Is Costco Executive Membership Worth It?

We are currently Costco Gold members, the standard level. We joined because you know you’re getting a fair price (if not necessarily the best) on great variety of products, the customer service is great, and you gotta love their food court. So after spending another few hundred dollars on food and gifts today, amongst all those banners pronouncing *2% Cash Back for Executive Members*, I started to ponder if I should upgrade my membership level too?

Executive membership costs $100, regular is $50. At 2% back, basic math says you’ll need to spend $2,500 a year to break even. I probably don’t spend that much. Then I remembered a rumor I kept hearing that if you don’t profit with the Executive Membership, Costco will give you back the difference. Say you only get $20 in rebates. Bring in your rewards check at the end of the year and they’ll give you $30. So there is no risk. This is part of their 100% Satisfaction Guarantee – “We will refund your membership fee in full at any time if you are dissatisfied.”

In addition to the membership cost savings, thanks to the commenters below, I am also reminded that there are tons of other discounts offered to Executive members only on things like insurance, small business services, cheaper check printing, real estate services, and more, that don’t end up on your rewards rebates but still save you money. So not only is there no risk, there is much potential upside.

Heck, you may spend more than you think at Costco. I started doing some math on the drive home. I never spend less than $100 per trip at Costco. Since I go at least once a month, that’s about $1,500 right there. In addition, we occasionally buy things for office parties and get reimbursed. That’s another $500-$1,000. If that doesn’t put us over, add in holiday gifts and other big-ticket items, and who knows, you might just spend over $2,500. Think about signing up for before you do all your shopping!

Update 2: I have actually never experienced the “hard sell” that others speak of below, but I can see how it might happen at specific stores. I’m guessing that each store is measured by how much Executive members they have shopping there, and a manager may decide to aggressively sign up new customers.

Update 3: Earn More with Costco Credit Card: You can get 3% cash back on gasoline at U.S. stand-alone gas stations (up to $4,000 a year), 2% cashback at U.S. restaurants and on eligible travel purchases, 1% on other purchases with the TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express. It even doubles as your Costco membership card. Terms and restrictions apply. More info over at my review.

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.”

Comments

  1. I don’t know if they have a similar thing as Sam’s Club.

    My wife and I purchased a Sam’s Club business membership. Besides allowing you access to the store at special hours, and fax/click & pull shopping, it also came with several other “employee” memebership cards. We gave the cards to her parents and to my parents as gifts.

    -Wes

  2. There is more to the Executive Membership than just the 2% discount. For example, I get my home and auto insurance through Costco, and with the Executive membership, I get lower rates and they throw in Roadside Assistance for both vehicles. If you use Costco’s check printing or credit card processing services, both of those are significantly cheaper with the Executive Membership as well, but I do not use these services.

  3. I believe it is worth the executive, basically because of what you mentioned. If you don’t get at least $50 rebate to make up the difference from standard to executive, you turn in your rebate and go back to standard.
    I have never had to do that of course since I always get at least $100 back on the rebate. I do not own a business, just a largish family of 6, get about everything I can at Costco since there is one very close. It adds up. So I get back at least $100 from Costco and another $2-300 from American Express rebate from using their card. Bonus. Remember that gasoline doesn’t count towards the Costco 2%, but does for the 1% AE rebate. Plus if you need prescriptions, that does count towards 2% Costco and 1% AE.

    P.S. You had a blurb about the $4 Wal-Mart prescriptions and now I see that Costco has a $10 for #100 tablets/pills/capsules/etc. counter promotion for certain generics. Better than $4 for 30.

  4. I couldn’t agree with you more. I held off for many years on the executive membership because I was afraid that I would not make up the extra $50. When I found out that the money was reimbursable, I decided to try it out. Last year I took my reimbursement check (which was less than $50) to customer service, and they paid me the difference in cash. Not a hassle at all. I don’t know if I ever plan on spending much more than $2,500 in a year, BUT, the member services clearly make up the interest on the $50 that I could have invested for a year. Last year I did the $85 ShareBuilder promotion for myself, my wife, and a joint account for a profit of $240 (after subtracting a $5 transaction cost for the first trade.) Anyway, for those that have not made the leap of faith to the executive membership, do it.

  5. That’s a great point that all those Executive discounts may not even show up on your rebate check, so why not get those as well? I’ve edited the main post to reflect this.

  6. so true with all the above comments. There are many many benefits…the $85 costco executive bonus from sharebuilder more than made up my upgrade for membership, hence you cannot lose.
    you can go here for the link if you haven’t taken advantage of this yet..

    link

  7. BTW Jonathan, thanks for the link…i should also give you credit for giving me the idea of starting my own website as you can tell by the similarity of the name.

  8. It was worth it for me to upgrade last year when i went in to buy a $2300 t.v. Since I’m not a regular shopper (i go maybe once every two months usually spending

  9. I forgot to mention something in my previous reply. The Citi Dividend AMEX card is the best card to use at Costco (Unfortunately this card is no longer available to new folks). I have recently discovered that the 5% cash back on gas applies to Costco purchases. I have double checked this with my last two statements. If only I had realized this earlier!!!

    Even though there has been rumor of the 5% cash back getting cut to 2%, I have had no problems these past several months with my 5% cash back with the AMEX version of the card. Perhaps only the Mastercard version of the card was changed?

  10. Is the sharebuilder promotion till valid? The link says it expired on 04/24/06.

  11. Brian – I have read that if you had the Citi Dividend card for less than 1 year then you will continue getting the 5%. So, on your anniversary it should revert to 2%.

  12. ab – There is always a $55 bonus available through Costco. The $85 bonus for executive members seems to appear about once a year.

    Matt – Thanks for the info. I’m crying on the inside.

  13. I’ve never been that big of a fan of Costco compared to some people. I assume if you have a big family and purchase a lot it makes up the difference, but I’ve spent hours online comparing walmart to Costco and more of the time Walmart has been cheaper. You can get your prescriptions at Costco without a membership and most electronics you can find other places cheaper. So the only benefit I see at Costco is if you have a large family buying in bulk.

  14. We’ve always been wary of getting a costco card just for the fact that we DO spend more there- buying things that are a great “deal” that we don’t really need. If we ever get a membership in the future, it will have to be used with caution and a clear list before entering the store. Browsing costco is a trap for us, no matter what percent they give back.

  15. Ronald L. Rickerds says:

    I have been a long time business member of Costco and found Costco’s prices for the same items less than Sam’s. I have memberships to both…. I like the business attitude at Costco…which is to always do their best to make every customer issue in favor of the customer…. Some stuff might be less expensive elsewhere, but those items are on sale and the cost and the guarantee of going to a separate place to save a few dollars and the hassle involved makes me wonder why??
    When I “know” Costco may cost a little more, but the prices are fair and the service has always been the very best in my “favor”…..

    I have recently bought into the “Executive Membership” category and am not sure that I will benefit??? but I decided to try it and maybe I will like it???? Maybe not???

  16. Many people don’t know about Costco’s fantasic, no questions asked, return policy. You can pretty much take anything back without a receipt, after any amount of time (I think computers are the exception). I always buy electronics there, because you’re essentially getting a lifetime warranty. You can even bring back food you didn’t like.

  17. I switched to Executive about six months ago, when I was approached by a customer service rep who said based on my purchase history, I’d save money. We buy most household goods & food at Costco–good prices, and fewer choices mean I save money. And you can’t beat the return policy!

  18. Dude from Texas says:

    Yes, Costco insurance is great. I spent a bunch of time comparing rates of multiple companies for both auto & home. The best of the bunch was Amica (Clark Howard recommends them too but I found out on my own). However, Amica did not accept my application because we had too many “claims” on our auto policy. Turns out each one of those roadside assitance calls is counted as a claim, just as if I had actually had an accident. Now I am paying the price for having owned an unreliable old car (gotten rid of it since) and for having young kids who enjoyed locking their mom out of the family car while out on an errand. I digress….. Costco’s insurance through Ameriprise accepted my application and the combined rate (including the multi-policy discounts) was not as good as Amica but better than anything else out there. Unfortunately, they will not insure your rental property.

  19. My expiration date from my first year is tomorrow Jan. 10th. I went in to see what I needed to do to get my 2% rebate. I was told that my rebate was sent with my renewal notice 3 months prior to my expiration, back in Nov. In other words, my last 3 months of purchases aren’t on the rebate check. In the past 3 months, I’ve spent $3500 on a TV and $700 on ipods. The refund for these is in my account history and will be paid NEXT November, ’07. I will get the check as long as I pay the additional $50 for the executive membership for this year. I hadn’t planned on doing that. So their 2% rebate should read that it’s only good for the first 9 months of the first year. This is very sketchy.

  20. We have been Sam’s club members for many years and occasionally Costco members. We are considering Costco membership again but have tipicaly been disappointed in their prices as compared to Sam’s Club. From reading the previous posts it appears that a Costco membership is considerably more expensive than Sam’s. However if we can recover our initial investment of membership it is well worth a try.

  21. Just wondering, maybe someone can help me out. If I’m the secondary on the executive membership for costco, will i recieve a 2% back as well? Or does that all go under the main persons name?

  22. The 2% check is delivered to the address on record. The membership is suppose to be for two people over the age of 18 in the same household. You earn 2% back on both cards and if either of you should bring in a guest you earn the rebate back on those purchases also.

  23. “if you don?t profit with the Executive Membership, Costco will give you back the difference. Say you only get $20 in rebates. Bring in your rewards check at the end of the year and they?ll give you $30. So there is no risk” –

    just to add more info out there, when i tried to do this i was told my account will go back to being regular acct if i opt to get the difference back. in other words this is same as 100% Satisfaction guarantee on the membership fees.

    in the above case you’ll get he $30 back and the account will become the regular non-executive membership type.

    hope this helps somebody

  24. The Executive Membership is really worth it. If not just for purchases, than for the services. I recently purchased a Honda Rideline through Costco’s auto buying program (the cars parked outside Costco). I did my own shopping and then I decided to try Costco’s program. It was SOOOOO easy and I was in and out. I couldn’t believe it. I saved several hundreds of $$ than I would’ve at another dealer. Executive members get special benefits like a gift certificate for $50 to use at the dealership which will be used when you go in for an oil change or routine service. Even if you’re not an executive member, buying a car through Costco will certainly save you on a purchase. Oh! and the customer service is truly unbeatable. I got a call a few days later to see how my experience was. They asked me specific things to ensure I paid the right price. I thought that was worth $100 for my whole membership cause I kinda made all my money back.

  25. Hi I need to know the difference between all costco membership I have been debating which one to purchase I have a family of 4 and I hardly go there only to buy pizza….Love the pizza.

  26. Whole Systems Counseling says:

    I have an Executive Membership ($100) and buy office supplies regularly through Costco. However, I arrived at the Clackamas, Oregon, store to enter at the special hours and was denied for a host of reasons that I didn’t understand: a.) I wasn’t a “vendor” who spent at least $500 per WEEK there; b.) I did not purchase cigarettes in bulk for my business(!); c.) I did not spend at least $10,000 – $100,000 at Costco; and d.) if I was going to buy any grocery items during the special hours, I was not allowed to do so since forklifts were still active on the floor (this was at 9:30 a.m.) I saw people leaving with grocery items (e.g., one bunch of bananas) I was being told that I could not buy grocery items. The explanation was that those orders had been “pre-pulled” for those “vendors.” I spoke with a supervisor and manager who gave me these reasons. I cancellled my membership, and am still totally confused regarding why I could not enter the store one hour earlier than the hours posted at the entrance, despite having an Executive Membership.

  27. I love Costco and I just upgraded to the executive level today. I’m wondering if I can combine my 2% back on the executive card with the 1% back on the Costco AMEX. 3% could add up fast.

  28. God Of Mischief says:

    well to be honest make this straight!

    YOU CAN TRY COSTCO OUT FOR 30 DAYs IF YOU DON”T LIKE IT CANCEL IT

  29. I’m actually looking into health insurance and debating an upgrade to Executive Membership for the Costco insurance benefit. Does anyone have any info regarding their health and dental benefit?

  30. ehernandezusa@yahoo.com says:

    I have been a Costco member for many years, I never thought about upgrading my membership until an employee aproached me and tolm me about it. It was great because 12 months later, I only had to pay $3.00 for my annual fee membership for the year. Thanks Costco!!!!

  31. Does the 2% cash back for the exec member include online orders?

  32. It is clear that the author of this post works in the marketing department of Costco.

  33. Dennis Hsieh says:

    I just got convinced of getting this today. At first I was thinking how this would not be worth it if I don’t spend at least $2,500 a year. Then I started thinking about how much I spend having friends making purchases using my card and my mom also. The person told me I missed out on $56 dollars cash back. So I presume that they calculate all purchases at Costco, even gas?

  34. Jack Isbell says:

    To me, Costco’s touting of their Executive membership is like dealing with a used car dealership or playing three card Monte. Let’s look at the numbers.

    If you have a regular membership, the cost is $45, Executive its $100. So if you spend $2500, with a regular membership you get back $25 and your total membership cost is $20 ($45 -$20). With and Executive membership you get back $50 and your total cost is $50 ($100 – $50). Therefore, the Executive membership actually costs you $30 more if you spend $2500 a year.

    The actual break-even point is $5500. Regular membership $45 and a 1% return of $55 means you net $10. With and Executive membership, the cost is $100 and with a 2% return on your purchases you would receive a return of $110, which again nets you $10. Other considerations aside, you will be financially better off only if you spend $5500 or more annually, not the $2500 touted by Costco. One of my real concerns here is that Costco dishonestly in representing their Executive membership program.

  35. “If you have a regular membership, the cost is $45, Executive its $100. So if you spend $2500, with a regular membership you get back $25″

    Why? I’ve never seen regular members get 1% back.

  36. costco lover says:

    ummmmmm ok……

    Jack Isbell should be more concerned with educating himself on a subject before writing something completely ignorant and uninformed that will most likely be lapped up by even more ignorant and uninformed beings………..

    The cost of a regular gold star membership is 45-50 dollars (depending on where you live)
    You do not earn any rewards with this membership, no rebates, no percentages back…..nothing…….

    To upgrade to exec… you pay a 50 dollar upgrade fee…..which then allows you to start earning 2 percent back on your purchases throughout the year……( as well as all the other little benefits and discounted services)

    If you do not earn more than 50 dollars back on your rewards check at the end of the year…. you are reimbursed the difference….MEANING….. you get back the money you originally spent to UPGRADE the membership, and it didnt hurt you to try the membership……..

    Either way, you still have to pay 50 dollars for the cost of your membership, whether it be a gold star, or an executive…but if you choose to spend an extra 50 bucks so that you can earn rewards, you wont risk anything by doing it, and on the plus side, if you shop there alot, you can actually make money back

    I stopped paying for my membership in 2001, and have made over 200 dollars back each year, so after I give back 100 to costco for my membership, I get an extra 100 bucks to put in my pocket

    But I LOOOOve costco, which is why I get so much back.

    So to be honest, only an uninformed person wouldnt try the executive…..because they think that they might lose money by doing it, which thay wont.

    BUT, there is usually always some idiot who spends a grand every month at costco who likes to think he knows better than everyone else and snubs the employee WHO IS TRYING TO DO HIM A FAVOR by telling him to upgrade. That brainiac couldve been getting a free membership and putting money in his pocket, and instead, since he knows better, he doesnt need the exec, and is happy paying 50 bucks every year.

    Now of course if you only spend a dollar a month at costco, then yeah, dont upgrade, you definitely wont be making more than 50 bucks back, but then why even shop at costco, if you dont actually use the membership you pay for?

  37. Costco Lover is right. The 2% rebate is for executive members only. Regular membership doesn’t earn this rebate. Both memberships can still earn the rebate thru American Express (1% to 3%). So if you’re an Executive member, you’ll receive 2 seperated rebate checks, 1 for Exc. member, 1 for AE. If you spend more than $2500 per year in Costco, it’s worth to upgrade it. I’ve been Executive member for 4 years already and my membership rebate checks are always more than $100. It means that I’ve got free membership.

    Sean, I don’t care that the author of this post is working for Costco or not. If he can show us a way to save money, we should thank him. Keep in mind that there is no risk to try it out and Costco won’t give any problem if you don’t like their merchandises or services.

