There are many wholesalers around the world, including Costco and BJ’s. The two stores are utilized through memberships but have similar and different perks that could favor a particular store. If you are trying to find the perfect wholesaler for you, check out our full comparison of Costco vs BJ’s and find the best choice for you or your family. 

Related: Costco vs. Sam’s Club: Which Wholesaler Is Best?

Costco vs BJ’s: The Bigger Picture

Costco and BJ’s, also known as “wholesale retailers,” provide bulk items for bargain prices. They each aim to provide their consumers with quality products at lower prices than many other stores. With so many options in each store, it can be hard to choose between the two. 

Both stores offer memberships, discounts, and competitive perks to each of their members. This business model attracts many prospective customers and adds to the appeal of getting a warehouse membership at an additional cost. 

The best way to compare Costco vs BJ’s is through a breakdown of their warehouses, from membership prices to store brands and even locations. That way you can see the positives and negatives of both, and make an informed decision about your perfect warehouse. 

Check Out: Is a Costco Membership Worth It?

Costco

Costco vs bjs
Credit: Deposit Photos

Membership Fees

Costco has three membership categories: Gold Star, Business, and Executive. Both the Gold Star and Business cost $60 annually, with one membership card you can use to shop in-store or online. The Executive membership costs $120 annually and carries the most perks, such as a 2% annual reward up to $1,000 when purchasing Costco products. 

Locations

Costco locations are all around the world, totaling 871 warehouses. 602 of these warehouses are in the United States. The remaining 269 are located in Canada, Mexico, Japan, the U.K., South Korea, Australia, Taiwan, China, Spain, France, Iceland, New Zealand, and Sweden. 

Credit Cards

Costco offers one credit card for members, the Costco Anywhere Visa Card. While using the store credit card you can get extra perks and rewards, which are listed below: 

  • 4% on eligible gas and EVs up to $7,000
  • 3% on all restaurants and eligible travel
  • 2% on all purchases from Costco/Costco.com
  • 1% on all other purchases

Return Policy

Costco ensures a 100% satisfaction guarantee and is known for its flexible return policy. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, you can head over to the Customer Service desk and ask for a full refund. Costco allows you to return most items regardless of when you bought them. There are a few exceptions that come with a return window of 90 days, which you can review in detail here.

Also Read: 15 Things Every First-Time Costco Shopper Should Buy

Store Brands

Kirkland Signature is Costco’s private store brand, which sells products in nearly every part of the store. These can include food items, cleaning supplies, and even baby products. Kirkland Signature prizes quality for their consumers, and often sells at a lower price than other bargain items in the warehouses. 

Gas Stations

Most Costco locations have a gas station alongside their warehouse. The prices are often quite similar to other gas stations, but you can receive savings through the Costco credit card. They produce a Kirkland Signature fuel that aims for quality and efficiency in your car. 

Tire Centers

Costco has tire centers at all of its warehouses and provides several perks to members. When you buy tires at Costco, the installation comes free. Some other perks Costco offers are rotations, inflation checks, balancing, and flat repairs. You can access the tire center on the outside of participating Costco locations. 

Food Court

Costco has food courts in each of its warehouses, where you can buy food to eat while shopping or pick up pizza for quick meals at home. They offer several options such as pizza, hot dogs, and ice cream, which are the most popular. 

In-Store Deli

Costco does not have a service deli to get fresh meats or cheeses but does have an extensive area of prepackaged deli items. These include charcuterie boards or catering-sized food to feed larger crowds. Other available items include spiral ham, chicken salad, deep dish pizza, caviar, or tamales.

Bakery

Costco has a large bakery selection including full cakes, cheesecakes, cookies, brownies, and more. They also provide fresh bread products in their bakery section. If you need a cake or dessert for a special event, you can call ahead of time and order your bakery treat.

Prepared Food Items

In addition to their grab-and-go bakery and deli, Costco has several prepared food items that you can buy. Of course, they offer the classics like rotisserie chicken and chicken soup. Additional prepared foods range from single-serving options like salads, sandwiches, or mac and cheese to full meals like chicken fettuccine, stuffed bell peppers, chili, and more. There is even a gourmet food section where you can buy seafood, beef, caviar, or meal kits for the family.

Check Out: What’s the Biggest Costco in the World?

