Costco is well known for its low prices and high product quality. There are close to 550 Costco warehouse stores in the United States. Costco runs on a membership system – to shop at Costco and take advantage of its low prices, you need to be a member. Regular membership costs $60 per year and Executive membership costs $120 per year. Despite the not insignificant membership cost, there are still a lot of members – close to 100 million at last count.
Low prices and high quality are not the only things offered by Costco. When you shop there, you can also get free extended warranties on a wide variety of products. And if you are an Executive member, you get a 2% cashback reward.
To help you to take full advantage of all that Costco has to offer, we have created this ultimate guide to answer all the questions you have about Costco. We will also talk about all the unique benefits offered by Costco. When you are done with this guide, you will be able to shop at Costco like a pro. Without further ado, let us get started.
Does Costco Have Gift Cards?
Yes, Costco has a store gift card called Costco Shop Card that comes in many denominations from $25 all the way to $2,000. Costco also sells gift cards from other brands such as Uber Eats, AMC, Regal, Nutrisystem, Xbox digital download, PlayStation Store, Nintendo eShop, Spafinder, Wheels Up, and Build A Bear.
A Costco Shop Card enables anyone, whether they are a member or not, to shop at Costco warehouse stores. However, only a Costco member is allowed to buy a Costco Shop Card from Costco itself. There is a loophole to this though – if you are not a Costco member you can still buy a Costco Shop Card on a 3rd party website such as eBay, Amazon, or Gift Card Granny.
Costco also sells a large number of restaurant gift cards such as those from Peet’s Coffee & Tea, California Pizza Kitchen, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, and Texas de Brazil.
Typically, these gift cards from other brands are offered at a discount. For example, at costco.com you can buy five $20 gift cards from Peet’s Coffee & Tea for just $80. That is $100’s worth of gift cards for $80 – a 20% discount.
Does Costco Have Diesel Gas?
Yes, Costco has diesel gas at its gas stations. In addition to gasoline in both regular unleaded and premium grades, Costco also sells diesel gas at its gas stations.
Almost always, gas prices at Costco gas stations are cheaper than what you would find at other gas stations. Depending on where you live, you can expect the prices of gasoline and diesel at Costco gas stations to be about 20 cents to 30 cents per gallon cheaper than that at other gas stations.
Not only is gas cheap at Costco, but it is also high quality. The diesel gas sold at Costco gas stations – Kirkland Signature Diesel – is certified to meet TOP TIER performance standards for diesel fuel. It is a cleaner diesel fuel that offers a whole host of benefits for your vehicle:
- Improves vehicle reliability & performance: It contains deposit control additives help restore lost power and performance by cleaning deposits from injectors and filters
- Helps restore lost fuel economy: It cleans deposits from fuel injectors, enabling fuel injectors to provide precise fuel flow and an optimal spray pattern that creates efficient fuel combustion
- Enhances cold engine startability: It contains additives that help improve combustion for easy start-up and smooth operation
- Reduces emissions: By removing deposits, it allows the engine’s sophisticated emissions control systems to work as designed, helping to reduce emissions caused by engine deposits
- Prevents harmful fuel system wear: It contains additives that help protect critical fuel system components from friction and wear
Tip 1: Diesel gas is available at most but not all Costco fuel stations. A list of all the Costco locations that offer diesel fuel can be found here.
Tip 2: Costco gas stations only accept Visa credit cards, most PIN-based debit or ATM cards, or Costco Shop Cards. That means you will not be able to pay by cash, Mastercard credit cards, or American Express cards. So make sure you have the appropriate payment cards with you before you go to fuel up at a Costco fuel station.
Tip 3: If you pay for your diesel gas at Costco using a Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi credit card, you will get 4% cash back for the first $7,000 in gas purchases per year, after that it will drop to 1% cash back.
Tip 4: Most of the time there will be long lines of vehicles waiting to buy gas at Costco fuel stations. You can avoid the long lines by going there at off peak hours, such as very early in the morning like 6 am or early afternoon like 3 pm during weekdays.