  38. Eddie Hicks says:

    The first Costco in my area will be opening up in a week. I received a book of coupons and invitation to join and receive a $10 cash card. Nowhere do they say how much membership is. That is why I found this forum to find out the membership fee. I have heard a lot about Costco online and I have seen them in my travels but have never been inside one. Even the new one is at least 25 miles away. I am a member of both BJ’s and Sam’s Club which are much closer to me than the new Costco. Would it be worth traveling the longer distance to Costco to shop or would BJ’s and Sam’s Club be just as good? I know what the guy meant about how he always spend more than planned. I do the same at BJ’s and Sam’s. Always leave spending much more than I anticipated. Thanks

  39. Cliff and Donna Oldridge says:

    Although all we wanted was the basic membership, but we were pressured into paying an extra $45 for Costco’s Executive membership. We told their rep that our purchases just wouldn’t justify the extra expenditure, but he insisted that we’d get every cent back, if not more. Just got the rebate, a measily $9.47, plus a bill for another next year’s membership. We’re going to try and get our money back, although none of the promises were in writing. Lousy way to treat new customers.

  40. Did people forget about the food demos Costco has?? Yumm. Also, what about the fact that Costco treats their employees really well. They are given really good pay and really good benefits. When a walmart employee has to go to the hospital who pays for it? My taxes?

  41. can someone fill me in a little on the automobile buying program. What makes are available, how it works…? thank you

  42. And now the AMEX Costo Cash Rewards card has gone up to 3% back on gas at Costco (and anywhere else gas is sold). That takes off .135 cents when gas is $4.50 per gallon (like now at Costco in Los Angeles). Not bad!

    And for the Auto Program, you just call up the Costco customer service, tell them where you are, and they send you to your nearest dealer. Show your Costco card to the friendly car salesman they told you to see, and you get a great deal on a BRAND NEW CAR!

  43. I work at Costco in Portland (#002) and we get the executive membership as a benefit of working there, in fact i spend some of my days going around and trying to show people that with the amount they spend, they should be upgrading just cuz it is a win/win situation. And yeah the amex is even better cuz you get the 1/2/3/3% cash back rewards, so if you have both exec and amex youre earning 3% everytime INSIDE costco and 3% at the pump!

  44. michelle says:

    Does the 2% rebate on the executive membership count on beer and wine purchases?

  45. Elitism. Plain and simple. Charging $55 to get in is like having a cover charge at the bar. Ensures a certain clientelle and restricts others. Such as those that might only be coming in for some toothpaste, or a watch. Or, worse yet, poor people!

    If it were really about the savings, there would be no need for the cover charge. That would just make this financial manipulation for no purpose. I was turned away at the front door from even looking inside the store! I can’t even see what is in the store to see if the cover charge is worth it! Yeah…here you go! Take my $55 for nothing! lol not likely… I have to use it to buy some toothpaste instead.

  46. Shelley says:

    They will refund your money with no questions asked ! So go and become a member for a year. If you look around and never buy anything other than a 1.50 hotdog and soda and try all of the food demos. On day 364 go back to the membership desk and they will give you 100% of your money back that you paid for that membership. (even if you didn’t buy the hotdog too! ) You pay 55 bucks because you aren’t a customer you are a member that recieves exellent customer service and savings.

  47. happy member says:

    The executive membership at Costco is great! Costco does guarantee your fee you pay to upgrade. If you only get a $20 check, Costco will give you back $30. Best of all, you dont even need to step down to the basic membership. You can put that $50 + another 50 towards your renewal and keep your executive membership for the following year. And, in regards to the “9 month executive” comment. Costco will send you your money you earned, even if you change your membership back to the basic one. They have excellent service and apparently are a great company, or else they would not have great employees!

  48. So can you use the 2% Rebate check towards renewing your membership or is it only good towards purchases?

  49. I’m pretty sure you can even bring the check to the customer service counter and get your rebate as cash.

  50. happy member says:

    You can use your rebate to shop, or towards your renewal. They will even cash it out for you. Then, when you get the American Express card also, you get another 1% on everything you buy everywhere not just Costco. Costco even cashes out the American Express rebate checks, no questions asked. The American Express card even gives you 3% on gas everywhere. I thought it was only for Costco gas, but that isnt true. Just as long as the gas isnt a competitor, like Sams, or Vons, then you get 3% everywhere they take American Express!

  51. HappyButUninformed says:

    Hi,

    I have upgraded from Gold to Executive and I got my check for $32. However, I forgot to go to customer service instead I gave the check directly at the cash counter towards purchases. Is there a way I can ask for the remaining $18 (towards upgrade of $50) now? Is that costco call center or warehouse?

    Do you have any experience?

  52. I work at Costco and they have the amount you paid for the executive membership be it the full $50 or the prorated price in their computer system. They also have the amount of your Reward check in the computer. I’m sure they will be happy to pay the difference back to you–just go to the membership counter and explain what happened.

  53. I had been an executive members with Costco for many year. I think the membership worth every pennies. With the best return policy that is icing on the cake.

    Respond to Eddie Hicks is worth to be a member at Costco. To me Sam club is just another Walmart.

  54. I have an executive membership through my business for
    which I pay $100. There are other employeees, but in order for them to have a card, I have to pay $40 for each additional employee. But, each paid for card lets you get a free card for a 2nd person in the household. Well, my husband won’t go to Costco, and the the employee in my office with a 2nd $40 card doesn’t have a 2nd person in the household., but I can’t just make one of the employees the 2nd person on the card. Is there a way around this? It seems absurd to me.

    It is time for me to renew and wondering if I can’t just let the other employee have my 2nd household card.

  55. If you say that your employee is over 18 and lives at your house, that would satisfy the requirements they told me.

  56. One day a couple of years ago as I was walking to the cashier, an employee with a hand-held computer came up to me and told me that I had spent $8000 at Costco the year before, and I would get $160 back with an executive membership. That just blew me away. With the kids’ formula and diapers, let alone all the other necessities, we were spending so much at Costco. Everything is really expensive in Hawaii and Costco makes living a little easier for us. Though the kids don’t need diapers anymore, they are eating their way through out wallet, and we still get around $140 back.

    The thing about Costco is that they sell pretty good stuff. Even their sashimi is good, and way cheaper than any other place in Hawaii. We get good stuff and for us the membership is free!

  57. I used the new car buying program. It was really great and easy. I bought a Honda Ridgeline. They saved me money because the discount was around invoice, plus if you’re an executive member you also get a gift certificate for $50 to use at the dealership. Since I went back to the dealership for maintenence it was well worth it. That paid for my membership right there. A car purchase doesn’t count for the rebate though, bummer! A lot of their services have some kind of executive discount, so based on my experience, it’s worth it to upgrade.

  58. when do they mail out the checks for the executive membership. I still have not received mine.

  59. Re: this reply to my question about memberships-they ask for an id when you use a charge card. Wouldn’t they potentially ask the employ for an id?

    I would like to see Costco change this policy. It seems unfair to me.

    Chrissy Says:
    October 24th, 2008 at 11:02 am
    If you say that your employee is over 18 and lives at your house, that would satisfy the requirements they told me.

  60. Stop Asking says:

    Seriously, how many of these comments are from Costco employees? I just love COOOSTCO it’s the COOOLest, I always get money back, the executive membership is the greatest deal ever, people that don’t sign up are sooo soo stupid. Really, I’m sick of seeing the happy scanner person who comes running when they see a purchase that may be large. I used to politely tell them no, I even wrote please don’t ask on my card, but the only way to shut them up is to be rude. I’m treated like a second class Costco shopper, because I won’t upgrade. I’m now going to downgrade to no membership. Really, what kind of commission do the scanner, and checker receive for the sale that they throw out the idea of good customer service?

  61. @ Stop Asking…

    I hear what you’re saying. Costco is one of those rare places that generates a lot of fandom from happy customers. I’m guilty of it, too. I love Costco and no, I’m not an employee. I’ve only had a scanner person bug me once and I said no thanks to the sales pitch and that was that.

    I think most people don’t even realize how much they’ve spent @ Costco (w/ a regular membership) and when they find out, they upgrade because it pays for itself. I did when I knew I was gonna make a huge purchase. However, for the 1st year of membership, I was never made to feel like a “second class Costco shopper”. It’s rare that I hear about a bad customer service issue regarding Costco. Now SAMS… don’t get me started! ;-)

  62. Join Dave Ramsey at Financial Peace University and you won’t need a credit card and you will laugh at yourself for considering your 3% return on your spending to be such an amazing deal! I’ve been there and am done! I will continue my $50 membership and pay cash as it has been proven that you spend 12-18% when you feel the pain of cash. Debt is dumb/Cash is king! Good luck everyone! These are great times to get it together!

  63. @ Eileen

    Why spend money on Dave Ramsey’s plan when I can listen to his show for free or read his books @ the library? His mutual funds aren’t doing so hot now, either.

    Costco will refund the difference to you, so what is there to lose? Costco only accepts two forms of payment- cash/debit or AMEX. I’ve read some negative reviews on AMEX, so I’m sticking w/ cash (and I’m anti-credit card in general).

  64. Good for you! Sounds like you are right on track to staying out of the depths of debt. Dave Ramsey definitely just offers common sense and it sounds like you already have it! Eileen

  65. Costco Fan in Texas says:

    Our family upgraded to an Executive Membership nearly three years ago when we really started using the card. This past year I received about $135 back. In Texas, the standard membership is $50 (exec $100). So, if you spend $1250 at Costo throughout the year with an Executive Membership, you break even, since you’ll be spending that initial $50 no matter what in some sort of membership fee.

    Even as an Executive Member, I let the scanner people read my card as I’m curios to see how much I spent. Sometimes, I honestly think I should just sign my paycheck over to them since we spend so much money there.

    My husband wants to sign up for their Amex…but do we really get the 2% cash back with an Executive Membership on top of the Amex rebates? If so, then it’s worth it big time. Otherwise, I don’t see the benefit because I buy stuff for work ($800 TV last week – raffle) and use my work Amex instead of my own funds. If I can still get that 2% back from using the work card and use the Costco Amex for personal use, then sign me up!

  66. Costco Fan in Cali says:

    Yes, you earn Amex cash back on top of the 2% executive cash back. They’re separate and you can double dip.

  67. I enjoy the benefits of the executive membership. However, note that if you purchase the Costco Cash Cards from people who do not want them, you can typically garner a 5-10% in additional savings, plus the percentage gain on an executive membership.

  68. 7yrs member says:

    Costco Executive Membership

    Minus:
    None unless you seldom buy at Costco You should just drop your membership in that case

    Plus:
    + if you spend $2500 in a year, you still get to to pay only $50 for your membership, as if paying for the Basic Membership
    + if you spend less than $2500, you will still pay $50 for your Executive Membership
    + Gasoline is cheaper at Costco
    + You get to buy nice stuff at Costco at a discount. Big ticketed items like TV, washing machine, etc
    + Quality items being sold at Costco
    + Michelin tires has a discount
    + If you have the True Savings American Express Card, you get additional rebate. Somebody may argue about using American Express Blue Cash. It is possible that you may get more with Blue Cash but it depends on what you spend on most. Use the calculator at American Express website to compare. When I compared my usage I ended up getting $100 more with the True Earnings Card. The one thing that is good with the Blue Cash is the Travel insurance that the True Earnings may not have
    + Travel deals/upgrades for Executive only
    + You can make money back if you spend more than $5000. I am not saying go for it but if you normally do then might as well. There is nothing to lose.
    = To make more money, if you have friends who are not yet members and do not plan to join and they want something from Costco, you can buy what they want for them and just have them pay you back … buying a $2000 TV gets you close to your $2500 right? just make sure they pay you :) LOL
    There are only plusses in being an Executive Member … unless you are misinformed and do not go to Costco at all

  69. I work for Costco in Lehi Utah and am one of those “scanning”people referred to. I check your spending to see if you’re qualified for the Executive Membership. I say “qualified” because I don’t upgrade anyone I don’t think will profit from the program. I am very passionate about helping Members get a free Membership or as close to that as possible. I DO NOT get ANY compensation for getting an “Upgrade”. It’s all about the Member to me. I try to treat them the same way I would like to be treated. It’s not fun being treated rudely by Members not understanding that I have THEIR best interest in mind. That’s OK though, for the most part our Members are Great and wonderful to work with. I appreciate Members who are intelligent enough to listen to what I have to say and ask questions. I LOVE my job at Costco and LOVE doing what I can for the Members.

  70. macattack says:

    I just returned from Costco where I was going to renew my Executive membership that I started last year.
    I found out while there that we should have been receiving an Executive members coupon book each month during the past year. We were not on their mailing list for the coupons!!

    We also didn’t spend the amount needed to make use of the extra cost of Exec (rebate check was for $22)so I asked for the difference.

    The lady told me you only get the difference back if you drop back to the regular Gold Membership, so I did.
    I’m not paying extra again for them to miss me out on their mailing list.

    After getting great customer service in the past from Costco I am disappointed they didn’t try to make right their screw up regarding the coupon book omission.

  71. Karmickreator says:

    Macattack- As a supervisor @ Costco, i can tell you that coupon books are not sent to people based on their type of membership. It is sent to you based on a number of factors. Also, these coupon books are not sent BY costco , but rather by the VENDORS who’s items are on coupon.

    As for making it right, it appears that we did. We downgraded your membership and gave you back the difference you lost, correct?

    Keep in mind that many of our members receive checks like yours, but they also utilize one or two of the services we provide which saves them substantially more than if they didnt have the executvie membership. Many times, the savings from the services more than offset the cost of upgrading.

  72. LOL at all the Costco spam on here!

  73. Woodinville Washington says:

    Oh My goodness. I have been hammered by these AGGRESSIVE Upsell Membership people. 1 out of 5 visits. Today a supervisor -nice guy and great salesmanship- hit me hard. To the point that it ruined my day, shopping experience, and left me paranoid to checkout!!

    Why can you not just tell these people you’re not interested? They don’t call you because you can ‘Don’t Call list’. They SPAM a bit, Snail Mail a bit..

    I am begining to feel afraid to go to Costco anymore.
    I am about ready to cancel our membership. The prices are beginning to get higher than Safeway, Albertson’s, FGM. And the product size = too..
    Now the Meat doesn’t come close- I love Costco meats..

    Writing this has helped me decide to reduce my expenditures and stops at COSTCO..

  74. what about Executive members getting upgrades for car rental agencies? Does anyone know of other perks available?

  75. Karmickreator says:

    To Michael:

    Yes, there are many other perks available to an executive member. Many (if not all) of the outside services (such as auto/home insurance, online investing, money market/cds, identity theft protection,……..) have additional savings and promotions for an executive member.

    Much like the car rental discount, many hotels will also give you a discount on the room price, a free hotel upgrade, hotel credits, spa credits, or other gifts. Also, if you go on a cruise you can get a shipboard credit.

    All of these “perks” are listed in the various brochures that Costco has available to you. For the travel “perks” pick up a travel brochure next time you’re in. This brochure lists the additional promotions/incentives for staying at that specific hotel. As for the services your local Costco may have a services directory with all the borchures or you could visit the membership desk for info or questions.

    Hope this helps.

  76. Aha, Karmichreator is a Costco spammer. HAHAHAH. “Your local costco may have a services directory with all the brochures or you could visit the membership desk for info or questions.” Who talks like that?

  77. karmickreator says:

    Im guessing jeff is a “wally world” shopper.

  78. Oh SNAP!

  79. Croppled1 says:

    I read the response and I liked the arguement about cost . Looking into the Executive membership its really 2500 if you get the two % from costco and 1% from AMEX the amount to buy to get your membership for free would be $3333. With a Gold membership you would have to buy $5000 with the AMEX card paying you 1% to get it for free .

    However the Breakeven point for both cards is $2500 as long as you use a AMEX card for every purchases you will pay only $25 for either membership at that level of expenditure . Myself I cant see paying for the privilage of buying things at prices that can be found elsewhere . Though I do admit sometimes they come up with nice products hard to find elsewhere at very good prices . On average things appear to be about the same price but your limited in selection . They are definitely not geared to single households or elderly for food products . I would think they would do more in tough times to get as many members as they can to spread costs by offering more real incentives over marketing gimics . SAMS wasnt my cup of Tea either you need to spend allot yearly to make these clubs worthwhile , be flexible on products and really know your prices .

  80. I went to Costco today. I’m confident that a membership is not worth it. If you look for coupons in the Sunday paper and online and buy things at the grocery store when they are on sale, you’ll save more money than buying a membership and shopping at Costco. No gold or executive membership for me, bye. Croppled1 outlined it well. $2500 break even point, wow.

