Why become a Costco member


What Is Costco?

We are a membership warehouse club, dedicated to bringing our members the best possible prices on quality brand-name merchandise. With hundreds of locations worldwide, Costco provides a wide selection of merchandise, plus the convenience of specialty departments and exclusive member services, all designed to make your shopping experience a pleasurable one.

The History of Costco

The company’s first location, opened in 1976 under the Price Club name, was in a converted airplane hangar on Morena Boulevard in San Diego. Originally serving only small businesses, the company found it could achieve far greater buying clout by also serving a selected audience of non-business members. With that change, the growth of the warehouse club industry was off and running. In 1983, the first Costco warehouse location was opened in Seattle. Costco became the first company ever to grow from zero to $3 billion in sales in less than six years. When Costco and Price Club merged in 1993, the combined company, operating under the name PriceCostco, had 206 locations generating $16 billion in annual sales.

Our operating philosophy has been simple. Keep costs down and pass the savings on to our members. Our large membership base and tremendous buying power, combined with our never-ending quest for efficiency, result in the best possible prices for our members. Since resuming the Costco name in 1997, the company has grown worldwide with total sales in recent fiscal years exceeding $64 billion. For additional information about Costco, download the Costco Story in a PDF format to learn more.

Shop Confidently

Membership:  We will refund your Costco membership fee in full at any time if you are dissatisfied.

Merchandise:  We guarantee your satisfaction on every product we sell, with a full refund. Exceptions: Televisions, projectors, computers, cameras, camcorders, iPOD/MP3 players and cellular phones must be returned within 90 days of purchase for a refund.

Types of Membership

Costco has three types of membership: Executive, Business, and Gold Star. Executive Members earn a 2% Annual Reward on most Costco purchases, and receive additional benefits on our member services. For information on Costco’s member services, visit the services section of this site or call 1-800-220-6000.  See below for a detailed description of each membership.

Additional Membership Information

For additional information and to learn about the Privileges and Conditions of Membership,  please select the following link to read our Member Benefits & Costco Services brochure.

How Do I Join? 

  1. If you’re not yet a member, you can add a membership to your cart and purchase online immediately. Membership cards will be mailed within 7-10 days. Costco members can also renew their memberships online and pay for their purchases and membership together. To join, select the membership link at the top of the page,Or 
  2. Stop at the membership counter of any Costco warehouse, or call us at 1-800-774-2678 and we will fax a membership application to you.
  3. Bring the completed application and appropriate fees to the membership counter at any Costco or mail to: Costco Membership P.O. Box 34783 Seattle, WA 98124-1783
  4. Membership cards will be issued immediately when you apply in person, or mailed within 7-10 days after receiving the application in the mail.  If you desire additional information, please contact our call center at 1-800-774-2678, or e-mail us at customer comments and suggestions.

Business Membership

Business Membership is available to all licensed businesses, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, farmers and ranchers. The $50 annual membership fee includes one household card per primary add on. Additional Business Membership cards are available for $40 each, and includes one household card per primary add on. Business identification (business license, resale certificate, or three pieces of business ID) is required when applying for Business Membership. Business Members who wish to purchase for resale must provide the Costco warehouse membership counter with the appropriate resale information. As a service to our Business Members who purchase cigarettes for resale at the warehouse, we  automatically provide your identity and your cigarette purchase information to all cigarette manufacturers’ representatives. This information is used by cigarette manufacturers to PAY YOU on their incentive programs. Please inquire at the warehouse about the privacy policy concerning tobacco purchases.

Gold Star Membership

Gold Star Membership is available for individuals who do not qualify for a Business  Membership. The Gold Star Membership is $50 per year, which includes one household card per primary add on. See the membership counter at your warehouse for additional information, or call us at 1-800-774-2678.

Executive Membership

Executive Membership is our highest level of membership. Executive Members enjoy an annual 2% Reward on most Costco purchases, as well as additional values on member services, such as lower prices on check printing, auto loans and identity protection; larger Costco Cash card amounts for mortgage, real estate and home equity transactions; an account bonus for money market and online investing accounts; free roadside assistance for vehicles covered through the auto insurance program; and extra travel benefits.

How do I become an Executive Member?

If you’re a Costco member, you can upgrade to an Executive Membership by calling 1-800-220-6000, or by visiting your local Costco warehouse membership department. The Executive Membership upgrade is $50 for both Business and Gold Star primary members, but will be prorated based upon the months remaining in your current membership. Your new membership card will be sent to you, along with a packet explaining the entire menu of business and personal services available in your state. Your Executive Membership card is valid at any Costco warehouse worldwide.

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Sam’s Club corporate facts.