Is it Worth Upgrading to Costco’s Executive Membership?


Chase Brock /

Chase Brock /

Costco is an exclusive club, but not all members are at the same level. Whether you currently have a membership and are thinking of upgrading or plan to join in the near future, you want to make sure you’re choosing the right option for your budget.

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The standard option, Costco Gold Star membership, costs $60 per year, while Executive membership costs $120 per year. You are interested in the latter, but only if you get your money’s worth with it.

Costco has 123 million cardholders living in 68.1 million households as of February 12, 2023, according to the company’s website. The number of board memberships was not noted.

Ready to determine if Executive Membership is the right choice for you? Read on to learn more about this upgrade.

Benefits of Costco Executive Membership vs. Costco Gold Star Membership

To use

Executive Membership

Gold Star Membership

2% annual reward



Discounts on Costco services



Shop online and in stores



Receive two membership cards



100% satisfaction guarantee



As you can see, the two differences between Executive membership and Gold Star membership are the 2% annual premium — more on that below — and the discount on Costco services.

More than just a warehouse shopping experience, Costco offers members a range of services. Executive members receive a discount on many of these services, including lower rates for check printing, car purchases, roadside assistance – free for vehicles covered by the company’s auto insurance program – and additional travel benefits.

This alone can help you save money, but using Costco’s services can offer a double benefit — the ability to get discounted services while also making money on the 2% annual premium. For example, if you use Costco Travel to plan vacations, you can receive exclusive discounts and qualifying purchases count towards your annual award.

In addition, Executive Membership includes a subscription to the monthly magazine Costco Connection. This includes product promotions, roadshow schedules, interviews, recipes and more to keep you up to date on all things Costco.

Do you have a money question? Ask an expert

Should You Upgrade to a Costco Executive Membership?

If you’re unsure about an upgrade, David Somerville, a shopping expert and owner of, recommended you do it.

“Costco Executive Membership is worth the money for every Costco customer,” he said. “The main benefit of membership is that it offers a 2% reward on all Costco purchases.”

Depending on your spending habits, you could potentially earn enough rewards to offset the cost of membership.

“If a customer spends more than $6,000 per year at Costco, the 2% rebate covers the full cost of the $120 executive membership fee,” he said. “If a customer ends up spending less than $6,000 per year, they can cancel their Executive membership and receive a fee refund.”

Finally, he said buying an executive membership is a no-risk situation.

Shop at Costco without a membership

Whether you choose Executive membership or Gold Star level, you will need a membership card to shop at the store for most items. What you may not know is that you can gain access to a Costco warehouse for select items without purchasing a membership at all.

Non-members, in particular, can purchase pharmacy prescriptions and alcohol in some states – where required by law. In the past, non-members were allowed free access to the Costco Food Court, but that’s no longer the case, according to Philadelphia television station WPVI-TV.

key to take away

Ultimately, the decision to upgrade to a Costco Executive Membership is a personal choice. What might be the right choice for your household might be different than that of a friend, family member or neighbor.

If you think you’re going to shell out at least $6,000 to cover the cost of membership, you really can’t go wrong. Additionally, if you are planning to avail the discounts on Costco services, this can also help you recoup the additional $60 membership fee quickly.

Take the time to weigh the pros and cons for your unique household. Use your results to choose the membership type that currently feels best.

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This article originally appeared on Is the Costco Executive Membership Upgrade Worth It?

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