  81. I don’t shop at wally world and if I did, why is that funny or an insult? Elitist POS.

  82. @ Jeff-

    When I shop at Costco, I find you’re paying a little more than the grocery store, but you’re getting almost twice (sometimes more) the amount for the price compared to the grocery store. So you save time and gas money (less often you have to go to the grocery store).

    I don’t get a Sunday paper and I don’t wait for a grocery store to decide to have a sale (I do buy things online for cheaper, though). When I need something I know Costco stocks, I know the price and buy it if I can’t just happen to find it someplace cheaper (which I rarely do).

    $2500 seems like a lot, but if you buy in bulk for a family, you find yourself getting there faster than you’d imagine.

    However, all that being said, Costco doesn’t work for everyone. To each is own.

  83. I went to Costco last week to match up prices. Everything that I get at the grocery store was either the same price or HIGHER! For example, the free range eggs and organic milk were priced much higher than they are at my local grocery store. The burritos I usually get at the grocery store were about 50 cents cheaper, but I had to buy 12. The beer was all the same price and things like A1, walnuts, and Head & Shoulders were the same price too. I’m always up for a good deal, but none was to be found at Costco.

  84. Are you comparing the quantities? For example- in South Texas, free-range organic certified eggs can go for $5 for 6 to 12 a carton. At Costco, its $5 for 18! Costco’s here don’t have organic whole milk, but the Kirkland brand soy milk is cheaper than the grocery store. Walnuts @ a grocery store here for about 6 bucks a for pound. Costco has 3 lbs for 12 bucks. I buy the Costco Shampoo- comes in a two pack that lasts almost a year! Not bad and I can never find a two-pack of that much shampoo in a grocery store.

    Maybe its a regional thing and Costco prices vary.

  85. karmickreator says:

    To Jeff:

    Its good to see you making some more intelligent comments than those previously. I have no problem with debating or discussing pros and cons with you on a professional level.

    You are probably right, that many products we carry will be similar in cost to ones you can find at a supermarket, or similar price with a coupon. And we do not carry all varieties of every product under the sun.

    However, there are many items (like most that we carry) that if you priced per unit/oz/lg or whatnot we would be the supermarket. Ex.- we sell a 3 pack of Classico italian sauce. Our jars ARE bigger than those you wil find in any grocery store AND our unit price will beat their.

    Lets talk electronics… who can you buy ANY electronic from and be able to return is hassle free within 90 days?

    There are many points to membership at Costco and I would be happy to listen to your perspective, given it is on an ADULT level.

  86. BTW we don’t use the AMEX card for purchases anymore.. Amex just upped the Fianance charge on Blue to 12.99% even with a zero balance.. up from 9.99%.

    We don’t use Ameriprise Insurance, GEICO is cheaper & closer our Mid Virginia location. We aren’t in the market for a new car. My vehicle is only 4 years old & I had a Protection plan to 100K miles. I don’t use Costco Gasoline as it has ethanol in it which lowers my gas mileage. We prefer Valero All- Gas gasoline which allows my truck to get a full 25MPG.

    Prices have gotten outrageous.. Folgers Decaf got to 10,00 a 32 z can, I refused to buy it…..Did you see they had lawn fertilizer for $50 a bag in there? Wow, Why don’t I just lay money on my front lawn.. my husband switched to Ironite only…you can get it at Tractor supply for the same price your get it at Costco..$15 a bag. Seafood Meat & Bread products are still cheaper then the stores. e were impressed by the Sharp Aquos TV it made all the Sony’s TV in the store look overpriced !!!

    When we were Executive members we did NOT get the extra advantage Coupon book for Executive members. Well, gee why did I pay extra that year ? Silly me. The year I dropped it they managed to send the coupon book. Such are the ways of Costco Marketing.. think I can live with the basic membership…and my own Amex card…on my terms no impulse buying this year..thats for sure.

  87. I do not think that Costco employees should be promting the company on this website unless they explain upfront who they work for. I like Costco and have an executive membership which does not really pay for itself other than in special offers to executive members only, such as the $90 sharebuilder offer. This is because I do not shop there often enough. I will not shop at Walmart or Sam’s Club based on how they treat their employees (compensation). I think that Costco offers a pleasant buying experience and supports the products they seel with an excellent return policy and warranty/technical support for electronics. As far as the people that complain that when they go into Costco they end up buying more than they want I have only one reply. GROW UP AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN ACTIONS! I think that people need to control their spending through self-discipline and stop making excuses and blaming companies like Costco for their bad habits.

  88. I agree with Kevin. But not only is it Costco employees promoting Costco without identifying themselves, there are Costco members on here pretending like regular customers. That really makes me not want to do business with a company like that. Not to mention, 3 half gallons of organic milk at my Costco is $10.50 while one gallons of organic milk at my local HEB is $6. The eggs are an even bigger rip off. Twelve organic eggs at HEB are $2.69, 18 organic eggs at costco are $4.50. I won’t do the breakdown for the math challenged, but HEB is cheaper and I don’t have to buy as much. I will say this for Costco, they make a great cake (get the cheese cake filling) and my dogs RX is super cheap. The electronic policy beats any store that I know of too, but the electronics still seem overpriced. So I will continue to buy my dog’s RX there, but I still don’t see the $50 membership worth it.

  89. @ Jeff

    $2.69 for CERTIFIED organic eggs? If so, that has to be the 6-pack @ HEB. The ones that I found that are in the $2.69 price range are brown free-range- NOT HEB’s Central Market brand (which is certified organic).

    Well of course you don’t have to buy as much @ HEB- the whole point of Coscto and SAMs is bulk purchasing to save money (spend a little more, but you get much more quantity of that item- which is great for diapers, detergent, paper-towels, toilet paper, and other frequently used household items).

    Here’s a tip for people who want to price shop @ Costco before becoming a member… You don’t have to be a member to use their pharmacy. So get an RX filled there and browse. Grab yourself an ice-cream bar at the food court. It’s crazy delicious!

    My friend purchased a laptop @ Costco. A month or so later it dropped $100 in price. They told him if he brought it back, they would refund in FULL. I like Costco- they treat their employees right with living wages and benefits. Also, they hire some great looking ladies. Makes waiting in the line a little more bearable. :)

  90. You don’t even need to fill an rx, just say you are going to the pharmacy. Then, you can look around and see all of the money that you can’t save at Costco.

    @Jason
    I realize the point of shopping at Costco is buy more to save more. But in all of the cases of the stuff that I would buy, I would buy more and save nothing or even spend more.

  91. Money Saver says:

    My fiance and I were introduced to Costco in January this year. We got married in March this year. Therefore, when we looked at the Exec Membership in January and looked at the wedding bills coming in we knew we were onto a winner for exceeding the breakeven point on the AMEX cashback. So, it’s just the 2 of us in our household and since signing up in Feb this year we’ve accrued $330 worth of cashback balance as of May. But when we saw the gargantuan portions of the products at Costco we were worried that we’d be throwing groceries in the trash week after week. So, this is the “somewhat OCD” system we came up with and it works a treat. We bought a magnetc white board from Staples, freezer labels from Amazon, a bunch of glass and plastic sealable containers and ziploc bags. We work out our meals for the up and coming week before we go shopping and shop accordingly (not much new there). But because of the sizes of what we have to buy we knew that managing our freezer was tantamount. Therefore, we usually cook more than we need. The “leftovers” we freeze in sealable containers and write out a sticky label. With un-used/un-cooked groceries we seal mostly in ziploc bags and again write a label. Then we add it all to the board, including date it went into the freezer portions (for cooked foods) and weight etc (for uncooked foods). We find this system works great. We visit Costco every 2nd week buy the gargantuan portions cook and freeze accordingly. Then all we need to do is look-up the white board for our meals and we know what’s in there un-cooked, what’s in there cooked. Like I said…a bit OCD…but it works.

  92. Money Saver comment is hilarious. So in 4 months you and your fake wife have spent $16,500? Whatever, go away Costco employee.

  93. Money Saver says:

    This is a reply to Jeff:

    Read the beginning of my post. I said we had a wedding on the horizon and that influenced us on applying for Executive membership. We put all the costs of the wedding on the AMEX. Our wedding venue (the biggest single item) was processed by AMEX as “restaurant” and was therefore, eligible for 3% cashback. Pretty much everything else went on there at 1%. Then we had a honeymoon in Mexico for 2%.
    So, yes, we have spent that much on our card since Feb this year (when we signed up). If my wife is fictitious I have no idea who I’m laying in bed next to each night. Everything I have wrote above is true and neither my wife or I have any affiliation with Costco above the executive membership. I actually came across this blog via Google when I was researching whether or not to sign-up to Costco. I decided to post above because I feel that the internet (and sites like this) are only as powerful as the people that contribute. I wanted to share the scheme that my wife and I came up with.

    Jeff…after re-reading this entire page…you seem angry about something. All of your entries are casting aspersions, delivering accusations or antagonising people and their contributions. Relax Dude…go out for a walk or something.

  94. @ Money Saver

    That’s EXACTLY what a Costco employee would say! So insidious! :D

    Just kidding. I do think its funny Jeff is screening people and deeming if they’re legit people (real, employee or fake are the categories he’s used so far). Thanks for your comments, Money Saver.

  95. I will be so happy on the day that last person on earth realizes that Sam’s is just a Costco clone run by Wal-Mart.

  96. Money Saver,

    I’ll go for a walk when Costco stops committing racism by charging a fee to get into their club. Who are they trying to keep out? Rude.

  97. @ Jeff

    LOLWUT?! Okay, now you’re just trolling. Obvious troll is obvious.

  98. Money Saver says:

    To All….quick question: I need new tires for my car. Has anybody ever bought/investigated tires from Costco? Are they a good deal or are there better deals from the main dealerships? There’s an auto store just on the corner by my local Costco offering 4th tire free, so I was wondering if anybody had ever done the analysis on the best deal?

  99. plizard says:

    As far as tires are concerned Costco is great. However do not have a great selection of brands and do not carry all sizes in stock but they can be gotten fairly soon. My biggest concern with that is if I ever have a non-repairable tire and my size is not in stock what do I do?
    (I did have to order my size when I first purchased them). And you do have to compare total cost. Where you save is on mounting, balancing, disposal……

    As far as executive membership goes, I tried it for a year and it barely paid off. And lately I’ve gotten SOOO tired of the high pressure sales at the register to the point where the cashiers will page their sales people to come to give you the pitch. And when the lines are six, eight people deep those people could be put to better use checking customers out or at least scanning the items in your cart while you are waiting in line, they haven’t even been doing that lately.

    I do like Costco but I’m just getting tired of this high pressure sales stuff.

  100. karmickreator says:

    Money saver:
    From the costco webpage:
    “Purchasing your tires from Costco Wholesale, whether it be online or from one of our local warehouse locations, provides you with several key advantages. Our published retail pricing includes all of the shipping and handling costs associated with your tires.

    The Installation Package also includes Lifetime Maintenance Services that extend throughout the life of the tires you purchase. (Some limits may apply). These Lifetime services include inflation pressure checks, tire balancing, tire rotations, as well as flat repairs.

    Upon the service of your tires our Michelin Certified Tire Technicians will also install new rubber valve stems (Note TPMS valve stems and accessories will be an additional charge). Additionally, we inflate your tires with nitrogen, not compressed air. Nitrogen retains tire pressure better over time than compressed air, which can positively impact the life of your tires, as well as the fuel economy of your vehicle. We offer this service FREE OF CHARGE.

    Finally, for your protection, all of our tires are backed with the Costco Wholesale Road Hazard Warranty. See details.

    Take full advantage of The Costco Advantage today.”

    We buy our tires at costco due to the fact that it adds to our executive check. Not to mention there are more costco locations state to state than many of the other vendors have. So its much easier for us to get them rotated and balanced any where we are at. And the nitrogen is a plus, too.

  101. Richard says:

    @Jeff I believe he’s just trying to keep it real.

    As for me, I could live without Sam’s Club and/or COSTCO ’cause I’m just a single guy who doesn’t eat much and never washes his clothes! My sig-o on the other hand has had the regular Costco membership forever. We just recently heard about the Delta Dental Costco plan which requires you to be an Executive Member. So we went to the store to upgrade and were VERY pleasantly surprised to learn that the extra $50 was guaranteed, meaning if the rebate check was less than $50, Costco would reimburse the difference. SEEMS LIKE A NO-BRAINER. I’m very pleased to find this website and hear (from as far back as the 2006 posts) that peeps are getting the guaranteed $50 back with no hassle. CHECK OUT the dental plan if you’re in Calif. Aslo pleased to hear about car rental discounts, cause I’m traveling next weekend and still need to book a car rental. We’ll see if that discount is real or not. BTW I’m a total bargain hunter, and I recommend Dub dub dub Techbargains dot com for electronics.

  102. Thanks Rich, I am trying to keep it real.

    Hey karmickreator, about filling your cars tires with nitrogen, it’s a load of crap. Check this out…

    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2694/is-it-better-to-fill-your-tires-with-nitrogen-instead-of-air

    My dogs drugs went down again at Costco, but I still can’t find a reason to buy a membership. I did buy a great cheesecake filled cake there for my friends birthday, holy crap was that good.

  103. @ Jeff & Richard…

    If by keeping it real, you mean playing the racism card @ Costco and getting p0wned by Money Saver, then uh, okay. Its a club man. You pay dues whether your black, white, indian, mexican, chinese, japanese- whatever. To equate the membership dues to racism is idiotic.

    I’ve seen all the races I mentioned above both shopping and WORKING as Costco. So do you have any proof for your libelous statements or are you just being an Internet Tough Guy?

  104. I started shopping at Costco when our local Price Club store became Price-Costco. I’m still shopping at Costco all these years later.

    We hadn’t upgraded to the Executive membership because it’s just the two of us… all our kids are grown and have flown the nest. However, today we were about to purchase a dental plan. When I was on the dental plan’s website, checking out what was available, I saw that they had a listing for a plan that is available for Costco Executive members (California only) and thought I would check it out. I had previously heard about the dental plan for Costco Executive members, but had not looked into it because we didn’t have an Executive membership. I’m glad I took the time to check it out today.

    The amount we are saving on the dental plan not only pays for the cost of the membership upgrade for both of us, we also saved an additional $27.00. So, we now have the Executive membership and we spent $27.00 less than we planned to spend for our dental plan. I call that a win-win situation.

    And no, I don’t work for Costco.

  105. Karmickreator says:

    To jeff:

    even your own website about nitrogen says:
    “Overall, filling up with nitrogen won’t hurt and may provide some minimal benefit. Is it worth it? If you go to some place like Costco that does it for free with new tires, sure, why not”

    Also, if you read Jane and Richards most recent posts you’ll see that they both took the time to check out some services. And like I’ve said previously, their savings will more than offset the cost of upgrading.

    Glad to see not anyone is as cynical as Jeff.

  106. When we looked at how much we saved with our Costco Executive membership, we noticed it wasn’t on food shopping.

    I have noticed that Costco’s gasoline has been 12-15 cents cheaper a gallon then other gas stations around my area. Our biggest savings came from switching our car insurance policy

  107. OK Laura, yeah, you saved on your car insurance. How long have you been working for costco? If costco gets better rates than esurance, I’ll sing it from the hills.

  108. Hey Guys,
    Jeff here again, guess what? I got a membership today, but not an executive membership (even though the douche at the desk tried to sell it to me 4 times). I’m going to try it out, we looked around and saw some stuff that is cheaper than the grocery store (california boca burgers, fresh fish, bread, ect). The main reason I got it was that I save $3 a month on my pet’s meds meaning that I just need to make up $14 savings within a year. Oh yeah, their cheesecake filled cakes are very nummy. I’ll keep you guys posted on all my savings at costco. I will say the guy who sold the membership was so douchy that we almost walked out without a membership, no means no f face.

  109. Karmickreator says:

    Well Jeff, I must say… it sure does take a douche to know a douche.

    Glad to see you are considering your options and are being less negative on a company that actually is doing great things in this tough economy. Remember, no one here works on commission so your no to his offer of EXEC didnt affect his bottom line… it would actually affect yours.

    Since you WILL lose out on purchases, until of course you give it shot… at which point it is GAURANTEED… if it doesnt pay for itself you simply get a refund on the difference lost.

    Jeff, way to go F face, way to go.

  110. Hey F Face (karmickreator),

    What you and the douche at the counter don’t realize is that I won’t spend over $200 a month to get a $50 rebate at the end of the year. In knowing this, I realize that it will take some time to get my money back and I’ll get hit up by more douches telling me that I should keep my executive membership. It’s a waste of time, why not save myself some time and NOT get the executive membership. Also, it’s guaranteed to save me time not GAURANTEED.

