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.”
By Jonathan Ping | Frugal Living | 11/25/06, 12:45am