Hidden Costco Membership Benefits You Need to Know About
Sure, you can save money by buying items in bulk for your pantry, but that's just one of the cost-cutting perks of a Costco membership.
The fact that a Costco membership can be a wise move to help stretch your grocery or household budget is hardly a secret at this point. The deals are everywhere! But did you know that budget-friendly household purchases are merely the start of the Costco perks and ways you can save money with your membership? The savviest of Costco members are doing far more than stocking their pantries at the big box retailer.
What's that you say? You're not fully aware of the myriad perks that come with being part of the club? Here's a closer look at some of the additional ways your membership can save you serious money, and in some cases, even make your life a little (or a lot) easier.
Since many of us are dying to travel again, let's talk about one of the most noteworthy Costco perks first: Costco Travel. This one membership benefit alone pushed Linda Chavez, founder and CEO of Seniors Life Insurance Finder, to join Costco even though she really couldn't afford the annual membership fee.
"I'm a frequent traveler, but believe it or not, I book my vacations through Costco and save a lot of money," says Chavez.
Costco Travel offers members the ability to book destinations, hotels, and cruises through the club. More importantly, the wholesale behemoth uses its substantial purchasing power to negotiate serious deals that it passes along to members.
In Chavez's case, using Costco's travel benefit consistently translates into serious savings.
"My husband and I paid $1,775 per person for seven nights at an all-inclusive resort in the Maldives in February," she says. "Flights, airport transfers, and all-inclusive accommodations were all included in this price. When we tested American Express, the same package cost $1,950 per user. We spent the $350 we saved booking through Costco on a dolphin cruise and had a great time."
Inkjet refill service
Even when purchased through Costco, ink cartridges for printers are not cheap. Costco helps defray this cost by offering a refill service, says Chavez.
"Not only will you save money by refilling your cartridge at Costco rather than buying a fresh one, you will be less wasteful," she says.
Costco's refill service starts at around $8.99 per cartridge and allows members to bring specific types of empty cartridges to the photo center at their local store, where it is cleaned via a high-tech system and refilled.
For those who do not have vision insurance, undergoing routine eye exams and purchasing eyeglasses can be extremely costly. This was the case for Carter Seuthe, CEO of Credit Summit, who turned to Costco's vision offerings for help.
"Your Costco membership entitles you to discounts at their in-store clinic as well as deep discounts on glasses and contacts," says Seuthe.
Discounted gift cards
Even when it comes to something as minor as purchasing gift cards, your Costco membership can come in handy and keep more cash in your pocket, says Chavez, of Seniors Life Insurance Finder.
"Costco offers deals like two $50 gift cards for $79.99 or four $15 gift cards for $44.99," says Chavez. "These offers make stocking up on gift cards for Christmas or birthdays a breeze. Gift cards for movie theatres, theme parks, performances, activities, and more are also available."
Costco insurance agency
Offered via CONNECT from American Family Insurance, Costco members can also get car insurance at a discount through the wholesale club.
Brian Dechesare, founder of the website Breaking Into Wall Street, says it's always worth it to obtain a quote from Costco to see how rates compare to what you're currently paying.
"With its buying and influential power, a massive business like Costco can negotiate inexpensive group rates and pass those savings down to their customers," says Dechesare.
Costco gas stations
If you live anywhere near a Costco location, you've likely encountered the lines of cars waiting for their turn at the Costco gas station. There are several benefits to buying gas at Costco, not the least of which is the price discount. Costco also touts its gas as having performance and environmental benefits, including helping clean up dirty engines and restoring fuel economy by promoting cleaner engines. The Kirkland gas used by Costco also promises to reduce tailpipe pollution caused by intake valve deposits and plugged fuel injectors.
"The fuel is Top Tier, which means it follows a high-quality level and includes detergents to keep your engine clean," says Chavez.
Undoubtedly one of the lesser known perks of membership, Costco is not only a great place to get a deal on the cost of a new book. You may also be able to meet a book author or two at the club, which in the past has hosted book signings, says Chavez.
This particular perk may be impacted or on hold due to COVID-19, but keep it on your radar for the future.
Through Costco Concierge Services, the club automatically provides extended warranties of up to two years long for various purchases. This policy covers televisions, projectors, computers and major appliances.
"Costco's extended warranty on electronics is the best in the business. For example, if you buy an iPhone 8 at Costco, you will receive an additional one-year warranty beyond the manufacturer's warranty," says Scott Killmer of Car Windshields. "If you buy the same phone at Best Buy or any other major electronic retailer, you will not only not receive an extended warranty but you will also have to pay an additional fee for such warranty."
Affordable office furniture for entrepreneurs
While in-store you may not find a huge variety of office furniture, online Costco sells affordable desks, office chairs, printers, computers and other necessities for those starting up a business, says Texas-based entrepreneur Andrey Doichev, founder of the website Inc and Go, a resource website for start-ups.
"It can be delivered directly to your location, and most items will have a warranty protecting your purchase," says Doichev. "I've used Costco to ship my workstation directly to my home office. This was before the pandemic, but the convenience was still important as I have pretty packed days with consulting and developing Inc and Go. I comparison-shopped first and found I was saving 10 to 15 percent on the cost of furnishings."
Costco membership is valid worldwide
One additional benefit aimed at globetrotters, something to take note of for future travels, Costco membership is valid anywhere in the world, says Alexa Frazier Blay, the cook and photographer behind the popular website Key To My Lime.
"You can pick up any essentials in the country you're visiting. This perk comes in especially handy if you're staying in an Airbnb somewhere that allows you to cook," says Frazier Blay. "While you're there grabbing the groceries you need, you might also want to check out the discounted local gift certificates for restaurants and movie theaters."