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Costco Affiliate Program: How It Works, Payment Details & More

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The shoppers at the bulk warehouse store Costco are loyal to the company and its brand.

A visit there gives you access to large quantities of your favorite products you cannot find elsewhere.

With locations worldwide, it’s easy to find one to check out.

Purchasing an annual membership gives you access to special in-store prices.

Costco Affiliate Program at a Glance

Because of Costco’s popularity, they have implemented a program to incentivize those with an online presence.

Individuals have the chance to market the warehouse and its products.

The Costco affiliate program offers a commission that correlates to the different memberships sold, along with other elements listed below.

  • Cost Per Action (CPA): Yes
  • Commission Rate:$3 to $6
  • Cookie Duration: Session only
  • Payment Threshold: $50 for direct deposit or $100 for check
  • Payment Options: Direct deposit, check

Does Costco Have an Affiliate Program?

As a company, Costco provides publishers with an affiliate program that is managed by a third-party network, CJ Affiliate.

This network operates many different affiliate programs for numerous large corporations.

What Is the Costco Affiliate Program?

The Costco affiliate program operates by providing a commission to those with an online presence who, in turn, market the Costco brand and products.

Members of the program can earn funds in various membership categories, with the commission percentage coming in a range of $3 to $6.

How Does the Costco Affiliate Program Work?

When you decide to partake in the program, you must fill out an application through CJ Affiliate.

Once you submit all of your information, you will have to wait for confirmation of approval.

Upon receipt of that notification, you can create custom links to products and services for inclusion in your website or social media posts.

If a visitor clicks on one of your links and makes a purchase during that session, you may receive a commission.

The amount you receive will depend on what the customer bought during their visit to the Costco website.

Is the Costco Affiliate Program Free?

If you are interested in joining the program, you can apply at no cost.

Once accepted, there are no requirements that speak to annual fees or charges for remaining in the program.

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What Products Can You Promote for the Costco Affiliate Program?

While many affiliate programs allow you to earn a commission for any products sold through your custom link, Costco isn’t one of them.

Unfortunately, you only have the ability to make a commission when customers purchase items within one specific department, which in this case is memberships.

Gold Star Memberships

You must sign up for a club membership to shop at Costco and receive the discount bulk prices.

The Gold Star option is the lowest level tier and provides one card for use in your household.

This card permits entry into the store and allows use throughout the club.

Members can purchase discounted gas, tires, travel, home services, and more through their annual fee.

Affiliates of the Costco program will receive $3 for every successful Gold Star membership sign-up.

Executive Memberships

Those who want a higher-level membership can receive that luxury by purchasing an Executive Costco membership.

While this level gives you access to the same perks that come with a Gold Star membership, the additional features also provide 2% cash back on all purchases.

For specific services that Costco offers, there is a more significant amount of cash back savings.

These savings come in the form of check printing, identity protection, and complimentary roadside assistance when a member participates in the auto insurance program.

When a publisher sells an Executive membership through their affiliate link, they earn a $6 set fee commission.

Other Things You Can Promote With This Program

Unfortunately, there are far more limitations with the Costco affiliate program than with other high-paying affiliate programs.

Therefore, the only way to earn incentives with the Costco option is through the successful sale of memberships.

What Products Are Excluded From the Costco Affiliate Program?

Due to the many restrictions for commission earning through the Costco affiliate program, many departments are subject to exclusion from the list of areas that allow commissions.

These products include:

  • Appliances
  • Clothing
  • Luggage
  • Beauty
  • Furniture
  • Home Items
  • Organizational Items
  • Tires
  • Home Decor
  • Gourmet Grocery
  • Floral
  • Kitchen Utensils
  • Sporting Goods
  • Auto Repair Services
  • Fitness
  • Computers
  • Frozen Food
  • Grocery
  • Pharmacy
  • Pets
  • Toys
  • Health
  • Toiletries
  • Books
  • Electronics
  • Jewelry
  • Patio
  • Mattresses
  • Lawn Care
  • Baby Care
  • Home Services
  • Installations
  • Gift Cards

How Much Do Costco Affiliates Make?

The amount of commission an affiliate earns will depend on the specifics of their online platform.

Those with a more significant amount of traffic will see more clicks on their affiliate links.

These clicks are more likely to produce membership sales and create a considerable amount of commission.

However, if a website or social media profile has limited traffic and a reduced audience, it is less likely that they will see a large number of clicks on their links.

The lack of prospective customers visiting through the affiliate URL makes it less likely they will earn a solid commission routinely.

Costco Affiliate Program Commission Rates

When it comes to the Costco affiliate program, there are only two commission rates involved.

Those in the program will earn $3 for each Gold Star membership sold through a shopping session that begins by clicking their custom affiliate link.

Members can also earn a $6 commission when a customer signs up for an Executive membership through the affiliate’s custom link.

How Long Does the Costco Cookie Last?

It’s common for most affiliate program cookies to last 30 days, if not more.

Unfortunately, Costco operates on a session-based cookie.

