Nov 15, 2023

Executive or Gold Star: How to Choose Your Costco Membership

Are you a Costco member? Are planning to become one or are you about to renew your membership card? Whatever your situation is, you probably ask yourself which of the two membership options to choose from: Executive or Gold Star. Check the info below out to get a solid answer [updated for 2024].

Well, you will probably say there is a third option: the Costco credit card.

For us, getting another credit card is not a good option. Not because we are in debt, but because managing multiple credit cards becomes a hassle and may get you in financial trouble if not monitored and paid on time. So, one credit card is more than enough. Luckily, my only credit card is a Mastercard that is now accepted in all Canadian Costco stores.

Since we are not opting for a credit card, we have a choice to get either the Executive or the Gold Star membership. The yearly fee needs to be either $120 or $60 plus tx in 2024. The question is which one to go for? Find the answer below.

In our family we've had the discussion about the Costco fee and all arguments were dismissed after I presented these calculations.

I said that the decision about the annual fee would be made based on our purchasing behaviour at Costco. I checked all our expenses at Costco during the last 12 months. On average, we go to Costco twice a month and spend $275 per visit. This makes $550 per month or $6,600 per year (ouch!).

Then I took into account the 2% cashback applied on the Executive card: 2% cashback going up to $750 per year. The Gold Star card does not have this perk.

Here are the calculations for my specific case:

The difference is calculated as follows: membership fee + taxes + total purchases per year - cashback amount.

In my case it's more beneficial to stay with the Executive membership fee as I end up paying $64 less with the same purchasing behaviour.

In other words, if you spend monthly amounts similar to mine, don't hesitate to go for Executive.

Now the question is what it takes not to go for the higher fee? When would the Gold Star card be more interesting? The answer is: when you spend less than $287 per month or less than $3,444 per year at your Costco. Here is the math:

In other words:

  • For purchases under $287 per month, get the Gold Star Membership for $60 + tax.
  • For purchases over $287 per month, get the Executive Membership for $120 + tax.

Will Costco change these membership fees in 2024?

We don't know whether Costco will update its membership prices in 2024. It depends on the company's decision and can be announced at any time. It is best to monitor updates on Costco's website in Canada or contact their customer service for the latest information.

We know that the current inflation rate in Canada will likely push Costco to recalculate these fees. Once the membership fees change, we will update our calculations here accordingly.

What's our final word about the Costco membership? Next time a Costco employee implores you to check your balance, just make your decision for upgrade based solely on your purchasing behaviour!