Costco Instacart (How It Works, Do You Need a Membership, Charges, Higher Prices + More)

Whether you need a sheet cake the size of Alaska, enough peanut butter to last until the end days or a pair of Ugg boots for a knock-down price, Costco has your back.

And while most people relish a visit to the warehouse retailer (hello, free samples! Hello, food court hot dogs!), others need what Costco has – but at a more convenient pace.

Is Costco Instacart a thing? Can you get what you need from Costco with the convenience of Instacart’s delivery and pick-up service? Here’s your answer.

Is Costco On Instacart In 2022?

Costco has maintained a storefront on grocery delivery service app Instacart since 2016, as a mostly delivery-only retailer. Despite being membership based, any customer can shop Costco on Instacart, though non-members do so at a sharp upcharge from in-store prices, and the base delivery fee is higher than some others.

There is a lot to cover with Costco Instacart, so let’s examine how the partnership works, if having a membership is more beneficial, where you can pick up your Costco orders and so much more. Keep reading!

How Does Costco Instacart Work?

Costco Instacart is a simple and convenient service that anyone with access to Instacart and a nearby Costco can use.

At the moment Costco on Instacart is only available for delivery in the vast majority of markets (all except one city; more on that further down).

But Costco Instacart is available through all 500+ warehouses in the U.S., so no wondering if your store is participating!

The Basics

Before you place an order with Costco Instacart, you should know a few key things.

You can get your order in as little as one hour (it’s cheaper if you’re flexible or opt for a two-hour delivery window), but you can also schedule it ahead of time.

You must meet a $35 order total before being eligible for delivery; basically, it’s not worth the shoppers’ time if all you’re buying is one big bag of pistachios.

You can order both alcohol (if your state permits) and drug prescriptions, but you must be home to receive them and show your ID.

Finally, you can check for delivery hours if you click on the Costco storefront where it says “View pricing policy.”

This will open up a window where you can scroll down to see your warehouse’s hours of operation with Instacart.

Note that some stores may close earlier on the weekends.

Ordering Without A Membership

You do not need a membership at Costco to shop the retailer via their Instacart storefront, but it does provide many benefits, most of them financial in nature.

And that is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind if you’re shopping Costco Instacart as a non-member: It is very likely going to be expensive.

That’s because Costco members get free delivery and no service fees, plus in-store warehouse pricing.

Non-members are stuck paying a $5.99 delivery fee (which is already more expensive than the standard $3.99), a $5 service fee and pay 15 percent more for their items.

If your household shops at Costco fairly regularly, it could be worth getting the $60 Gold membership. If you’re up for a splurge, go for the $120 Executive.

If you’re worried about your shopper being able to get into Costco because you don’t have a membership – never fear.

Part of the fees non-members pay help cover shopper accessibility into the stores. And members’ information is used to get their shoppers into the store.

(Shoppers also show their Instacart IDs to gain admittance.)

There is one way non-members can lower than Costco Instacart total. Instacart has its own membership-based program called Instacart Express.

Express members get free unlimited delivery (on orders over $35), discounted service fees and sometimes other bonuses or discounts.

Express memberships cost either $10 monthly or $99 annually; monthly members can quit at any time, and sign up again whenever they want.

Costco Instacart Selection

If you are familiar with Costco’s inventory, you know they sell everything under the sun, from groceries, to electronics, to furniture, to apparel.

Unfortunately, having customers purchase a couch for delivery, when the shopper could have a VW Beetle, is not an option.

You’ll find a scaled-down selection on Costco Instacart that focuses on groceries, but also includes:

  • Personal hygiene and health
  • Bed and bath
  • Cleaning and laundry
  • Small appliances (think coffee makers, blenders, microwaves, etc.)
  • Costco’s infamous Kirkland Signature batteries
  • Some electronics
  • Toys
  • Homegoods
  • Lawn and garden accessories
  • Sporting equipment

Do You Need A Membership With Costco Instacart?

You do not need a Costco membership to shop the store on Instacart!

Rather than fork over the $60 for a gold membership, Costco has slightly higher-than-normal delivery fees ($5.99 vs. $3.99), a $5 service fee and a 15 percent mark-up on goods.

Not only does this cover your lack of membership, it covers the shoppers’ lack of membership, too.

Customers who are Costco members, though, actually get to use Instacart for free. No delivery fee, no service fee and no price mark-ups.

To add your membership number, you can click on “Save with Costco Membership” on the Costco Instacart storefront.

