13 Costco Membership Benefits You May Not Know About

Sure, you can save money by buying items in bulk, 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 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 of 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.

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Costco Travel

One of the most noteworthy Costco perks is Costco Travel. This one membership benefit alone pushed Linda Chavez, founder and CEO of Seniors Life Insurance Finder, to join Costco. "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."

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Costco Optical

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, VP of Content at 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.

Costco Optical provides vision services to members whether or not they have vision insurance (though it also accepts most major insurance coverage).

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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. "Costco offers deals like two $50 gift cards for $79.99 or four $15 gift cards for $44.99," notes 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."

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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, suggests obtaining 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.

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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.

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Author Signings

Undoubtedly one of the lesser-known perks of membership, Costco is not only a great place to get a deal on the price of a new book, but you may also meet a book author or two. In the past, the club has hosted book signings, says Chavez.

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Extended Warranties

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 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 [it]."

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Affordable Office Furniture for Entrepreneurs

While you may not find a wide variety of office furniture in-store, 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 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...the convenience was [very] 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."

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Business and Personal Checks

Been meaning to order new checks? Offered in a wide variety of designs, members can buy business and personal checks, as well as forms and other accessories (envelopes, ink stamps, address labels, etc), for an average of 50 percent off typical bank pricing.

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Bottled Water Delivery

Purified, distilled, and artesian water are all available for delivery to your office or home. Exclusive pricing is available for members, starting at $6.99 per bottle. Dispenser rental prices are discounted, as well.

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Technical Support

So you finally splurged on that new TV, but now you have no idea how to set it up? Not to worry: You can receive free tech support over the phone for any major appliance you purchase from Costco, whether it's a flat screen TV or a piece of exercise equipment.

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Prescription Discounts

Members who currently don't have prescription drug coverage can enroll in Costco's Member Prescription Program, which enables them to get lower prices for an extensive list of prescriptions. Savings are estimated between 2 and 40 percent off, and pet medications are available as well.

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Costco Membership Is Valid Worldwide

One additional benefit aimed at globetrotters and 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."

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