  111. Wait- Jeff is “now” a member? Riiiight. Okay Jeff, how long have YOU been working @ Costco? :-)

    I agree w/ Karmickreator, Jeff- you’re abrasive online and probably even worse in real life. Don’t worry- I’m sure they’ll quickly figure out to leave “that guy” alone.

  112. Costco bought me a free membership (not executive) to keep my mouth shut on this website. Costco > Sams !!!

  113. KarmicKreator says:

    About Jeff,

    Not that we ALL dont already know that this guy is a total ass hat…

    First he says: “he guy who sold the membership was so douchy that we almost walked out without a membership”

    Then he says: “Costco bought me a free membership (not executive) to keep my mouth shut ”

    Hmmmmm…
    Ok, Jeff… ok. W/EUS

  114. skydancer says:

    Does anyone have experience regarding backing down from an executive account to a regular membership when your executive account is coupled with an AMX credit card?

    I have been a Costco member since 1990. I upgraded to executive several years ago when a Costco representative convinced me of the advantages. For many years my executive membership more than paid for itself via rebate checks.

    I’m now retired with limited income. I tried to back down my Costco membership but was told that I had to contact AMX and cancel my credit card account first. I hate to lose my AMX credit card because I may never qualify to get another credit card. My credit score is excellent but I’ve had other card accounts closed due to low usage.

    I just checked my AMX account on-line and as of 7/22/09 I spent a total of $1,535.15 which earned a rebate of $3.87. I only use my AMX at Costco. Last year I got a rebate of less than $10.00 and the only reason it was that high was because I bought a TV. Clearly it isn’t in my best interest to pay an executive membership fee.

    Has anyone else backed down from executive to regular Costco membership when an AMX card was involved? I’d love to hear your experience before I contact AMX.

  115. See my Costco brothers and sisters,

    The executive membership is not worth it. Skydancer is case and point. There is no way they should link his/her AMEX to the costco membership without being able to use it on it’s own, total bs. Skydancer wants his AMEX, not the ripoff executive membership, someone help the dancer out.

    And now I see that my posts are getting deleted, I’m out of here. I’ve proven my point along with others. Stay away from the executive membership, unless you like to spend over $4800 at Costco, in which I call you crazy.

  116. Karmickreator says:

    the executive membership is independent of your AMEX card. you can have either one or both. you may have misunderstood or was misinformed… regardless you CAN downgrade and still keep your amex. now if you had wanted to cancel your entire membership at costco you would lose your amex eventually or need to pay their annual fee. hope this helps clear things up.

  117. I found this trying to look up rental car rates/discounts in relation to having an Executive membership @ Costco & figured I’d chime in…

    I have just recently upgraded AGIAN to an Executive membership after a $1000 TV purchase – Between that & the amount I’ve spent on groceries/etc, I figured I’d be close to having the upgraded membership pay for itself, so I thought what the hell. I previously did this when I bought some appliances years ago, but came ~$13 short. It was as easy as some people have said – Go in with your rebate cheque, explain you wish to go back to a Regular Gold Star member and they will credit you back the difference.

    Now, while the “witty” banter over years of posts is entertaining, some people’s ignorance level is astounding…

    Incase it’s been buried in the previous drivel – For clarification they say $2500 because you have to pay the $50 EITHER WAY for a regular membership to shop there. The Executive requires the extra $50, so it will “pay for itself” in rebates should you spend enough.

    First, Costco clearly isn’t for everyone. Some people have problems with the membership fees – I often here the “You pay to shop there?!? – That’s crazy.” statement. There are lots of exclusives like their Kirkland brand items, included extended warranties, etc – The optical department has alone been worth it for myself as my prescription changes yearly & their lenses/frame costs for the same brands are usually quite a bit cheaper than where my eye tests are done. Once you factor in the $50 fee on how much you “save” on most items, you come out ahead if you buy enough. However, some years it’s worth it, some not so much.

    Second, their return policy is one of the best in the retail world. Back when I was still running an older, very dated computer (~10 years ago), I could buy, try & return software/games for the PC that it couldn’t run. That has since changed b/c of abuses, but certainly understandable given how easy it is to pirate this now. I have taken back used gardening/household items that have broke months later and no hassle about “customer miss-use” or any of that crap like at other stores.

    Quality of goods – Yes, All stores have crap & yes, things will have flaws or break. I must say though, that for the most part, the quality of the majority goods at Costco has been very good over the years. It’s mostly name-brands and the random bulk buy items they bring in are of good construction too (ie: high thread count linens, most seasonal items).

    “I can get it on sale for cheaper elsewhere” – If you have time to wait for specials, flip & clip out of flyers from other major store chains & drive to different places, be my guest. Overall, the net unit price is cheaper to most standard prices. Is selection always great? No – Esp. in the fresh food section. Usually you have one or two bulk packs of each item & that’s it (ie: eggs at the one here come in a 48-double carton and that’s it, lol). It is great however for hosting a party or stocking the pantry for the non-perishables. Also, toiletries & laundry items are generally good deals too – Giant Tide jugs, 3-packs of deodorant or 48-packs of razors come to mind.

    Anyways, back to the Executive membership – Yes, I will agree the sales people are a little pushy sometimes, and they could probably go about that a bit differently. Since you have to pay the $50 no matter what, you may as well “upgrade” if you have to do any major purchases. At worst, you can get the difference back.

  118. WoodinVirginia says:

    As of August 1, 2009 American Express ended All of its Fixed Rate Cards so now AMEX cards are a VARIABLE RATE CREDIT CARD starting at 12.99 %.

    This affects ALL AMERICAN EXPRESS CARDS Even those affiliated with Costco,; this is a Change which also will accompany a change in fees charged for Late fees,Cash Advances and over limit fees.

    Thought you would like to know since this is a money blog !

  119. WoodinVirginia, the change in credit card interest rate is the result of that great bill your congress passed. Did everyone expect that the banks and credit card companies would just roll over when all of those fees they were charging were outlawed?

    Does anyone know if the Executive rebate is paid based on purchases with coupons included? For example, I bought a phone last week for $99.99 less $99.99 coupon. I had to pay tax on it so Costco clearly was treating it as a manufacturer funded coupon (as all of their coupons seem to be). Will that $99.99 be included in my yearly spending for the 2% back?

    Karmickreator, I think what you said about coupons is incorrect. They are NOT sent out by vendors. I am fairly sure they are sent by Costco but the coupons themselves are funded (paid for) by the vendors. And I am fairly sure there is no specific Executive coupon book.

    BTW, if I pay for my Executive upgrade with one of the membership coupons and then want to get my money back because the rebate did not pay for it, is there any problem? Will they give me the money back in cash?

  120. karmickreator says:

    Bill:

    To answer your questions…

    1.”Does anyone know if the Executive rebate is paid based on purchases with coupons included?”

    No, 2% rebate is calculated on what was actually paid (not including the tax on it, of course). Which would mean if you got a “free” phone, you will not get $ back for it… since you didnt pay for it.

    2.”If I pay for my Executive upgrade with one of the membership coupons and then want to get my money back because the rebate did not pay for it, is there any problem? Will they give me the money back in cash?”

    I’m a bit confused… I think you are refering to your 2% rewards check/certificate when you say “membership coupons”. And the part about using it to pay for upgrade then getting the money back cause it didnt work… I’m LOST.

    So, lets say you were to renew your current membership which is the executive and use your 2% check to do so, then the following year you did not make back at least $50 then all you would need to do is go to membership with your new 2% check IN HAND. They will downgrade you and refund any difference lost. If you chose to do so, you could turn right back around and upgrade, using your rewards check.

    Last, but not least…. everybodys favorite topic- COUPON BOOKS! In reference to my previous post about the way coupons books were dispersed… we have a recent change. Coupon books will now be sent to all members, regardless of membership type, high redemption or not. BUT all members DOES NOT mean every person on the membership account. It means the primary and add-on members who we have a valid address for, and would not include any domestic members on the account. PMO still needs to be completed by the membership personnel and information sharing has to be allowed. Other wise- no sharing, no coupons.

    Hope this helps…

  121. The Costco Executive Dental Plan is a fraud. It lists deductibles but the pay nothing. I received adult orthodontic work through the plan dentist, he did a great job, but it took me a year and a court hearing for the judge to order Delta Dental, the provider, to pay my bill. Costco ignored my pleas for help. The Delta rep. at the hearing testified “we never pay on this plan”. DO NOT JOIN EXECUTIVE DENTAL PLAN.

  122. Nigel.Mansel says:

    I have been hounded by roving Executive Membership upgraders many times. I have to ask – why are they selling this so hard? If they really want to do me a favor why not just give me the rewards without the $50 charge up front. I just don’t believe Costco would pay so many employees to sell this upgrade unless it was in their best interest. Last time I was approached, the Costco employee admitted that they were having a contest between warehouses to see who could sign up the most people. If all Costco wants to do is spread the savings and benefits to the members then just do it – without the extra $50.

  123. We hound you b.c the membership is pure profit for the company. Plain and simple. Employees are scared to say that, but its true. It is honestly designed for Costco to make money off of. HOWEVER. You are GUARENTEED to get that extra 50$ back. Either in a rebate check in the mail or refunded in cash at the membership desk. We (floaters they call us in our warehouse) do NOT get paid commisson. (We arn’t allowed to accept tips either…we could loose our jobs). In result of raising our profits by spending more on your membership, we will give you money back to compensate. Its really not that hard to understand. If it didn’t work we wouldn’t have it. Look around at costco and look at the savings…why would we want to guide you wrong? Why do you think Jim Sinegal is such a successful CEO? The majority of members with costco are executive members. If your set on not having it…next time your approached…nicely and calmly (seriously be nice, it’s our job to do this. People have put me in tears) tell them its bothering you, you dont want it and the repetitive sales tactics are ruining your shopping experience. Then ask them to make a note on your card. We put stickers on ours. Its really not that serious though. Try it for a year and see for yourself. Prove us wrong. If they are “hounding” you, it’s for a reason. You probably spend more than you think. Ask them to pull it up on a computer and show you. You’ll be surprised. If not…then we will keep your 2%. I mean you could get over the amount. Maybe 150$, thats a FREE membership plus another 50 in your pocket…if your well off enough to not need it, good for you. Donate it..ha. I jokingly suggest that i’ll pay it if you send me the rebate..haha. Happy Shopping. We are DEFINITLY not out to make you have a bad experience with us. Just want to help you while you help us.

  124. and yes…to argee with a previous post. It is worth it to pay for a membership to buy in bulk.

    One example: i was looking at 5 hour energy shots. ( i love them)
    you get 24 in a pack for 35.99. Thats 1.50 a bottle. They are 2.99 at 7-11. thats half price. So you are saving 36 dollars on just that purchase.

    Shampoo, soaps, RAZORS (OMG) everything is already figured into your membership price. I read an article a while back about some Calvin Klien jeans that Costco and our competitor Sams Club sold. CK sold them to both companies for like 18 dollars a pair. Sams turned around and sold them for 25 dollars, whereas Costco only raised the profit two measly dollars. JEWELERY!!! we only raise it like 8 %. We are also the highest retailer of wine in the country. They had us on 2020.

    And about the phones…you get free acessories. Why complain about not geting rebate off of that purchase? and sometimes we have coupons for phones in addition to your upgrade eligibility for your phone service. VIZIOS those tvs are being sold in walmarts now. OURS have more imputs in the back for your game systems and numerous DVD and stereos. They are also cheaper and have a higher resolution. And a 90 day return policy ANNNND 2 year concierege warrenty that comes with your membership.

    you cant go wrong with costco

  125. skydancer:
    you dont have to do anything. Just tell them your downgrading. Maybe they thought you wanted to cancel the whole thing. in that case yes you need to contact amex cuz you may be charges annual fees. They dont charge you an annual fee b.c your already paying one to costco. But use it everywhere hun…gas gets you 3%. and so does the restaurants. get they previous year refunded and use that to pay for the next years membership. And to the guy who is complaining about it not being worth it…you need to ask some questions first bc you apparently dont know what your talking about. 4,800 will give you almost 100 back. the idea is to break even at 50. You pay 50 anyways. We dont want you to pay more than that when everything is all said and done. And how can it not be worth it, when we give you a refund it it doesn’t work out. Work there for a lil bit and get to know what we go through…then you can add your comments.

  126. also…(i keep leaving comments)
    you can make a payment to AMEX over the PHONE once a day. charge it…call and pay it. charge your gas, pay it the next day. Do that and watch your rebate go up. We cash out checks that reach $2,000. insane.

  127. ok last one i promise….why does it matter if someone is an employee or not? or an employee in disguise? I WORK FOR COSTCO I HAVE FOR ALMOST 5 YEARS! HERE I AM!! why would you say you would’t want to d business with a company like that? A company with employees that love their employer…shady people right? Your an idiot.

    they take care of us. its a great job. whats not to love?

  128. Just wanted to leave an update. Recap: I was concerned about downgrading from Executive membership because my rebate was not covering the extra $50 but was concerned about losing my AMX card because I am currently unemployed and might not meet the requirement to get another credit card.

    A very helpful Costco employee suggested that I keep my executive membership and start using my AMX for all of my purchases. I was using a Visa that accrued miles but now I can’t afford to travel so why bother. I was shocked when I received a rebate for $53.00. The previous couple of years it was less than $20. My current rebate covered the cost of Executive membership. Now I’m using my AMX as much as possible. It isn’t accepted everywhere but I use it where I can. Next year my rebate will be even larger.

    The helpful Costco employee also suggested that I cash my rebate check at the membership counter instead of using it toward a purchase.

    Thank you all.

  129. skydancer, I am confused. You would not lose your AMEX card if you downgraded from Executive to Gold Costco membership (someone else posted this info after your initial post). The only thing that should help you decide whether to keep Executive is if the 2% rebate (along with anything else you use from it) covers it. The AMEX rebate will be the same no matter what level of Costco membership you have.

    BTW you can cash your AMEX rebate at the register. I always do that, because if you use it for your purchase, you lose the rebate on that purchase.

  130. PS the real goal is to make your AMEX rebate pay for the Gold membership fee.

  131. Sunshine pumper Teri came on the blog, so now I feel the need to make a return to the board.

    Yes, of course 7 hour energy is twice as much at 7-11. That’s because you pay for getting in and out of 7-11 quickly, unlike costco where you are bothered to upgrade to an executive membership before you are able to check out. If I wanted crap like 5 hour energy, that doesn’t work, I’d just buy it at the grocery store for the same price.

    Something else, Costco lied to me about the price of meds coming down if I got a membership. They told me it would come down $3 a month for my rx for my dog, with that math I’d only have to save $14 a year to make up for my membership. Well, that wasn’t true. My rx came down a measly $1.50, meaning I need to save $32 a year to pay for my membership and I just don’t see that happening. Costco’s membership is a ripoff, just like Sam’s. Save your time and money and shop at a local supermarket, Costco is a scam. Teri, you’re company is a scam.

  132. Also, your doesn’t equal you’re.

  133. Jeff, I thought you said you were leaving? What are you doing back?

    BTW I just got a $74 Executive member rebate, so I guess it worked out for me.

  134. PS I think the energy shots are $2.50 each (or more) at the drug stores, so $1.50 is still a good deal, even if you’re not getting ripped off at 7-11.

  135. @Bill, these emails keep coming to my inbox, it’s too hard not to respond.

  136. Jeff, you can do it. Or just click the link under this text in the email and unsubscribe. It will be better for all of us.

    To manage your subscriptions or to block all notifications from this site, click the link below:

  137. A-FREAKIN’-MEN, Bill. Jeff is nothing but piss & moan and if I were Costco, I wouldn’t want him as a customer- you’re not gonna make him happy no matter what. A scam? Really? Then get your refund and leave. They LIED to you, Jeff? Was it one of the racist members of Costco you whined about earlier? What a tool. Obvious troll is obvious.

  138. I was so hounded by costco membership upgrades, I wrote a complaint. I cannot remember the last time I took the time to sit down and write to a company. I stopped shopping at costco for 4 months. I like the bakery, the bulk, but I find the employees arrogant and pushy. I know a coworker who LOST her reward certificate at the end of the year, and they refused to replace it. I find COSTCO to be a mixed shopping experience. Obviously the employees are acting like they are part of a cult. I love my job too, but I don’t hound people to buy things they don’t want or aren’t sure about.

  139. Costco’s membership fee is insultingly high and self-serving. I like Costco more then Sams. But, whoever has the lowest membership fee wins. So, I got rid of my Costo membership and go only to Sam’s.

