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Costco shoppers ‘hate’ new card-sharing membership policy and claim rival is so ‘much better’ and ‘a lot less stressful’

COSTCO members have called out a new card-sharing membership policy and are threatening to head to rivals for groceries instead.

The warehouse retailer cracked down on the unauthorized sharing over the past year.


Costco shoppers are fuming over a recent crackdown on membership-sharing[/caption]


Costco offers memberships in two-tiers[/caption]

Former chief financial officer Richard Galanti noted that membership-sharing started to spike since it brought more self-checkout offerings to customers.

“Since expanding our self-service checkout, we’ve noticed that nonmember shoppers have been using membership cards that do not belong to them,” Galanti said in a company statement last year.

“We don’t feel its right that non-members receive the same benefits and pricing as our members.”

Shoppers can get a membership at Costco through two tiers, Gold Star and Executive, per its website.

Gold Star is the base offering for a fee of $60 annually and offers customers several perks, including two membership cards per household to shop in-store and online at Costco.

Executive offers the same benefits along with a 2% reward and discounts on other Costco services for $120 per year.

Either way, there are only two authorized cardholders per membership, with the option to add affiliate members for $60 apiece.

With the crackdown, some have claimed they encountered serious pushback from Costco staff even when authorized cardholders attempt to use a membership that doesn’t have their name on it.


A couple at a Lincoln, Nebraska, store claimed they were turned away from a purchase because their membership was under one partner’s name and not the other’s.

When the partner without their name on the membership tried to make the purchase, even when clarifying they were an authorized user, an employee allegedly didn’t allow it.

They were so upset about the altercation they abandoned their cart and fled the store, canceling their membership entirely, per a post on Facebook.

Others also said they “hate” the membership-sharing crackdown and would be leaving for competitors like Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club.

“Costco is awful sam’s club has a much better selection,” a shopper wrote in a thread on Facebook earlier this month.

“I hate Costco membership policy, BJs has much better policy and is a lot less stressful to shop at as well,” another wrote.

Costco membership sharing guidelines

Costco has strict rules for membership use that shoppers must follow and they’ve been cracking down on offenders in recent years.

  • Primary Member Use: Only the primary cardholder can use this Costco membership card. Sharing it for purchases is not allowed as the photo on the card must match the person using it.
  • Household Card: Each primary member can add one free household cardholder who lives at the same address. This person will receive their own membership card and can shop at Costco independently.
  • Guest Policy: Members can bring up to two guests per visit to Costco. However, only the member can make purchases. Guests must be accompanied by the member.
  • Authorized Cardholder: For an additional fee, you can add an authorized cardholder, such as a family member or friend, who doesn’t reside at your address. They will receive their own card and can shop independently.

Credit: Costco


In furthering its efforts to verify memberships, Costco has also made changes to its store entrances and checkout areas for membership verification and ID checks.

Some members at select stores have spotted new scanners where they swipe cards to confirm memberships as they enter.

An employee then matches their picture to the card before allowing them in.

Others claimed downloading the Costco mobile application is “required” at their store to verify memberships.

Costco’s prices have also come under scrutiny from a few members, with some fleeing the retailer after 20 years and canceling their membership after alleged increases.

Others said they’d stay away for good to “avoid spending $500.”

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