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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)

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114 Responses to “Buy Costco Gas without Costco Membership”

  1. qballs4 says:

    True Character ..is NOT shown when someone is watching……it is your actions when NO one is watching.

    Everyone needs to decide for themselves who they wish to be.

    Personally as a Costco member, I find it ridiculous that you people have the time to think up and pursue these things. Go to gaswatch.com or gas prices.com and find cheap gas …legally.

    • Robert says:

      I have the executive membership, and at the end of the year I get a 3% return on my purchases.
      This 3% allows me a free membership, plus a little spending cash. It’s worth the $100 membership… But I do believe in the freedom of choice, plus Costco isn’t always the best place to buy all that you need. Some items are more expensive than other stores. One request for Costco is to have a CAR WASH at EVERY STORE!!!

  2. canick says:

    costco is one of the best companies in the US. they treat their workers well (good pay, health, etc.), they treat their customers well, and the CEO only makes a fraction of the CEOs of let’s say walmart. they do research and sell high quality items at great prices. Costco is a great business model to follow. The $50 membership is nothing compared to the savings. taking something when you’re not allowed to is stealing. even if companies make a huge profit, it’s still stealing…so basically, stealing is stealing. playing yourself off as a victim doesn’t make a difference.

    • bsbs says:

      Costco is NOT even close to one of the best companies in the US. It rips people off, destroys local business and sends all its profits to China….get your head out of you ass and do a little research. Obviously you have never been in business for yourself. All the so called savings you get come at a price to your local community…..go talk to your local family owned businesses and see if they have an opinion that may be different than yours

      • kcshawman says:

        Well another non-information poster. Some Chinese products are sold in Costco other then that it is a USA company. I took the advice and did some research. Someone needs to practice what they preach. The only problem I have with Costco is I spend too much and they only check the gas prices within a mile or so of the the store and the gas stations near Costco have thier prices jacked up to mess with Costco and so I can sometimes get gas cheaper somewhere else.

  3. Zig says:

    Just went to Costco yesterday. Gassed up my car, purchased some super fresh food (the produce seems fresher than any grocery store here) and started holiday shopping. There were lines but the cashiers are a little quicker so the lines moved along pretty fast. I love the savings, the service and the quality of their merchandise. Used my Costco Amex card (free to all members) so I’m getting money back from American Express on the gas (3%) and on everything else as well. Also, getting money back from my executive membership there (2% on most other purchases). ‘Tis the season to be savvy!

  4. Suzy says:

    Once you lose your integrity it is hard to get back. Taking Costco gas when you are not a member is part of your integrity and reflects what you think of yourself. I agree with the other reviewer that the company is fair, treats their employees and customers well. Shame, shame on you and you even published it online!!

  5. Destiney says:

    You could call it a good deal, I’ll call it theft.
    Being a member of Costco, choosing to PAY for my membership, I have no need to steal gas from them.

    Many people cannot afford the $50 a year for membership…. I say if you can’t pony up the cash for the card, shop at the dollar store and invest in a bicycle.

    I wonder how many of you would feel the same way if I happened to “find” a way to break into your home unnoticed and take your milk, eggs, or formula you were planning on feeding your baby… wrong?

    Dont steal, its beneath most of you anyways.

  6. NumberOneJewel says:

    I’ve been putting loose change in a jar for a few months. I’m heading off now to purchase a Costco membership. They are convenient to my home and job. They take care of their employees (so I have heard via the media). And yes I used the store a few times with a friend who has been a loyal member for at least a decade. I could almost but still not try to pull a fast one on a place that had a terrible reputation for poor quality, service, and bad treatment of employees. However, in those case I don’t shop there and if I run across those employees I try to help them with “other career” options. Costco has a good reputation. Based on the replies here that’s not just in my neighborhood. So I’m taking my “leftover” spare change as a single parent on a tight budget and getting a legitimate membership.

    I like making my purchases the old fashion way…by paying my way. I sleep very well at night.
    Thank you

  7. Zig says:

    You ARE a jewel (and setting a good example) for others. Honestly.

  8. Mikeg says:

    Dishonest? Maybe… Stealing? Now that’s a little bit over the top. Costco may sell gasoline to the members at a tighter profit margin than some other gas stations, but I don’t think they’re selling it at a loss. The gasoline prices at the Costco near me are sometimes HIGHER than those at other nearby private-label stations like the Wawa (convenience store) and the Walmart Supercenter. In fact, there is a name-brand Shell station directly across the street from Costco that is sometimes only a penny or two higher for regular unleaded.

    As far as using any AMEX card to bypass the members-only rule on Costco gas pumps, anyone can buy an AMEX pre-paid gift card at the local grocery store with a value as low as $25. You could then use up most of the value of the gift card, leaving less than $1 on the card so that it remains valid, and then use the gift card in place of the Costco member card at the gas pump.

    However this seems to be much ado about nothing. If Costco’s price for a gallon of regular unleaded is 5 cents cheaper than the Shell station across the street, then that means I would save $1 on a fill-up of 20 gallons of gasoline. All that to save a $1? Who cares?

  9. kai says:

    this no longer works.
    they updated the system to deny amex cards.
    effective 4/09 for stations in San Jose CA

  10. jon says:

    Boy what cheapskates….U guys go through all that trouble to save a few cents. I’m an executive member and received almost $400 cash back (American Express and Costco combined) last year. Become a member …its worth it.

  11. Zig says:

    “Dishonest? Maybe… Stealing? Now that’s a little bit over the top. ”
    I don’t know why you are questioning the honesty of taking gas from a place that’s clearly for members only (who PAY for their membership). Over the top? Please. Sounds like someone cares enough to type type type with little factual knowledge and nothing more than a “scheming” mindset to rip off (and get away with it) whatever’s possible. Sadly, not proud, that some people actually don’t know the difference.

  12. Mikeg says:

    Zig:

    First of all, I am a member of Costco. In fact I have 2 membership cards, one for a commercial account (I work at a country club) and a Costco AMEX for a personal account I have with my wife. So I when I’m buying gas there I’m not stealing. I’m also not stealing when I buy gas at Sam’s because I’m a member there too.

    Out of curiosity I tested the “any AMEX card theory” with a nearly-depleted AMEX gift card that had been in my wallet for months. The gift card did if fact “unlock” the pump and I filled my tank. Having tested the theory once, I got rid of the gift card.

    All of that said, I still don’t believe that Costco is actually loosing money on gasoline. And I still don’t see why anyone would go to that much trouble to save less than $1 on a tank of gasoline. I think your just a little to concerned about being a member of the “special Costco club” and your angry that some heathens might buy some of your special gasoline. Get a life.

  13. Mikeg says:

    Zig:

    First of all, I am a member of Costco. In fact I have 2 membership cards, one for a commercial account (I work at a country club) and a Costco AMEX for a personal account I have with my wife. So I when I’m buying gas there I’m not stealing. I’m also not stealing when I buy gas at Sam’s because I’m a member there too.

    Out of curiosity I tested the “any AMEX card theory” with a nearly-depleted AMEX gift card that had been in my wallet for months. The gift card did if fact “unlock” the pump and I filled my tank. Having tested the theory once, I got rid of the gift card.

    All of that said, I still don’t believe that Costco is actually loosing money on gasoline. And I still don’t see why anyone would go to that much trouble to save less than $1 on a tank of gas. I think your just a little to concerned about being a member of the “special Costco club” and your angry that some heathens might buy some of your special gasoline. Get a life.

  14. Zig says:

    Not angry, but thanks for the concern for my life. Perhaps you missed the point. Ethics. Members pay to have privileges to make purchases at Costco. Non members are not supposed to shop there. That’s the deal. Simple really. Doesn’t matter (really) the extent of profits, just isn’t ethical to try to cheat others. They’ve saved me a ton of money, have quality merchandise and I enjoy many benefits.

    • WIll says:

      Ethics? Where do you find ethics in 21 century USA? Congress ? Wall Street? White House?
      You must be from another planet!

  15. Sluggo says:

    All you guys are a bunch of tea bagging pipers! JIM WANG probably voted for OBAMA, so he expects someone else to pay for his gas! And why does Ziggy have an “Executive” Membership? I don’t ever see the regular member price for items in the store, and the “Executive” member price posted below. I hear Costco makes all it’s money on dopes paying for “Executive” memberships! Oh wait, I did see the special parking spaces for the “Executive” members. They are marked with the light blue square and are close to the store’s entrance. Stay with the regular membership. It’s like joining a gym. They hope you visit just a few times. I drive 100 miles to my costco, just for the white gym socks, and the gallon of peanut butter.

