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What Is Costco Executive Membership and Is It Worth It?

When signing up for a Costco membership, you will be faced with a tough decision to make. Gold Star is the standard membership that gives you access to shop at warehouses and members-only discounts, but Costco’s Executive membership is the premium option that may sound enticing.

Key Takeaways

  • The Costco Executive membership is the upgraded version of the standard Gold membership that costs an additional $60/year ($120 total).
  • Executive members earn 2% rewards on eligible purchases plus additional savings on Costco services.
  • If you spend at least $3,000 a year shopping at Costco, the Executive membership is worth it.

In this article, we’ll cover the benefits of the Costco Executive membership to help you decide between the Gold Star and Executive membership options.

What Is Costco Executive Membership?

The Costco Executive membership is an upgraded version of the standard Gold membership that costs an additional $60 per year, or $120 total.

Executive members get 2% rewards on eligible purchases plus additional perks.

You can upgrade your Costco account to an Executive membership at any time, and the fee will be prorated for the remaining part of your annual membership.

The upgrade can be completed online, in person at the warehouse, or by calling Costco Customer Service

What Are the Benefits of a Costco Executive Membership?

The biggest benefit of an Executive membership is the 2% annual rewards, but there are also additional incentives.

Executive members are entitled to the following benefits:

  • Annual reward certificate up to $1,000 per year.
  • Additional savings on Costco services, including travel services, auto program, business services, insurance, and more.
  • Monthly Costco Connection magazine.

If you spend at least $3,000 per year at Costco on regular purchases, you will minimally break even in the upgraded cost of the Executive membership and enjoy additional benefits.

The Costco services you can save money with the Executive membership include:

  • Bottled Water delivery
  • Auto and Home Insurance
  • Check printing
  • Identity protection
  • Payment processing for business
  • Life Insurance and Pet Insurance
  • Home installed products such as heating and air conditioning, window treatments, solar energy systems, and more

Pricing and discounts on Costco services for Executive members can vary by location. 

What Are the Differences Between Costco Memberships?

Costco offers two levels for both personal and business memberships.

A Costco business member or a personal member has the option to opt-in for the Everyday Value or the Executive level to gain additional benefits.

Below is the comparison of the benefits of each Costco membership option:

 
Executive Membership
Everyday Value Gold Star
Membership
Executive Business
Membership

Everyday Value
Business Membership
Annual 2% rewards on eligible purchasesYesNoYesNo
Extra discounts on Costco servicesYesNoYesNo
Monthly Costco Connection MagazineYesNoYesNo
Access to all warehouses and shopping on Costco.comYesYesYesYes
Includes two membership cardsYesYesYesYes
Eligible to make purchases for resaleNoNoYesYes
Add additional people to the membership ($60/person)NoNoYesYes
 $120/year$60/year$120/year$60/year
Costco Membership Options and Benefits

What Are the Costco Executive Membership Hours?

Unfortunately, there are no special shopping hours for Costco Executive members.

Executive members have access to warehouses during regular Costco hours, which is the same for all membership levels.

In the past, Executive members had early access to warehouses, typically one hour before opening.

This was a nice perk to avoid the crowds; however, it has been phased out and is no longer available.

Costco warehouses are open from 10 am to 8:30 pm on weekdays, between 9:30 am – 6 pm on Saturdays, and 10 am – 6 pm on Sundays.

Costco warehouses are closed on New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

How Do You Earn Executive Membership 2% Rewards?

You can earn 2% rewards with an Executive membership on most purchases at Costco warehouses, online at Costco.com, and certain Costco services.

However, certain purchases are not eligible to rack up those rewards.

By being a Costco Executive member, you will automatically earn rewards on purchases like groceries, household items, and most regular purchases at warehouses in the US, Canada, or Puerto Rico.

Most purchases online at Costco.com also earn 2% rewards.   

