The other day I made another trip to Costco. I realized that there are at least two ways to get discounts on Costco food court prepared food items.
Costco food courts—as a reminder or if you are unfamiliar—offer huge slices of pizza for $2 (and whole pies for $9.99), sandwiches and bakes, salads, ice cream, and more. They are perhaps most famous for their hot dog and fountain drink combo which has been priced at $1.50 as long as I remember (at least since 1990).
I will not pretend that Costco food court items positively contribute to your resolution for better health but they are outstanding bargains. Less than $1.50 for a fruit smoothie—which would cost over $4 elsewhere. That hot dog and drink combo costs less than just a drink at most other places. And much more.
Here are some Costco food hacks for future visits.
How to Get Discounts on Costco Food Court Items
First, Costco frequently mails coupon books to members. Perhaps every other coupon book has a discount coupon for whole pies from the food court. Usually $9.99, the whole pizza will cost less (perhaps $7.99 or $5) with the coupon. For a visiting group of kids or football viewing party, you can do much worse. Similar sized pizzas will cost over $15 at other local shops.
The second method is a little more tricky. I am a Costco Executive Member. Any Costco member can be an Executive member for an extra $55 a year. It does entitle you to some benefits but the most important to me is a 2% rebate on all purchases.
However, the Costco food court only accepts cash, you might say.
I discovered that I can pay for food court purchases at a register while buying warehouse items. That way I can use my credit card and can essentially get a 2% discount on food court items. After paying for the items at the register, I go to the food court and show them the receipt and get the food items.
There are now credit card machines at the Costco food court registers. Yippee!
Sure, 2% is not a tremendous discount but it is a discount.
In addition, if your American Express card offers cash back or mileage benefits, then you are inherently also getting those discounts. I try to think this way whenever I make any purchase (online or not, store or restaurant, product or service).
Costco now accepts only Visa in their stores.
Also see the McCool Travel article: