Costco vs. BJ’s: Which One to Choose?

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It is not surprising that BJ’s and Costco are two of the most popular warehouse retailers in the United States. They use a membership model in which shoppers gain access to wholesale discounts by paying a membership fee up front.

There is a long debate on Costco vs. BJ’s. Both stores offer groceries, clothing, and furniture, as well as pharmacies. They also have photo services departments, food courts, and eye and ear examination sections. If you’re wondering which one is better, read ahead to find out more about both wholesale stores in terms of the membership fee, location, customer service, offerings, etc.

Membership Fees of Costco and BJ’s

Costco has a yearly membership of $60. The executive version of the membership, which includes additional perks, costs around $120. On the other hand, BJ’s has a yearly membership of $55 and $110 for the Perk Rewards Membership.

Cash back on orders appears to be the primary benefit of more expensive memberships, but Costco’s executive plan offers additional perks, such as access to all Costco stores globally. Overall, BJ’s memberships are about the same as Costco’s, although memberships at BJ’s cost a little less.

Anyone can enter BJ’s to look at prices, but only BJ’s members can go through check out. Alternatively, you must already have a Costco membership or obtain one at the entrance to go into Costco to buy groceries.

Location of Costco and BJ’s

For some customers, location is the most crucial factor when deciding which store to choose, and unlike fees or products, BJ’s and Costco locations differ significantly. There are 770 Costco stores in the United States and international locations in Canada, Mexico, Iceland, Japan, and Australia, amongst a few. On the other hand, BJ’s has 216 stores nationwide.

Services of Costco and BJ’s

BJ’s and Costco both provide all the services and bargains that you would expect at a discount store. Both offer everything from furniture to eye exams at a discount. While both offer fast food options in-store, BJ’s appears to have fewer options in its food court. You can also avail yourself of vacation and travel deals at any of the stores. This is why many frequent travelers often prefer to shop from either of the two stores.

BJ’s has the best coupon deals. They accept both the company’s coupons and manufacturer coupons as well. However, Costco doesn’t accept any manufacturer coupons. Hence, if you’re someone who loves to save, BJ’s will be your best bet.

BJ’s and Costco Products

To maintain low prices at BJ’s and Costco, these stores negotiate with manufacturers and brands for the right to sell their products. Although they sell similar products, both stores don’t have the same inventory.

Organic products are among the best products at Costco, so if you’re shopping for organic products on your shopping list, you may want to consider Costco instead of BJ’s. They have a wide range of organic products including high-quality meat products, and provide better customer service as well.

Hence, even if you’re paying a bit higher at Costco, it might be worth the extra bucks. While BJ’s continues to offer an expanding line of organic products, many consumers still complain at the lack of variety and prefer Costco.

BJ’s and Costco Timings

There are no set hours for BJ’s or Costco locations across the country, though BJ’s stores generally close later than Costco. Brooklyn’s BJ’s has the timing of 9 a.m-11 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 9 a.m-9 p.m. on Sunday.

On the other hand, Brooklyn Costco is only open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday, it closes at 7 p.m. and 6 p.m. Before you go to a nearby store, don’t forget to check the timings. However, if you love to shop late at night, go for BJ’s.

Shopping Experience of BJ’s and Costco

BJ’s stores are less crowded than Costco, so if you dislike crowds, BJ’s might be your best bet. BJ’s also has a self-checkout option, making shopping easier. BJ’s is also seen to be more organized than Costco, with aisle labels and a general flow throughout the store.

If you’re looking for a great bargain, you may also want to look into the food options at BJ’s vs. Costco. Costco is known for its inexpensive food court with hot dogs, churros, and soda that cost only $1 or less. However, BJ’s offers food brands such as Dunkin Donuts and other international food franchises instead of local eateries at their kiosks.

Return Policy of BJ’s and Costco

If returns are important to you, you should choose Costco. Unlike BJ’s, Costco allows returns on electronics and major appliances up to one year after purchase. Consumer electronics and major appliances are the only exceptions, as they can be returned with a receipt within 90 days.

Benefits of BJ’s and Costco

There are some similarities between the two stores; both offer discounted products and in-house dining options, though BJ’s provides fewer options. However, one of the areas of difference is in the perks they provide to their customers.

BJ’s offers some benefits that Costco does not. BJ’s Perks allows you to access a 75-page coupon book with additional discounts if you shop at the store. Costco doesn’t have a service such as that.

BJ’s vs. Costco: Which One Is Better?

Below is a summary of our findings to help you decide which wholesale club is best for you. Keep in mind that if one store is closer to your house, this can also play a role.

Why Choose BJ’s?

  • Low prices are important to you, especially in the case of packaged snacks, home necessities, and pet supplies.
  • You want to save money and compromise on the quality of the products.

Why Choose Costco?

  • You buy fresh grocery items and baby products frequently.
  • You’re looking for a variety of electronics, appliances, and furniture.
  • You give preference to the quality of the products rather than the price.
  • You want to buy fresh and authentic organic products.

Bottom Line

Many loyal customers at Costco and BJ’s wouldn’t even consider shopping elsewhere. Both would say that their store of choice is better than the other, but in reality, both are very similar and offer almost identical services.

Depending on the location, pricing, product quality, and membership perks, you can decide whether to go with Costco or BJ’s. Choose the one that is easily accessible and allows you to save money.


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