Costco shoppers heed the warning — membership prices may soon be on the rise.
During Tuesday’s Q4 2023 earnings call, Costco’s CFO Richard Galanti confirmed that an increase in membership prices was inevitable after being asked whether or not the company could go another year without a hike due to inflation-related concerns.
“It’s a question of when, not if,” Galanti said on the call. “We can’t really tell you if it’s in our plans or not. We’ll let you know when we know. We feel good, needless to say, about all the attributes of member loyalty and member growth. And frankly, you know, in terms of looking at the values that we provided our members, we continue to increase those at certainly a greater amount than even more than if and when an increase occurs.”
Galanti noted that the last time Costco increased membership prices was in 2017, with the Wall Street Journal noting that the company has historically increased prices about every five years.
Galanti told investors that the company was “six years into” the current membership pricing and that the current tier has lasted “a little longer this time around” than it usually does.
Currently, a basic Gold membership at the warehouse is $60 annually while an Executive membership is $120 per year. Executive members have access to additional benefits including a 2% reward back on qualified purchases.
Prior to 2017, membership prices for both tiers were $50 and $110 annually.
As of May 2023, there were an estimated 124,700 million Costco cardholders split among 69,100 households.
Costco began cracking down on memberships earlier this summer when it began requiring members to show their photo ID at check out after the company found that non-members were using members’ cards.
“Our membership policy states that our membership cards are not transferable and since expanding our self-service checkout, we’ve noticed that non-member shoppers have been using membership cards that do not belong to them,” Costco said in a statement at the time. “We don’t feel it’s right that non-members receive the same benefits and pricing as our members.”