Save Big on Gift Cards at Costco

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One of the mysteries of the universe that I have never truly understood was the intense devotion that some (many?) have to Costco and even the Costco co-branded credit card. I mean, I’ve been to Costco, I’m fine with Costco, but I’ve never been one of the oh-my-god-yes-pull-over-there’s-a-Costco folks. However, right now we are shopping for a (shockingly expensive) new swing set/play area thing and many people recommended checking with Costco after we suffered from sticker shock at Rainbow, so we made a detour into our local Costco yesterday to see what they had to offer.

On the hunt for a new play structure

While I didn’t really see any play structures deals to speak of at Costco, in between scarfing down samples of mixed berry smoothies, organic soup, and losing half of my family for quite a long time in the massive and busy store, I took a look around their gift card section and can at least understand why folks would love that part of the store.

It’s no surprise that Costco has some third-party retailer gift cards available at a discount for Costco members, but this isn’t just a little discount, in some cases there are major discounts on gift cards available both in-store and online. Let’s start with the one that I purchased, two $75 Blue Apron gift cards that have a face value of $150.

We use Blue Apron for a box of delivered indgredients and recipes ready to cook into good meals at least once a month, and the cost normally just gets charged to my credit card they have on file, so historically I have indeed paid $150 for $150 worth of Blue Apron (outside of the first discounted order – I have a few free first delivery invites to send out if you want one). However, at Costco, we paid $89.99 for $150 worth of Blue Apron gift cards, which means we enjoy about a 40% savings on future Blue Apron meals!

That’s the only gift card we added to our already quite expensive Costco cart yesterday, but there were others that caught my attention.

  • $100 in gift cards to Build-a-Bear for $69.99
  • $200 iTunes and App Stores gift card for $164.99
  • $150 in gift cards to iFly for $89.99
  • $100 in gift cards to Buca di Beppo for $69.99
  • $100 gift card to Mattel for $69.99

While we aren’t regular visitors to iFly, we did take C for her 7th birthday last year, and it was a fun way to celebrate her special day.

From memory I think we spent close to $150 to have her and me take a few flights, so dropping that price to about $90 with discounted gift cards would have obviously a better deal and something to keep in mind if we go again in the future.

Naturally, if you have the Costco co-branded Visa then you can also get 2% back by paying for these Costco purchases with that card. Does you family shop Costco for discounted gift cards?


Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. From one Houstonian to another,
    Don’t buy a new play set. Buy a used Tree Frog ($~3.5k new) for $500 or so on a Facebook group. I’ll send you a contact who works for them who will move it, sand and paint it for $600. I have spent $1,100 total and it looks brand new.

    • I spent some time poking around Craigslist and looked at their scratch and dent models but would love your contact. I think we have decided to hold off another Christmas on the Tree Frog, but it is probably still more a matter of when than if. Thanks!

    • It has been amusing to me that the Costco Card is relatively weak at Costco. Same with Uber card for Uber. So strange, though I know lots of folks do use their Costco card there.

      • It is good in terms for cash-back purposes at Costco (since Costco is rarely any card’s bonus category) so if one isn’t in the points/miles game, it is probably equal to the best return shoppers will get (without needing any other specific accounts). Also, they give 4% back on gas I believe and 3% back on travel and dining out. So they have any of the usual double-cashback cards beat. I personally don’t use it but my wife does and as someone who doesn’t want to keep switching cards to maximize returns (based on quarters or bonus categories) and doesn’t care about the points/miles game this is probably the best overall card for her.

      • I turned mine back in. Who wants store credit in February for a whole year’s worth of shopping? True, you can also get cash, at the store. I;d rather have miles.

      • If you aren’t in the points/miles game, what would be the logical card to use at Costco? Even if you are in the points/miles game…without Costco being in a bonus category, wouldn’t the only card with points return valuation that would get you above 2% be the United Card? Because you get the 1.5 miles per dollar spent multiplied by the hypothetical 1.5 cents per mile value?

        • I guess I forgot about FU combined with CSR travel portal for non-hypothetical value. But of course that would require one to have CSR, so not exactly the same as getting the card with no additional fees like the Citi Costco Card.

  2. 4% back on ALL gas purchases(not just Costco gas) ain’t to be sneezed at, in my opinion. Of course, I’m in California, which is a high priced gas state, so maybe that makes a difference.

    • For sure – just always amusing it isn’t stronger at Costco. Just like the Uber card is solid on dining at 4% but only 2% on Uber.

  3. With 2% from the Costco card and 2% with Costco Executive membership (4% total), the gift cards are a great deal. I also love the Sees Candies gift cards for holiday gifts.

    • I actually think that the gift cards are excluded from the 2% executive membership refund. I am not sure, but my understanding is the 2% executive membership refund has some restrictions and I thought the gift cards were included. Of course it could just be on Costco gift cards only.

  4. Went thru my wallet full of CCs and in-store, seems like the Freedom Unlimited is the best to use (unless there’s a gift card angle or bonus category for wholesale clubs). Am I correct? And you look ravishing in that red jumpsuit, my dear!

  5. Make sure your blue apron cards rang up correctly – mine rang up without the additional $20 discount today and I had to go to CS to get an adjustment. This has never happened to me before at Costco.

  6. One of the unadvertised bonuses of a Costco membership are the occasional discount coupons you can apply to a certain threshold of spend at Right now, calling or online chatting with customer service can get you a coupon for $25 off $250 in spend at I used mine for discounted iTunes gift cards—$300 of gift card value for $225! (McCormick and Schmick/Landry’s and Google Play gift cards are also super values.)

    Two of the main reasons so many of us are so loyal to Costco are their extremely reasonable return policies and the fact that they pay their employees a fair living wage. With the political environment having gone resolutely rojo, the corporate landscape has become an unlikely haven for people of blue thought; look for people to continue voting with their pocketbooks at places like Costco.

    • Nice! I have seen something about the additional coupon on Slickdeals so is on my list of things to try. Happy to hear about the living wage for employees.

  7. One of the reasons I love Costco is because pretty much everything Kirkland brand is amazing, high quality, and cheap. Things that come to mind toilet paper, paper towels, vodka and other alcohol, bacon, salmon, clothing (I have every color of a particular Kirkland gym jacket). And their prepared foods are amazing too, examples are whole roast chickens, pizza, pumpkin pie, and muffins. They really care about the products they carry and it shows. I now automatically think that if it’s from Costco it must be good!

  8. I’d love an invitation to try Blue Apron if you haven’t already given them out. (I especially love Costco for the return policy.)

  9. Best rental car prices I’ve been able to find is through Costco! I also love the gift card deals especially Spa Finder and local restaurants.

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