Costco as you know it today is the result of a merger between Costco and Price Club in 1993. Price Club was one of the first large warehouse stores that charged everyday consumers a membership fee for shopping – hard sell at the time. Today, there are several competitors and people are happy to pay Costco’s $55 to $110 annual membership knowing that they can save money overall.
Ongoing Deals and Promotions
Costco has both seasonal promotions and on-going savings opportunities. The warehouse store is well-known for offering free food samples inside its stores, some people even make a “tour” of visiting the free sample booths. It also sends out a monthly coupon booklet to members, or you can use the Costco app to look through offers. You don’t need to clip coupons to get savings – they’re automatically added at checkout. Check online for deals as well as there are some online-only coupons.
Many of the savings at Costco come from the power of group buying. Because it has so many members, Costco can negotiate low rates for products and services. You can save money by buying food and household goods in bulk, find discounted clothes and medications, or buy electronics or discounted gift cards. Costco also has its own line of Kirkland Signature products, including furniture, office products, and food.
Beyond discounts on consumer goods, you may be able to save money by using one of Costco’s services. As a member, you have access to Costco’s auto program that offers no-negotiate discounted rates on new vehicles, insurance coverage, and identity protection services. Costco has vacation packages and offers discounts on hotel stays and rental cars at partnered chains.
Costco’s Major Policies
- Shipping – Costco doesn’t have a clear-cut shipping policy, but it does offer free shipping on some products. Items must be shipped directly to you, not the store, but you can return products ordered online to a Costco warehouse.
- Returns – There’s generally no time limit on returns at Costco. However, there are a few exceptions to the broad rules. Electronics have a 90-day return period, cigarettes and alcohol may not be returned in some locations, diamonds over one carat require original paperwork, and items with a limited life expectancy (tires or batteries) might have a limited return period. The Costco membership can be returned” at any time for a full refund.
- Price Matching – Costco does not price match other stores.
Costco offers members two additional rewards opportunities. Members with an Executive Membership ($110 a year) can earn two percent back on most purchases. There is a cap of $750 in earnings per 12-month period.
Update – Costco will switch to a Visa card and will no longer accept Amex starting April 1. More details to come.
Members can also use the Costco-branded American Express credit card to earn cash back on gas (3 percent, up to $4,000 in purchases), restaurants (2 percent), and travel (2 percent) purchases, and one percent everywhere else. The cash reward is issued in the form of a Costco coupon in the billing statement from February and expires on August 31.
The Costco/Amex partnership is ending at the end of March 2016, and there will be a new Citi Visa card for to Costco members. Rumors are the rewards breakdown will be similar to the new card.
Current Deals and Sales
You can find the latest coupons and sales on Saveful’s Costco coupons page.