  16. Thelord says:

    It’s not worth it, Jim. What goeth around cometh around. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s better to squander your money than your integrity.
    In some communities you can pick up vegetables or firewood at a roadside stand after hours and leave the money on the table for what you take. Why don’t people just take what they want including the money that’s there? Think about it – that’s the easy way to learn. It’s nice to be able to go around and feel open and free. You feel much more comfortable with other people. The more you take what you know isn’t yours the less you will feel that way, and the more you will feel anxious and uncomfortable with fellow humans; unless you’re a sociopath which I’m sure you’re not, and would never want to be.

    • Taro says:

      Well…I am impressed. Without me offering an opinion on the rightness or wrongness of hacking Costco’s fuel pumps, it’s nice to see so many people standing up for integrity. You are the salt of the earth at a time when American culture has slid into the moral abyss that allows people like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama to arrogantly and corruptly wield the reins of political power. November offers hope. The good people of America have awakened from their slumber. The evidence is all over this page.

  17. costcomama says:

    Policy changed March 2009. Not a member, not even the black american express card will work. Must be a current member to activate the gas pumps. And gas attendents are cutting expired membership cards at the pump, of course, after offering a whole pizza to renew. :)

  18. RS says:

    Sluggo,

    There is no 2% annual reward (rebate) with the regular membership. If one’s total purchases are high enough, the annual reward will more than pay for the higher “Executive” membership fee with money to spare.

    In other words, there is a lower “Executive” price, it’s an extra 2% off of everything in the place. Costco just makes the mistake of figuring that everyone has enough brains to figure this out on their own…

  19. Jim says:

    Actually, there is a perfectly legitimate way for non-members to buy gas at Costco. Have a member buy you a Costco Cash card, and then use that at the pump. Under Costco’s rules, you are allowed to use a Costco gift card to buy stuff (gas, or stuff inside) without a membership.

  20. LW says:

    Geez… let me see, Costco membership = $50/yr
    Executive Membership = $100/yr
    American Express (Green) Card = $95/yr

    Costco AmEx gives me 3% rebate for gas purchase….

    You must be some sort of genius to figure this out….

  21. askmrlee.com says:

    Old Costco membership cards do NOT work at the pump. I upgraded my membership from Gold Star to Executive and was issued a new card. Even though my membership number remains the same, the old card stopped working at the pump. So in case you were wondering if you could borrow someone’s old card, don’t bother.

    “Amy’s” post from 10/13 is wrong about the Costco Amex being the only no annual fee one. She is confusing probably confusing the Amex Charge (must pay full balance and usually includes Membership Rewards points) vs. Credit Cards (can revolve balance). No annual fee Amex credit cards include the Blue series (Blue Sky, Blue Cash, Blue), Clear plus the Costco.

    LW. The genius is that the other Amex charge and partner cards with annual fees have additional benefits and rewards that the Costco card does not have. Example: Amex Green Charge has a return protection program where you can return an item up to $300 within 90 days if the merchant will not accept the return. Try this on your non-Costco purchases. The $95 fee also gives you Membership Rewards points which many travelers find valuable since it can be combined with the points earned through travel.

    Try getting into an airline lounge with your Costco Amex card. Not going to happen. Also, the float on the charge cards is 30 days but all Amex credit cards are 20 days. The 10 days per month over one year equals 4 months of additional float.

  22. Anonymous says:

    You do not need a membership to buy costco gas in all states. In NJ you do not need a membership. Anyone can buy gas in NJ, so you did not find a great loop hole! You probally do not need a membership in your state.

  23. Steve says:

    Costco card gives you 3% back and pays for itself over the year….

  24. Anonymous says:

    Executive membership gives you a 2% rebate, AND if your rebate does not cover the extra $50.00 it cost to purchase the Executive membership, you will still get refunded that $50.00, so really, what do you have to lose??? I save about $65.00 a year on milk alone…the membership is definitely worth it to me.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I prefer to do the right thing, because i was raised by parents with good values.


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