Do Costco Employees Get Discounts Or Free Membership?

Christina J Colclough

By Christina Colclough

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costco employee discount

Costco has many open positions for people of diverse skills and experience, which explains why looking for a job at this multinational retailer has become all the rage recently.

Besides salary and specific requirements for the position, many are also concerned about Costco benefits for employees, such as discounts and memberships. Let’s learn more about them!

Is There A Costco Employee Discount?

Costco does not offer exclusive discounts on its in-store products or online purchases for their staff. Fortunately, there are generous discounts on other offerings like turkey, healthcare, or traveling.

Costco Employees

1. Why Do Costco Employees Get No Discount for In-Store Products?

The reason is simple: Costco already offers great deals for bulk purchases. For years, it has benefited mainly from memberships, not product margins; therefore, extra employee discounts at Costco might cause serious financial loss for the brand. 

With profound experience in the field of labor, I could say that Costco employees still save a lot more than those working in other retailers, thanks to the brand’s low merchandise markups (almost less than half of the other store chains). In short, the discount is already counted in the products’ original price; there is no need to reduce them further.

2. Other Discounts for Costco Employees

a. 100% Discount for Turkeys

As far as I know, starting from mid-November to Christmas, every Costco employee receives a turkey to celebrate the holiday at zero cost. As confirmed by long-term staff working at Costco, the process is straightforward: you simply get your turkey from the walk-in freezers and then wave the ticket to exit. Better yet, this bonus is no longer exclusive to permanent staff and now applies to seasonal employees as well.

Extra discounts for Christmas are also on offer for workers in certain countries, such as Canada. And, of course, slight variations regarding the discount period are expected due to regional factors; for instance, Canada’s Thanksgiving starts in October on the third Monday, about one month before the U.S. 

b. 80% Discounts for Healthcare

Employees working 24+ hours a week for 180 consecutive days will receive discounted healthcare benefits and insurance. Costco pays 90% of insurance premiums if you work full-time and 80% for part-time.

Full-time employees can access these benefits starting from the second month after completing 250 qualified paid hours. Still, there might be some exceptions for salaried staff or specialists, as they often receive these discounts right from the first month.

Besides, there are multiple pharmacy warehouses in Costco, providing their employees with reliable prescription drug plans. The brand also offers budget-friendly dental coverage with essential services, such as teeth cleaning or cavity fillings.

c. Travel Discounts

Travel discounts are another extra benefit for Costco employees – one of the brand’s policies to promote a healthy working environment and life-work balance.

Cases in point are vacation packages, rental vehicles, and discounted cruises, ensuring your well-deserved holiday trips are affordable and convenient. Depending on your job position and performance during that month/year, the specific discount details may differ from person to person.

d. 401(k) Discounts

For retirement benefits, Costco provides a 50% discount or match (up to $500 per year) to your 401(k) contributions. Long story short, if you add $1000 to the 401(k) plan, Costco will send another $500 to match your number and help you save money for retirement.

And that’s not all; regardless of your donation amount, Costco will contribute a small portion of your total earnings, starting at 3% and climbing higher after you have been working with the brand for one year.

Other Benefits for Costco Employees

benefits for Costco employees

1. Your Salary Is Above Average

You barely have to worry about payments when working at Costco. As of 26 October 2023, a Costco employee currently receives $20.52 per hour (according to Zip Recruiter), and the number might be even higher for pharmacy positions and specialized roles. 

By the time of this writing, the 2023 minimum hourly wage in most states in the U.S. barely exceeds $15, much lower than Costco’s average salary. 

2. Free Membership Cards

A membership for average shoppers starts at $60 a year. Although it does not seem that expensive if you shop at Costco year-round, that still means you have to make an upfront investment before buying any item here.

But as a Costco employee, membership fees are never an issue for you. Costco gives every employee 4 annual memberships, 1 for themselves and the other 3 for any people they choose. 

3. Extra Payment on Sundays

Costco already offers good base pay. But if you still want to earn more, do not skip Costco’s weekly chances! The retailer applies a time-and-a-half payment structure for Sundays, meaning each working hour gains you 50% more than your regular wage.

Let’s say your current hourly wage is $20. On a Sunday, for every hour spent, you will earn your regular $20 plus an extra 50% (or $10), totaling $30

4. Promotion Chances

Many Costco positions are entry-level, which might be discouraging if you have ambitious goals. 

However, as I have consulted many young laborers, advancement opportunities in various departments are still available; for instance, certifications and specialized education are required for people working in the pharmacy or optical sections. Costco also offers a special mentorship program to train its current employees for higher roles in the career ladder.

Of course, how long it takes to move up the ladder depends on your performance, job position, and other decisive factors. Still, the brand itself confirms that many of its managers started as hourly staff, so the door to future promotion is still wide open if you try your best.

5. Great PTO (Paid Time Off ) Policy

Many employees are concerned about their PTO benefits, and Costco does not disappoint in this regard. After working for one year and accruing 2000 paid hours (minimum), employees can begin to accumulate their PTO weeks based on the number of employment years:

Years of EmploymentWeeks of PTO
Less than 1 year/2000 hoursPro-rated
1 year1 week
2 to 4 years2 weeks
5 to 9 years3 weeks
10 to 14 years4 weeks
More than 15 years5 weeks 

Note that rollovers can only extend to the next year; they aren’t carried out year after year. If you work at Costco, use your vacation time wisely before it slips off your fingers! 

How Often Does Costco Give Raises? 

Salary raises at Costco occur every six months and amount to $1, depending on your working hours. Your performance, customer service, leadership potential, and seniority also contribute to the increase. 

Are Costco Full-Time and Part-Time Benefits Similar?

Full-time and part-time employees are offered relatively the same benefit programs. Some note a slight drop in healthcare copays when they change from part-time workers to full-time, but that is the only notable difference.

How Many Hours Do I Have To Work At Costco To Get Benefits? 

To qualify for employee benefits, you must work 180 consecutive days and more than 24 hours per week. Though not common, there might be variations/exceptions based on your job positions and the retailer’s location, so remember to confirm this matter with your local Costco.


Costco offers its employees competitive benefits and abundant opportunities for future promotion. Working long-term with this wholesale retailer is totally worth it, but make sure there is no misunderstanding or confusion before you sign the contract as a full-time worker.

See more: Walmart Employees Discount

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Christina J Colclough

Christina J. Colclough

Dr Christina J. Colclough is an expert on The Future World of Work and the politics of digital technology advocating globally for the importance of the workers’ voice. She has extensive regional and global labour movement experience, is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach, and strategist advising progressive governments and worker organisations.

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