Tip 5: Do not worry about which side your gas tank is on. Costco fuel stations have one way traffic flow and offer extra-long pump hoses that allow you to fill up your tank from either side.
Tip 6: Have your Costco membership card ready. Like most other Costco offering, Costco fuel stations are for members only. When you drive up to a gas pump, you must insert your Costco membership card first, followed by a Visa credit card or a PIN debit card. The only exception is if you are paying with a Costco Shop Card – in that case, you do not need to be a Costco member.
Does Costco Have Self Checkout?
Yes, Costco has self checkout at some of its locations.
However, not all Costco locations have self checkout. According to Costco, by Sept 2019 about 100 out of the 540-ish Costco locations in the United States already had self checkout installed. The plan was to quickly expand that to 250 locations.
But that still leaves about half of all Costco locations without self checkout. The best way to find out if your local Costco has self checkout or not is to call them and ask.
So far, reactions from customers are quite polarized. The people who do not buy a lot of stuff on their shopping trips tend to like self checkout. On the other hand, people who do buy lots of stuff tend not to be fans.
Some customer comments on the internet:
- “My Costco has had self checkout for a few months now, and it has been an absolute game changer for us. My fiancee and I live in a smaller apartment, so we are not able to stock up as much as others, and we usually don’t need a cart for the things we get. Having a self checkout means that we can get in, get out, and get on with our day. I am a huge fan.”
- “We got self checkout in Saskatoon, Canada a few months ago, it’s great because nobody uses it and I frequently just pop in for a few things, I’m in and out super quickly.”
- “Self check out is a pain in the ass without a gun scanner thing. If I have one item sure, but why do I have to pick up huge containers of things and try to maneuver them for the scanner? God forbid anyone with strength issues or perhaps is older and tries. Disaster waiting to happen.”
- “First time using self checkout – no likey. Cart full of TP / Paper towels / cases of drinks / misc. Items – and wouldn’t you know it – every single item must be lifted from the cart to scan and then placed on the table. Computer lady voice asks me to place cases of water back on the cart and not on the table to “protect my items from damage” – except if I do this I will have to place on top of other items yet to be scanned.”
Does Costco Have Price Match & Adjustment?
Does Costco Have Price Match? No, Costco does not offer price match with other retailers. For an example, if you bought a TV set at Costco for $1,500 and later on you find the same TV set on sale ar Best Buy for $1,300, Costco is not going to match that $1,300 Best Buy price.
Instead you can return your TV set to Costco and get a full refund of the $1,500 price, and then go to Best Buy to buy the same TV set for $1,300.
Does Costco Have Price Adjustment? Yes, Costco does offer price adjustment. Price adjustment means if you buy something from a Costco warehouse store only to have the Costco price of that item drop shortly afterward, you are eligible for a price adjustment and a refund for the difference in prices.
For example, say you bought a TV set at Costco last month for $1,200. Then 3 weeks later Costco decided to drop the price of that TV set to $1,000. In this case, you are entitled to a price adjustment that would refund you the difference between the old price and the new price – $200.
All you have to do is to bring your receipt to Costco and ask for a price adjustment. Here is the process flow:
- Find the same product at a lower price
- Take it to Costco with the original receipt (You can also do this online by visiting Costco’s price adjustment page.)
- Go to the customer service desk and show it to the rep
- If the return is approved, you will get the payment difference in about 3-5 days.
You can do this under Costco’s price adjustment policy for up to 30 days after your original purchase.
Costco’s official return policy is “Risk-Free, 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.” For most products, you can return your purchase any time after your original transaction for a full refund. There are some exceptions. For example, for electronics and appliances, you only have 90 days (instead of unlimited time) after your original purchase to return. But still, it is a very generous return policy.
Does Costco Have Layaway?
No, Costco does not offer layaway. When you buy something at Costco, you would have to pay the full price of the product all at once. But that does not mean you have no option to finance your purchase at Costco. Popular ways to do so include:
Credit Cards: When you pay for your purchase at Costco with a credit card, you can use your credit card as a way to finance your purchase. Just pay off your credit card balance gradually over the following months. One thing to keep in mind: Costco warehouse stores only accept Visa credit cards while costco.com accepts both Visa & Mastercard credit cards.
The Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi: If you pay for your Costco purchases with the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi, you get 2% cash back. And you get 4% cash back for buying gas at Costco gas stations. So with this Visa card, not only do you get to finance your purchase, but you also get cash back as an extra benefit
Personal Loan: If you get a personal loan at a bank or a credit union, you will be able to get a much lower interest rate compared to what is being charged by your credit card company. This is an excellent way to finance your purchases at Costco (or anywhere else for that matter)
3rd Party Layaway Services: With a 3rd party layaway service such as eLayaway, you can apply online for a Costco layaway payment plan and then use the money you receive to make a purchase at Costco. The whole process is very convenient and only takes a few minutes
Shop at Retailers That Offer Layaway: While Costco does not offer layaway, many other national retailers do. A partial list of such retailers include Walmart, Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, Kmart, Sears, Big Lots.
Does Costco Have Electric Shopping Carts?
Yes, Costco has electric shopping carts. Selected Costco warehouses also offer wheelchairs for customers to use in stores.
These days it is very common for retailers to offer motorized shopping carts for their customers to use in stores. You can find electric shopping carts at stores such as Walmart, Target, and Home Depot. Costco is no different. It offers electric shopping carts at all of its warehouse locations nationwide.
According to a Quora user, some Costco warehouse locations also offer (non-motorized) wheelchairs for customers to use in store:
- “At the Costco I work at in New Mexico, we have 6 powered carts for people who need assistance while shopping. We also have regular wheelchairs with small attachable carts for folks who need assistance, but have someone with them that can help them through the warehouse.”
Does Costco Have Order Pickup?
Yes, Costco offers order pickup. However, Costco does not offer curbside pickup. You would need to pick up your order inside the Costco warehouse, not outside on the curb.
Just keep in mind, not all products offered by Costco are eligible for in-store pickup. To shop for items to be picked up later, start at the Order Online Pickup in the Warehouse page on the costco.com website. Once you have chosen your items and are ready to place your order, you will have the chance to specify the local Costco warehouse where you want to pick up your order.
Standard delivery time (as specified on the costco.com website) will apply. Only the bill-to credit card addressee may pick up the product. A valid state or government-issued photo ID is required at the time of pickup.
Does Costco Have Free Shipping?
Yes, Costco has free shipping, but only for selected products and 2-day delivery grocery orders of non-perishable food & household supplies of $75 or more.
When you shop on costco.com, each item typically comes with its own separate shipping fee. For example, this New 4th Gen Apple iPad Air 256GB has a shipping & handling fee of $4.99.
The reason each item has its own shipping fee attached is that most items on costco.com are shipped directly from the vendors and manufacturers with whom Costco contracted. Each vendor and manufacturer has its own shipping charge, and it cannot be waived by Costco.
However, many items do not come with a shipping fee. For example, this Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester Photo-Brightening Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 comes with free shipping.
So for these selected items on costco.com, you get free shipping.
Another way to get free shipping at costco.com is to buy grocery items (non-perishable food & household supplies) that are eligible for 2-day shipping. You can find those items here.
As per usual for costco.com, each of these grocery items come with its own separate shipping fee. For example, this Tide Ultra Concentrated HE Liquid Laundry Detergent comes with a shipping fee of $3.
If your grocery order amounts to a total of $75 or more, costco.com will waive all the per-item shipping fees in your order. This way you get free shipping for the entire order.
Does Costco Have Curbside Pickup?
No, Costco does not have curbside pickup. If you want to pick up your Costco order on curbside without ever getting out of your car, you are out of luck. And do not expect that to change any time soon.
On a conference call with investors on Sept 2020, the CFO of Costco has made it very clear Costco had no plan to offer curbside pickup:
“We don’t have our head in the sand on it, we look at it, we have people here who study it, maybe we’ll surprise you one day but at this juncture, we are not prepared to do that.”
