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FL-JOE

Costco Membership

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We recently allowed our Sam's Club membership to expire and was looking to join Costco for a year.   On their site I found I could get a pretty good deal as a veteran for the first year.

They initially have you go through the verification ID process which only takes a couple of minutes to make sure you are either a vet or retired military.  Then you pay the $60 annual membership fee and take the paperwork to the closest Costco store to finish the process and get your photo ID.  For joining as a vet they send you $60 worth of store coupons.  They aren't stupid coupons most folks wouldn't use either, they are for free stuff like paper towels, etc.

We took the certificate to the Costco store and enrolled in the higher membership plus the Costco credit card.  The higher membership costs another $60 but you get cash back on everything you buy in their store.  In addition to that, they will send you a $60 cash gift card for upgrading to the higher level along with getting their credit card.

So for $120 we received a years top-of-the-line membership, $60 in store coupons, and a cash gift card with $60 on it.  In other words, for a vet or retired military this first year was free.

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1 hour ago, NDBirdman said:

Good deal!  I've thought about joining when we get on the road soon but we still like our Sams Club.  No Costco in our area.

There's a Costco in Fargo,  I think its in ND... Can't remember the exit though....

 

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AK, WA and OR? doesn't have Sams either. Not to burst your bubble but everyone gets the coupons. We joined Costco in Fairbanks.

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1 hour ago, Darryl&Rita said:

If you plan to come to Canada, we don't have Sam's.

And you have a huge, new Costco in St. John's NF!!

In all seriousness, we maintain both Costco and Sam's because of the regional nature of the coverage.  At our winter location in Rockport TX there is no Costco, but we can drive to one in Houston which is ~165 miles away.  However, in Canada and parts of the Pacific NW Sam's Clubs are essentially non-existent.

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3 hours ago, Alie&Jim's Carrilite said:

There's a Costco in Fargo,  I think its in ND... Can't remember the exit though....

Yes, we went there on it's grand opening week.  It's a 90 mile or so drive for us, a little too far for much shopping.  Now if it was in Grand Forks, I'd be a member by now.  🙂  Until then, Sams it is.

 

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16 hours ago, SWharton said:

AK, WA and OR? doesn't have Sams either. Not to burst your bubble but everyone gets the coupons. We joined Costco in Fairbanks.

So everyone who joins Costco now gets $60 in store coupons.  Keep in mind these are coupons for totally free stuff, like a package of paper towels with 12 rolls, etc., totally $60 in products.  In other words you go in the store with these coupons and walk out with a cart full and spend zero funds.

If that is the case then it is a good deal for anyone to join as a regular member the first year because it will actually cost you $0.00.

Edited by FL-JOE

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Yep! We were surprised to get the coupons in the mail. We joined 3-4 months ago. Everything changes so who knows what they offer now.

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I think Costco is the better deal. We had no Costco in Louisiana but do in our new home city of Colorado Springs which has both. We joined Costco when our Sams club came up for renewal a couple of months ago. I just called my wife and she's heading there to fill up and is going to check on the coupons.

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There are +/- to both. Sams annual fee is less, has better hours(many open at 7 or 9), has an app you can use and skip the check out lines, has self-checkout, better meat, 5% back on gas or diesel. Costco seems to have more consumer oriented items, many are made just for Costco so have very good pricing, better wine selection, Costco only takes their card or MC, no visa.

My daughter and I compared pricing on a dozen items(apples to apples) and every item was within pennies of each other.

I consider it a matter of convenience more than anything else. I prefer Sams since they are into technology more so than Costco. Love Sams app so I don't need to go through the checkout line.

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I was a Sam's Club member for about 12 years.  Never even seen a Costco, much less been in one.  I finally realized that the prices on the items I was buying weren't any better than just going to Walmart or elsewhere.  I quit going to Sam's when I discovered that their bulk price for motor oil was higher than the same oil at Walmart in one quart bottles.

I suppose if I had a big family or ran a small business, it might be easier/better to go to Sam's or Costco to stock up on daily items like paper and food.  However, for just myself, I find Amazon to be a better value.  For $120 year, I get free two day s/h on almost every item and get other benefits like Prime Video, and I can shop from the comfort of my computer.

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SWarton

Not true Costco will take any Visa.  However only the CITI Costco Visa card will get you rebates.  4% on gas no mater where you buy it.  3% back on Restaurant and eligible Travel.  2% back on all items bought at Costco and 1% back on everything else you use the card for

 

Dennis

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SWharton,

I'm not trying to argue with you, but the current facts in my locale (Fairfield County, CT) are different than the oness you expressed.

Sams annual fee is less.  It is here too.

Sams had better hours - not here.  Both Sams and Costco's general stores open at 10am.  Gas opens earlier.

Sams has an app you can use and skip the check out lines - I don't understand "skip the check-out lines".  If you mean order on-line, Costco has an app for that too.