  140. MARY QUITSCH says:

    Be aware on returns to Costco! Last year we paid to be Executive members, purchased 2 flat screen tv’s, both ended up needing to be returned, and of course we received a store credit ( purchased a new tv) BUT, they issued the credit on a Costco gift card and guess what? We never received our 2% rebate at year end! Why???? I was told we did not spend enough money and they only saw purchase and returns on our account! Make sure that your store credits get put on your executive membership cards!

  141. I am new to Costco and was wondering WHEN the rebate checks arrive in the mail. I am hoping someone tells me beginning of December!
    Thank you!

  142. It comes with your membership renewal the month before your membership is set to expire.

  143. Mary, what you are saying makes no sense. How you pay for it is immaterial. They would get your membership information when they scan your card at time of purchase. I think you somehow misunderstood what they were saying.

  144. MrKnows, have fun at Sams. I know I much prefer the merchandise at Costco. Let us know how that return goes after something breaks after Sams shorter return period.

    I actually have cards at all 3 clubs – Costco, Sams and BJ’s. Sams I get free from a co-worker. BJ’s I pay as an additional card on a corporate membership because they’re close to my house. But I pay for Costco and it is far better than the other two.

  145. Karmickreator says:

    To Mary:

    A few questions to clear this up a bit…

    Did you upgrade before making the TV purchases? Because as long as you did, you earned 2% on that purchase. Now you wouldnt have earned it again after returning then repurchasing the TV, which would be cheating the system (even if you had no intention of doing so). Our system computes returns and purchases to accurately pay the 2% reward.

    However if you didnt upgrade until after you made the return but before you made your 2nd purchase you wouldnt have earned 2% because the purchase and return washed each other. Ex: we noted a -$2000 purchase (aka return) followed by a $2000 purchase. These cancel each other out.

    Hope this helps.
    Besides you didnt lose anything since it IS risk free. If your check is less than what you paid take it to membership and get a refund of the difference.

  146. Be realistic. If you pay for the executive membership, it’s simply putting 50$ in a savings account for them. This might be great for them which increases the incentive for the pressure by employees to pick it over the gold membership. But for you as a consumer, it’s pointless even if you buy over 2500$ per year. Wouldn’t it make more sense to keep the 50$ in your pocket for your own use rather than letting them gain interest on it while you’ve already burned the whole in your pocket.

  147. Karmickreator says:

    To Justin:

    Speaking of being realistic… if you OR we were to put that $50 in a savings account for a year which earns 2% (actually a good rate these days) your return would only be $1. WOW… what a great way to make money (being sarcastic).

    But if you are like our average member, who spends over $2500 then you would make more than that. Keep in mind our average household sees a check in the range of $80, which is a $30 return. Which do you think is better?

    Justin, you should also realize that when costco has more capital we have more buying power which gives better leverage prices on goods, open new warehouses and better our income to debt ratio… all of which benefits both the member, our employees and our stock holders.

    This is the reality.

  148. It’s definitely worth it for business members who resell items from Costco. I get $500 back every year, and I’m probably going to get a second membership at some point in the future. It’s simple math. If you don’t spend at least $2,500 a year then it’s not waste of money.

  149. Sorry, I meant “it is a waste of money”

  150. Are gas purchases and Costco Cash cards included in the 2% rebate total?

  151. Karmickreator says:

    To chuck:

    No they are not. But both are included from AMEX cash back.

  152. We are a household of 2 living in an apartment with limited space and no second freezer and CostCo works brilliantly for us. It more than justifies the annual fee, and it looks like we’re going to make money on the Executive rebate too.

    I am pretty good at resisting impulse purchases at CostCo. I HAVE learned that sending the boyfriend by himself is a mistake, though. But that’s okay because I do the majority of our shopping anyway. I am also very price-sensitive and not afraid to chase sales at different grocery stores, so I think I’m in a reasonable position to analyze the savings.

    The CostCo rotisserie chickens are $4.99 every day, which is the same as the best sale price at the grocery stores around here, and 2-3 dollars cheaper than their regular price. Regular prices for whole chickens are hovering around the 1.29/lb mark in my area right now, so unless I get a good sale it’s actually cheaper for me to buy my chicken already roasted for me at CostCo. I can get it for as low as 59 cents per pound at the supermarket on a good sale, but whole chickens are inconvenient to store from bulk buys. CostCo wins.

    Dairy is a big savings area at CostCo (except eggs which are usually not competitive with store sales…and some store ALWAYS has eggs for 99 cents a dozen.) Butter will occasionally hit $1.40/lb as a grocery loss leader around here, but is regularly in the $2+ range, and often the “sale price” is about $1.80. I can walk into CostCo on ANY day and get butter for $1.50/lb.

    Hormone free skim milk is $2.22/gallon at CostCo. I’ve simply never found any price at any other store including Aldi that matches that. It was $2.07 for a long time but has edged up recently. We save over a dollar a gallon, and since BF drinks a lot of milk, that’s 3-4 dollars a week or $150-200 per year RIGHT THERE. It’s also fresher tasting. Great cheese is easily 3-6 dollars a pound cheaper at CostCo than anywhere else, and although I have to be careful to make sure we use all of it, it’s still less than we would have paid at the grocery if only a little goes bad. Plus it’s cheese so it lasts a while.

    I tend not to buy tons of meat at CostCo: I can generally get a better price by waiting for ridiculously good prices at grocery stores. HOWEVER, the stores always sell the good sale price stuff in family packs, which means when I get it home I carve it up into useable amounts for our home and freeze it in ziplock bags. The quart size, freezer Ziplock bags at CostCo are unmatchable in price and quality. I have learned the hard way about putting expensive meat in cheap freezer bags. Sirloin steak for $1.99/lb (yes, this is a real sale from 2 weeks ago) is still expensive compared to plastic baggies. Around the holidays, though, I’ll occasionally score big at CostCo even on meat. I bought a beautiful pork loin there for $1.29/lb right around Christmas and cut it into 1 1/2 inch thick chops.

    Produce can be hit or miss regarding price, but one thing that is NEVER hit or miss is the freshness. CostCo produce lasts demonstrably longer in our fridge. I always buy romaine hearts there (3.99 for 6 vs 3.99 for 3 in the supermarkert), fresh baby spinach (varies, but it’s usually a good 40% less), and grapes (generally 1$ a lb less: I just wish CostCo had them ALL the time. BF loves grapes.) Broccoli florets are usually cheaper there but not always. Avocados are 4 bucks for a bag of 5 instead of 2 for 3$ at the grocery, but unfortunately BF does not like them so I don’t buy those there. If your family likes them, though, you should! Baby carrots are cheaper on sale at the grocery, but they are a perishable staple for us, as is string cheese. When I can’t get the carrots or the cheese on sale, CostCo is about 40% less.

    Off-brand toilet paper is cheaper on sale, but not by very much. I resisted buying TP at CostCo for a long time because of storage issues, but I bought some there during our snowstorm because I didn’t want to make an extra stop. I may be converted. The brand I got there was very nice and very strong, and I find I’m using less of it.

    My contacts are 6 dollars a BOX cheaper there than anywhere else, so that’s a savings of about 78 dollars a year. I bought both a vaccuum and a space heater there. They weren’t the absolute cheapest being sold anywhere , but they had terrific reviews which have been well justified by my experience with them. My dad who is a meticulous researcher about this kind of thing called my vacuum a “complete steal for the quality”.

    We don’t save as much on gas as some of you seem to (wow @ 10-15 cents a gallon), but then I’m in the Midwest where gas is already cheaper. We save more like 1-3 cents per gallon.

    Books tend to be cheaper at Amazon or walmart.com. We saved 10 dollars a year on the BF’s Xbox Live membership. I get my regular prescription meds through Target because it’s a $4 with a discount for using the Target card, but the cat’s stuff is MUCH cheaper at CostCo.

    The store is always clean, the employees are always friendly. The weekend lines are too long, so I’ve learned to go after work during the week. One great thing about CostCo employees: they are as friendly and thorough when it’s close to the end of their shifts as they have been at other times I’ve shopped. I am very satisfied, and I have saved a lot of money.

  153. Oh, and I forgot olive oil (unbeatable price!), whole wheat organic pasta (for the same price as whole wheat NOT organic pasta at the grocery store), organic natural peanut butter (the just peanuts and salt kind), pre-minced garlic (around 4 dollars for half a year’s worth of garlic) and yeast.

    Yeast is a ridiculous deal. I bake most of our bread and I can get a year’s worth of yeast there for the price of 6 little packets at the grocery store.

  154. John Ledesma says:

    Here it is our situation, we use costco regularly (~$2500/year or so) and we couldn’t live without it.
    We have our membership through AMEX-costco. That is, we pay the annual credit card fee and get the costco membership for free. Now every time I go I get annoyed by the employees that try to convince me to change to the Executive membership. Here it is my breakdown and it seems to me that it doesn’t make sense to upgrade. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    1) now:

    AMEX and costco membership … $50
    rebates: 1% because of amex
    returns: $25 (not counting AMEX purchases outside)
    total cost: $25

    2) after upgrade (keep amex)

    AMEX … $50
    costco executive membership $100
    rebates: 2% because of exec. memb. ($50) + 1% because of amex ($25)= $75
    total future cost: $50 + $100 – $75 = $75, no reimbursement because I break even.

    3) after upgrade (no AMEX)

    no amex..$0 (also loose rebates elsewhere)
    costco exec. memb. $100
    rebates: 2% = $50
    total future cost: $100 – $50 = $50, no reimbursement from costco.

    it seems that any upgrade option will increase my total “cost of membership” by $25 or $50. (Even if there is a gain, –because I made a mistake–, it will be of that order of amount, on the order of tens of bucks.) And besides that I loose my amex OR I really loose the freedom of deciding objectively where to buy things that I can buy everywhere (like milk, you know, “darling…!, go to costo because we *have* the %2 rebate !” ).

    Even if I spend $5000/year, the numbers won’t change much: option 1) cost: $0, 2) cost: $0 (and less freedom of mind), 3) cost: $0 ( and less freedom of mind and no amex card).

    You need to spend on the order of $10000/year to start seeing the difference in your pocket.

    Is this correct?

  155. @John Ledesma – The AmEx Costco card has no annual fee. You pay $50 for the Gold membership or $100 for executive membership. Thus, as long as you spend $2,500 per year and get 2% back, you will “break even” with Executive. This neglects other perks like discounted check printing or other discounts.

  156. Wow, I can’t believe they thought the credit card cost $50 and it made the Costco membership free. I guess I can see how they might think that since the Costco membership is billed to the credit card, but it’s still pretty bizarre.

  157. Some people use the Blue Card from AMEX at Costco, The Blue card just had a Interest rate increase from 9.99 % to 12.99% for users.

    My family stopped using the card for purchases altogether. My Credit Unions Visa is still 7.90 % and has been for the past 2 years before that it was 5.9% . Why does Chenault have to have a 12.99 % rate on the blue card when as a commercial bank Amex gets its money at the discount rate which is 1.9% currently. GREEDY SOB’s..

  158. First, some of us pay our bills in full each month and do not care about the interest rate. We take the 1% (or more) rebate as a bonus rather than a paltry subsidy to the interest rate. Let them make it 20% for all I care, so long as I do not have to pay an annual fee or lose my rebate.

    As for your complaint about the “greedy sob’s”, I don’t understand why people seem to think that banks are not allowed to make money. The government recently restricted a bunch of fees and practices (some of which I will admit were questionable) which the banks were making money from and which allowed them to keep their cards affordable for many many more. Was anyone (other than Congress) stupid enough to think that the banks would not find some other way to make up that lost income?

  159. karmickreator says:

    Jonathan and Bill:

    Thank you for correcting JOHN LEDESMA. I was just about pulling my hair out when i read his post.

    John, you DO NOT pay an annual amex card fee, you are automatically enrolled in autopay for your annual Costco membership fees when you sign up for the amex card.What you see on your amex statement if for your membership fees with costco.

    And they are also correct in that you must only spend $2500 in a year to warrant the extra $50 cost of upgrading your membership to the executive level. If you dont make it back WE refund (at the membership desk) ANY difference lost .

  160. karmickreator says:

    To Moe:
    Your credit unions visa wont help you here at costco, unless it is a debit. WE ONLY accept AMEX for credit purchases. Besides if you are buying groceries on a credit card and have to worry about the interest rate, you are using your card wrong and should probably go back to using a debit.

    The interest rate only matters if you dont pay off the bill every month.

  161. Opinions on the Costco – Delta Dental insurance …..

  162. I’m a Costco business class member considering upgrading to executive, primarily because of the Deltadental plan discount. The comment that Delta Dental never pays benefits on this plan concerns me. Has anyone here had a positive experience with the dental plan?

  163. If I ask for refund for difference lost (my check is less than $50) at the membership desk, will I also be instantly downgraded to GOLD? Please advice.

  164. Update

    Amex just upped the interest rate on the Amex Blue Card from 12.99 to 15,99 as of March 1, 2010. Don’t you just love American Express?’
    A lot of retailers have begun to refuse it. BTW Bernanke kept the discount rate at .5% yesterday . so I don’t want to hear that they can’t afford to keep the interest rate low. GREED rules at AMEX.

  165. BTW you only get 2% back on “qualified purchases” not everything qualifies for their 2% rebate folks.

  166. karmickreator says:

    to kenny:

    Yes, thats how we do it. Downgrade you from exec to gold or bus depending on what you are. Refund te difference lost.

    You can upgrade at any time and it is ALWAYS guaranteed. So feel free to upgrade again if you make a large purchase and want to give it another go.

    Hope this helps.

  167. Moe, just pay your bills in full each month and you will not care about interest rates. And I don’t see why you should be complaining about AMEX’s interest rates vs any other financial institution. Let them make money if they want off the foolish people who pay interest. The Feds took away a bunch of stuff that credit card companies were making money from.

    And do you know what does not qualify for the 2%? Or did you just read the fine print? I do not know for sure but I’d be surprised if it was anything of significance. Maybe it’s just their way of excluding returned merchandise. Why don’t you ask Costco for an explanation?

  168. PS I Haven’t run into anyone who has stopped accepting AMEX. Let’s have some names.

  169. to karmickreator:

    Thank you for your promptly reply. I understand that this downgrade will not affect my Costco AMEX card right? I use it as membership card. Will it need to be replaced due to change into new membership level (GOLD)? Or will this be done automatically when my current card expired?

  170. karmickreator says:

    To kenny:

    On the back of your AMEX the background should say “EXECUTIVE”. When you downgrade you most likely wont get a new card just becuase of the downgrade. When they go to reissue the AMEX card, say when it is expired you might notice it wont say EXECUTIVE in the background in the event you DO downgrade.

    Good luck.

  171. Costco2far says:

    We live in Cranbury, NJ and regrettably joined a local BJ’s because Costco locations are not convenient… about 40 Minutes one way. Now Cranbury (or may be it’s Sound Brunswick) also happens to house Costco’s distribution wareshouses. I wonder if they would consider opening a drive through business. Phone it in, pay for it and pick up at the drive through. Would not get much impulse purchases this way. But you can keep the business at Costco instead of going to BJ’s. I’m sure I’m not the only person in the area that misses not having a more convenient Costco. If the drive through idea is not going to work, who do we communicate to Costco that they need to open at least one more store in Central NJ?

  172. We took the Executive Membership in Sep 2009 while in Kona. Got a check today for $80. Fairly sure we will break $20 more in the next 3 months, easily making it worthwhile for us.

    Of course we go to Costco at least twice a month and then supplement that with our fresh produce store and local Indian and Asian markets. we never set foot in large grocery stores anymore. Haven’t in years.

  173. Sofaking Nuts says:

    karmickreator,
    I received my Executive reward certificate yesterday for approximately $26. I understand this is only for 9 months worth of purchases. Are you saying I should take this $25 check to CS, ask to downgrade to Gold and they’ll refund me $24 ? At that point, I should take the $26 reward certificate and use it to upgrade back to Executive?

