11 Undeniable Reasons BJ's Is Better Than Costco

You may want to give BJ’s a second look if you’re considering a bulk retailer membership.
Updated April 24, 2024
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A BJ's storefront

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While warehouse clubs like Costco are known for helping you save money on groceries, they aren't the only game in town.

BJ's Wholesale Club offers a strong contender membership, outweighing the upfront cost with savings on household essentials and groceries.

Here's why BJ's might be the better fit, especially if you're looking beyond the big-box brand name.

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Memberships are cheaper

Seventyfour/Adobe customer handing credit card

One of the most noticeable differences between Costco and BJ’s is the membership prices, which could be an issue if you’re on a tight budget.

Both offer a basic membership, but Costco’s membership costs $60 compared to $55 at BJ’s.

Both also offer a higher-priced membership that includes 2% cash back on purchases, but the Costco version costs $120 compared to $110 for a similar BJ's membership.

BJ’s may be closer to you

kleberpicui/Adobe woman putting package with groceries

Costco does have an advantage over BJ’s, with 606 locations across the U.S. compared to 252 BJ’s locations, which are mainly on the East Coast.

But that doesn’t mean you should assume the closest store near you is a Costco.

It’s a good idea to double-check locations for both stores as you may be surprised to find a BJ’s in your neighborhood.

BJ’s accepts coupons

fotopak/Adobe discount coupons on white background

Costco doesn’t accept coupons, preferring to stick with its own deals and low prices rather than having shoppers bring in coupons.

If you love clipping coupons, you may prefer a BJ’s membership. All 252 of those locations accept manufacturer’s coupons in addition to coupons and deals specifically for BJ’s members.

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You can use more credit cards

ViDi Studio/Adobe wireless modern bank payment

Both Costco and BJ’s accept credit cards, but you may be out of luck if you don’t have the right one at Costco.

Costco only accepts Visa credit cards, which could be problematic for diehard Mastercard, Discover, or AmEx users. BJ’s also accepts Visa, but it also allows American Express, MasterCard, and Discover.

Costco accepts Mastercard for online purchases, and both retailers accept EBT.

Same-day delivery is cheaper

Odua Images/Adobe delivering some groceries to woman

Same-day delivery can be a convenient option if you’re busy or can’t make it to the warehouse store.

But it may cost you more to get your items delivered from Costco, which uses Instacart and may charge you additional fees. BJ’s charges $14.99 for delivery fees and no additional charges.

However, you may want to check on delivery options for BJ’s, as fewer stores could mean the retailer may not deliver to your location.

You can get a one-day pass

Mediteraneo/Adobe happy family doing groceries

How can you know if you’ll like BJ’s better than Costco if you have to be a member to shop there? You can use a one-day pass to find out.

BJ’s offers prospective members a one-day pass to shop around and see if they like what they see.

Don’t expect the same offer from Costco. The retailer doesn’t provide prospective members with the same option, so you’ll need a membership card to shop there. If you’re not satisfied, you can cancel your membership at any time and receive a refund of your membership fee.

BJ’s has a deli

Tyler Olson/Adobe giving cheese to female customer

Both Costco and BJ’s sell deli meat, but only BJ’s will cut fresh slices for customers.

Costco customers have to stick to prepackaged turkey or roast beef, while BJ’s offers a wide variety of deli meat and cheese, sliced to order.

Stores are usually open later

Jelena/Adobe man riding his car

Hours of operation can vary from store to store, but most Costco locations open at 10 a.m. and close at 8:30 p.m. on weekdays and 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

BJ’s, on the other hand, usually opens around 8 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m., giving shoppers more hours to walk through the store or find time in their schedules to make a warehouse run.

BJ’s may have items that Costco doesn’t

Piman Khrutmuang/Adobe shopping organic fresh fruits

It’s a good idea to comparison shop when you’re going to BJ’s and Costco to see if prices are similar or if you can get a better deal per unit at one store or another.

You also may be surprised to find products on the shelves at BJ’s that you may not be able to buy at Costco, which could be a factor depending on if BJ’s carries some of your favorites or has more items that you need.

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BJ’s are less crowded

Jacob Lund/Adobe woman shopping groceries

Costco’s popularity may work against it, with more shoppers clogging up the aisles, especially on the weekends, to get the best deals or grab some free samples.

BJ’s may have the same deals or similar products but without the extra long lines or crowded aisles.

It may be a good idea to try out the BJ’s day pass on a day when you would typically shop to see how foot traffic is and how quickly you can navigate the store.

BJ’s gives customers a scan-and-go option

Giordano Aita/Adobe woman checking her shopping list

It’s frustrating when you just need to pick up an item or two and then get stuck at the end of shopping in a long line to check out.

But BJ’s has an option that Costco doesn’t. You can scan items on your BJ’s app as you shop and quickly pay when you walk out — bypassing the line entirely.

The Costco app, on the other hand, doesn’t have the same functionality, which could be especially frustrating on a weekend trip to the retailer.

Bottom line

JHVEPhoto/Adobe BJ's Wholesale Club Liquor Shop

Retailers like BJ’s and Costco can help you keep more cash in your wallet and more food in your pantry, but savvy shoppers may prefer one membership over another.

Regardless of which membership you choose, it’s always a good idea to create a list before shopping to avoid costly impulse purchases, especially if you’re on a tight budget.

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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.

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