Sams has self-checkout.  So does my Costco.  However, they just introduced it a few months ago.  My closest Home Depot added self-checkout about 2 years ago.

Sams has better meat.  My guess is that is a personal opinion and others may differ.   But my closest Sams is double the distance to Costco, so I don't use them.

Costco only takes their card or MC, no visa.  That may have been correct a year ago when Costco's Card was an AMEX.  Costco's card is now a Visa, and they accept any Visa card, but not MC.

Dan

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13 minutes ago, DanZemke said:

 

Sams has an app you can use and skip the check out lines - I don't understand "skip the check-out lines".  If you mean order on-line, Costco has an app for that too.

 

Sam's has a phone app that allows you to scan your purchases and pay for them.  It then displays a code on your phone which is scanned as you leave so the folks at the exit know you paid for your purchases.  To my knowledge Costco doesn't have any such app.

I'm not sure why this thread has become such a Sam's v. Costco debate.  The stores are very similar and, if wasn't for the geographic distribution I would probably just belong to the one closest to me.  Since we travel quite a bit, we maintain both memberships which I don't consider to be such an extravagance.

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Thanks!  Now I know what he meant about skipping the checkout lines.

My post was not meant to debate.  It was to clarify statements that were incorrect.

 

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"Costco only takes their card or MC, no visa.  That may have been correct a year ago when Costco's Card was an AMEX.  Costco's card is now a Visa, and they accept any Visa card, but not MC."

That is interesting, must vary by Costco. I have not been able to use my regular Visa card at any Costco I have been to, only my Sam's Club MC card. This was within the last month.

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SWarton

 

No it does not vary by Costco's.  We shop in Costco  from VA to WA and HI.  I drive to Costco in Tulsa, OK as there are no Costco's in AR.  We shop at both Costco's in  KC, MO and the one on the KS side as well.  We hit the Costco in Omaha and Lincoln, NE when we are up visiting family.  We hit the Costco in Lexington, KY twice a year on our trip to and from VA.  All of these Costco are programed into our GPS.  Every since Costco dropped the deal with AMEX several years ago they have accepted any VISA but only the CITI Costco Visa will get you rewards.  They do not accept MC.  Costco has an exclusive deal with VISA just like they did with AMEX.  Here is the Costco Customer Service phone number.  1-855-378-6467 call them and ask which Costco's take MC and let us know which ones do?

 

Dennis

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22 minutes ago, SWharton said:

We have been to three Costco's, Fairbanks, Anchorage and Prince George. None accept a Visa card.

Canadian Costco stores definitely do not take Visa.

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SWharton

Here is the correct answer directly from Costco 2 min ago.  Yes you can use your MC in the stores in AK or any other location for Debit only you cannot use them to charge only VISA cards can be used for charging.  It was the same way back when AMEX had the deal you could uses your VISA/MC Debit card but only could you charge with the AMEX.  So you are correct that you did use your MC but only as a Debit.

Darry is correct in the Canadian Stores they use MC's for charging not Visa.

 

Dennis

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That just muddied the waters some more. Both our Visa and MC are charge cards, not debit cards. We were lucky we had an MC card since we didn't have our check book with us.

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SWharton,

I googled:

What types of credit cards does costco accept in the United States

-------------------
The first hit was:

Search Results
Featured snippet from the web
Image result for what types of credit cards does costco accept in the United States

As of 2019, the only credit cards Costco accepts are Visa network cards. Costco also accepts cash, checks, debit cards/ATM, Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) and Costco Cash Cards. Costco's change to Visa came as a surprise to many, since the retailer had a deal to accept only American Express cards since 1999.Mar 18, 2019

However, that was not directly from Costco, it was from:

https://smartasset.com › credit-cards › what-credit-cards-does-costco-accept

-------------------------------------------------

This is the first hit I received, that was from Costco (not a 3rd party source):

https://customerservice.costco.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/719/~/what-payment-methods-are-accepted-at-costco%3F

Costco's current description of in-store payment methods they accept, in the US,  appears to differ from your experience.

Edited by DanZemke
clarity

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On 9/15/2019 at 4:18 PM, docj said:

And you have a huge, new Costco in St. John's NF!!

In all seriousness, we maintain both Costco and Sam's because of the regional nature of the coverage.  At our winter location in Rockport TX there is no Costco, but we can drive to one in Houston which is ~165 miles away.  However, in Canada and parts of the Pacific NW Sam's Clubs are essentially non-existent.

I agree, we have both as well 

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SWarton

I don't know what to tell ya other than you must know more on how Costco Corp is run than the people in Corp HQ's.  I called them and asked the very same question this morning 2 min before my post and I even had them double check and they said and I quote  "we do not accept MC in any USA stores and yes AK stores are considered USA stores not one."   We accept MC only as a Debit card.  So if you used it as a charge card and not as a Debit Card (one of my VISA cards is also a Debit Card as well as a charge card) than give yourself a pat on the back for getting one over on Corp America.

Dennis

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