The right membership for your family or business can add to your Costco savings

So, you’re a fan of Costco because you appreciate the financial advantages of purchasing supplies you use in bulk. You also love the great pricing and service that the warehouse chain provides on a range of unexpectedly diverse products.

With a Costco membership, you have access to everything from tires and consumer electronics to engagement rings, prescriptions, contact lenses and vacations. And the free samples while you shop, paired with hotdogs and churros for purchase at the end of your visit, are an added perk. What’s not to love?

If you’re looking to purchase your first Costco membership or to change up your membership level, you’ve got some decisions to make. There are a range of membership options, each with its own set of costs and perks. Below is some information that can help you determine the best membership level for your situation.

Memberships for individuals and households

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Individuals and households who are interested in memberships have a couple of options. The most straightforward, basic option is becoming a Gold Star member. Costing $60, it allows you to shop in the warehouse and take advantage of their bulk pricing opportunities.

The next available Costco level for individuals is called an Executive-level membership which is priced at $120. It’s similar to the basic level, except that it provides you with some added services for store purchase categories and offers an additional 2 percent reward on specifically designated purchases including travel purchases. In many cases, customers find that this rebate more than makes up for the additional expense of the higher-level membership.

If you’re looking to book a vacation through Costco, this card makes a lot of sense. Rewards are provided to cardholders as part of their annual statement mailing. They can be applied to a customer’s next Costco purchase or can be redeemed for cash.

Costco business memberships

Costco’s business memberships work fairly similarly to individual memberships. There are the same two membership categories — Gold Star and Executive. Each of the categories is priced the same as its counterpart at the individual level. Executive-level memberships offer a 2 percent rebate on many services, and this rebate, again, often makes up for the cost of the card.

There are two distinct ways where business memberships differ from individual accounts and it is important to understand these differences.

However, there are two distinct ways where business memberships differ from individual accounts and it is important to understand these differences. Firstly, an organization is charged a $60 cost for each additional employee they would like to designate as a user on their account. In most organizations, this is a needed option as there is more than one person who would be designated to purchase items for the company.

A second way that a corporate membership differs, is that corporate members are allowed to purchase bulk items for resale. Let’s say an organization is looking to have a food-based fundraiser, for example. They can purchase a range of items — say hotdogs, buns, chips, boxed drinks, popsicles, or baked goods — and legally resell them to others at an increased rate.

Student and military memberships

In addition to individual and corporate accounts, you may come across special memberships that students and active or retired members of the armed services can take advantage of. These are often (though not always) provided by third-party resellers with Costco’s full awareness. They may include deeper discounts on pricing, unexpected terms or conditions, or even special gifts upon opening a membership that regular members don’t receive.

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