Grocery shopping probably takes a permanent spot on most to-do lists. But if you are trying to reduce the number of trips to the grocery store, bulk buying at warehouse clubs is a great option. What’s more? You can get a membership at a warehouse club to save money on essentials. To help you get started, let’s compare two of the biggest clubs—Costco and Sam’s Club—and the senior membership benefits they offer in 2024:
Does Costco Offer Senior Discounts on Membership?
Costco is a popular warehouse club known for great deals on groceries, household items, and more. Many seniors enjoy shopping there to save money. But does Costco provide any membership discounts specifically for seniors?
According to Senior Discounts Club by Modern60.com, Costco does offer a senior discount on memberships for older adults. People 60 years and older can get a reduced rate on Costco’s Gold Star or Executive membership. This allows seniors to access Costco’s low prices on bulk essentials at a lower membership cost.
The senior membership discount can add up to nice savings for older shoppers who frequently purchase items at Costco. Be sure to ask about the senior rate when signing up for or renewing a Costco membership. Just provide proof of age to get the discounted membership fee.
The membership tier structures at both Sam’s Club and Costco are pretty straightforward. Here is what to expect:
Costco Membership fees
Costco offers three membership tiers: Gold Star, Executive, and Business. While the first two tiers are meant for individuals, the Business tier is intended for members making purchases with the intention of resale. Here, the Gold Star membership is the most affordable option, with an annual fee of $60. Meanwhile, the Executive membership costs $120, which includes a $60 membership fee and a $60 upgrade fee.
Sam’s Club Membership fees
Here, you can choose from two tiers: Club and Plus. The basic membership, i.e., Club, is slightly cheaper than Costco at around $50. Similarly, the Plus membership is priced at approximately $110.
The $10 difference in the annual fee is not substantial, as what you can get as a member is more important. So, whether you choose Costco or Sam’s Club, you get benefits like savings on purchases, exclusive access to members-only gas stations, and an additional free membership. What’s more? You can also upgrade your membership at either of the clubs and get additional cashback incentives, which can only be used at the respective clubs. Here is an in-depth look at the benefits each option offers:
Costco Membership benefits
- The Costco Gold Star membership allows you to shop in-store and online. Although it is the basic tier, you can get significant savings on gas, prescriptions, glasses, and travel. It also offers a free household card that can be used by your spouse, children, or anyone else in the family. To get the most out of your membership, you may want to consider applying for Costco’s Anywhere Visa Card through Citi. The card offers up to 4% cashback of up to $7,000 per year in Costco rewards to be redeemed for gas and electric vehicle charging and 1% after that within the same year. The card also offers 1–3% back in Costco cash to be redeemed on club purchases, travel, dining, and other Costco orders.
- Meanwhile, the Executive tier gets you a 2% annual reward on qualified Costco purchases, along with all the other benefits offered by the Gold Star membership. In addition, you can get extra benefits and savings on Costco services such as insurance, bottled water delivery, and home improvement. So, you can get ACs, shutters, and even carpets installed and fixed in a jiffy by professionals with a Costco membership card. Also, you get access to discounts and perks on select Costco travel services such as cruises, rental cars, hotels, vacation packages, and more. This can be quite useful if you travel often.
Sam’s Club Membership benefits
- Sam’s Club’s basic membership (Club) gets you instant extra savings on a wide range of products as well as gas. Also, you get access to free services at Sam’s Club tire and battery center. Other perks include same-day delivery for $12 per order and curbside pickup at $4 per order—wherein the staff can help you load the car. Arguably, the most exciting aspect of this tier is the offers on dining, shopping, and more. If you have a Sam’s Club MasterCard, you can earn about 1% cashback on all purchases made using the card. Moreover, you can get a free complimentary membership for anyone in your household and other add-on memberships at a discounted price of around $45. However, the basic Club membership does not give you any savings on prescriptions and glasses; these benefits are limited to the $110 Plus membership.
- The Plus membership gives you access to free shipping for most online products, free curbside pickup, $8 same-day delivery, and 3% cash back on all purchases if you have a Sam’s Club MasterCard. This premium membership plan is similar to its Costco counterpart (Executive), as both plans offer 2% rewards on eligible purchases. However, with Sam’s Club Plus, the rewards can go up to $500, whereas with Costco’s Executive, the rewards go up to $1,000. But, what sets Plus apart from other plans is the early shopping feature, a key benefit for senior members. With this, you can get in the store before the crowds rush in and have a pleasant shopping experience.
Costco Working Hours (Opening and Closing Time)
Costco stores are typically open from 10 am to 8.30 pm on weekdays. On Sundays, working hours are from 10 am to 6.30 pm. However, the timings can vary based on location. So, make sure you call the local Costco store or look up working hours online before visiting the store closest to you. Further, Costco does not offer exclusive early shopping access to members. So, if you want to avoid the rush, you can just drop in the morning hours.
Sam’s Club Working Hours
Across locations, Sam’s Club is open from 10 am to 8 pm throughout the week. Additionally, the Plus membership can get you access to early shopping hours: 8 am to 10 am.
Although Costco and Sam’s Club have a lot of similarities in terms of the products and services they offer, the policies of each warehouse club can result in different customer experiences. Here is what to expect:
Costco Customer experience
Costco offers curbside pickup only for select items such as electronics and jewelry, but this is limited to certain locations. Additionally, this option does not extend to groceries. The warehouse club also does not offer any in-app self-checkout service.
My recent visits to the Costco at Chapel Hills Mall in Colorado Springs have been enjoyable overall. The store is well-organized with wide aisles and clear signs. Employees are friendly and helpful, like the electronics associate who answered my questions. Checkout lines move quickly, though I wish they offered self-checkout. The food court provides a nice snack break. This location typically has a solid selection of appliances, electronics and pantry items at good prices. Despite crowds, staff keeps things running smoothly. I’ll keep shopping at this convenient Costco
Sam’s Club Customer experience
Sam’s Club members can take advantage of curbside pickup for products across all categories. Here, members also get a Scan & Go option to pay for groceries on the store’s app and skip the checkout lines.
Product Pricing Comparison
Costco and Sam’s Club generally have similar pricing for most product categories. However, certain categories could carry better deals than others in both warehouse clubs. Here are a few examples:
Costco usually lists lower prices on produce and dairy. Another thing to note is Costco’s online store prices can be slightly higher than the local warehouse prices, which can make a difference when you compare online and in-store bills. So, shopping at the local Costco warehouse can help you save more money on your purchase.
Sam’s Club Pricing
Sam’s Club offers lower prices for some pantry and plant-based products. Here, the prices stay the same online and offline. So, you can choose to shop on the website or at your local Sam’s Club warehouse. However, as discussed earlier, if choosing home delivery, Club members have to pay an additional fee, while Plus members get their order delivered for free.
So, Costco offers a plethora of services to its members, along with a lot of in-store benefits. On the other hand, Sam’s Club makes the grocery shopping experience more seamless through perks like curbside pickup. So, the $10 difference in the membership fee is negligible when considering the membership privileges the basic and top-tier plans offer. It is also important to note that prices at both stores are often lower than what you would find at regular, non-membership grocery stores. So, you can choose either of the options based on your convenience, location, and overall shopping experience. Either way, you get to buy all essentials in bulk, make fewer trips to the store, and spend less time moving through crowded aisles each year.