Therefore, your affiliate member information is only in the system while the customer is actively shopping and directly after clicking on the link.

If a customer enters the Costco website by clicking on your affiliate link and then leaves, you will not get credit for any purchases that occur later on if they were to re-visit the site and buy a membership.

Additionally, if an individual who is already a Costco member clicks on your affiliate link and purchases items, you will not earn a commission.

The program only provides earnings on memberships and not products.

How Do You Get Paid From Costco?

With the Costco affiliate program undergoing management through the third-party network CJ Affiliate, you are privy to their payment terms.

CJ Affiliate offers two different methods: a check or direct deposit.

The thresholds for each method vary.

When Does Costco Pay Affiliates?

Your payment date will depend on how much you have made in commissions and what payment method you choose.

All earnings from Costco are available after 30 days.

However, you can only withdraw those funds after you reach a specific threshold.

If you opt to get paid through direct deposit, you must reach $50 in commissions before seeing your money in your bank account.

Those who prefer a check payment will need to get to $100 before the company sends earnings their way.

What Marketing Materials and Promotional Tools Are Available?

Unfortunately, this area is another one where the Costco affiliate program falls short.

The support that you receive through this specific program isn’t as lucrative as what you will see through other companies.

While you will be able to create a custom affiliate link to use in your online content, you don’t have access to unique banners, graphics, or widgets.

What’s more, you don’t have the ability to link directly to the membership home page on the Costco website.

Instead, your link directs customers to the main page, where they must navigate to find the memberships.

If you are looking for a program that will help you grow in your affiliate marketing and provide insider tools to the members of their program, Costco isn’t it.

Who Should Join the Costco Affiliate Program?

There are no limitations as to who can join the Costco affiliate program.

However, particular niches will be more productive in earning a commission than others.

It’s best not to plan on making a significant amount of passive income through this program but to use it as a side option in conjunction with other affiliations.


With bloggers, especially mom bloggers, being able to touch on many subjects, finding one that can easily incorporate a need for bulk items is more feasible.

For instance, if a person writes content focusing on early childhood education for daycares and preschools, inserting a link for Costco might be beneficial.

Those organizations are more likely to buy in bulk than others.


Those who consider themselves influencers will often find themselves at various events.

Including a plug for Costco in your content may also lead others to consider membership.

This fact is especially true if you are pointing out what you have been able to purchase as a result of your personal membership card.

Small Businesses

While we referenced places like daycares and preschools above in regards to bloggers, it’s also possible to get significant traffic flow to an affiliate site through daycare and preschool small business content.

Highlighting snacks or toys children have really enjoyed from Costco may entice parents to purchase a membership so they, too, can have those items on hand for their kids.

Is the Costco Affiliate Program Worth It?

While there are some perks associated with the Costco affiliate program, not everything about it is positive.

For some, the program offers ample opportunities for commission.

Alternatively, a fair share of website owners and publishers feel differently.

Pros of the Costco Affiliate Program

Finding a company that ties into your niche can be challenging when starting out in affiliate marketing.

Here are a few benefits that come with the Costco program.

  1. Famous company: Costco has millions of members throughout its many clubs worldwide. As an affiliate, you are marketing a highly successful and sought-after company.
  2. Regular payments: Because the Costco affiliate program receives management by a third-party network (CJ Affiliate), the schedule in which you receive your commission payments is reliable.
  3. Payment options: Another perk of the program, and also due to its connection to CJ Affiliate, is that you can choose from two different payment methods when receiving your commission earnings.
  4. Payment threshold: Some affiliate programs have high threshold requirements. With the Costco plan, you are held to lower amounts.
  5. Simplistic rates: With the Costco affiliate program, you don’t need to question what commission rates you will receive. There are two amounts, $3 and $6, which directly tie to the different memberships.

Cons of the Costco Affiliate Program

As is the case with all affiliate programs, some bad always comes with the good.

In the case of the Costco program, there are more negative characteristics than positive ones.

  1. Minimal earnings: The amount that you can make through the Costco affiliate program taps out at $6 per sale. While you can sell memberships to multiple people, the most you will earn per sale is $5.
  2. Limited items: As a company, Costco sells thousands of products both in-store and online. However, none of those items are available for commission earnings.
  3. Marketing: Although many affiliate programs offer support to their publishers, Costco does not. You won’t find any banners, graphics, or widgets to use in your promotional efforts.
  4. Cookies: The short duration of the Costco affiliate program is unheard of for retail plans. Publishers can only earn commission directly after prospective customers click on the affiliate link. Navigating away from the page negates the affiliation.
  5. The United States only: While the company allows individuals from other countries to join their affiliate program, only sales made in the United States are eligible for commission.

Conclusion: Is the Costco Affiliate Program Worth It?

For many website owners and those with a significant number of followers or subscribers, being an affiliate for Costco is not worth the work you have to put in to earn.

The commission rate is too low and only having two products to market makes earning nearly impossible for most people.

