Business

CrowdStrike stock price plummets amid worldwide IT outage

Yuichiro Chino/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — The stock price of cybersecurity company CrowdStrike plummeted in early trading on Friday amid a global IT outage that has affected clients worldwide.

Shares fell nearly 15% on Friday morning, dropping the price to its lowest level since May.

“The issue has been identified, isolated and a fix has been deployed,” CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz said in a post on X.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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Business

CrowdStrike outage sparks global chaos with airline, bank and other disruptions

Carol Yepes/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — IT outages have been reported across the globe as airlines, airports, banks and media companies have suddenly experienced ongoing disruptions that have upended the daily lives of potentially millions of people.

American Airlines, United and Delta have asked the FAA for global ground stop on all flights, according to an alert from the FAA on Friday morning.

However, at approximately 5 a.m. ET, American Airlines issued a statement that they were back up and running as normal.

“Earlier this morning, a technical issue with a vendor impacted multiple carriers, including American. As of 5 a.m. ET, we have been able to safely re-establish our operation. We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience,” the statement read.

The FAA is telling air traffic controllers to tell airborne pilots that airlines are currently experiencing communication issues.

“No one here knows anything, the gate agents said we all know as much as they do,” Scott Sanders told ABC News, saying his flight from SeaTac Airport in Washington was delayed for two hours on the tarmac before passengers were deplaned. “I feel awful for the employees and those that have a sick loved one they need to get to or funerals, thankfully that’s not us.”

Meanwhile, flights in the air will stay in the air, but no American, United or Delta flights have been taking off.

“We’re aware of a technical issue with CrowdStrike that is impacting multiple carriers. American is working with CrowdStrike to resolve the issue as quickly as possible and apologize to our customers for the inconvenience,” American Airlines said in a statement obtained by ABC News.

“A third party software outage is impacting computer systems worldwide, including at United,” United Airlines said in a statement on Friday morning. “While we work to restore those systems, we are holding all aircraft at their departure airports. Flights already airborne are continuing to their destinations.”

It is unclear how widespread the issue is but Melbourne Airport in Australia has also said they are “experiencing a global technology issue” which is impacting their check-in procedures.

Global IT outages have also been reported in many countries across the world including Berlin Airport in Germany, the London Stock Exchange, Google Cloud, Microsoft and Gatwick Airport in the United Kingdom.

“We’re investigating an issue impacting users ability to access various Microsoft 365 apps and services,” Microsoft said in a statement released on social media Friday morning.

Crowdstrike, the U.S. cybersecurity company, has admitted to being responsible for the error and are working to correct it.

“Crowdstrike is aware of reports of crashes on Windows 4 related to the Falcon sensor. Please monitor the status via the tech alert on our customer support portal,” says a message on the Crowdstrike technical help line on Friday morning.

ABC News’ Joe Simonetti, Zunaira Zaki and Helena Skinner contributed to this report.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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Business

Family says Norwegian will reimburse costs after getting stranded in Alaska during excursion mishap

Courtesy the Gault Family

(NEW YORK) — A cruise vacation through Alaska turned into a travel nightmare for one Oklahoma family who got stranded without their belongings after a mishap with a local excursion caused them to miss their ship’s boarding window.

The Gault family, including six young kids and a 78-year-old grandmother, are now safely back home from Ketchikan. They had disembarked from the Norwegian Encore on Friday, July 12 to see a lumberjack show that they booked through the cruise line.

“When you talk about cruise nightmares this is the definition of it,” Joshua Gault told Good Morning America of the incident.

He said when they tried to get back to the ship, the local tour operator had told them to wait for the next bus. But that bus never arrived. The family said they called the local port agent who rushed them to the ship, only to see it already pulling away from the dock with their belongings, including some of their passports.

“I was in shock, like utterly shocked,” he said, recalling thinking at the time, “Are they really doing this right now?”

The Gaults said they quickly reached out to Norwegian. His wife, Cailyn Gault, told GMA that “the people that I was speaking with were so empathetic, they were apologetic — they’re like, what do you need?”

The family said they had to cover the cost of their own food and hotel and find their own way back to Oklahoma — a journey that included sleeping on airport floors.

“It was completely overwhelming,” Cailyn Gault said.

