Costco Is Overdue for a Membership Price Hike—Here's When It's Coming

The price increase will be the be the first of its kind in six years.

It's not unusual for people to feel a particular loyalty to their favorite supermarket or home goods store, but the shoppers at Costco are of a different breed. Whether it's for the free samples or the cheap bulk pricing or the Kirkland-brand clothing, people unconditionally love Costco—but like anything, it comes at a price.

Since June 2017, members have been coughing up $60 per year for a basic Costco membership, and for some time now, there's been speculation as to when the retail giant will raise its membership fees. While patrons can breathe a temporary sigh of relief, insiders say a price hike is coming and will likely go into effect sometime in 2024.

RELATED: Shoppers Are Abandoning Costco, New Data Reveals—Here's Why.

"We haven't needed to do it," Costco chief financial officer Richard Galanti said about a potential membership fee increase during a first-quarter earnings call, per USA Today. "At this juncture, we feel pretty good about what we're doing."

Despite inflation and other economic pressures, Costco's membership profits are in the green. According to Statista, nearly 128 million people globally purchased a Costco membership in 2023; that's nearly double how many members Costco had in 2014. It's also a steady increase from 2022's membership tally count, which sits at 118.9 million.

The members-only warehouse offers two different types of memberships: the Gold Star membership and the Executive membership. The former costs $60 per year and grants members access to the warehouse, food court, pharmacy and eye center, tire center, travel booking, and online shopping. For those willing to splurge, the Executive membership has a $120 yearly value and comes with all the aforementioned perks, as well as a free Costco Connection magazine subscription and a two percent annual reward.

In the past, Costco would raise its membership prices about every five to six years. However, it's been six years since the last price hike, leaving shoppers anxiously waiting for the next one to strike.

Galanti isn't denying the rumors either, noting it's "a question of when, not if."

USB analyst Michael Lasser, who has been following the story closely, predicts Costco will announce its new membership prices next summer, per USA Today. How much they raise them, though, is still left to be known.

Earlier this year, Costco cracked down on membership sharing after noticing an alarming rate of non-members using others' cards to enter the store and then sneaking by at self-checkout. To combat the issue, Costco is now requiring buyers to show photo ID at self-checkout.

"Our membership policy states that our membership cards are not transferable and since expanding our self-service checkout, we've noticed that non-member shoppers have been using membership cards that do not belong to them," a Costco spokesperson told Best Life at the time. "We don't feel it's right that non members receive the same benefits and pricing as our members. As we already ask for the membership card at checkout, we are now asking to see their membership card with their photo at our self-service checkout registers."

Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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