  174. I was approached in the Costco checkout line by an employee with a hand scanner. She asked me if she could scan the items in my cart. I thought she was checking me out so I wouldn’t have to stand in line for the long line. When she finished scanning, she showed me on her scanner where I could save quite a bit of money if I had the Executive Card. I don’t remember the amount but it was for this time and over the active period from my Credit card start date. I had been using my Amex Standard card and she said I would save a lot if I had the Executive card. I asked her what it would cost to switch to the Executive card and she told me, I think it was $33. That sounded real good. But yesterday I got a card renewal and card change application that showed that I would have to pay $50 for the Goldstar Primary Card and $50 more for the Executive upgrade, (e.g.) $100.
    I immediately looked on line to see how much I had to purchase to pay the difference between the $50+ upgrade and just the $50 Standard card membership. I saw many places on the Internet that stated that I would have to purchase $2,500 worth of acceptable Executive Card purchases for the year I was using the card to break even. That’s $208.33 per month. There are only 2 of us at home and that would be using the cards. There is no way that we would buy that much.

    We have also found many, many places, where we shop a lot, that don’t even accept American Express credit cards. So, we still have to use our Visa card for backup.
    It looks like we are going to keep the American Express Standard card for purchases where they accept them and keep the VISA card handy in case the American Express card is rejected..

  175. I would appreciate comments on AMX Costco TrueEarnings card.

    I just received my annual reward certificate – $57. Yes, my rebate paid for my executive membership, but not by much. We have the Costco AMX with 2% for Costco purchases and used to get decent annual rewards but we are now retired, have sold our home and are living in an apartment. No home to maintain. No yard for us to purchase items for. We moved away from family, including grandkids so no extra mouths to feed. We used to have an extra refrigerator and freezer in the garage but now have very limited storage. I am cooking for only 2, which makes shopping at Costco very interesting.

    I thought about downgrading our Costco membership except that means closing our AMX credit card. I went out to the AMX web site to see about switching to the AMX Costco TrueEarnings card. That card gives 1% at Costco in addition to up to 3% for other purchases. We spent $10,000 using our AMX last year (paid balance in full each month) so the TrueEarnings card would have resulted in a higher annual reward. Our income is a fraction of what it used to be but we have excellent credit. AMX had in bold print that they would give me the decision in 60 seconds but that didn’t happen. I filled out the application and got a message that if I qualified they would send the card in the mail within 14 days. If I don’t get the TrueEarnings card then I will downgrade our membership and close our AMX account.

  176. I want to clarify that the Costco executive membership costs $100 per year. This year (2010) I received a reward of $57. The Costco goldstar membership costs $50. I figured my reward paid for the $50 difference between goldstar and executive membership plus I received $7 extra. I really don’t need an executive membership.

    I just called Costco membership to confirm that I would lose my AMX card if I downgraded from Executive to Goldstar. That does not happen. Previously, I was given incorrect information or perhaps I did not understand. According to this person, I can retain my AMX card no matter what level of Costco membership I have. If I downgrade to Goldstar, I would lose the 2% Costco purchase rebate. With a Goldstar membership and a TrueEarnings AMX I would continue to earn a rebate. Once my TrueEarnings AMX arrives (cross my fingers) I will downgrade to Goldstar.

  177. Today, I went to the Costco customer service desk and asked them to change my membership back to the TrueEarnings AMX card. It took them less than 5 minutes to have the change made and a refund for the amount I was charged for the Executive card less the time that I used it. The refund came to $!6 and some small change. I was told that my account was changed and I would be receiving the TrueEarnings card in the mail and that when my yearly membership comes up again, I would be charged the yearly membership fee of $50. I heard nothing about me not getting my credit card privileges restored. In fact, about 3 hours after I had the change made, I purchased a few grocery items and they scanned in my credit card number to pay for the items. You still have the same credit card – or member number no matter what type of credit card or member option you choose.

  178. Dear Ray King,
    You are correct. I was mistaken. I thought downgrading my account would cost me my AMX. That is false. I tried to explain that in my last post but I am verbose.

    This afternoon I called AMX and they very quickly changed my AMX Platinum Cash Rebate Costco card to a TrueEarnings AMX. Since I am retired I was afraid I wouldn’t meet the income requirements to get a different card but they looked at my 11 year Costco membership and 25 year AMX history and immediately issued me the card. Like your experience, it only took a few minutes. I was told that I could continue to use my Platinum Cash Rebate AMX until my new cards arrive but that from the time I spoke with the representative, I will earn my AMX rebate according to the TrueEarnings rules.

    I will continue to receive my rebate from AMX in February but if I downgrade my Costco membership I will forego getting a Costco rebate in August. This year my AMX rebate was $73 and my Costco rebate was $57. With the TrueEarning AMX I will receive a larger annual rebate (from AMX).

    Please excuse the confusion. I wish I could have edited my previous posts, or perhaps I need to double-check my facts before posting in the first place.

    On another subject. I purchased a TurboAire fan from Costco last year. It has a 2 year warranty. Two days ago it started leaking oil and the motor is struggling. I could not find my proof of purchase. I emailed Costco Customer Service and I promptly received a return email telling me that they will send my proof of purchase within the next 2 business days. Wonderful customer service. Now my biggest concern is to find a box to ship it back to the manufacturer.

  179. Karmickreator says:

    To so faking nuts:
    It is up to u how to handle the downgrade… But yes, if you wish get refunded the difference and you could upgrade again if that’s your desire.
    But you could also just wait till the end of the actual renewal month and they will be able to tell you how much you have accrued for the last two to three months of purchases

  180. It’s pretty obvious that Costco figures that if you have something invested in shopping at their store, that you’ll work a little harder to actually shop there– or at least you should, because the membership fee + reward system makes it in your best interest (or at least, in theory). On the other hand, if you 1) live alone and consequently can’t use a second household card, and also therefore 2) often can’t use massive quantities of a product, then you have to restrict your shopping to things you can use, which might include electronics and a variety of other items, and you might not benefit from the executive features. In fact, it is even in their interest if you drag your Costco-membership-hating friends in there to buy stuff on your card, because they are still getting more shoppers in the door to buy stuff and that is the bottom line for them. The whole membership thing is a strategy to keep people buying at Costco instead of somewhere else, it’s really not so much a strategy to ding you for $50/yr.

    Is it a bad deal? Depends– on how you feel about the whole process, whether or not you find anything of value regularly at Costco, and if it’s convenient enough that you will actually go there. If you’re constantly beset with crowded parking, long lines and not what you’re looking for (or in the quantities you can use), then you may choose to go to the grocery nearer you– but that’s something you just have to evaluate…

  181. I am exectuive member. Supposedly joined on 12/08/08. I paid 100$ then. I wanted basic but was told if the rebate check is not more than 50$, I get 50$ back. It seemed to be no-profit no loss scene to me.

    I got a rebate check of 16$[but now I intend to shop more] I get charged another 100$ on Jan to renew membership.

    So totally I have paid 200$ as membership so far, and member since 2 years. BUT, now that I ask to be reimbursed the 50$. I am told, my current membership will go down to basic. And I wont get 50$ back for the exec membership I paid for this year?

    Can someone explain how this makes sense. I am fine with going down to basic , but shudnt i get 100$ back in total? Or jsut 50$ back for last year and let me remain the 100$ exec this year till the rebate check comes in, and story shud repeat right?

  182. Did you just get the $16 rebate check now for this year’s purchases? It seems to me that if you joined in December close to 2 years ago, you should have gotten a rebate check last October or so and realized that it was a bad deal and downgraded your membership for that year and the upcoming year BEFORE YOU PAID FOR THE SECOND YEAR. At this point the first year is history and there is no way you can get a refund on the membership fee (plus the rule is you have to ask for the refund). They don’t know that you were unhappy and wanted a refund, you have to ask for it. Maybe you used other features of the Executive Membership like extended hours or extra sign up bonuses for Capital One and were happy with the extra $50.

    Bottom line is it’s your responsibility to ask for the downgrade and no you are not entitled to $100 back.

  183. Thanks. That clarifies why I got the reply, I will get only 50$ back and membership goes back to basic. Well I opened the account in Dallas, after which I was out of country for 5 months. Jul to Dec. So the check got mailed to Dallas, where I never returned to. I was in WA for upto Mar. And then went to costco in Jun this year I think.

    So considering that I was out of country. And the mail was reverted. They reissued the rebate check, in Apr this year. It was past its expiration date when it arrived :)

    Thanks for the reply.

  184. Karmickreator says:

    To vashali… If it was an exec check then it doesn’t not have an expiration date. You sound very confused. Was it from Costco or maybe from Amex?

  185. WoodinvilleWashington says:

    Well. Hit me again tonight. They are swarming hard. Kinda worrisome. Like when the car lot has 6 salespeople and one shopper..

    I have been removed from the up sell. We’ll see.

    It seems that Costco may be offering only Executive level (or a new name) soon. I will not be renewing my membership.

    Apples to Apples Costco really has lost its ‘Specialty’. I remember Costco Kirkland in the early 1990′s. Was a great.. Maybe the business 20 year cycle has caught up with them.

    Product comparison size and value is equal to Safeway and other chains grocery outlets. Remember, you can’t use mfg coupons at costco. The kind were you get money back.. ;) Just got $2.00 from a Cottonelle Safeway coupon.

    Electronics are sub-quality (low end models) and gas is priced to match other local (AM-PM) markets.

    I am sad. Feel like I lost a good friend as we will not be renewing our Costco membership.

    Although, can’t we just buddy shop like we did in college dorms ;)

  186. we are Executive Membership but we did not get money back, many called had been made,they state that they had been sent us a check the 3rd time but we never get it, WHAT A BS THEY ARE,I AM DONE WITH THEM

  187. Did you get your membership bill? It’s attached to that! It’s not like they do not mail the checks, everyone else seems to get theirs. Sounds to me like it’s a problem specific to you.

  188. if they sent where is it? would you please specific our problem, why we did not get it? why another got it? we asked them sent by confirmation but it never come, from their record it was the 3rd time reset but we never got it. why not put the refund in our account when we go to shop they can subtract from that, they no need to create more work by sent out a check that it never come.
    when contact them they are not sincere to solve the problem, all they did just bhaahhhhhhhhhh

  189. Because there is no such thing as being able to “put the refund in our account”.

    You did not explain what happened to your renewal notice. Did you not receive that, either? Do you throw out mail that you think is junk mail without opening it, perhaps?

  190. we did not got anything from them, we waiting since August till now , if their policy not allow to put in account when the 3rd request ask them sent by confirmation mail i will pay for the postage why they not comply? this question they should answer

  191. How many times do I have to tell you there is no such thing as “put in account”??? Your Costco membership is not a credit card, there is no way they could give you a credit. If you did not get your membership renewal they probably have a bad address for you. If you communicate as poorly in person as you do online, it will not be a big surprise.

  192. you no need to be rude, the problem is costco did not sent the check out all they did just BS, my address is correct,they use to sent me to this address since 2004.
    the problem is the BS,they NEVER SENT OUT, IF THEY SENT I NEED A PROOF, I ALSO ASK THEM THE TRACKING NUMBER, I WILL PAY FOR POSTAGE BUT THEY REFUSE TO DO SO

  193. So you’re saying that it’s just you that they’re not sending the rewards check to, since everyone else manages to get it. And there is no tracking number, it’s sent via first class mail.

  194. let me say again i did not get a refund for this years,i don’t know if anyone got it.it is not my business, but for me i did not got it and i am done with Costco,
    the end!!

  195. @ NP… I don’t think Bill was being rude- just making an observation that anyone reading your posts would conclude (I know I did).

    I had a similar issue after my first year of executive membership- I never received the check. I eventually asked someone about it (a cashier or somebody customer service) and they said I should have received it. I emailed Costco through their website and they replied, but I didn’t receive my check until February or so of the next year. Way too long in my opinion. I also wasn’t receiving coupon books until the middle of my 2nd year of membership.

    Now I’m a Gold Star member. I didn’t see the benefit of the executive membership when I don’t purchase enough or use any of the exclusive programs. I feel as a customer, if I don’t spend enough to make it to the break even point, then Costco should automatically send me the refund- I shouldn’t have to ask. My 2 cents. -Jason

  196. you and me are in different situation, I am a big customer, the amount refund (from they told me were $ 203 usd, they asked me to pay for 100 to renew membership while refund I never got it,

  197. I guess there is no escape from gettting it sooner than February. I’m one of their big customers and I already maxed out on the $500 cash back. I’m moving out of this country this month, and I tried the impossible to get it sooner so I can use it. The only thing I can do is put someone else on my account and have the check sent to them so they can use it, and hope costco doesn’t cause them issues. In a case like this where you really can’t get more than $500, I don’t see why they can’t make an exception and have someone in the accounting department shake his butt to send it out early. I gave them above $35,000 business this year and I lost count.

  198. no escape from getting it later than Feb. is what I meant to say

  199. Karmickreator says:

    To Jason:
    Unfortunately our system doesn’t have the capability to refund your upgrade cost if you lost money. It sure would be nice for it to do that but because we prorate fees we have to calculate it. Besides, many members use the services and save much more. They may receive a check that was less than what they paid to upgrade, but their savings on the services more than offset that “loss”. For this reason members must request to be downgraded to the non executive level.

  200. up date, costo still be the best place to shop when compare to any store, refund check just show up in our door today.

  201. First of all let me tell you that, I am an executive member and use Costco for my home and auto insurance as well us use Costco gas exclusively. In addition to that I visit Costco at least twice a week and do most of my grocery shopping there. You may say I don’t need executive membership for all this.

    Being said that, here are some draw backs with executive membership. Let’s say you signed up for executive membership on Jan 1st. Costco will cut a check and send you on about Otcober 30th, so for the first year you have only about 10 months to get to $2500 break even point. Many people don’t realize this. From second year onwards you have full year from November 1st to October 30th.

    If you see that your check is not at least $50 for the first year and went to the membership desk, they will take the check and give you $50. Along with that they will downgrade your membership to Gold as well and you won’t earn 2% cash back anymore. If you turned back and signed up for the executive membership again, you will lose all the cash back you earned from the date Costco cut the check to the date you signed up again, which I found about 1 to 2 months. Even if you signed again, you will have only 10 month cycle again as it is the first year.

  202. Karmickreator says:

    To kunju:
    Though I appreciate your attention to details you underestimate our company. You see when we cut the check the following months you have paid for continues to accrue to next years check. If you are to downgrade we cab look to see what that accrual amount is. Depending on the math and your situation we are able to refund you I. A fair and just way. You may or may not know this but we can downgrade with a fee refund if the check amount and acrued amount is less than the upgrade amount. Or we can downgrade you without a fee refund if you check and accrued amount would be over and above what you paid to upgrade.
    I really hope you look at Costco and how we back virtually every item we sell and realize that we are here to TAKE care of our members. We have been around for a long time because this is our livelihood and the same reason that even in our current economic downturn we are one of only a few companies still opening new stores, creating jobs and keeping members happy. Notice we don’t have customers, we have members. This is a fundamental difference in our business philosphy and impacts everything we do, as we are only here because of our members.

  203. Dear Karmickreator:

    I am not the one who is downgrading, Costco forces me to downgrade if I am to present a check that is not $50 for making it up to $50 at the membership desk.

    I agree with everything else what you said, that’s why I am still a member and did not collect $15 difference when I got $35 rebate check from my first year of executive membership in 2006. BTW, I am an executive member from day one.

  204. Karmickreator says:

    You are correct that in order to receive the difference lost we have to downgrade you. That’s just a simple technicality that can be easily solved. There is nothing from stopping you from downgrading, getting your money and going back and upgrading.

  205. A new Costco opened up down the street from my office and they sent a rep over to offer memberships. I had been reviewing the website the day before – to see if there was any significant difference in prices on items I currently use. The one thing that cinched it for me was their pricing for over the counter meds. I use a generic zyrtec product for allergies everyday and had been spending $95-100 a year purchasing the target or walmart store brands. Costco has a 1 year supply bottle for just under $16. That savings + the $20 in gift cards I recieved just for joining covered the cost of my executive membership! With the guarenteed $50 refund check, I am actually being paid to join – how often does that happen!?!?!?!

  206. It looks like Costco employees are back on this blog. Julie says, “I am actually being paid to join – how often does that happen!?!?!?!” You definitely sound real, ahahahhahahahah.

  207. Karmickreator says:

    Ah good ole Jeff,
    And here I was hopeful that you actually fell off the planet. I knew it was too good to be true. Honestly though I have missed your sarcastically rude banter/comments. Your cynicism always brightened my day by reminding me what I have to appreciate in life.

  208. I have been being soliciting big time to upgrade to execute membership lately in Kirkland and Issaquah. If you find it bothering, please call up 1-800-774-2678 and told them to put a note to don’t bother you to do the upgrade. Tell them this is America, you have the choice to decide you want to upgrade or not and they should never bother you like the poor kids in the 3rd world countries asking you for spare change.