If you really want curbside pickup, many retailers do offer that. The following list is a partial list of such retailers:
- Sam’s Club
- Home Depot
- Bed Bath & Beyond
Does Costco Have an App?
Yes, Costco has apps for both iOS and Android. It offers so many capabilities for the shoppers who’s on their mobile a lot. However, despite this extensive list of functionality, the Costco apps do not seem to be very well received by their users.
- On Apple App Store, the Costco iOS app only has an average rating of 2.5 out of 5 based on 3,600 ratings.
- On Google Play, the Costco Android app has an average rating of 3.4 out of 5 based on 29,700 ratings.
You can find the apps here. The Costco apps offer a rich set of features:
- Digital Membership Card: Use the app as a digital membership card to get into Costco warehouses
- Gas Price: Look up the current gas price at your local Costco gas station
- Costco Shop Card: Buy a Costco Shop Card or check the balance of your card
- Costco Photo Center: Order photo prints and photo books
- Costco.com: Browse and place orders at Costco.com
- Costco Pharmacy: Refill your prescriptions at Costco Pharmacy
- Promotions: View the latest deals and promotions at Costco
- Costco Travel: Purchase vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, hotel stays, theme park packages, and more
- Costco Grocery: Place grocery orders and have them delivered to you
Does Costco Have Apple Pay?
Yes, Costco accepts Apple Pay, but only at the warehouse locations. Costco gas stations and costco.com do not accept Apple Pay.
The reality is, different Costco entities accept different types of payment. Whether a type of payment is or is not accepted at a certain Costco service can be very confusing. Here is a summary of what payment is accepted where:
US Costco warehouse locations accept:
- Mobile Payment – Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay
- All Visa cards
- Most PIN-based debit / ATM cards
- Costco Shop Cards
- Personal checks from current Costco members
- Business checks from current Costco Business members
- Traveler’s checks
- EBT cards
US Costco gas stations accept:
- All Visa cards
- Most PIN-based debit / ATM cards
- Costco Shop Cards
- All Visa cards
- Discover cards (including JCB & Diners Club)
- Most PIN-based debit / ATM cards
- Costco Shop Cards
- Visa Click to Pay
Does Costco Have Scan and Go?
Costco does not have scan & go. While more and more retailers have rolled out scan and go technology to help their customers to save time, Costco is not one of those retailers.
To help you save time, Costco does offer self checkout and in-store pickup. But unfortunately, scan and go is not something you can get at Costco today.
If you really want to shop with scan and go, try these retailers instead:
- Sam’s Club
- Walmart – for Walmart Plus subscribers only
- BJ’s Wholesale
Does Costco Have Free Wi-Fi?
No, Costco does not have free Wi-Fi. While more and more retailers have rolled out free Wi-Fi in their stores, Costco has stuck to its no-frill root and decided against offering free Wi-Fi.
If you are on the go and need free Wi-Fi in a pinch, try the following places instead – all of them offer free Wi-Fi in their stores:
- Sam’s Club
- Office Depot
- Taco Bell
- Best Buy
- Burger King
- Dunkin’ Donuts
Does Costco Have Student or Military Discount?
Costco does not have a student or military discount on their membership. Instead, Costco offers special promotions on free Costco Shop Card for students and qualified military members.
Any student who joins Costco as a new Gold Star member online at costco.com will receive a $20 Costco Shop Card. You will still need to pay the regular $60 annual membership fee, but you would get a $20 Costco Shop Card for free. To take advantage of this promotion, students click here.
Any qualified military member who joins Costco as a new member and enrolls in auto renewal will receive a $30 Costco Shop Card. You will still need to pay the regular $60 or $120 annual membership fee, but you would get a $30 Costco Shop Card for free. To take advantage of this promotion, military member click here.
Military members must validate their identity through SheerID. Qualified military members include active duty, veterans, retired military members, spouses of military members, and dependents of military members.
Costco also has a similar membership promotion for medical professionals including nurses, medical providers, hospital employees, and first responders. Any medical professional who joins Costco as a new member and enrolls in auto-renewal will receive a $30 Costco Shop Card. To take advantage of this promotion, medical professionals click here.