Can You Shop At Costco Without A Membership? Yes You Can!
I came across some interesting info when searching for an answer to a question in our travel/deals Facebook community.
The poster was wondering if he could use his Chase Freedom card at Costco gas stations in the 4th quarter to earn 5X Ultimate Rewards points. He was hoping it would trigger the wholesale club category. I suggested he purchase Costco cash cards inside the store and then use them at the pump to earn 5X on his gas purchase.
While looking to make sure that Costco cash cards worked at the gas station (they do) I came across some interesting information that allows you to shop at Costco without a membership.
Shop At Costco Without A Membership, Say What?
Most people don’t know, but it is their policy to allow people to shop at Costco without a membership. This policy can be location specific but many locations allow non-members to purchase alcohol (state law) and allow them to purchase gas. Those are two great areas to save money at Costco but that is not what I am talking about.
The key to unlock shopping at Costco sans a membership is the Costco cash card. To shop at Costco without a membership you can gain access to the store just by showing your Costco cash card. I believe this is for people who get them as gifts etc. and would not be able to use the cards otherwise. This is also a good way to try to get you to sign up for a membership once you check out the store.
The really interesting thing is that you can buy whatever you want once you are in there. If you have a $25 Costco cash card but want a $300 TV you can buy it and pay the rest with a credit card.
There Is One Problem
The main obstacle to this plan is that only card carrying Costco members can purchase Costco Cash Cards. So you need to enlist the help of a friend or family member that has access.
Another option is that if your membership is coming up for renewal soon you could load up on a whole bunch of $25 cards and then use 1 on each visit. You could get 10 entries into Costco for $250 in outlay. Ten trips could cover 6 months or more for a lot of families.
I thought this was an interesting life hack that could save you a little bit of money. And it shows that you can fairly easily shop at Costco without a membership. It is probably not worth the effort for most since a membership is only $60. However, if you need to get into the store for a one time big ticket purchase this could be your golden ticket. Non members still have to pay the 5% fee for online purchases even with a gift card so that isn’t really a great option.