How To Join the Costco Affiliate Program

If you are considering applying to the Costco affiliate program through CJ Affiliate, you will be happy to learn that it’s a simple process.

With only a few select steps, you can have your information sent to the company for review and will hopefully receive notification of approval in a few days.

Requirements To Join the Costco Affiliate Program

Few details regarding the Costco program requirements are released to prospective publishers until they go through the application process.

However, at a minimum, you must have an online presence on either a website or an active social media profile.

How To Apply [Step-by-Step Tutorial]

When you decide to apply for the Costco affiliate program, you must complete a set of steps that will prepare your information to undergo review by the management company, CJ Affiliate.

  1. View application: Visit CJ Affiliate and sign up for an account.
  2. Apply: Once you have your approval notification from the network, you can apply to the Costco program. Do this by navigating to the Costco profile on the network dashboard and entering your information.
  3. Requirements: When filling out your application, it’s necessary to include a marketing plan and accept the network and company’s terms and conditions.
  4. Program approval: Once your application undergoes review and obtains approval, you will receive correspondence about the status.
  5. Marketing: With your new login and password, you can start promoting Costco memberships to your readers.

How Long Does It Take To Get Approved for the Costco Affiliate Program?

The typical wait for approval for the Costco affiliate program is a matter of days.

Most applicants will receive notification within a week.

During high application periods, you can expect a longer wait.

Does Costco Support the Affiliate Program?

As a large corporation, Costco often retains third-party companies to manage and operate the various programs they offer.

For the Costco affiliate program, the company partners with CJ Affiliate, a well-known affiliate marketing network that represents many prestigious corporations and organizations.

CJ Affiliate manages all day-to-day operations of the Costco affiliate program.

All customer service inquiries about the plan are the responsibility of the CJ Affiliate staff.

How To Make Money With the Costco Affiliate Program

If you want to give the Costco affiliate program a go and incorporate custom links for their memberships in your online content, a few strategies will help you make money over time.

Tip for Success: Post Often

While you don’t want to put your content into overdrive, you do want to find a healthy balance that has you posting new items throughout the day.

The more your information and links are put in front of your readers, the more likely you will earn regular commissions.

Tip for Success: Use Affiliate Marketing Tools

While the Costco affiliate program doesn’t offer much in the way of marketing tools for their publishers, there are outside resources available to help you elevate your content and links. Take a look at the various affiliate marketing tools available to publishers online.

Tip To Avoid Failure: Don’t Spam

A typical trap that new affiliate marketers often fall into is link stuffing. Inserting your custom link into your content multiple times in one post will often get you a mark where search engines see you as spam. Limit the number of times you include your links, and do so naturally.

​​Tip To Avoid Failure: Always Disclose

There are legal requirements that come with being an affiliate marketer. One of the most prominent obligations is that you must always inform readers that you stand to earn compensation from affiliate links. You must always include an affiliate disclosure in all content with those links.

Alternatives to the Costco Affiliate Program

If the Costco affiliate program doesn’t sound like an excellent fit for you, there are many other options to consider.

Target Affiliate Program

There are many fans of the Target enterprise, so representing the company and brand can prove lucrative in terms of affiliate marketing commissions.

As a member of the Target affiliate program, you can earn from the sale of numerous products on a sliding scale.

Lowes Affiliate Program

If your content focuses on DIY projects or home improvement resources, participating in the Lowes affiliate program may be a good fit.

Through this plan, you can earn on eligible purchases sold on the company website after customers click on your affiliate link.

Affiliate Programs for Beginners

It can be challenging for those who are just starting their affiliate marketing journey to find the perfect fit.

Not all programs are beginner friendly, but some are available that welcome those just getting their start in the industry.

Check out affiliate programs for beginners to get up and going.

Battle Tested Recommendations
Find profitable keywords and topics to scale your niche site.
Discover untapped niches & topic clusters.
Pay once, and access forever.
Powerful data-driven insights to grow your affiliate income.
Search, filter, and choose the best affiliate program and niche.
A Done-For-You Research Solution.
Find low-competition, high-traffic niches.
Quickly analyze the landscape for any niche.
Quickly filter through 15,000+ domains

Frequently Asked Questions

Finding your place in the affiliate marketing community can be stressful.

Below we answer some of the top inquiries regarding affiliate marketing and the various programs available.

How much does the Amazon affiliate program pay?

The Amazon affiliate program has commission rates that vary by department and service.

For some sales, you will earn a one-time bounty, and for others, you will gain a small percentage for the sale.

However, the amounts differ between departments.

Is Costco owned by Walmart?

Costco is not associated with Walmart.

However, its primary competitor Sams Club is owned by the founders of Walmart.

Wrapping Up

Many affiliate programs exist online to help website owners and social media influencers promote popular items on the internet.

With the various niches that content falls into, finding an appropriate program can be a challenge.

The Costco affiliate program is not one that is suitable for those looking to earn large sums of commission.

However, some with an online presence may find the program valuable.

Are you a Costco affiliate?

What has your experience been like so far?

Let us know in the comments.

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