You simply add your number and voilà – all those members-only benefits are yours.

Even better, these Instacart purchases then go toward Executive members’ two percent annual cashback.

Does Instacart Charge Higher Prices For Costco?

Does Instacart Charge Higher Prices For Costco?

If you are not a Costco member, then warehouse-only pricing will not apply to you, and Instacart will charge higher prices.

Like other retailers who opt to upcharge on Instacart, non-members can expect to pay 15 percent more per item at Costco.

Can You Pickup Costco Instacart Order?

Costco pick-up through Instacart is not widely available yet.

As of early 2021, Costco had rolled out pick-up through Instacart in just three warehouses in New Mexico.

Initially, Costco’s CFO Richard Galanti said it was “going well,” and that it had “surpassed our expectations.”

But later that year, in July, Eat This, Not That reported that momentum hadn’t really led anywhere.

“The utilization has not set the world on fire in terms of where it’s trending,” he said.

This is in conjunction with a memo, albeit unconfirmed, that appeared on (where else?) Reddit, which outlined the end of pick-up operations at the chain.

Can You Buy Alcohol With Costco Instacart?

You absolutely can get your alcohol delivered with (or as, we don’t judge) your Costco order – if you live in one of these 11 states:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Washington, D.C.

Instacart has its own overarching rules for alcohol delivery.

First, when you check out, if your order contains alcohol, you will be prompted to enter your date of birth.

Mind you don’t make any typos, because it has to match with your ID.

You will also have to be present to receive the order – no leaving it on the porch and the shopper walks away.

You must be there to show your valid (not expired) government-issued ID.

The shopper will likely scan it for authenticity and to prove due diligence on their part.

(Instacart takes its alcohol delivery rules very seriously; shoppers caught in violation can expect their accounts terminated.)

If you are not present or you cannot show valid ID, the shopper cannot complete the delivery.

So before you order your Costco booze: make sure you will be home and you have proof that you are of age!

Another thing I have noticed is that not all locations offer the full selection of Costco alcohol on their Instacart storefronts.

For example, in Ohio, you cannot purchase their hard liquor (sorry, red label vodka fans) on Instacart, but you do have access to their beer and wine.

However, in California, you can shop their selection of spirits.

I’m not sure why the discrepancy from state to state, but it’s something to be aware of and to check on Instacart before getting your hopes up about delivery.

Does Costco Instacart Accept EBT?

Unfortunately, Costco is not one of the retailers at this time that accepts EBT SNAP as a form of payment on Instacart.

Indeed, EBT SNAP payments are limited in scope currently on Instacart, as individual state governments update their technology to include and expand access to online payment.

For a complete list of retailers that do access EBT SNAP on Instacart, you can visit this page here.

Note that not every retailer accepts EBT SNAP in every state where it maintains locations, but Aldi and Publix are the most widely available.

Can You Get Prescriptions Delivered With Costco Instacart?

As of May 2020, Instacart is authorized nationwide to deliver prescriptions filled through Costco, making it one of the few partnerships the grocery app currently has.

The company started with a pilot program in just seven states and Washington, D.C., before eventually expanding to 42 states and over 500 different Costco locations.

Per Instacart’s press release about the expansion, customer start by getting their prescriptions filled through Costco as per usual.

They can be called in by the doctor’s office, brought in in-person or even ordered online through Costco’s website.

Then, when the prescription is ready customers will receive a text message, and in that message will be a link for delivery if they so choose.

If customers don’t already have one they will have to create an Instacart account, but it’s fast, easy and free to do.

Customers have the option to add other items to their Instacart order, or receive only the prescription(s).

If customers choose to add grocery items, a total of $35 or more activates free prescription delivery (otherwise it’s $7.99).

Finally, prescriptions can only be left with the purchaser, who must be 18 years of age or older.

So when you’re scheduling your order, it’s important to do so for a time when you know you will be home.

Otherwise, the prescription will have to go back to Costco.

If you want to know more, you can also read our posts on Sam’s Club Instacart, Walmart Instacart, and Walgreens Instacart.

Conclusion

Costco Instacart makes this warehouse-style, members-only retailer available to everyone, albeit at a higher price than members will pay.

Still, bulk shopping is designed to help customers save, even at this higher price point for non-members. And the savings of your oh-so-valuable time? Priceless.

With its wide selection of alcohol, plus uber-convenient prescription delivery, Costco might be worth an Instacart account just on its own.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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