The family said they estimate the unplanned change cost them more than $21,000 just to get home, which included nearly $9,000 in customs fees for missing a stop in Canada. They said Norwegian is working with them to make it right.

“I think we are on a right path as far as both agreeing that something bad really happened here,” Joshua Gault said.

A spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line told ABC News in an emailed statement that the company “will be reimbursing the family for all of the out-of-pocket expenses they incurred over these two days, as a result of missing the ship in Ketchikan, including meals, accommodations, etc. Reimbursements will be processed once receipts for these expenses are provided to us.”

NCL said it has “initiated the process to refund the family for the fee imposed by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, as a result of the guests not visiting a foreign port prior to returning to the U.S., as required when an itinerary originates from the U.S. in accordance with the Passenger Vessel Services Act.”

Additionally, the cruise line representative told ABC News that “these guests will be receiving a pro-rated refund for the two cruise days they missed.”

“As a gesture of goodwill, the company will also be providing each of the nine guests with a Future Cruse Credit in the form of a 20% discount of their cruise fare that can be used towards their next voyage,” the spokesperson said.

Experts say if you leave your cruise ship for an excursion, always bring a government-issued photo ID and the name and number of the port agent, who is the best person to help travelers who may run into trouble.

“The port agent is the cruise line’s representative in that port,” Stewart Chiron, founder of The Cruise Guy, said. “In this case, contacting the port agent was the best move because they would be able to contact the ship.”

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Business

Crypto is here to stay, but don’t trust its get-rich-quick persona, author says

We Are/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — Writer, entrepreneur, and influencer Nathaniel “Nat” Eliason sat down with ABC News to discuss his new book, “Crypto Confidential: Winning and Losing Millions in the New Frontier of Finance.”

Eliason needed to make money quickly, so he turned to the most promising get-rich-quick opportunity at the time, crypto. By 2022, he was deeply involved in the world of cryptocurrency.

As a self-taught programmer, Eliason’s journey was a roller-coaster of earning and losing millions of dollars, a testament to his determination and resourcefulness. His new book lays out his learning journey and is a source of inspiration for others.

Eliason talked about the good, bad, and ugly in his cryptocurrency journey.

ABC NEWS: In 2021, writer and entrepreneur Nat Eliason was unemployed with a baby on the way. He needed a quick way to make money and as much as possible, so Nat turned to the most promising get-rich-quick opportunity of the time: crypto. By 2022, Nat was deep inside the world of crypto as a self-taught programmer who earned and lost millions of dollars. He shares his journey in a new book, “Crypto Confidential: Winning and Losing Millions in the New Frontier of Finance. “

Joining us now, Nat Eliason. Thank you so much for being here tonight. We really appreciate it.

NAT: Yeah, thank you so much for having me on.

ABC NEWS: Nat, I want to get straight to it because I have a lot of questions. Your journey into the world of crypto began as a need for financial security. How did it go? Give me the good, bad and ugly as quickly as you can.

NAT: Well, it started where a lot of people’s journey started then. Trying to day trade Dogecoin on my phone after seeing Elon Musk and whoever else talking about it online and, in the span of a year, it went from moving around a couple hundred or a couple thousand dollars to looking at my, at least my paper amount of crypto that I had. And seeing that it had passed over $10 million and did not get nearly all of that, any most of it back out. But to see that kind of rise and fall in such a short time period was a pretty, pretty wild experience.

ABC NEWS: You write, “Getting rich is a long, slow, steady process. Get a job. Do your work. Get promoted. Invest in your 401 K. But what if there were a faster way?” In today’s economic climate, we all know this is all we’re talking about as we creep closer to the election. There are a lot of families struggling out there, and a lot of people that are going to be saying, like, I would like a really quick way to get rich. Did your experiences in the crypto world shape your views on the conventional path to financial success?

NAT: It definitely shaped my views on how appealing the get-rich-quick idea is, and how deceptive it can be. Something I share a lot in the book are the many ways that the game is rigged against you behind the scenes. If your goal is to try to make as much money as fast as possible, try to follow in the footsteps of people that you see on Twitter or on other social media sharing their wins. And it really gave me a lot more respect for trying to actually get good at a skill, make money slower, be more patient with it, because often when you get really quick wins, they disappear just as quickly.

