Costco shares update on raising its membership prices

Costco membership prices are still likely to go up, the company's chief financial officer says, but for now they're staying the course.

Richard Galanti, the company’s chief financial officer, has maintained in recent months that Costco memberships have to go up at some point.

Galanti previously said during a quarterly earnings call on Sept. 28 that the question of a membership cost hike was a “matter of when, not if.”

He noted, at the time, that Costco's last membership price increase was in June 2017, a stretch he described as being “a little longer” than increases implemented by the big-box giant in previous years.

In a subsequent earnings call on Dec. 14, Galanti reiterated that hikes are likely, but for now their membership sales and renewals are strong.

“If you ask the question, ‘What are the variables we would look at?’ We would want to look at strong renewal rates, strong new signups, strong loyalty, and we have all that,” Galanti explained. “We haven’t needed to do it. We like providing extreme value. Certainly, while we’ve gone a little longer than the average increase, we feel we certainly have driven more value to the membership.”

He reiterated his “standby answer” of “it’s a question of when, not if.”

“But at this juncture, we feel pretty good about what we’re doing,” he concluded.

Costco did not respond to’s request for comment.

In his September comments, Galanti had said that “you’ll see it happen at some point.”

“We can’t really tell you if it’s in our plans or not,” he said at the time. “We’ll let you know when we know.”

“In terms of looking at the values that we provided our members, we continue to increase those in certainly a greater amount than even more than if and when an increase occurs,” he continued. “Stay tuned, we’ll keep you posted.”

Can I shop at Costco without a membership?

Costco only allows paid members to enter its stores.

Costco last heralded a change to its membership policy in June.

In a statement to CNBC, the wholesaler shared that it would become more stringent on membership card sharing and would move to require members to provide proof of membership beyond the checkout. The policy change means that buyers must use cards with photos at self-checkout registers moving forward. Those possessing membership cards without photos will be required to show a photo ID.

“We don’t feel it’s right that nonmembers receive the same benefits and pricing as our members,” Costco said in a statement at the time.

What is the cost of a Costco membership?

Costco has three different forms of membership, which it calls “Executive,” “Business,” and “Gold Star.” The starting cost for membership is $60.

The executive membership is the company’s highest level and charges members an annual fee of $120 for two household cards, an annual 2% reward on qualified Costco purchases, check printing and added benefits to select Costco Travel items.

The business membership is $60 annually, includes a free Household Card, and covers resale and business use. Subscribers can add an affiliate cardholder for $60.

The company’s lowest membership, gold star, costs $60. Like the other memberships, it covers personal use and access to all Costco locations worldwide.

How do I get a Costco membership for free?

Costco does not provide free or discounted memberships to its customers.

How much is a Costco membership for seniors?

Costco does not provide free or discounted membership fees to seniors.

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