PriceSmart / COSTCO

I went to PriceSmart here in Panama City yesterday. This was my first opportunity to compare the one in David to the one in Panama City. I had thought that the one in Panama City might have more items, but from what I saw, the one in David had everything that is here in Panama City. In fact I looked for a couple items I had purchased in David that the Panama City PriceSmart didn’t have. That doesn’t really mean anything since items that you want seem to disappear quickly.

On another subject, I recently went to a COSTCO store in the US, which is PriceSmart in Panama. A COSTCO / PriceSmart card may be used in any location and each recognized by the other. I did notice a tremendous difference in the items offered in the COSTCO store vs. the items here in Panama. It was my first time in a COSTCO store and it was so large, I wondered how it compares now with the SAM’s club.

It is probably a good thing that I have returned to Panama and have a smaller selection of items to choose from. My mind hates the stress of making tough decisions on what to buy.

24 thoughts on “PriceSmart / COSTCO

  1. Very interesting and difficult to understand at the same time. I go once or twice a month to Costco and when I find something I really like, I purchase as much as I can, because I KNOW I won’t find it again.

  2. Hey Don Ray,
    Welcome back to Panama. Interested to see that you were able to use your PriceSmart card at a Costco in the States (I already knew that Costco is the parent company). They must’ve changed their policies – last year my Costa Rican PriceSmart card was declined here in Panama and my Panamanian PriceSmart card couldn’t get past the door of a Costco in Vancouver… very interesting. Also agree, if you see it, want it, buy it!

  3. Well I could have been lucky and the Costco company in the US might have been prepared to accept any card. Whatever the case, they did accept my PriceSmart card.

  4. As an update, I just read on one of the Yahoo Panama Groups that a person had recently asked the David PriceSmart store if they would honor the US Costco card. They got an answer of “no”, and bought a PriceSmart card for $21. I have no idea if it should have been honored or not. I feel sure that it is in the best interest of the Panama PriceSmart store to have a new card purchased. And for $21 it is not that big of a deal.

    I do know that the US Costco in Texas took my Panama PriceSmart card with no reservations. Again, I doubt if the US Costco is in need of a membership fee as much as the Panama PriceSmart store might be.

  5. A smaller selection at Price Smart in David will probably be a good thing for me when we visit. I live in Washington State, and shop often at the Burlington store. I can walk in with a list of 3-4 items, and walk out with a full cart that cost me $300. Yes, even here, if you see it, and want it, buy it now because it may be the only time its there.

    My husband and I will be visiting in October in hopes of finding property. I have another 5 years before I can retire, but we are both ready for a simpler life, and more than 2 months of nice weather vs 10 months of cold gray rain. We were in Panama last March for two weeks, and loved it! It was the first time we have been away from home for two weeks and did not want to come back.

  6. I just came from the new Costco here in Austin, TX and they wanted $50 for the card. We will wait till be get to David to purchase one!

  7. Pricesmart and Costco are not owned by the same company, though as a PSMT shareholder I would not mind seeing Costco make an offer to take it over.

    Since they are not part of the same company, it would certainly make no sense for them to accept one-anothers cards where they do not share fees. Of course, they could reach some agreement to do so, but I don’t believe that they have. If a store employee at Costco accepted a Pricesmart card, it is likely just that they didn’t know any better; can’t hurt to try.

  8. On the subject of inter-store acceptance of PriceSmart cards, I tripped across this in

    “Where can I use my PriceSmart membership?

    Your membership is international and you can use it in any of the eleven countries and one U.S. territory where we operate (the number of clubs in each country is in parentheses): Costa Rica (4), El Salvador (2), Guatemala (2), Honduras (2), Nicaragua (1), Panama (4), Aruba (1), Barbados (1), Dominican Republic (2), Jamaica (1), Trinidad and Tobago (2), U.S. Virgin Islands (1).”


  9. Since I’m considering moving the Central America I’ve researched the Costco versus PriceSmart thing. After all…I can’t live without my occasional Costco ‘fix’! What I did learn is that PriceSmart in Costa Rica is NOT associated with Costco. I tried to get into the one in San Jose, Costa Rica and of course my Costco Card did not work. The manager of the store was kind enough to let me in to just look around. The PriceSmart in Panama IS affilicated with Costco however and either card works in both the US and Panama. I find their websites provide good information on locations.

    Best Regards,

  10. I do not think that PriceSmart and Costco are affiliated in Panama any more and the last time I was in the US they refused to honor my card. They did honor it in 2004 but no more as far as I know and PriceSmart in David will not honor Cosco cards.

  11. I am moving to David, Panama. Will I be able to purchase the Total Gym and a sub woofer for my Bose 3-2-1 music system at PriceSmart?

  12. Does anyone know how to call PriceSmart in David? The number on their website does not seem to work.

  13. I personally could not live without pricemart.
    I tend to buy in bulk and use it over time. The only danger I have is if I have it… I use it so i tend to use more of whatever I have than if I were to buy it in bulk. Oh well, at least the option is there.

  14. I live in California and i visited a Price Smart in El Salvador in October 2011 but the prices were incredible high, double on everything…the prices were so exaggerated for example a box of kitchen pans that i paid here in CA $24.99, in El Salvador it cost $49.99 DOUBLE THE PRICE!!!

  15. I just called Costco customer service and they said they would not accept pricesmart cards

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