Sam's Club Membership Guide

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As one of the top contenders in warehouse shopping, Sam’s Club offers plenty of ways to save money and time. Whether you’re new to Sam’s Club or an experienced shopper, this Sam’s Club membership shopping guide will show you all the reasons you should be shopping at Sam’s.

For up-to-date Sam’s Club tips and deal alerts be sure to download the KCL app.

 

1. Select a Sam’s Club membership that fits your needs.

Sam’s Club offers two memberships. Join Sam’s Club online or at the Member Services desk inside the club.

Sam’s Club Membership for $45/year. Perks include:

  • Instant savings
  • Fuel savings
  • Tire and Battery Center (free flat repairs)
  • Add-on up to eight memberships

Sam’s Plus for $100/year. Get all the perks of a $45 membership, as well as:

  • Earn 2% cash back on qualifying purchases, up to $500/year
  • Free shipping with no minimum purchase
  • Early shopping hours 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. (two hours before stores open for all members)
  • Free select prescriptions: save on select name-brand prescriptions and access over 600 generic prescriptions for $10 or less
  • Optical savings: 20% off a complete pair of eyeglasses and free shipping on contact lenses
  • Add-on up to 16 memberships

PRO TIP: If you want the Sam’s Plus membership and you’re joining online, you must first sign up for the Sam’s Club membership. They’ll charge you a total of $100, $45 for the Club membership, and the $55 difference to upgrade.

 

2. Never pay full price for a Sam’s Club basic membership.

Sam’s Club often offers signup incentives like gift cards. If you’re not getting some freebies or gift cards back on a $45 membership, wait to sign up. KCL regularly posts about Sam’s Club membership deals. Here are just a few deals we’ve published in the past:

  • Join for $45, Get a $45 Gift Card
  • Score $50 in Freebies at Sam’s Club
  • Sam’s Club Membership for $35 + $30 in Free eGift Cards
  • Get $45 in Instant Savings

 

3. Shop at SamsClub.com without a Sam’s Club membership.

Don’t want a Sam’s Club membership? Sign up for a 24-hour guest membership to shop anything online without a membership card. A 10% service fee will apply to your order, and you will miss out on member-only pricing. All you have to do is create a guest account when prompted to sign in during checkout. Pickup is not available for guest members. The following areas are exempt from the service fee: California, South Carolina, and Elmsford, NY.

 

4. Avoid membership fees by shopping with a Sam’s Club member.

Another way around buying a Sam’s Club membership is to shop with a family member or friend who has a membership. While Sam’s policy is only members can purchase items, you can include your items with theirs and pay them back once you leave the store.

 

5. Buy booze, prescriptions, and food court items at Sams’ Club without a membership.

Fill your prescriptions and enjoy food court items without needing a Sam’s Club membership. You can also buy alcohol without a membership in the following states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • Texas
  • Vermont

PRO TIP: A Sam’s Club membership is not required to see the optometrist at Sam’s Club, but you have to be a member to buy optical products.

 

6. Skip the checkout lines with Sam’s Club Scan & Go app.

Use Sam’s Club Scan & Go app to save yourself from having to stand in long lines at the register. It’s so easy to use and can get you out of the store quickly. You scan the barcodes of your items and pay through the app! Then you show your digital receipt to the Sam’s Club worker at the exit door.

 

7. Save time when you select free curbside pickup at SamsClub.com

Don’t have hours to spend walking through Sam’s? Usually, curbside pickup is only for Plus members, but Sam’s Club is now offering free curbside pickup for all members, for a limited time. Select items that have the option to ‘pick up in club’ when you shop at SamsClub.com, choose your pick up time and check in on the Sam’s Club app when you arrive and an associate will bring your order.

  • Pickup time for Plus members begins at 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday
  • Pickup time for Club members begins at 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday
  • Pickup time for all members begins at 10 a.m. Sunday

 

8. Shop Sam’s Club through Instacart even as a non-Sam’s Club member.

If there are some items you’re dying to get from Sam’s Club, and you don’t have time to shuffle through Sam’s Club, shop the warehouse through Instacart and get your groceries delivered as soon as the same day, possibly in an hour, even if you’re not a club member. Shoppers that are Sam’s Club members can enter their member ID number during checkout to pay lower prices.

Delivery fees for shopping Sam’s Club through Instacart:

  • $8.99 on orders $35 or more
  • $12.99 on orders under $35
  • $10.99 for one hour delivery on orders $35 or more
  • $14.99 for one hour delivery on orders under $35

 

9. Instacart Express members get free delivery with Sam’s Club.

Even with free delivery, the cost of an order on Instacart is more, of course. Here’s an order I placed inside Sam’s Club and as an Instacart Express member:

Member’s Mark Rotisserie Chicken Enchiladas, one pound

  • Price compare online: $3.68 a pound
  • Price compare in store: $3.12 a pound

Kraft Deluxe Original Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese Dinner 8-14 ounce boxes

  • Price compare online: $17.56
  • Price compare in store: $14.88

Smucker’s Uncrustables Peanut Butter & Grape Jelly sandwiches, 18 count

  • Price compare online: $13.90
  • Price compare in store: $10.48

Driscoll’s Blueberries, 18 ounces

  • Price compare online: $7.06
  • Price compare in store: $5.44

Instacart Fees

Service fee: $1
Delivery fee: $0
Delivery tip: $2.11 (5% of cart total)

Instacart total: $45.31
In-store total: $33.92

The Instacart order cost me an extra $11.39, but less than twelve bucks to skip traffic and a busy store? So, worth it sometimes!