  209. I am a long time shopper at Costco. It is true that if you are able to buy food and dry household items in bulk you can save some money. I am not a huge ticket item buyer or a business. Just a purchaser for a four member family. I started as a goldstar member @ $50. When costco started this push towards the executive member 2% rebate card. I read about it, as I do receive advertisements with our yearly renewal. I decided like a lot of other people that I would have to purchase $2500 to make it worth upgrading another $50. I was not doing that at the time since our income was moderate, I carefully budgeted our spending. A costco card was a luxury. C’est la vie. However, costco members had a different agenda that I’m not so sure was all that altruistic. As with a previous blogger, I was accosted (can’t think of any other way of putting it) every time I was at the checkout. I did not ask you to scan my card for anything other than my purchase, I indicated that I was aware of the upgrade, that I was considering it. Yet, the employees continued to loudly pronounce how much I had spent and push the agenda. How many ways can you politely say ” Not now”? I did not come to Costco to debate with a used car salesman at the checkout stand in front of everybody in my hometown. I admit I am not the smartest person and I like to work things out for myself if I think it’s worth it ,I’ll do it. I have since observed that this happens to others as well. The parting shot is “well if you don’t like saving money I can’t help you.” I have heard this 3 x and interestingly to women like me. I know I felt stupid but another young mother was devastated. Normally, employees are very nice and helpful. It makes me think that there is a business agenda going on and the methods used are sanctioned because the verbal ploys and confrontations at the checkout are usually the same. Fortunately for Costco I am also practical so I still shop at Costco as our finances have improved and I don’t have to worry about a mere $100 out of my immediate budget. But, I do not looove Costco and I shop with the knowledge that it’s a business, and really you are not there just to help us save money. Incidentally, the next time I see this unprofessionalism, I will be brave and step forward and tell the employee to “Please back off and apologize to the customer for your uncalled for hard sell and comments that go with it.” I regret that I have not done so. I still resent someone walking up and scanning my card everytime without my permission. I said so again today and was admonished by my checker “Why, we’re just trying to save you money. I should put a red dot on my card if I don’t want it scanned.” Really? I have to do that with my own card? Did you send that out with your renewel notice to everyone too? What happened to “Can I please scan your card to see what you’re spending?” Well, I am not usually an argumentative or outspoken person but this hardcore business agenda in the guise of customer service has an underlying odor. Sometimes, I just have to overcome my timidity to state what I guess is not obvious to anyone else. P.S. Your ridicule of other’s lack of correct grammatical english when it is obvious that they are or are not english speaking is further evidence to me of your total lack of real professed empathy for the customer. Is it only the wealthy and well educated people that you want for your clientele? The customer by the way is what gives all of your employees the salaries and benefits that they are so proud of.

  210. Dar, I felt just like you. I hated it when they scanned my card and started in on the hard sell. I don’t like pressure period. I thought if it was a great deal, it would sell itself. I finally caved in, upgraded to executive, partially so they’d leave me alone. I do spend more, because my office moved closer to the Costco, and I love items there. I don’t micro manage, so I am not sure if I am able to save money elsewhere on items I purchase, but I like Costco, I just don’t want to be harrassed when I shop there. I think its sad that I upgraded just so they’d leave me alone.

    I ‘ve heard they are a wonderful employer, and I like the food. I think there are some employees or managers from costco on this blog. They are definitely in “defend our store” mode. Its ok..I just wish they’d let the products and services sell themselves. No one likes to be pushed around.

  211. Hey DMoira! I’m sorry that’s happened to you too. It’s in everyone’s interest to upgrade as the” Karmichreator?” spokesperson said, let’s not pretend that Costco is out to do anyone any favors. It’s a business and the bottom line is to make money. Execs look good, employees get a good salary and benefits and they can pass those opportunities on to us. They say that they don’t earn a commission but the more people that costco belligerently pressures to upgrade, the more people you have trying to spend enough to reach their payback rebate goal. Subconsciously, I know I’m spending way more than I should but in the back of my mind is that rebate check in the mail. Sure we get the difference at the end of the year but the money sitting there sure looks good for the company. So, was it really about the rebate check at 2% at the end of the year or about all that extra money I spent. Great psychological marketing strategies. Whatever. A lot of us get sucked into it, ie. supposed free samples, dental insurance, car insurance ( really? Did you look into it that carefully?). Anyway, I thought I was purchasing the ability to buy at discounted prices for bulk merchandise. I don’t remembering paying for sales pitches or bullying from the employees (who really do have an agenda-good pay, good benefits and jobs). It might be in the fine print, but I also don’t remember giving you permission to walk up and scan my card whenever you feel like it, then acting like a martyr when I say that “I don’t like it when you do that”. I think that your marketing strategies have been very successful. Costco has become very successful and offers a multitude of new opportunities. However, Costco has like any very successful entity become megalomaniacal in it’s success. Anything goes including a relentless onslaught of pitches. “I’m trying to save you money! You want to save money don’t you? ” (We’re standing in front of the whole line of people, what don’t you understand?) “Hey don’t get mad at me I’m only trying to help you!” Usually followed by the injured martyr look. Yup, the scenario I’ve been subjected to and seen a number of times. It’s always the same with a few variations. Sorry, you felt that you had to upgrade to get them off your back. It took me 3 years before being frugal was not so much an issue. I’ve since been instructed by a cashier that I need to put a big red dot on my card. I need to label myself so that they will stop intruding on my privacy. I’ve become a trouble maker and I’m going to step up for sure and not let them belittle and demean the next person.

  212. therese banks says:

    It used to be worth the money – like all insurances, it starts out cheap and goes up whether or not you have had any claims. To get a good insurance rate you need to switch up every two years or so – it used to be the opposite before legislation made it mandatory to have insurance, which is still a mystery to me (comment meant for math whiz only).

    Costo membership in general is all right if you don’t mind getting last year’s model – cameras to tech it used to be the exact opposite you paid for membership to get the top of the line latest release item whether it was for baby strollers or X-box games etc. Now, the buyers for Costco are unagressive, complacent and do the very minimum to keep a membership going. This is a great idea that has seen its best time.

  213. Just got Costco executive membership today. I was unimpressed. I will cancel my membership by end of the month.

  214. i sell the executive memberships for costco. the reason we push it so hard at some locations (and at mine, we do) is because the membership is sort of a loophole in the system in which both costco and the member can benefit. since the money the member puts down on the membership ($50, unless pro-rated) is guaranteed, the member stands nothing to lose. thus, costco is borrowing the $50. with that borrowed $50, we can place a compound interest on that money for the year you have your membership, and make a small profit on it through the bank. THIS is the way costco makes their profit; not in the items in the warehouse since they are bought and sold at essentially the same price, and the $50 gold star membership pays employee and warehouse maintenence fees, etc.

    the exec membership is a great way for costco to reward their members that support us, for members to make some risk free money, and for costco to continue to offer some of the lowest prices out there :)

  215. I have had the exec membership for 3 years. This year, I did not spend enough to receive a $50 rebate. I simply walked in and when they saw my $30 check, they took it and handed me a $50 bill. I didn’t even need to say anything. So, my $100 membership, really was only $50 that year. The same thing happened to my co-worker, so she walked in and got her full $50, too.

    It really is guaranteed that you will not pay more than $50 after you get your rebate. I’ve received larger rebates, but even if I don’t know I will get my money back at the end of the year. I don’t feel enticed to spend more to get a larger rebate or to “meet my requirement” to make it worth the extra $50. It will come back either way.

    I have seen other people in the checkout with shopping carts full and they turn down the membership. I’ve actually spoken out and HELPED the customer myself and told them “no, you really SHOULD get it.” When I heard one checkout person tell a family, “you’ve already spent enough to get a $75 rebate check this year.” They wanted to turn it down. They $50 upgrade was retro active, so by saying “yes, ” they would receive $25. They really didn’t believe it. They said they didn’t spend that much every year….but who cares? In the years they don’t meet that mark, they will get a rebate.

    I do understand that some customers go paycheck to paycheck and it is not easy to come up with the extra $50. It may not be worth it to them to fall behind on bills for the chance to get a small rebate check. But, it certainly isn’t a scam and the customer service people really do mean well.

  216. Sofaking Nuts says:

    Maybe my math is wrong, but didn’t you end up paying $80 for that Executive membership? You paid $100 up-front, then “made” $20 (the difference between the $30 rebate check you gave them and the $50 bill they handed you)?
    I had a similar situation last year….my rebate check was around $30, I gave it to customer service then renewed my Executive membership for $50.

  217. Karmickreator says:

    To Jake:
    Thank you for taking the time as a member to help another member realize the benefits if having an executive membership. Consumers have really been taken advantage of by so many gimmicky programs that they have become very cynical and rightfully so. However, Costco is (among a select few) a company of strong ethics and values. They stand behind what is sold to the consumer. Much like you experienced, it was simple to get your money back if it didnt pay for itself.

    On a side note: However, I do need to correct you in explaining that prior purchases ARE NOT retro active.

  218. Jake — when you got your $50 back, did they take the $30 check from you, or did you also get to keep it?

  219. This entire thread is basically filled with bogus positive comments, probably from Costco employees.

    The idea that Costco will refund the difference you pay for executive membership is basically false. They will refund the difference only if you downgrade to the Gold Service after you receive your rebate check. So, if your qualifying purchases amount to $30, and you are unhappy about that, they will give you the $20 difference and then downgrade you to the Gold Membership. They will NOT make up the difference a lot of these posers are leading you to believe.

    Also you should know that if you sign up for the Executive Card in say October, Costco will only refund the 2% through July 31st of the following year; in effect charging for three months’ Executive membership with no 2% benefit. This is a little Costco fraud scam few people notice until they stop to figure it out.

    Finally, the idea that Costco employees provide the best service is another horn-tooting fallacy of this thread. Some are nice, sure, but many others (who seem to be mid-mangerial recession rejects) could care less about helping any Costco customers.

    For better service, try Trader Joe’s, Pet Smart and, yes, even McDonald’s.

  220. Karmickreator says:

    Goojam:
    Your main points have already been discussed in this
    Forum. Please look at my prior posts to better understand how and why
    Your topics are setup, function, etc
    How is refunding you the difference not making up the difference? I just dont follow….. I hope you take the time to better inform yourself from many of my lengthier Posts where I explain these topics

  221. The catch is you must renew and continue Executive membership the following year in order to receive the 2% reward for this year’s purchases. For example, you spend $4000, you get back $80. However, next year you must renew as Exec again to get that $80. You forfeit the $80 if you renew only as Goldstar. But if you renew as Exec and pay additional $50, that $80 back is now just $30. So basically, Costco won and you lost $20. Because you had to spend $100 to get back $80.

  222. Is that true? I just got my rebate check ($103, so my membership paid for itself) and it is completely separate from the renewal notice that came with it. I can definitely cash it without renewing my membership.

    I think like many of the posts in this thread, you are either confused, or you are just making things up to support your opinions. Also, even if you only get $80 back on your $100 membership, it’s still only costing you $20 to be a Costco member, which is $30 less than the normal price. It’s only if you get less than $50 back that Executive membership is a bad deal (or if you only joined to get your membership for free or better, which is another story entirely).

  223. Karmickreator says:

    Evan:
    You sir are very incorrect. You paid $100 first year and got $80. You profited $30 off you additional $50 upgrade. Next years membership is entirely independent of your current rewards check. If you wanted to downgrade just use that $80 to pay the $50 basic fee and keep the $30 difference. Otherwise use it to renew at the $100 level and only pay $20 to stay with the program and get another check next year.
    Another note, your check is based in your spending. You moas likey will get a different amount next year since spending is not Identical year to year.
    It truly is not as difficult as you are making it. Hope this clears up your confusion

  224. Hi, I heard Costco was upping their Executive Membership fees at the same 4Q announcement of profits/revenues up by double digits in just about every category. This is the way they reward loyal customers like me?

    I pay for the privilege to shop at Costco so they can track my shopping habits like Big Brother and approach me at the checkout to upsell me to Executive from Regular membership with confidential sales data that should not be mentioned IN FRONT OF ALL THE OTHER SHOPPERS (surely they know this is embarrassing and that people are in a hurry to get out of the way of the line). When I was a regular member, I was approached pretty much the majority of the times I shopped at Costco.

    I went to the service desk to ask them, if they knew me and could track my sales amounts, could they just flag my membership and NOT try to upsell me. I told them how annoying it was, how I was avoiding shopping at costco, etc. The response: Ma’am, if we had a dollar for every time we heard a complaint just like yours, we would be rich, but we HAVE to do this.

    So, I bought the Executive Membership just to NOT BE HARASSED ANYMORE with the upsell. A couple days ago I heard they were raising the Exec Fee to $110 a year. Sorry, coming on the heals of the Bank of America $5 per month debit fee, it’s just too much. I’m sticking to local grocery stores, Wal-Mart and consuming less.

    I WILL NOT PAY FOR THE “Privilege” of shopping at Costco anymore. You should pay people to shop there. Your customers are doing you, Costco, a privilege. I will not pay you anymore to track my shopping habits and annoy me with upselling and in-store sales people harking credit cards and home improvements. I want to shop in peace, for goodness’ sake.

    Finally, I am 50 years old, a woman, and a professional writer with a Master’s Degree in media communications. The wording of many, if not most of these posts sounds like paid Costco bloggers or employees, and not normal neutral customers like myself.

  225. Expat is right on so many points.

    Costco already a ripoff is now a ripoff + $10.

    There are many Costco ‘bots’ on this blog, and it’s good to see others wising up to these paid costco employees. You would think if they’re getting paid to trick dummies, they could word their posts better. The must be related tot the craigslist spammers… I will pay you the cost you want +$100, but I am out of the country and I can only send you a check…

    Let the masses be led by this scam of a business, I’ll stick to farmers markets and local grocery stores to support my neighbors.

  226. Karmickreator says:

    To expat n Jeff:
    When was the last time you saw a commercial for Costco? How bout a print ad? Or maybe a radio spot? If you really looked a bit closer you would notice that we DON’T advertise. On that note I hope you can put 2 and 2 together and realize I and others are not “paid bloggers”, “bots” or any other form of paid
    Propaganda. What you don’t realize is the plain truth… That most of us here are happy members and some of us are happy employees as well. I know it’s a rarity these days to actually see a company taking care of their clients AND employees, but that is what sets us apart.

    As for your comment on helping local families. I don’t think you quite realize that by shopping at Costco you are helping many local families. Not only the employees you keep employed, but many products are regional and they come from local businesses as well.
    Let’s keep an eye on the big picture here.

  227. Interesting debates and details!
    Is it possible to spend some time touring a store without paying anything…just to get a sense of the place? There is one about three miles away, but we’ve never been there.

  228. SLINK,

    Don’t waste your time, just check your local grocery ads and you’ll get a better deal. This is a blog paid for by costco with costco employees acting like customers. Don’t listen to Karmickreator, he’s just the blind trying to lead blind.

  229. @Jeff – You are free to voice your opinions, as with everyone else, but this blog is not paid for by Costco and any further accusations will not be tolerated. When you state lies, it kills your credibility.

  230. Jeff had credibility? That was gone long ago, like the first time he posted.

    Bill (not a Costco employee, just a happy customer, despite what Jeff chooses to think)

  231. Karmickreator says:

    Slink:
    Yes we do allow a person tO come in and take a look round to see if they want to sign up. Just remember it’s looking only and only members can make purchases. So stop by membership and let them know you’re considering sIgning up but would like to look around first. I’m sure youll find a number of reasons worth becomin a member.
    Good luck and BTW just ignore this guy Jeff. He has very little clue of what he’s talking about.

  232. Sofaking Nuts says:

    Please correct me if I’m wrong….

    I was an Executive member for 2 years. After the first year, our rebate check was less than $50, so the CS person took my check and I paid $50 to remain an Executive member for another year. Yesterday I went to renew my membership again. I gave them the rebate check (which was for ~ $40), and told them I didn’t spend enough to justify the Executive membership and wanted to be GoldStar. I paid the difference between the check and the $50 GoldStar membership price and went on my way.

    Thinking about it this morning, I was wondering if something was wrong. I’m thinking I shouldn’t have had to pay the $10 – an Executive member supposedly can’t lose. If you don’t spend enough to get $50 back, they give you the difference and downgrade you to GoldStar.

  233. Sofaking Nuts,

    Costco will milk every cent they can out of you. Co$tso claims that you can’t lose with their executive membership. Guess what, you lost and they didn’t bother to tell you. You go back in and get your money and try not to get hounded to upgrade to their precious executive membership.

