The Easiest Way To Get Around Costco's Membership Rule

As you probably already know, a membership is required to shop at Costco. Before, this may not have been a huge concern, as many shoppers found their way around the system by using the memberships of friends and family. Unfortunately for those hoping to save $60 to $120 per year, Costco has tightened its reigns, making the benefits that come with those fees less accessible than ever to non-members. "We are now asking to see their membership card with their photo at our self-service checkout registers," the company revealed in an email to The New York Times. "If their membership card does not have a photo, then we ask for a photo ID." This crackdown has now permitted piggybackers from borrowing a friend's membership card or QR code.

However, there's a hack that Costco either hasn't considered or hasn't found a way to put a stop to: Costco Shop Cards. These shop cards, which are essentially gift cards, can allow non-members entry to the store as long as a relative or friend with a membership was the one to purchase it. This is a convincing way to assure employees that you aren't breaking any rules, even if you were the one to fund the shop card.

How to make the most of this hack

As mentioned before, those who refuse to pay to shop at Costco can provide gift card funds to their membership-holding friend. However, it could become quite annoying to hit up your buddy each time you want to take a shopping trip. To make this hack work best for you, you should invest a large amount of money to prevent continuous begging. Costco Shop Cards can be purchased in increments of $25, $50, $100, $250, and $500. Conversely, there's another option for the biggest Costco fans — simply request these gift cards for your birthday and Christmas. It's likely those with memberships will prefer this more than receiving monthly phone calls.

Like anything, there are some downsides you should consider before heading to the wholesale store. According to TikTok users who've tried this method, it doesn't always work as expected. For one, you can't exceed the amount on the gift card, even if you have other sources of payment. Secondly, one TikTok user claims you can only use this trick once — though this hasn't been confirmed.