
jarechiga
Still worth just for the savings in gas, meat and soft drinks.
Instead of renewing, I jump clubs around. One year sams, one year Costco.

There always are good sign up bonus on both clubs, yet it is more expensive to renew.
chefcristo
if/when costco raises its membership, for me, it's bye-bye (or per snl airline skit, 'BUH BYE, BUH BYE) costco. what a nerve: as if costco wouldn't still make a ton of $$$$$ without a membership increase....................folks, get on the bandwagon.................tell your relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers ANYONE ................TO REJECT THIS TRAVESTY. A PRICE RAISE, INDEED.
MDB007
We joined in 2011 with the gold star membership just to save on gas as they were always .10-.20¢ per gallon cheaper, with that savings the membership would pay for itself in less than 6 months. However once i saw the savings for our family of 4-5 it made sense to buy in bulk, plus their meats were really good (as in no pink slime added to their ground beef).

Then that fall I converted to executive with cash back. 2 years we ended up with cash back and the others paid a little difference to renew. Even with a $10 increase I still feel it's a fair value, however their prices have gone up across the board this past year and they have dropped some of our favorite products. We did just activate a 90 day BJ's membership for comparison and they have the same products for about a dollar less but the store is 5 minutes further away.
myittybittytwa
I have a membership at both clubs. Costco's gas prices are better than anywhere close.
We purchased an automobile with the Costco discount. The savings was unmatched by other dealerships.
I also purchased eyeglasses from Costco. Saved hundreds with my insurance compared to other places.
I find the savings more prevalent on non food items.
dtrudea
Costco offers no value when you are a single individual
ethanvyce
worth it, especially if you buy a car through them
Rich7041
If you use the membership enough, it's definitely worth a $10 increase. I earn cash back with the Costco Visa and it practically pays for itself.
AccurateInfo
Totally worth it. Costco is a company that does not rely upon government handouts (unlike Walmart, Sam's parent company) to stay in business and provide incredible service to customers; and they treat their employees well. I'd continue to support Costco.
skaets
I am stuck. I have a set of new tires on one vehicle from Costco and a new battery from Costco on another vehicle. if I gave up membership the tire and battery warranties are invalid.
mochabeast
I would definitely have to reconsider, especially with a small family (three of us) and it not being very close to home.
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