ABC NEWS: So then to follow up on that, I mean, would you recommend this to the average person? I mean, you know, if I’m having a conversation with my mom this afternoon, do I need to tell her: ‘Let’s let’s talk about crypto’?

NAT: I definitely believe that crypto is going to become a larger and larger part of our financial and tech lives, but a lot of it will be in the background. It certainly won’t be a day trading Dogecoin on your phone. I think that the big ones like Bitcoin and Ethereum are going to slowly continue to become more relevant in our day-to-day lives.

ABC NEWS: And we know the first tip you’re going to give people is to read your book before starting to invest and look down these different avenues. But can you give us some more practical steps for the average people, myself included, when you’re talking about the crypto space or places like this.

NAT: I think that, on the one level, if you’re just looking at it financially, then you don’t have to overthink it, right? Bitcoin and Ethereum have kind of been the big ones. They’ve been here for the longest. And right now you can buy the Bitcoin ETF in your Vanguard account or one of your other trading accounts. And Ethereum will be able to do that soon, too. So you don’t have to overthink that side of it. But what I would encourage people to do is to look into some of the technology that’s being built, not just whatever crazy coin is going up 1,000%, because there are really cool, new tools being built like some of these stablecoins as new payment rails instead of credit cards and things like that. That could be really interesting parts of our financial life in the future.

ABC NEWS: All right. I love it. Thank you so much Nat for joining us. “Crypto Confidential: Winning and Losing Millions in the New Frontier of Finance” is now available for purchase. Check it out.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Business

Trump’s Truth Social stock soars after assassination attempt

Andrew Brookes/Getty Images, STOCK

(NEW YORK) — Shares of former President Donald Trump’s social media platform Truth Social soared in early trading on Monday, extending a rally that began in the immediate aftermath of an assassination attempt two days earlier.

In early trading on Monday, shares climbed about 30% to a price of $40. That figure marked the highest level for the stock in more than a month, but shares still stood well below a peak of about $62.

“The stock serves as a little bit of a proxy for sentiment toward Donald Trump himself,” Tyler Richey, an analyst at Sevens Report Research, told ABC News.

“I think there’s a resurgence of people — your die-hard Trump fans and fair-weather supporters — who think, ‘This is a life or death situation, we’re going all in,'” Richey added.

Shares began rising in pre-market trading almost immediately after an assassination attempt at a Trump rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, on Saturday. The strong performance in recent days indicates the latest in a series of dramatic price swings for the stock.

In the immediate aftermath of Trump’s felony conviction in his hush money case in May, the stock tumbled about 15%, before soon rallying higher than the pre-conviction level.

In March, shares vaulted from an initial offering price of about $50 to a peak of nearly $80. Over the ensuing two weeks, the price fell nearly 70%, reaching a low of about $23.

Analysts who previously spoke to ABC News described the performance of Truth Social as the characteristic fluctuation of a so-called “meme stock.” The term – made famous by pandemic-era examples such as GameStop and AMC – indicates a company that largely appeals to investors on the basis of ideology rather than financial outlook.

Truth Social generated roughly $4 million in revenue last year, government filings show. Meanwhile, the company reported $58 million in net losses over that period. By comparison, Instagram-parent Meta delivered nearly $135 billion in revenue last year, company earnings revealed.

The strong performance for Truth Social on Monday could grant the company an opportunity to reinvest funds and improve the service, Richey said, noting the possibility of an increase in users as Trump draws continued attention in the coming months.

“The financials are atrocious,” Richey said. “But the prospects, while a little doubtful, are still there.”

“If this generates a significant uptick in users, then that could be bullish. Or it becomes a blip of short-term optimism,” he added.

For now, the absence of financial underpinning leaves Truth Social vulnerable to volatility in response to even mildly negative or positive news, experts previously told ABC News.

“The only thing that you can predict is that there will continue to be volatility,” Jay Ritter, a professor of finance at the University of Florida, told ABC News.

The surge in the price of Truth Social on Monday coincided with a swell across the wider stock market. Each of the major stock indexes ticked upward in early trading on Monday, including a record high for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Business

Good American CEO Emma Grede shares her strategies for success

Emma Grede attends the FRAME & Amelia Gray dinner at the Chateau Marmont, April 4, 2024, in Los Angeles. — Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for FRAME, FILE

(NEW YORK) — Emma Grede, a British entrepreneur and the mastermind behind brands like SKIMS and Good American is sharing her secrets on how she built a successful career.

