Buy Costco Gas without Costco Membership

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Costco Gas StationsCostco has since closed this loophole so you’ll need a Costco Membership to get gas there.

A friend of mine just tipped me off on this trick where you can buy gas at Costco without a Costco membership. All you have to do is swipe an American Express card first, when you would normally swipe your membership card, and then swipe it again for payment. Afterwards, it will let you buy the sweet sweet nectar of condensed dinosaur bones at rock bottom prices without the $50/year membership. It’s that simple.

Normally, you have to swipe your Costco Card or the American Express Costco TrueEarnings card in order to authenticate in their gas station systems. It appears that you can simply use any American Express card in the authentication phase because the American Express Costco TrueEarnings card is just an AMEX with a Costco bar code.

I’ve confirmed that this works in Maryland and others have reported success in other states (except those that require an attendant to pump your gas, like New Jersey and Oregon). Locate a Costco nearby (check to make sure it has a Gas Station) and give it a try, Costco gas is usually many cents cheaper than local competitors.

(Photo by shindohd)

{ 114 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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114 Responses to “Buy Costco Gas without Costco Membership”

  1. Mom2eight says:

    Interesting tip. The title, “blueprint for financial properity”, I would think more along the lines of saving money, earning more, but not cheating! I have been a Costco member almost since it opened. They do allow you to bring friends in to see what it is like and the prices. They even allow you to do some shopping with your friend on their card, but they expect at some point you will choose to be a member and pay your own way.

    I know of some people who decided that they shouldn’t pay their taxes. They did everything in cash and under the table. The both landed in prison. I think that if you don’t want to pay your taxes, you shouldn’t live on a street with lights, paving, sidewalks, police protection, fire protection, or anything else that our taxes pay for! If you don’t want to pay your way, find a different country to live in a find out what it’s like there!

    We need to teach our children to grow up to be productive members of society, paying their own way and helping others who are truly in need. The best way to teach values is by example. What values are you teaching your children? Or the children around you? It seems you have caught your values from your mom. See how it works?

    Cheating for your own prosperity, is chipping away at someone else’s.

  2. ziggy3339 says:

    Thank you for your comments, Mom2eight. Easier to be financially savvy than waste my brain on “cheats”. Just came from back from Costco where I purchased the Kirkland brand of several items. It’s only sold at Costco and is rated to be as good (or, in many cases better) than the leading brand of whatever it is for less. Now that’s gotten me some financially prosperity. It’s in Consumer Reports all the time . Their meats have no hormones in them (better for us) and it tastes better too. Ha. You think I’m a fan?

  3. Joe says:

    Costco doesn’t care about making money, they just love to sell Gas!

    If you don’t think they make money on gas you are just not very bright. The “lie” that gas stations don’t make much profit on gas is a myth that gas station owners have passed on and the corporate stations still perpetuate. If they didn’t make enough profit from the sales, Costco, Sams, Walmart, Kmart, etc. would not have spent hundreds of thousands to install tanks, pumps, etc. to sell gas.

  4. ziggy3339 says:

    Costco’s profits come from membership fees more than anything. Perhaps we have another nonmember in our midst? Check it out, I’m not lying. They’re much more than a gas station. We get upscale items for less , fresh groceries and other services as well.

  5. robert 240 says:

    I heard that Costco owns American Express, so maybe that’s the reason why it works? Something to think about…

  6. Amy says:

    Generally, I don’t like to call people idiots, but who ever wrote this article is, well, an idiot. I’ll explain. Every American Express card on the market today charges at least a $50 annual fee, with the exception of one. That’s right, the Costco True Earnings American Express is free with Costco Membership. This card was independently ranked last month as one of the top 5 gas rebate cards available refunding 3% to 5% depending on wheather you are a consumer or business card holder. Costco membership does cost $50 a year, but at the very least you are breaking even by using a different American Express to buy gas there. Maybe you guys should try researching a more throughly before miss leading the public.

  7. Mark says:


    So basically what you’re advocating here is that you can get a “bargain” if you’re willing to steal. That’s right folks – it boils down to petty theft, and if you do it, you’re no better than a common thief. Just because Costco is unwilling to enforce the members-only policy (for now) and doesn’t prosecute offenders doesn’t mean stealing gas is legal – or ethical.

    Pay for the affordable membership and clear your conscience. You might like actually shopping inside too.

  8. Ziggy3339 says:

    Thanks for the comment, Mark. I’m with you.
    Cheats. That word says it all.
    I get a nice check from Costco every year with my membership and another nice one from AmEx. Consistant reliable quality products, good food, gas . It’s my favorite place to shop.

