Costco Hikes Membership Fees — Will Amazon Prime Follow Suit?

Costco customers entering a store in Issaquah, Wash., have their membership cards scanned. (GeekWire Photo / Taylor Soper)

Costco membership fees will increase for the first time in seven years, the retail giant announced Wednesday.

Customers in the U.S. and Canada will see a $5 hike for regular memberships (now $65 per year) and a $10 increase for executive memberships (now $130 per year).

Costco is the latest retailer to bump up membership fees in the face of rising costs.

Could Amazon be next?

The Seattle tech giant last raised Prime membership fees in February 2022, upping the price from $119 per year to $139 per year.

That increase was meant to help offset some of Amazon’s rising costs at the time, driven by factors including labor supply shortages, higher wages, supply chain issues, and additional shipping expense.

Amazon increased the price of Prime from $79 to $99 in 2014, then upped the price from $99/year to $119 in 2018, before the additional increase in 2022. Following the pattern of a change every four years, another bump could be expected in 2026.

But judging by recent price increases on a bevy of subscription services — from Peacock to Xbox to Spotify — it wouldn’t be a total surprise if Prime gets a pump-up in price sooner than that.

Amazon is also investing heavily in data center infrastructure to help support AI-related products and services. Increasing membership revenues could be one way to help pad the company’s bottom line.

The company in December increased its ad-free version of Amazon Prime Video by $2.99 per month. It also expanded its $9.99/month grocery delivery service earlier this year.

Amazon’s subscription services revenue, which includes Prime memberships, came in at $10.7 billion in the first quarter, up 11% from the year-ago period.

Amazon doesn’t publicly disclose the number of Prime members as part of its financial reporting, though the company has periodically announced major milestones in its global Prime membership. The last announcement came when Amazon surpassed 200 million Prime members worldwide in 2021.

Amazon Prime benefits include free shipping on Amazon purchases, Prime Video streaming movies and shows, member deals at Whole Foods Market, and other benefits.

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