Your Costco membership will cost more next year, analysts predict. Here’s what to expect — and how fees compare at Sam’s Club and BJ’s.

  • Costco will likely raise its membership fee in the next six to 12 months, Wall Street analysts say.
  • The wholesale club typically raises the price every 5 1/2 years or so, most recently in 2017.
  • Costco executives have said a fee increase is “a question of when, not if.” 

A $5 increase to Costco membership fees could be on the horizon, bringing the cost of a basic one-year membership to $65. 

That’s according to Cowen analysts led by Oliver Chen, who wrote in a note published Monday that a Costco membership fee raise “could be likely within 6-12 months.” The Seattle-based wholesaler, which sells everything from groceries to electronics, hasn’t raised its $60 fee for a standard Gold Star membership since March 2017.

“We believe a membership fee increase is imminent in FY23 as Costco has not raised fees in 5.8 years yet has historically increased fees by $5 for regular memberships every 5.5 years,” the analysts wrote.

Indeed, this pattern of $5 fee-hike announcements has persisted since 2000: 

  • August 2000: Fee increased to $45, effective September 2000
  • April 2006: Fee increased to $50, effective May 2006
  • October 2011: Fee increased to $55, effective November 2011
  • March 2017: Fee increased to $60, effective June 2017

Cowen’s prediction aligns with what Costco executives have said about the company’s membership fees.  During Costco’s earnings call in September, CFO Richard Galanti confirmed that five-year cycle and said that while Costco wasn’t raising the fee at that time, a price increase could come in 2023.

“If you look at June of ’17, plus five years and seven months, you’re talking roughly January ’23,” Galanti said on the call. “Now I’m not suggesting it’s January ’23. I’m just saying it’s not there yet anyway.”

Galanti reiterated that price increases are coming during Costco’s December 8 earnings call, calling them “a question of when, not if.” 

“There’s no analytical framework we use other than we feel very good about our member loyalty and our strength. And if we wanted to do it yesterday, we could. If we want to do it six months from now, we can,” he said. “So, we’ll wait and see.”

Costco has intentionally kept its membership price consistent in 2022 “given the current macro environment, historically high inflation, and the burden it’s having on our members and on all consumers in general,” Costco executive Bob Nelson said in June. 

Costco’s current membership price puts it in line with other warehouse clubs:

  • BJ’s charges $55 a year for its standard Inner Circle membership.
  • Walmart-owned Sam’s Club raised the cost of its basic membership to $50 annually in October, up from $45.