  9. John Murphy says:

    Depending on where the store is located, state law may prevent the retailer from requiring a membership for the purchase of fuel. State law may also prevent them from charging different prices for fuel based on the customer’s membership status. Some states have similar regulations regarding the sale of alcoholic beverages. In addition, pharmacies are required under federal law to fill a prescription for any customer at the same price without regard to their membership status. So depending on where you live, you can buy certain items at Costco or Sam’s Club without a membership.

    Another thing to consider here is that if Costco’s price for a gallon of regular gasoline is say, 10 cents cheaper than other nearby stations, and you were buying 15 gallons of fuel, you would save only $1.50 by buying gasoline at Costco.

  10. Robert Cornwell says:

    go’s to show you how dishonest our society is from the top all the way down. God Help Us!

  11. smark says:

    In the West, most Arco stations have similar discounts for anyone willing to pay cash. Plus you don’t have to wait in line for 20 minutes to get to a pump. For me, 20 minutes is worth a lot more than saving $2.

  12. Frankie Soxx says:

    Amy, in her post dated 10/13/2008, makes a very good point. The Costco True Earnings American Express Card has no annual fee, but you have to be a Costco member to get it, and a Costco membership will cost you $50. Any other card from AMEX will carry an annual fee of $50 or more.

    While the argument put forth about stealing may have merit, the point is for the most part rendered moot because your not going to get around that $50 fee one way or the other. The only people who might be able to benefit from this trick are those who already have an AMEX card for other reasons, and don’t want to buy a Costco membership.

    Considering the fact that there are very few people who actually live near a Costco with gas pumps, and fewer still who would bother to even drive into a Costco parking lot without a membership card, this whole argument about stealing seems kind of silly.

  13. Ziggy3339 says:

    Thanks for the comment, F. Soxx. Part of the economic problem (along with greed) is that deceipt has become acceptable in society.

  14. In NYC says:

    Amy, the Amex BLue card doesn’t have an annual fee and there are other free cards as well.

  15. angela sorrentino says:

    I’ve read about this trick before. If non-members can get away with using any AMEX card at Costco gas pump, then I have to wonder does using any Discover card at a Sam’s Club gas pump allow non-members to buy Sam’s gasoline without a membership?

  16. Justin says:

    Well, hes right. U can use any Ame to purchase gas at costco, i did it everytimes. However, today i just got caught. The attendant saw wut i was doing and he asked me for the Costco Membership Card. lol, i lied to him that i forgot it at home. Then he called 2 more people with him, while they were discussing, i tried to get into the car and drove away. My American Epress has no Anual Fee. I don’t feel good by the way they think im a cheater but thats ok. I’m gonna borrow my momther’s costco card to purchase gas over there.

  17. Brandon says:

    Amy, YOU are the retard! I have an AMEX with no annual fee. Do your homework before making a fool of yourself!

  18. ziggy3339 says:

    FYI: Using another person’s Costco card can get the other person’s membership taken away if caught. The membership isn’t “transferable”. Besides, this is about financial prosperity, not financial deceipt. I’m surprised anyone would think this is smart. I wouldn’t lend my membership card out, my credit cards, my driver’s license, passport, etc. Some things apparently aren’t obvious to others here.

  19. Mark says:

    I agree Ziggy, this article would’ve never been published on a legitimate financial advice website. “Blueprint for Financial Prosperity” made an extremely poor judgement call in choosing to publish this ‘cheat’, but I think it warrants saying that historically many a fortune has been made illicitly. It is unfortunate that certain people can’t understand the value proposition of membership with Costco, and instead seek a small gain through attempts to beat the system. Nobody that I know, nor with whom I associate thinks this idea is right. Rather this seems to appeal to those whose morals and good sense have been blunted by a need to succeed at any cost. Our neighbors, our coworkers and our kids deserve a better example!

    I think it’s time that this article was retracted and tossed.

    Best wishes!

  20. Jon says:

    Maybe Jim should just call it Blueprint for Moralist Grandstanding? Would that make you guys happy?

  21. Mark says:

    Sorry if you’re offended Jon. I agree that the point has been made and re-made several times (enough is enough for me!)


  22. Jon says:

    It’s cool Mark, I just thought it was getting a little harsh on Jim. Peace 🙂

  23. ron says:

    Reminds me of the convienence store thief who robs a store in the middle of the night only to be caught because he is wearing those shoes with the red flashign lights on them.
    Cheat Costco while leaving a very easy trail to follow. Not the smartest cookie in the cookie jar.

  24. rick says:

    An honest approach for those opposed to paying a membership fee would be to go inside the warehouse and purchase a gift card. You don’t need to be a member to buy a gift card and the card can be used at the gas pumps. It’s inconvenient, but honest. PS- Once you’re inside you might change your mind about not joining Costco!

  25. ziggy3339 says:

    Good point, Rick. At our Costco you have to be a member to purchase a cash card. On the other hand, a member can GIVE a cash card to a non member for purchases. Can’t go over the amount but it would work and also be honest. Thanks.

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