BJ’s

Costco vs BJ's
Credit: Deposit Photos

Membership Fees

BJ’s offers two memberships: the Club Card Membership or the Club+ Card Membership. The Club Membership costs $55 a year, with the Club+ costing $110 a year. Both memberships come with BJ’s Easy Renewal, while only the Club+ comes with the added gas and reward benefits. 

Locations

There are over 210 BJ’s clubs in 17 states ranging from Maine to Florida. Most of the locations are from the midwest to the east, with the most amount of BJ’s locations in New York with 48 stores.  

Credit Cards

BJ’s offers two different credit cards through their membership program. Their BJ’s One Mastercard gives 3% back on most purchases at BJ’s, 1.5% everywhere else, and 10 cents off per gallon of BJ’s gas. A step above is BJ’s One+ Mastercard, giving 5% back on BJ’s purchases, 2% back anywhere else, and 15 cents off per gallon of BJ’s gas. 

Return Policy

BJ’s also offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee in the hopes of only selling the highest quality items to their customers. In general, the BJ’s return policy is a little stricter than Costco’s. For example, you cannot return an item that was purchased more than one year ago. Also, all accessories must be intact for the item you are returning so it still presents in new condition. Depending on the item, there are some other contingencies, which you can review here.

Store Brands

Both Wesley Farms and Berkley Jensen are BJ’s private brands, providing items from frozen food to medicine and household essentials. While Wesley Farms focuses on bringing value to the table, Berkley Jensen provides reliable household products to keep your families happy. BJ’s provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee with their products, which can be returned for a full refund if you are not satisfied with your purchase. 

Gas Stations

Select BJ’s locations include gas stations, which are open to all BJ’s members and are often a few cents cheaper than competitors. BJ’s has several ways to save money while purchasing gas at their warehouses, through both their credit cards and food items. By using a BJ’s credit card, you earn an extra 10-15 cents off per gallon or stack up your earnings by purchasing Fuel Saver items

Tire Centers

BJ’s offers a tire center at their warehouses, which are actually inside the store, usually near the automotive section. Free tire rotations and flat repairs are offered through BJ’s memberships, and there are often sales on both tires and tire installations. These can vary depending on your location. 

Food Court

Unlike Costco, BJ’s does not offer a food court within its warehouses. They do periodically have sample tables spread throughout the store, but these are only for certain items. More recently, some BJ’s locations have added Dunkin’ Donuts kiosks, but offer a limited selection. 

In-Store Deli

BJ’s offers a service deli in their warehouses where you can purchase freshly cut meats and cheeses. If you are not particular about wanting the service option, there are plenty of prepackaged deli items you can choose from, too. These include bacon, sausage, cheese, charcuterie options, deli meat, and sandwiches.

Bakery

There are plenty of delicious options to choose from in BJ’s bakery section. They replenish the bakery with fresh items every day. Options to buy include muffins, cookies, cakes, brownies, breads, and bagels. If you are looking for something special, BJ’s also offers an online service to personalize your cake that can be picked up at a later date.

Prepared Food Items

Though BJ’s does not offer as many gourmet items as Costco in its prepared food section, it still provides a great selection for on-the-go families. You can choose prepared apps, sides, finger foods, and main meals from the warehouse, creating a whole meal using BJ’s products.

Which Wholesaler Has Better Prices?

women holding wallet
Credit: Deposit Photos

For the most part, Costco tends to have better prices for both their in-house brand as well as name brands, but these differences are in cents. You may be able to save some money by shopping at Costco rather than BJ’s, but we can’t say this is true for all items. It truly depends on what you are buying and what sales are taking place in-store. Ultimately, you have to keep in mind which membership perks you’ll use to make the most of the membership costs. 

Read More: Top Household Items You Should Buy at Costco to Save Money

Who Wins? Costco vs BJ’s

There are a lot of similarities between Costco and BJ’s; Both warehouses provide competitive prices for bargain products as well as membership perks, prepared food items, and fuel and tire services. While Costco has slightly cheaper items and a more flexible return policy, BJ’s offers additional savings in their Fuel Rewards program and two tiers of store credit cards. There is no “true” winner between the two stores, rather it is up to you as the shopper to decide which perks you like best. Plus, keep in mind which stores are closer to your house, work, or neighboring towns.