I'm a diehard Costco shopper, and there are 5 unexpected reasons it's my favorite store

I'm a diehard Costco shopper, and there are 5 unexpected reasons it's my favorite store

tori dunlap headshot

Courtesy of Tori Dunlap

The author, Tori Dunlap, a lifelong Costco devotee.

  • I've been a Costco devotee my whole life - I was practically raised on weekend trips to the bulk retailer.
  • I still do a ton of my shopping at Costco, and there are five reasons I especially love the store.
  • Costco has great travel deals, stylish clothes, affordable vaccinations, and delicious cooked food options. And the Costco Anywhere Visa is also my favorite cash back card.
  • You can use the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi to earn 2% back on eligible in-store and online Costco purchases.

If you know anything about me, you know I'd bleed for Costco.

As a native of the Pacific Northwest (Costco's motherland) I grew up on Costco pizza and Saturday Sample Days. My parents still go to Costco for no specific reason, but rather to browse (and maybe buy bananas for my dad's protein shakes). We're a Costco family, and the price of a $60 annual membership (that I split with my grandma) is absolutely worth it.

Beyond just the jumbo packs of toilet paper, huge bagged salads, and oversized boxes of La Croix, here are five things you might not know you can use your Costco membership for.

(Grab your samples and let's do this.)


Costco has some of the best travel deals

For the longest time, I didn't pay enough attention to the lines at the Costco travel desk. You probably know where I'm talking about - the desk with giant photos of beautiful yachts, fancy cars, and families smiling at Disneyland. That's exactly the smile I have on my face when I use Costco to book travel deals.

My absolute favorite Costco travel perk is its rental car packages. Costco partners with reputable brands (including Hertz, Avis, Alamo, etc.) and offers steep discounts (as high as 25% off).

If you don't want to go through an in-store sales rep, it's easy to book online to compare companies and deals. Costco also waives the second-driver free, which is perfect if you have a travel companion.

Costco Anywhere Visa cash back rewards program

I signed up for the Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi nearly two years ago and it's changed my shopping game while putting money in my pocket. Here's the cash back breakdown:

  • 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases up to $7,000 per year (1% cash back after that)
  • 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases
  • 2% cash back on Costco and Costco.com purchases
  • 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases

The Costco Anywhere Visa has no annual fee with a paid Costco membership. See Business Insider's review of the Costco Anywhere Visa card for more »


Stylish and affordable clothing

If I had a nickel for every time someone complimented me on my leggings at barre class, I'd be able to afford five workout sets from Costco.

Costco offers high-quality leggings, loungewear, and tanks that I love wearing to the gym (or, let's be honest, around the house while I watch Netflix). I love buying Costco's matching sets, or having them shipped to my door.

Some of my other favorite clothing purchases from Costco are socks (great for stocking stuffers), winter wear, and even jeans. If they don't fit, I just take them back next time in person. Costco has great customer service and I've never had an issue returning an item that didn't meet my needs.

Delicious cooked food options

I'm referring to Costco's signature chickens, pizza slices, and hot dogs. The prices for most of Costco's food court options (salads, pizza, hot dogs, etc.) have barely increased since the 1980s. (The hot dogs have remained steady at $1.50.)

The idea behind the low prices is to encourage shoppers to buy bigger-ticket items while they're browsing the aisles with full stomachs - no one likes to shop hungry.


At my Costco, people line up for the rotisserie chickens because they're only $4.99. Big enough for dinner that night - plus a salad topping the next day - this is one of Costco's best and most convenient deals.

Free health screenings and low-cost vaccinations

You're probably aware Costco has a pharmacy and an eyewear department, but you might not know that it also offers free health screenings for diseases such as diabetes and osteoporosis.

Different locations also have screening events, so if you're interested, make sure to get in contact with your local Costco location to see what's available near you.

Another cool tip about the Costco pharmacy: It offers competitive, low-cost vaccinations. While the Affordable Care Act might require health insurance to cover your basic vaccinations, not all vaccinations are deemed mandatory. Check with your insurance company to find out your options (Costco may be your best bet).

As you can see, Costco is my favorite place to shop. Check out your local Costco for all the best deals and stock up that freezer!


Earn 2% back on eligible Costco purchases: Click here to learn more about the Costco Anywhere Visa »

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Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.