Ineligible purchases that will not earn 2% rewards include:

  • Alcohol purchases in certain states
  • Gasoline
  • Shipping fees
  • Food Court purchases
  • Auto purchases
  • Battery fees
  • Costco Shop Card or Gift Membership Purchases
  • Charitable giving at Costco.com (including Children’s Miracle Network balloons)
  • Home delivery services such as installation
  • Oil disposal or tire disposal fees
  • Taxes
  • Certain Costco services
  • Optical exams
  • Tobacco

That means 2% rewards can apply to big-ticket purchases such as electronics or furniture, which can bring up your rewards quickly.

Even subscription costs at the Costco pharmacy can earn rewards.

Costco travel also earns rewards once travel has been completed.

Other Costco services that are ineligible for earning rewards still have special pricing available for Executive members. 

It should also be noted that purchases made with additional affiliate cards on the Executive Business membership will not earn 2% rewards.

Only purchases made with the primary card will earn 2% cash back on purchases.

How Can You See an Estimate of Your Executive Membership 2% Reward?

Costco has an online tool you can use to check the rewards estimate on your account at any time.

However, you must first verify your Costco account to see your rewards.

If you’re unfamiliar with account verification, you can find more information in our article, including how to verify your Costco account.

After verifying your account, follow the steps below to check your Executive membership rewards estimate:

  1. Sign into your Costco account online or in the app.
  2. Select “Account Details.”
  3. Go to the “Membership Information” section to see your rewards estimate.  

Your estimate is based on purchases made in the current membership year.

Once a Costco reward certificate has been issued, the estimate will be shown for the next membership renewal cycle.

Can You Use Executive Membership 2% Rewards Online?

Costco rewards certificates are not accepted online; however, you can purchase a Costco shop card with your rewards and use the shop card to make online purchases at Costco.com.

This workaround is best for using your 2% rewards online at Costco.

About two months before your annual renewal date, the primary member on the Costco account will receive the year’s rewards certificate in the mail.

You will need to visit the local warehouse to use your rewards certificate.

Costco’s suggestion to use your rewards online is to purchase a shop card.

However, the shop card needs to be purchased in the warehouse first.

Then, you can use it for future Costco.com purchases.

So, while you cannot directly use your 2% rewards for shopping online at Costco, you have options to use them with some extra steps.

Is Costco Executive Membership Worth It?

The Executive membership is worth it if you spend at least $3,000 yearly on regular Costco purchases. You will then earn enough rewards to pay for the $60 fee to upgrade.

The 2% rewards are the most enticing benefit of the Executive membership. The list of other benefits isn’t very lengthy.

So, earning enough rewards is key to whether the Executive membership is worth it or not.

Consider the math below for earnings potential depending on your typical annual spend at Costco:

Yearly PurchasesEstimated Rewards
$3,000$60
$6,000$120
$9,600$192
$15,000$300
$30,000$600
$50,040$1,000
Costco Yearly Purchases vs. Estimated Rewards

The maximum annual reward with an Executive membership is $1,000. 

For many households, spending $3,000 a year to break even on the Executive membership upgrade fee is not a stretch.

You may even gain some money back if you are a frequent Costco shopper. Just breaking even may not feel worth it.

Costco offers a satisfaction guarantee on memberships, so you can request a refund for the upgraded membership fee if you’re not happy with the Executive membership.

If it’s not paying for itself at a minimum, you have options to downgrade back to a Gold Star membership at any time.

Conclusion

The Executive membership is the highest membership level available at Costco. Executive members earn 2% rewards for eligible purchases and get additional savings on Costco services.

If you’re a Costco loyalist and spent at least $3,000 per year shopping at Costco, the Executive membership may be a good option for you.

For more information about Costco, check out the articles below.

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Last Updated: July 4, 2022

About the Author

Eril Eti is the founder of Shopfood.com and has over a decade of experience in the consumer goods industry. He launched many products for major brands sold at retailers like Walmart, Costco, Amazon, Target, Kroger, Publix, and more.

Eril loves food and sharing his experience with others. Outside of work, you can find him at a hiking trail in New England or playing soccer with his kids.

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