Grede is CEO of Good American, a fashion line on which she partners with Khloé Kardashian, serves as chairperson of the nonprofit 15 Percent Pledge and has also made her mark on ABC’s hit series Shark Tank.

The 41-year-old businesswoman, also a mentor on and executive producer of Side Hustlers on The Roku Channel, told Good Morning America that one secret to her success is thinking about her failures as much as she thinks about her accomplishments.

“I think often we don’t talk about those failures. I’m the opposite. I do [it] all the time,” she explained. “Because I know that everything that I’ve done, that hasn’t worked, I’ve taken a bit of those learnings and spun them into something new.”

Grede also added of her success, “It’s been a mixture of unbelievable hard work and an unbelievable ability to learn from every single mistake that I’ve had.”

Read below for six more tips for success from Grede:

1. Define what you want.

“I’ve been very, very clear about what it is that I want,” she said. “And then I chart a path of how to get there. This is what will make me happy, this is the success that I want. And here are all the incremental steps I’m going to need to get there.”

“Because we all have jobs, we all have a past. And you can take anything that you’re doing and make that situation work for your next situation, so long as you’re focused on what it is that you want. And I often think people are not clear about what it is that they want, you know, I want to be happy, I want to be successful. What does that mean to be happy? What does it mean to be successful, and I’m a real person that has relied my entire life on having a plan,” she added.

2. Reframe your thoughts.

“I honestly think that my greatness is, really, it kind of comes down to mindset,” Grede said, “It starts like first thing in the morning, and I wake up and my day is just chocked full of problems, but I can think, ‘oh my goodness, I have so many issues today’ or I can think, ‘I get to do this.'”

She continued, “And when I say mindset, I mean, how you think – the stories that you tell yourself, right, we have a constant conversation going on in our own head often. And the difference between success and failure in my life is really so much down to the way that I think and how I control those stories and the way I approach every day, and how that mindset leads you into certain habits and rituals around your life and your work that really, really set you up for success.”

3. Make gratitude part of your routine.

Grede said she reinforces a gratitude mindset shift every day, like when brushing her teeth.

“In the morning, I wake up, and it’s like, the first thing I do is not reach for my phone, but it’s really to go into this moment of gratitude,” Grede said. “And when you practice gratitude, it shifts your focus.”

Grede added, “You can talk yourself up and into anything or out of it, and so if you can start to change the way you think, you change the way you act.”

“What you think you become,” she continued. “In my career, and in my life, it’s literally what’s going on [in my mind] and how I speak to myself every day that’s really made the difference.”

4. Remember the ‘rule of thirds’

“My mom would say to me, ‘Emma, you’re not better than anybody else, but nor is anyone better than you.'” Grede recalled. “I think that’s been just really important for me to think about and to play out in my life every day, but I was also really raised with this idea that not everything should go well for you all the time.”

Grede said she lives her life in a way where she expects the “high highs” as well as the “low lows.”

Grede likened what she calls the “rule of thirds” to chasing a dream, completing a task that was hard or the unexpected.

“You’re going to be happy about one-third of the time, the other third of the time, you’re going to feel like kind of okay, and the other third of the time, you’re going to feel pretty terrible,” Grede said. “You have to expect that you’ll have those really, really difficult days.”

She continued, “The rule of thirds has really helped me to figure out, how do I balance those things? How do I think about it? How do I set my expectations up?”

5. Put ambitions ahead of fears.

“Fear is something that can really hold you back — fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, fear of leaving the security of whatever it is that you have,” Grede said. “I think that you have to put your ambition ahead of your fear. You have to make sure that you can grab on to what it is that you really want.”

Grede acknowledged that fear can sometimes be a motivator, as long as it stays in perspective.

“Sometimes, it’s good to have some [fear] in the back of your head, but it’s got to stay in the back,” she said. “You can’t put it in your future.”

6. Stay true to your dream.

“I honestly believe that anyone can achieve greatness if they’re really true to themselves,” Grede said. “If you make a decision, a clear decision, about what it is that you want, and what you believe is important to you, you have to create and make every single decision you make and every move you make going towards that one decision.”

“And that is one of the most important things: be clear about what it is that you want,” she added. “Be intentional about what it is that you want, and go after it without apology.”

