How Does A Costco Gift Card Work?

Costco gift cards–also known as Costco Shop Cards–are a fantastic way to shop at Costco without the need for an active membership. But how exactly can you buy a Costco gift card?

Costco Shop Cards can only be purchased directly from Costco Warehouse locations or on

You must be an active Costco membership holder in order to buy a Costco Shop Card. However, once the Shop Card has been purchased, it can be gifted to and used by anyone, regardless of membership status.

Unfortunately, Costco Shop Cards cannot be purchased anywhere other than Costco. This includes major stores like Walmart and Target. The reason Costco does not sell gift cards at other stores is because these stores are major competitors with Costco. In order to purchase a Costco Shop Card, you must support Costco Wholesale directly by shopping at a warehouse location or on Costco.comBuy Costco Gift Cards

How Does A Costco Gift Card Work?

Costco Shop Cards work the same way as any other brand-specific gift card.

When a Costco member purchases a Costco Shop Card, the card is loaded with a chosen amount of money between $25 and $2,000. Once the card has been loaded and activated, it can be used to shop at any Costco Warehouse or Costco Gas location as well as on

Anyone can shop using a Costco Shop Card regardless of membership, but only Costco members can purchase Costco Shop Cards. And don’t worry–Costco Shop Cards never expire!

To use your Costco Shop Card, all you have to do is visit a Costco Warehouse location or log on to and start shopping. When you’re ready to pay for your items, simply scan your Costco Shop Card at the register or enter the card information online as you would with a debit card. Keep in mind that some items on are listed as “members-only items,” so these items do not qualify for purchase with a Shop Card if you are not a member.

You can also use Costco Shop Cards even if you’re spending more than the amount remaining on your card. For example, if you go to Costco Warehouse to buy $200 worth of items but you only have $20 on your card, you can still complete your purchase by making a partial payment with your Shop Card and providing cash, credit, or debit for the remainder of the purchase amount.

Costco Shop Cards can be used to purchase any items for sale at Costco or on except for the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Other gift cards
  • Anything purchased through Costco Travel

Check out Costco’s Shop Card FAQs for more information.

Costco Gift Card vs. Costco Shop Card

Costco Shop Cards and Costco gift cards are the same thing. “Shop Card” is simply the term Costco uses to refer to the gift cards they sell.

Costco Shop Cards can be used the same way as any other brand-specific gift card.

How To Buy Costco Gift Cards

There are two ways to buy Costco Shop Cards–by shopping online at or by visiting a Costco Warehouse location in person.

The easiest way to buy a Costco Shop Card is to head over to

Shop Cards are categorized as a members-only item and can be purchased in the following amounts when you shop online–$25, $50, $100, $250, $500. Costco Shop Cards purchased online can be delivered as physical gift cards in the mail or as digital shop cards via email.

If you purchase your Costco Shop Card in person at a Costco Warehouse location, you can load your card with any amount between $25 and $2,000.

To purchase a Costco Shop Card in person or online, follow these steps:

  • Make sure you are an active Costco member
  • Visit any Costco Warehouse location or
  • Locate the gift cards and get ready for purchase
  • Choose the amount you would like to load onto the card (between $25 and $2,000)
  • Use a Visa or Mastercard debit or credit card to complete your purchase (you can also use cash if you’re shopping in person)
  • If you purchase a physical Shop Card online, it will need to be activated before use (to activate, call the number listed on the card and follow the prompts provided)
  • Shop Cards purchased online can also be delivered as digital gift cards via email
  • If you purchase your Shop Cards in person, they will be immediately ready for use once your transaction is complete

Benefits Of Using Costco Gift Cards

Costco Shop Cards might seem just like normal gift cards, but they actually provide a lot of unique benefits that typical gift cards do not.

The benefits of using a Costco Shop Card include:

  1. They never expire! – That’s right. Unlike many retail gift cards that expire after one year, Costco Shop Cards never expire. That means that no matter when you decide to use it, you will always be able to take advantage of your full balance until the amount on the card has been spent.
  2. Exchange your balance for cash – In nearly one third of US states, Costco Shop Cards can be exchanged for cash when the balance dips below a certain amount. Granted, this amount is quite low in most participating states (sometimes as low as $1). But in other places such as California, you can exchange your Costco Shop Card balance for cash as long as it does not exceed $10.
  3. Shop at Costco without a membership – By far one of the biggest benefits of shopping with a Costco gift card is that you can shop in store at any Costco Warehouse location without ever needing to pay for a membership. If you’re not a frequent Costco shopper or you’re simply not enticed by the benefits of membership, this is a great way to avoid a yearly fee.
  4. Get access to Costco’s amazing return policy – Even if you’re not a Costco member, you can still take full advantage of Costco’s fantastic return policy whenever you shop with a Costco Shop Card. Just make sure to hold on to all of your receipts, as this is the only way to qualify for a refund as a non member.
  5. Buy high-quality Costco fuel – Not only do Costco Shop Cards work at Costco Warehouse locations–they also work at Costco gas stations. Costco gas is known for being exceptional in quality and available at unbeatable prices. If you have a Costco Shop Card, consider using your balance to fill up your gas tank on your next outing.
  6. They’re reloadable – Another major benefit of getting your hands on a Costco Shop Card is that they can be reloaded when your balance runs out. The only catch here is that you have to be a Costco member to reload the card. So, if you have a friend with a Costco membership who’s willing to help you out, you could theoretically shop at Costco forever without ever needing to pay for a membership.


Can you give a Costco gift card to a non-member?

Yes. Non-members can shop at Costco with a Costco gift card, also known as a Costco Shop Card.

How much can you put on a Costco gift card?

Costco Shop Cards can be loaded with any amount between $25 and $2,000.

Can you turn a Costco gift card into cash?

Sometimes. According to Costco’s policies, Costco Shop Cards are not redeemable for cash. However, some states allow the remaining balance of a gift card to be returned in cash. These states include Rhode Island and Vermont (less than $1), Texas (less than $2.50), Connecticut (less than $3), Colorado and Massachusetts ($5 or less), and California (less than $10). If your gift card has less than $5 remaining, you can redeem the remaining amount for cash in Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, Maine, and Hawaii. 

Can non-members shop at Costco with a gift card?

Yes. Anyone with a valid Costco Shop Card can shop at Costco any time. 


Costco gift cards are only available for sale at Costco Warehouse locations and on They are not sold at other retailers or wholesalers because Costco is in direct competition with companies like Target, Walmart, and Amazon. Costco Shop Cards can be purchased by Costco members only, but they can be used by anyone regardless of membership status. When your Costco Shop Card balance runs out, the card can be reloaded. However, a Costco member has to be the one to reload the card. 

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