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Sam Club Membership Review 2023

Jeremy Caroll

What comes to mind when you hear the words “wholesale club”? Most likely to Costco. On the other hand, Sam’s Club is often overlooked, even though it gives its members many of the same perks and discounts.

Sam’s Club has just under 600 stores in 44 states, so it could be said that it deserves as much attention as Costco. Sam’s Club is similar to its competitor in that it has a similar range of products, free samples that taste just as good, and cheaper memberships. It also has its own store brand, Member’s Mark, which competes with Costco’s Kirkland line. If you’re thinking about becoming a member of a wholesale club, you should keep Sam’s Club in mind as you think about your options.

But before you give Sam’s Club (or any other wholesale club) your hard-earned money for a membership card, you should carefully weigh the pros and cons to make sure the membership is worth it.

Sam Club Membership: What Are the Different Kinds of Membership Levels?

A standard membership to Sam’s Club costs $45 per year, while a membership to Sam’s Plus costs $100. Both levels of membership come with one card and one free membership per household to share. You can also buy extra memberships for $40 a year. They also offer perks that are only available to members, like access to Sam’s Club gas stations and tire shops. With the warehouse club’s current promotion, new members can get $45 off their first in-club purchase of $45 or more when they join. If you use the credit within 60 days of it being added to your new account, it makes your membership free for a year.

With a Sam’s Club Plus membership, you can get extra perks, like the chance to earn 2% cash back (up to $500 a year) on purchases that qualify. At the end of each membership year, rewards are added to your Sam’s Club account. You can use these rewards to buy things online, in stores, or through the club’s mobile app. (You also have the option of turning them in for cash.) To get your $100 membership fee back, you’ll need to spend at least $5,000 over the course of the year. Members of Sam’s Club Plus get perks like free shipping on online orders and discounts on frames and lenses for eyewear.

Like Costco, Sam’s Club has memberships for students and people in the military. Each one costs the same as a regular membership ($45 a year) and comes with a gift card when you sign up.

Members of Sam’s Club can apply for the Sam’s Club Mastercard, which is unique because it gives 5% cash back on gas.

Does the membership include SamsClub.com?

If you don’t feel like going to a store right now, you can still take advantage of Sam’s Club’s low prices online: At SamsClub.com, you can use either type of membership. Members can also choose to pick up their groceries at the curb or have them delivered the same day or the next day. Members are not the only ones who can use the Sam’s Club website, though. Non-members can also shop online, but they will have to pay an extra 10% when they check out.

In general, a membership may not be worth the money if you don’t shop at Sam’s Club online very often and the 10% fee is less than the cost of an annual membership. (If you spend more than $550 a year at SamsClub.com, you will lose money.) And if you buy big things (like electronics) online without a membership, make sure the surcharge doesn’t cancel out the savings you get.

Is it worth it to join Sam’s Club if you don’t buy things in bulk?

Sam’s Club and other wholesale big stores are popular with shoppers because they allow members to buy supplies in large quantities. When you buy in bulk, you may be able to get better prices per item, which can save you a lot of money.

But you might not want to buy it in bulk. You might not have enough room to store your haul, or your family might not be big enough to eat all the perishables before they go bad. If you don’t use the other membership benefits, a Sam’s Club membership might not be worth it in this situation.

For example, Sam’s Club offers its members competitive prices on tires from a wide range of brands, along with an installation package that includes lifetime maintenance services like balancing, rotating, and fixing flats. You also get emergency roadside assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for three years from the date you bought the tires. This includes things like towing, help with a flat tire, gas delivery, unlocking your car, and jump starting. If you end up replacing even one tire, you could get your membership fee back.

Getting discounted gift cards is another way to make a Sam’s Club membership worth it if you don’t want to buy in bulk. Whether you buy them for yourself or as gifts, you could easily save between 15% and 30%. For example, you can get $30 worth of Cold Stone Creamery gift cards for $22.50, which is at least a free cone.

There are other ways to get your money back from Sam’s Club besides buying things you don’t have room for or can’t eat by yourself. Ask some friends or family members if they would like to share a membership with you (as well as the things you buy in large quantities). But only members are allowed to buy things, so you’ll have to pay back the person who is the main cardholder.

Can I use the club’s services even if I’m not a member?

Most of the time, you have to be a member of a wholesale club to get the best deals it has to offer. But not all of Sam’s Club is roped off for members only.

Anyone can buy prescription medicines at Sam’s Club pharmacies, and you won’t have to pay an extra 10% if you’re not a member. There aren’t pharmacies in every place, so check with your local store before you go. Even if you’re not a member, you can get an eye exam at a Sam’s Club Optical Center, but you can’t buy glasses or contacts there. Even if you don’t have a membership, you can stock up on wine, beer, and liquor at Sam’s Club in states that don’t let alcohol be sold only to members. Just don’t order ahead to pick up in the club.

Can I shop at the club without a membership?

In short, yes. Yes, but only if you’re with someone who has a membership. If you only shop at Sam’s Club once in a while, it’s probably not worth your money to become a member. But that doesn’t mean you won’t need to go to the wholesale club sometimes, like when it’s your turn to host Thanksgiving.

Members of Sam’s Club can bring up to two guests with them when they go shopping. Just remember that you can only buy things if you’re a member, so you’ll have to pay the person back later. Sam’s Club used to give out one-day guest passes, but they stopped doing that recently. It looks like the only way to get into the warehouse without a membership is to go with a friend or family member.

So, is the price of a Sam’s Club membership worth it?

Potentially. There is no clear answer. In fact, it depends on who you ask. Depending on how often you go and what you buy, a Sam’s Club membership can be well worth the money. If you only go to the superstore a few times a year, like for your annual eye exam or to get a few things for a big party you’re throwing, you might not need a membership (especially if you have a friend or relative who can bring you along as a guest). But if you know you’ll use your membership to its fullest and shop in the huge aisles often enough that the money you save each year is more than the price of admission, it may be well worth it.

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