The Walt Disney Co., is the parent company of ABC and ABC News.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Business

AT&T says hacker stole some data from ‘nearly all’ wireless customers

Karl Tapales/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — AT&T has announced that the company believes a hacker stole records of calls and texts from nearly all of AT&T’s wireless customers, according to a financial filing from the company.

“The data does not contain the content of calls or texts, personal information such as Social Security numbers, dates of birth, or other personally identifiable information,” AT&T said in their statement released early Friday morning. “These records identify the telephone numbers with which an AT&T or MVNO wireless number interacted during these periods, including telephone numbers of AT&T wireline customers and customers of other carriers, counts of those interactions, and aggregate call duration for a day or month.”

AT&T says it has taken “additional cybersecurity measures” in response to this incident including closing off the point of unlawful access.

AT&T confirmed that it will provide notice to its current and former impacted customers.

“AT&T is working with law enforcement in its efforts to arrest those involved in the incident,” the company said. “Based on information available to AT&T, it understands that at least one person has been apprehended. As of the date of this filing, AT&T does not believe that the data is publicly available.”

AT&T says the incident has not had a “material impact on AT&T’s operations,” and AT&T does not believe that the incident is “reasonably likely to materially impact AT&T’s financial condition or results of operations.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Business

Inflation cooled in June, outperforming economists’ expectations

Kinga Krzeminska/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — Consumer prices rose 3.0% in June compared to a year ago, extending a monthslong stretch of progress in the fight to slow price increases. The latest inflation reading outperformed economists’ expectations.

Inflation has cooled for four consecutive months, reversing a surge in prices that took hold at the outset of 2024.

Price increases have slowed significantly from a peak of more than 9%, but inflation remains more than a percentage point higher than the Fed’s target rate of 2%.

The prices increases last month marked a slowdown from the 3.3% rate recorded in May.

Despite the cooldown of prices in recent months, the Federal Reserve has opted to keep its benchmark interest rate highly elevated. The Fed Funds rate remains between 5.25% and 5.5%, matching its highest level since 2001.

A further reduction of inflation could heighten pressure on the Fed to move forward with a set of interest rate cuts that the central bank forecasted late last year.

Speaking to House members in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell touted “modest further progress” in the fight to slow price hikes over recent months.

Still, he added, the Fed will not lower interest rates until it has “gained greater confidence that inflation is moving sustainably toward 2%.”

While the economy has proven resilient this year, recent performance suggests that high interest rates have begun to slow activity.

A jobs report released on Friday showed that the economy added a robust 206,000 jobs in June. However, downward revisions for hiring over the previous two months brought the three-month average to its lowest level since January 2021. The unemployment rate has ticked up this year from 3.7% to 4.1%.

Economic output has slowed markedly at the outset of 2024, though it has continued to grow at a solid pace.

Interest rate cuts would lower borrowing costs for consumers and businesses, potentially triggering a burst of economic activity through greater household spending and company investment.

But the Fed risks a rebound of inflation if it cuts interest rates too quickly, since stronger consumer demand and higher wages could lead to an acceleration of price increases.

On the other hand, recent data suggesting an economic slowdown heightens the risk of keeping interest rates too high for too long, since the borrowing costs could ultimately tip the economy into a recession.

The Fed is guided by a dual mandate to keep inflation under control and maximize employment. Addressing lawmakers at the Capitol on Wednesday, Powell said recent progress in the fight against inflation has allowed the central bank to bring greater attention to its role in employment.

“Elevated inflation is not the only risk we face,” Powell told lawmakers on Wednesday. If the Fed opts to lower interest rates “too late or too little,” he added, it could “unduly weaken economic activity and employment.”

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Business

Inflation expected to have cooled in June

Kinga Krzeminska/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — A monthslong stretch of progress in the fight against inflation will face another test on Thursday when a U.S. government agency releases fresh data on price increases.

Inflation has cooled for three consecutive months, reversing a surge in prices that took hold at the outset of 2024.

Price increases have slowed significantly from a peak of more than 9%, but inflation remains more than a percentage point higher than the Fed’s target rate of 2%.

Economists expect consumer prices to have increased 3.1% over the year ending in June. That figure would mark a modest slowdown from the 3.3% rate recorded a month prior.