  234. Just got my executive rewards check. I have a family of 4 and based on my reward amount, we spent $3,831.50 in one year at Costco. Reward check is $76.63. Not including the cash back from the costco true earnings amex which is currently $293.41. Good deal in my opinion.

  235. Hello. I’m a current Executive Gold Star member, and just received my annual renewal notice and rewards check for about $60. I ended up on this site, just trying to evaluate whether to pay the extra $55 for executive gold star renewal.

    Given that I believe I will spend at least as much next year as I did last year (because of factors like the cost of gas continuing to rise), the deciding factor for me comes down to whether I will be disciplined enough to actually redeem the rewards check. I am notoriously bad at that kind of stuff, but my spouse loves receiving the check and spending it.

    So Executive membership it is.

  236. What is discovered this year is that you can renew your membership at the checkout line. I usually like to redeem my check at the membership desk so that psychologically I get a “free” membership for the next year as opposed to thinking that I have say $50-$100 to spend on stuff I might not need. So I just bring the rewards check to the the checkout line and ask to renew my membership. Also one less line to wait around in.

  237. Sofaking Nuts and Jeff.

    They did it right. You paid $10 plus your $40 check = $50 for your Gold Star renewal. Did you forget that you have to pay for the renewal of your membership?

  238. It would have been worth it if we actually got the certificate, but it was either never mailed or got lost in the mail. Anyway, Costco says they are not responsible for lost or stolen certificates (WHY CAN’T THEY TRACK SUCH THINGS!! It can’t be hard for them to know if the certificate was spent or not) I am simply out of the money. Yay.

    PS: The only time I actually received Costco-only money, a Costco gift card, for a return, the cashier a few days later failed to give me back the card after entering it (and I failed to remember to request it back) so I was out a gift card with $300 or so still left on it. Double yay. It was my fault for sure for not keeping better tabs on it, but I’m 90% positive the cashier just kept it and probably used it on their own purchases. The frustration really comes down to Costco’s dumb (as in, not smart) system that seems to lack the ability to track anything at all (even though I had all the receipts involving the purchase of the original item, the return, the issuance of the gift card, and the proceeding later purchase with the gift card).

  239. Wish you also go better return polices with the membership…

    This is only slightly tied to this tread but wanted to alert members of new policies happening with Costco.

    Purchase over 5k per year and have recently been denied returns on furniture that is not holding up (4 years old) even though everyone is told, if something breaks, simply return…
    Have other outdoor items with same style and is holding up but the Kirkland brand of furniture is inferior to the old way Costco ‘bought out’ overstock from premier manufacturers.

    This also happened with a cordless vacuum. Broke (wouldn’t keep a charge) after 1.5 years and Costco refused to take it back. Amex has better warranty support than Costco now… Use your extended extra year from them.

    Back to my first item, would be great if Costco honored their claim to fully refund an item if it doesn’t meet customers expectations… Falling apart doesn’t qualify if over a year it appears….

  240. It works slightly better for me for being a Costco Executive member.
    While I was living with a room mate, we both got the Executive membership one on my name and another household card on my room-mate’s name(same membership). Later both had our own families with respective families, but still we have been renewing our membership. So, essentially we each pay 50% membership fee, I get all the rebate each year. When I get the rebate, I will renew our membership with it. Means we get the membership free and we are left with some more money. On the top of this, Costco True Earnings AMEX card is a gold mine with its cash back and award winning Amex services. Totally we both make money out of our membership. Lately my brother-in-law family is using my membership while we are shopping, this adds few more dollars in cash back..
    Conclusion: If you smartly plan and use the Exe membership, it pays.
    But the costco policies sux lately.. especially a genuine returns are also being denied

  241. Am I the only one sitting here puzzled by the “aggressive up-sell” comments? I’ve been in probably 40 different Costco stores in my life, from California (North and South) to Colorado, and Washington…and a bunch in between…I’ve NEVER had someone push something on me there…unless it was sample day and they were handing me a toothpick and a napkin! Come on people!!!!

  242. Costco staff has stopped being as aggressive doing up-sell in the stores where I shop but in years gone by it was a huge problem. I’ve been a Costco member since 1990 and it took a lot of convincing for me to switch to executive so I had many unpleasant encounters. Staff would ask to scan my card and if I asked why they would go into a sales spiel. When I politely declined I was made to feel like I was an idiot for not wanting to earn money. Big goal posters were on the wall in a prominent place with the number of daily, etc. up-sells noted. I’ve had staff demand my card as if they were doing some sort of official business and when they had my purchase history they would go into a sales pitch. I watched staff target customers with expensive purchases. Even the checkout clerks gave up-sell pitches. I cringed when I saw staff holding a hand-held scanner type device close to the checkout stands. Became so stressful for me that I finally gave in and switched to executive. I earned enough rewards to justify executive for many years but now I’m retired and no longer own a home and am seriously considering switching back to regular membership. I should have switched this year but didn’t make the effort. Maybe you have been lucky enough to not have experienced aggressive up-sell but it happened for many years. Perhaps the state of the economy has altered the tactics. For whatever reason, I am grateful because I don’t want to deal with an aggressive up-sell pitch when I revert back to Gold Star.

  243. I just applied for a Costco Amex card (personal) along with the Executive membership, but now reading that Amex charges the 12.99 % even when your balance is zero and paid in full, it doesn’t sound like such a great deal…

    Can someone who has the AMEX costco card comment on whether this is true? Please?

  244. Oh and another question.

    If you make more than one payment for your Amex card each month, does that hurt your credit somehow? Say I charge gas one day and because I don’t want my money sitting in there waiting for the bill to come, to make me think I have money that I have already “spent”, and want to make a payment right away, can I do that? And for the next purchase a few days later? Essentially, I want to use my AMEX card like a debit card so I am not surprised by the bill but I’m thinking of cancelling the card altogether if it’s true that we have to pay a fee even on zero balances (my card has not arrived yet).

  245. I have a TrueEarnings AMX card that is associated with Costco membership. Costco membership info and photo is on the card. No annual fee for the AMX card but annual Costco membership is automatically renewed.
    I budget carefully and have never been charged interest from the date of purchase until payment. This is what my last statement says – Paying Interest: Your due date is at least 25 days after the close of each billing period. We will not charge you interest on your purchases if you pay the
    New Balance by the due date each month. We will charge you interest on cash advances and (unless otherwise disclosed) balance transfers beginning
    on the transaction date.
    I use this credit card to pay for everything that accepts AMX as payment. AMX sends a rebate once a year which I cash at the Costco membership counter rather than apply toward a purchase. I’m up to $188 this year. This is in addition to the small rebate I get from Costco.
    I pay my AMX monthly via auto-pay but check the web site frequently to review posted and pending charges. I have used the web site to make partial payments early, especially when I make a large purchase or am traveling. I don’t see why you couldn’t charge and pay as you go. Read the accompanying paperwork when your card arrives. Best of luck.

  246. Deber, thanks so much for the explanation. I panicked after I read someone else’s complaint about being charged interest, even on a zero balance. This is my first credit card, after having closed all of them 9 and a half years ago so I am trying to rebuild my credit but want to be certain that I use my card as close to a debit card as I can. I’ve also never applied for an AMEX card before.

    Thanks again, I feel so much better that I can save money at the gas station, shop at Costco for essentials, and start to rebuild my credit.

  247. AvoidCostcoUpsell says:

    Went to renew my membership last night and got the hard sell to upgrade to Executive. She made it sound like I only had to pay $4 with the amount I’ve purchased. Then, she had the nerve to gloat about it to her boss in my presence. Tacky! Just for that alone I will go back today to revert back to Gold out of principle. Why should I hand over whatever savings back to them through the higher membership fee when they should be giving me back money for buying more and making them richer.

  248. They don’t refund the shortfall as per the information found on Costco Member benefits pdf file..

    “Costco does not guarantee that your reward
    will equal or exceed your Executive Membership upgrade fee nor does Costco automatically refund any shortfall between the amount of your
    Executive Membership 2% Reward and your upgrade fee.”

    http://www.costco.com/wcsstore/CostcoUSBCCatalogAssetStore/feature-pages/info/member-benefits-costco-services.pdf

  249. There is simply no way interest can be charged if the balance is paid in full. What would the 12.99% be on?

    Cash advances or balance transfers are obviously a different story.

  250. Something weird happened to me. For years I had a Costco Cash Rebate account with AMX. In August 2010 I changed to True Earnings. On Feb 12, 2013 I noticed an adjustment on my AMX account. Cash Rebate Cr Adj for $3xx. I contacted AMX and was told that in Aug 2010 my account was changed to True Earnings due to a computer error and the adjustment was the difference between what I would have earned as Cash Rebate vs True Earnings. Gets stranger. My on-line page changed showing that I now have a Cash Rebate account with a silver card. My physical card is blue. My address and phone number reverted back to 2010. My rebate amount went from $2xx to zero. Contacted AMX again and again. Result is that I supposedly will receive a physical rebate check within a couple of weeks in addition to the adjustment. Did the math and since we stopped driving and can no longer afford to eat out or travel, the Cash Rebate account will give us a larger rebate. This is the AMX rebate and not the rebate from being an executive Costco member. Not sure what happened to the charges I made since this change. Will fight to earn rebates on the charges because there were some big ones for medical. Now I need to decide whether or not to downgrade my executive Costco account.

  251. Reality check says:

    WHAT IS IN IT FOR COSTO????? No one answers that here.

    Their HIGH PRESSURE BULLYING TO UPGRADE MAKES ME NAUSEOUS and is highly suspect in my book.

    There has to be a reason for it.

    They make it a total hassle NOT to upgrade if you’re already in line. They ring you up first and THEN inform you of your lapsed membership – then they can only upgrade or renew at the executive level…you’ll have to stand in line at member services, taking all your stuff back and deal with it separately if you only want basic, then keep rubbing it in about how much money you’ll save.

    What gives? Anyone dare to answer?

  252. I don’t know what your problem is. If your membership has lapsed, you need to renew it BEFORE they ring you up, and they do so right at the register (they can override it and allow you to check out if it has just expired). Maybe what you’re saying (poorly) is that you were already Executive and wanted to downgrade. I could see having to go to member services for that. But given that I am sure you would have claimed that Executive was not a good deal for you, you would have gone back to downgrade and get your refund before it was time to renew, wouldn’t you?

    Obviously the higher membership fee for Executive is what’s in it for Costco. It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

  253. Real Math says:

    For extra $50 on executive member, you are guarenteed to get at least $50 rebate, otherwise they will refund you the difference. This sounds good, but not really! There is a trick. It is clear you need to spend $2500 a year to break even the extra $50 for executive membership. Assume spending $2500 a year. With executive member’s 2% rebate, total rebate = $50. Consider the $100 total paid for executive member, out of pocket cost is net $50 for membership. But with regular member, fee = $50, rebate = $25, out of pocket cost is net $25 for membership. Obviously regular member is better with $2500 expense level. For a truely break even of executive member, you need spend $3750 a year: this way rebate = $75, your net expense for executive member is $25 (same as regular member).

    This calculation does not consider other executive benifits.

  254. @Real Math – Where are you getting that a regular member would get a $25 rebate? Regular members don’t get any rebate at all.

  255. Karmickreator says:

    @reality check:
    I’m guessing you only had a couple Of items I your order as the computer at the register prompts for a renewal being due after about 2-3 items have been rung up. If you already are expired the prompt is to collect dues for whatever the last level of membership you were on. They cannot downgrade you through the register, you must go to membership counter to downgrade and receive your refund.
    What’s in it for Costco:
    1. Interest free loan which allows greater cash flow, with no risk to you for trying the executive level… Doesn’t pay for itself get a full refund.
    2. Costco makes money on memberships and knows that a member who spends near $2500/yr would benefit from the executive. Saving money is why you shop at Costco right?
    3. If you make money at the executive level and apply towards renewal you have a cheaper membership. Aren’t you happier having a cheaper membership? If it doesn’t work you don’t lose money… Doesn’t risk free make you happy? A happy member is what Costco is all about.

  256. Karmickreator says:

    @realmath:
    I think you real math and formulas are a bit flawed. I believe you are confusing some of the programs Costco has.
    1. Membership fees and types:
    -Gold star member pays $55 and gets 0% back… Also equal to nothing.
    -Executive member pays $110 and gets 2% back. So the difference is an additional membership fee of $55 (compare to the cost of gold). Simple math shows that spending $2750 in a year would be the break even point.
    Rebate check issued by Costco
    2. American express true earnings card
    Get 3% on gas
    Get 2% on dining and travel
    Get 1% on all other purchases
    Rebate check issued by AMEX

    I believe you are calculating a 1% rebate on the gold membership and comparing it to the 2% for the executive. You get nothing back on the gold. If you have the Amex then you get 1% from AMEX *when you charge it*. If you have the exec and Amex you would get 2% from Costco AND 1% from AMEX ( provided you are charging your purchases) for a combined total of 3%.

    Hopefully this clears things up and you can see the errors in your computations and formulas.

  257. Karmickreator – I agree with much of what you say, but saying that you can save money on your membership by applying the 2% Executive reward towards it is really double counting the reward.

  258. Real Math says:

    I was counting 1% rebate for gold star member from AMEX. I did not know Executive gets 2% in addition to the 1% AMEX. Thanks for pointing this out.

  259. Karmickreator says:

    Bill:
    If you pay $55 more to upgrade and get a rebate check of $95 at the end of the year you have a $40 profit. Right? So where is the double counting if
    You were to apply said reward of $95 toward $110 renewal making you only pay $15 for the upcoming year at the exec level?… Which will also get you another rebate check. I don’t understand the double counting you are speaking of?
    Help me with this double Counting you speak of

  260. I haven’t noticed these upsell scams for quite a while now, which is kind of sad because I had so much fun with them !!

    I usually invited the other party to a little chat “If you have a sense of humor then I can teach you a 2-minute lesson about customer segmentation”:

    “Have you ever had a conversation with your girl friends about men and commitment ? How did that go ? Was it by any chance about how much commitment you got compared to what you expected ?” “Now, let’s have a look at all the customers in this check-out line: you managed to pick the only guy in this line who is waiting there by himself, in his 40s and obviously not married. And then you ask him to make a commitment to a woman – he does not even know ! – to spend $2,500.”

    “It must have occurred to you by now that this is something we would NEVER do …”

    “I would not call that a commitment” … “I totally believe you that you wouldn’t” :-)

  261. I’m guessing Costco has done the calculations and with

    a) when the rebate check is cut (just before xmas)
    b) ave spending of people
    c) % of people willing to go after the refund+downgrade

    They know they will make money in the end. Costco is paying people to sell this stuff. This fact alone proves to me this is a scam for most people who just barely make the cutoff. C’mon, if Costco wanted to give me money, then just give me money.

    I wanted to add one more story. As they were discussing the whole upgrade BS, they probably noticed I wasn’t paying attention to the checkout process. They ended up double charging me for a few of my items. Although I’m not 100% sure it wasn’t intentional, it really seemed like it to me. How hard is it to scan the item and then move it away? Scumbags.

  262. For those who continue to claim that this is a scam, I got my Executive rebate check in the mail today for $100 and change. So my Costco Executive membership cost me $10 for the year, and the Executive upgrade actually netted me $45.

    As for jmar, if you knew the facts, you’d know that the rebate check is cut just before your anniversary date, which could be any time of the year (not just before Xmas). Mine came in September, clearly not near the holiday season (unless you want to consider Labor Day). As for them double charging you, given that the door people are supposed to be checking this, I don’t see how it would not get noticed immediately.

  263. Vinnie Pipard says:

    Costco Executive Membership is a SCAM. They don’t count your Gas Purchases and they don’t count ANY purchases on your 2ND FAMILY CARD when calculating your rebate and, in addition, there is a 3 month delay window period on rebates so if you only do the Executive membership for one year you only get a rebate back for 9 months of purchases plus you get ripped off for all of your gas and 2nd card purchases. COSTCO has a thousand little ways to rip off members so be careful when dealing with this outfit.

  264. So are you saying you have a 2nd family card (3 total)? The Executive Membership terms make it clear that only the primary and first household card get the 2%. BJ’s works the same way on their rewards membership and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Sams does the same thing. They also say that only purchases made at the front register or on their website get 2% and while they do not explicitly say that gas is excluded, you can figure that out (or ask). As for the 3 month delay in rewards, that is also in the terms and if you keep your membership, you get 12 months worth of rebates in subsequent years.

    I don’t see how any of this is a scam, given that it’s not hidden from customers.

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