This is Why Your Costco Membership Fee May Be Going Up in Price (Will It Be Worth the Increase?)

The warehouse retailer may be eyeing a price hike in its membership costs sooner than you think.
Last updated Sept. 13, 2022 | By Jenny Cohen | Edited By Michele Zipp
Costco Wholesale store at sunset

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CFO Richard Galanti suggested a change in prices may be coming this year during the warehouse retailer’s quarterly earnings call in March. He pointed out that Costco has raised its membership rates about every five and a half years, and that benchmark is fast approaching after last raising rates in June 2017.

So what does that mean for you? Is a Costco membership still worth it? Here’s what you need to know about your membership and the possible price increase.

An increase seems imminent

trongnguyen/Adobe Aisle in Costco

When asked about when an increase may happen, Galati said, “So I think the question will continue to be asked until we do or don't do something. But at the end of the day, we certainly feel very good about our member loyalty, our success in getting members to move to executive members, which are the most loyal.”

Customer loyalty is strong for Costco. In fact, 92% of Costco shoppers renew their membership with even more auto-renewing or upgrading. While it seems that an increase could happen anytime between June and the end of the year, there still isn’t a direct answer how much it will go up.

Current membership details

dennizn/Adobe costco receipt

Costco has personal and business memberships, depending on which may better suit your budget needs. Memberships currently have two tiers in each of those groups. For $60, a person or business can have a Gold Star membership, which can be used at any of Costco’s warehouses or online. The membership also comes with two cards per household — sharing membership fees are a great way manage your money.

For $120, the Executive membership includes a 2% annual reward for purchases up to $1,000 per year along with some additional discounts and services. Like the Gold Star membership, Costco membership benefits also include two cards per household.

The last time the warehouse retailer raised membership rates, it was a $5 increase for its Gold Star members and $10 for its Executive members.

If you are a current member and are concerned about a rate increase before your renewal, chances are that the hike is likely to take effect when you renew.

There seems to be more for your money

Sarah Rypma/Adobe Grocery cart with toliet paper

The retailer is also updating its online app to include more features for its members, potentially helping ease any gripes about a raised fee.

The store’s warehouse and Instacart inventory will also be available to preview, allowing members to check on what’s available at stores before making the trek out if they’re looking for a specific item.

All of this is in addition to their everyday low prices, which has been a highlight for shoppers — from its deals for families to all the great buys for retirees, and not to mention all the treats in Costco’s food court.

Why Costco is raising rates now

Image courtesy of Costco Costco hot dog combo sign

Galanti cited several factors for raising rates now, including the fact that the retailer hasn’t raised rates in almost five years and it’s time.

Another big issue is the supply chain. This is a problem that is affecting many retailers who are having trouble stocking items on their shelves due to lingering effects on production and delivery resources because of COVID-19.

Galati noted the cost of labor as well as “container shortages … shortages of various components and raw materials and ingredients and supplies.” He did feel that Costco has done a good job despite these issues with a nod to the company’s “sales strength.”

Delays with shipping containers are also causing back ups, which is why Costco has now chartered seven container vessels to help move their products from the point of origin to their stores with hopefully fewer delays. “Despite all the supply chain issues, we're staying in stock and continue to work to mitigate cost and price increases as best we can,” he said.

Inflation is also playing a major factor in the cost of a Costco membership, particularly because of the high cost of gas and storage containers.

Other retailers are raising prices too

ifeelstock/Adobe Man POV looking at Amazon Australia Prime Day shopping deals

If or when Costco raises rates, they will be part of a growing list of retailers who have increased their membership costs in recent months.

Amazon increased their rate for Prime members by $20 so it’s $139 per year. Monthly memberships went up $2 to $14.99 per month. The retail giant said there were several factors for the decision, citing inflation, wage increases, and transportation costs as being major issues that they’ve had to adjust their costs to cover. The price change went into effect earlier this year, and it’s the first time they’ve raised prices since 2018.

And like Costco, members seem loyal. Free shipping on many items is a great draw, as well as Prime Video and other coveted Amazon Prime perks .

Netflix also announced a recent price increase for its services, increasing their standard plan to $15.49 a month, up from $13.99. The streaming service noted added value as well, saying the price hike comes with more original programming and the addition of games.

Bottom line

wolterke/Adobe Costco wholesale store and trademark logo

It’s likely that a Costco membership increase is coming by the end of 2022, but there continues to be added value thanks to the company’s attention to detail and making upgrades to help customers shop smarter. These increases seem inevitable as the cost of so many things are rising. Provided the warehouse continues to offer their products at good price points, they may not see a decrease in customers.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.