Despite the cooldown of prices in recent months, the Federal Reserve has opted to keep its benchmark interest rate highly elevated. The Fed Funds rate remains between 5.25% and 5.5%, matching its highest level since 2001.

A further reduction of inflation could heighten pressure on the Fed to move forward with a set of interest rate cuts that the central bank forecasted late last year.

Speaking to House members in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell touted “modest further progress” in the fight to slow price hikes over recent months.

Still, he added, the Fed will not lower interest rates until it has “gained greater confidence that inflation is moving sustainably toward 2%.”

While the economy has proven resilient this year, recent performance suggests that high interest rates have begun to slow activity.

A jobs report released on Friday showed that the economy added a robust 206,000 jobs in June. However, downward revisions for hiring over the previous two months brought the three-month average to its lowest level since January 2021. The unemployment rate has ticked up this year from 3.7% to 4.1%.

Economic output has slowed markedly at the outset of 2024, though it has continued to grow at a solid pace.

Interest rate cuts would lower borrowing costs for consumers and businesses, potentially triggering a burst of economic activity through greater household spending and company investment.

But the Fed risks a rebound of inflation if it cuts interest rates too quickly, since stronger consumer demand and higher wages could lead to an acceleration of price increases.

On the other hand, recent data suggesting an economic slowdown heightens the risk of keeping interest rates too high for too long, since the borrowing costs could ultimately tip the economy into a recession.

The Fed is guided by a dual mandate to keep inflation under control and maximize employment. Addressing lawmakers at the Capitol on Wednesday, Powell said recent progress in the fight against inflation has allowed the central bank to bring greater attention to its role in employment.

“Elevated inflation is not the only risk we face,” Powell told lawmakers on Wednesday. 

If the Fed opts to lower interest rates “too late or too little,” he added, it could “unduly weaken economic activity and employment.”

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Business

Sam’s Club slashes sign-up fee, but consider these Costco perks and savings

In this Feb. 20, 2021 file photo, people wait for a Sam’s Club store to open in Austin, Texas. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) — Costco’s warehouse retail competitor Sam’s Club has recently ramped up efforts for customer retention.

Both big-box stores are beloved for selling high-quality items at lower price points, which offers shoppers an easy way to buy in bulk and save some money.

Now, Sam’s Club has slashed its sign-up price to just $25 until the end of August to entice first-time members. The newly dropped rate is more than half off the annual membership of the store’s biggest competitor, Costco.

“By them slashing the price of their membership, especially for new members, this is one way to try to get people are excited about the offerings of Sam’s Club,” retail analyst Hitha Herzog told ABC News’ Good Morning America.

But the wholesale giant has also caught some backlash after removing a key perk that is typically available to its plus members.

Starting mid-August, free shipping will only be available on qualifying purchases of $50 or more, pre-tax.

“In the last few years shipping and logistics around shipping has become extremely expensive,” said Herzog, the chief research officer at H Squared Research. “Sam’s Club is making an effort to cut costs by not offering free shipping on orders that are under a certain amount, but they are adding other benefits for members.”

Costco’s Gold Star and Business memberships, on the other hand, cost $60 a year, while an Executive membership that comes with added benefits such as travel rewards and roadside assistance, costs $120 annually.

Warehouse clubs also offer savings on more than just bulk items: From the pharmacy to travel programs, the other perks can add up and help members make more sense of the annual fees.

“You’re getting discounts on gasoline, on prescriptions and optical services,” Herzog said. “So, overall, you may feel like you’re paying more for that membership, but the perks actually give you added discounts that make it worth it.”

Top Costco savings tips

Whether you’re a newly minted Costco member or a seasoned sampler, here are some simple ways to save at the warehouse store.

Buy travel gift cards: Some airlines sell gift cards at slightly discounted price points, including $50 off for a $500 Southwest card.

Everyday essentials boast big savings: When it comes to savings at Costco, The Joy of Costco authors David and Susan Schwartz know a thing or two on the best-priced products thanks to more than five years of global research on Costco. They previously told GMA that two items are always on the top of their cost-effective shopping list, “paper towels and bath tissue.”

Travel deals from rental cars to vacation packages: The Schwartzes also encouraged fellow members to rent cars through Costco, which works with major car rental companies, offering 20% discounts on rates.

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