how to know which Costco membership I should have

If you love shopping at the Costco warehouse as much as financial expert Clark Howard, you may have considered upgrading it to a gold membership. We have explored the benefits of the Costco Executive Gold Membership and have done the math alongside the Gold Membership. In this article, we’ll talk about who should (and who shouldn’t) benefit from upgrading an Executive Gold Membership.

Costco Executive Gold Membership: Save money with it?

Costco tempts shoppers to upgrade their memberships by offering them a number of benefits, but getting it comes at a cost. Let’s take a look to see if spending that extra $ 60 a year would be worth it for you.

How much does the Costco Executive Gold Membership cost?


A Costco Basic Gold Membership, which is necessary to buy in the cellar store in almost, but not in all cases, it costs $ 60 a year. A Costco Executive Gold Membership costs double: $ 120 per year. However, Costco will adjust that amount based on the number of months remaining on your current membership. That means that, if you have six months with the basic membership, changing it to Executive for the remainder of the year will cost you only $ 30. Costco says their 100% Satisfaction Guarantee applies to memberships and that they will refund your membership fee at any time if you are not completely satisfied.

What are the advantages of having an Executive Membership?

A young woman with gold membership looking at products on shelves

The biggest advantage of switching to an Executive Gold Membership is that you get a 2% annual reward (up to $ 1,000) on almost everything you buy from Costco. You get this 2% back in the form of a certificate that Costco will email you with your annual renewal notification. You can use this certificate to pay for various items you purchase in-store at a Costco warehouse. Purchases that do not qualify for the 2% reward include:

  • Tobacco and cigarette related products
  • Gasoline
  • Costco Shopping Cards (gift cards)
  • Postage stamps
  • Alcohol (in some states)
  • Shopping in restaurant area
  • Membership dues

Consider that, although trips purchased through Costco do qualify for the 2% reward, some other costs related to that trip do not. This includes things like additional fees, gratuities, trip protection, and resort fees. Costco also says that an Executive Membership qualifies for your discounts on Costco services like check printing and identity protection.

How do I know if an Executive Membership is for me?

A cell phone at the terminal paying in a store that has a gold membership

Obviously, the biggest advantage of upgrading an Executive Membership is the 2% reward. It basically adds up to an additional 2% off almost everything you buy at Costco, which is already low priced. But paying more for an Executive Membership makes sense only if you’re spending enough at Costco to justify the $ 60 a year. Here’s if it’s worth it for you:

Costco spend per monthSpending at Costco per yearAnnual return
$ 100$ 1,200$ 24
$ 200$ 2,400$ 48
$ 250$ 3,000$ 60
$ 500$ 6,000$ 120
$ 1,000$ 12,000$ 240

As you can see now, the key amount is $ 250 a month for an Executive Membership to work for you. If possible, review your movements at Costco for a few months or the year that passed. Was there a lot of money? If that is the case, there are losses if you are not an Executive Member. Sure, if you plan to take advantage of other Costco services, that number might be lower when you consider the discounts. And if you’re planning on booking a big vacation through Costco, that trip might be enough to pay for your membership upgrade.

Final notes

If you go to Costco frequently, it might be time to do the math. Look at your spending patterns and find out if that 2% justifies this. You might be surprised to discover that there are undiscovered savings opportunities, and that is something Team Clark never likes to see.