Costco Wants You (Yes, You!) as a Member and Will Give You $155 in Freebies

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Shoppers push their carts at a Costco store in Nashua, N.H.
Shoppers push their carts at a Costco store in Nashua, N.H. AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Costco is a bulk shopper’s playground. The retail giant is full of bargain deals from groceries to home products to health and beauty supplies, if you don’t mind buying ginormous quantities.

I buy my ground beef there for about half the price of my local grocery stores — I just have to buy it 6 pounds at a time. It’s easy enough to split that up into freezer bags and enjoy having it on hand for a bargain.

What’s the catch? To shop at Costco, you have to be a member, and a standard Costco Gold Star membership costs $60 annually. That’s an OK price for a year’s worth of bargains. (I probably save that much on ground beef alone. Don’t judge.)

But thanks to LivingSocial and Groupon, you can now get your membership plus over $155 in free stuff and discounts.

Is it Really a Deal?

OK, you’ve seen these special offers to lure you into memberships before, and sometimes, they’re not worth it. At The Penny Hoarder, we don’t like to tell you about it unless we think it’s a good deal, but I’ll let you be the judge. Here’s the offer:

  • A one-year Costco Gold Star membership with two cards (one for the membership holder and one for another household member).
  • $20 Costco cash card. Free money!
  • $75 Costco cash card toward Costco Travel to the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Europe, Hawaii, Mexico or the South Pacific (excludes cruises). If you haven’t used or checked out Costco travel, give it a look. I used it to book a cruise and found it really easy, and it offered a great price!

Coupons for three free Kirkland Signature products:

  • Free 12-pack of create-a-size paper towels ($15.69) Who doesn’t use these?
  • Free 24-pack of VitaRain Zero flavored water ($9.99) A nice, tasty beverage.
  • Free whole pizza from the food court ($9.95) Umm… pizza!

Keep in mind that coupon item values may vary by Costco location.

So even if you don’t use the online coupon and the travel card, you still get your new membership plus $55.63 in goods and store credit. Not too shabby if you ask me.

What’s more, you can sample about 25 different items while you shop. On a recent trip, Costco was giving out samples of bacon. Bacon!

OK, What’s the Real Catch?

Alas, no offer is perfect. (And, yes, I said “alas.”)

Costco will not send the coupons and gift cards to you immediately via email or any other 21st century method. Once you redeem your voucher online, the wholesale club will mail your goodies to you within four weeks.

It seems Costco set up this offer to bring in new customers or to bring back customers Costco may have recently lost. So, it’s not for everyone.

The fine print tells us that you may not participate if you are a current member looking to renew or if your membership expired after April 1, 2017. In other words, it’s not looking for renewals or slightly late renewals — it wants people who may be on the fence about a membership.

However, if you have never had a Costco membership and have contemplated taking the plunge, or if you let your membership run out more than four months ago and were thinking about jumping back in, this deal could be for you.

Neither Groupon nor LivingSocial list an expiration date for this deal — they only say there’s “Limited Time Remaining” — so we suggest jumping on it sooner rather than later.

Now, go get your deal because there is a 3-pound box of Cheez-It Cheddar Crackers with your name on it!

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. Catch him on Twitter at @Tyomoth.