PRO TIP: Other fees may apply with Instacart orders for Sam’s Club.

 

10. Score Sam’s Club Instant Savings at SamsClub.com, in store, or through the mobile app.

You don’t need to clip coupons to get instant savings. These limited-time sales are automatically loaded to your membership card that you can access either online at SamsClub.com or through the Sam’s Club app. You can also pick up a Sam’s Club Instant Savings Book at your local warehouse. The discount can be dollar-off or percent-off discounts on a variety of new or popular products and top-selling brands. The discount is immediately applied at checkout.

For example:

Folgers Classic Roast Ground Coffee, 51 ounces, (reg. $8.98), $6.98
SAMSUNG 2.1 Channel Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer-model HW-T45C, (reg. $199.88) $149.99

 

11. Save up to 60% off with Sam’s Club Shocking Values.

Sam’s Club offers limited-time Shocking Values on SamsClub.com. New deals are added daily between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. (Central Time) that usually last for four days, or until supplies are gone. Sign up for Sam’s Club email alerts for these exclusive daily savings.

For example:

BareMinerals Dew Mist Setting Spray, 3.4 fluid ounces, (reg. $27.98), $19.48
Bel Air Theater Recliner, (reg. $589), $499

 

12. Watch for Tech Savings badges when shopping at SamsClub.com.

When shopping at SamsClub.com, keep an eye out for Tech Savings badges (little blue boxes above an item image. These are temporary price reductions that only last a few days. You can find these badges in many categories, such as Technology, Entertainment, and Office. SamsClub.com has a dedicated page to Sams Club Tech Savings items. For example:

Swann 1080p Powered Wi-Fi Outdoor Security Camera with Secure Cloud Storage, 3 pk. (reg. $239), $179
Samsung Galaxy Buds+, (reg. $139.98), $99.98

 

13. Subscribe and save with Sam’s Club Subscription Savings.

Before you sign up for a subscription service, check Sam’s Club as they can save you some bucks on subscriptions such as Pandora Music (15% off), Daily Burn At-Home Workout (40% off), and 98point6 Virtual Primary Care.

 

14. Save up to 10% at Sam’s Club on home improvement, tires, and other services.

Whether you need a new roof, windows, or tires, Sam’s Club has your back. They offer services at a discount like 10% off every home installation (flooring, windows, etc.), up to 25% off nationwide car rentals, and up to 50% off getaways, events, and more. Here are a few examples:

Sam’s Club: Kohler Kallan Widespread Lavatory Faucet – Brushed Nickel $139.98
Compare to $169 at Home Depot

I also compared Michelin Defender T+H tires between Costco and Sam’s Club because it’s an all-season tire and it’s one of the few tires Costco sells. This price doesn’t include installation, it’s just the cost of the tires. Sam’s Club came out the cheapest at $651.96 for a set of four tires, compared to Costco’s price of $675.96.

 

15. Get a free four-year Protection Plan on Samsung TVs with a Member Bonus promotion.

If you’re looking to buy a 2020 Samsung QLED TV at Sam’s Club, add the SquareTrade 4-Year TV Protection Plan for free (reg. price $129.99) to your online cart or at the register. That’s four years of protection for free on your new TV.

 

16. Predict markdowns with Sam’s Club pricing codes.

Paying attention to Sam’s Club pricing structure can help you spot deals that aren’t advertised. Typically prices at Sam’s Club end in $0.98. Tags that end in one penny, such as $0.91 or $0.71, indicate clearance items.

You can also determine stock for an item and whether it will go on sale by looking for letters N, A, C, O, S on the price tag.

  • N stands for ‘never out,’ meaning it likely won’t be on sale since they’re always in stock.
  • A stands for ‘available,’ which means they have plenty of stock, but the price is likely to go on sale in the future.
  • C stands for ‘canceled,’ so the item isn’t likely to be restocked, and they want to get it off the shelves.
  • O stands for ‘orderable,’ often seen with limited time only items.
  • S stands for ‘seasonal.’

 

17. Enjoy free Sam’s Club samples with the Freeosk machine.

Scan your membership card at the Freeosk machine or use the Freeosk app to receive free samples during your visit. Here is a couple I’ve tried:

  • Gain Flings! Free Sample at Sam’s Club
  • Possible Freebies at Sam’s Club: All, Halls & Ensueno

 

18. Buy discounted gift cards at Sam’s Club for up to 25% off.

Discounted gift cards are usually available at Sam’s Club. Do not go to the movies without buying your MovieTickets.com movie tickets at Sam’s. They’re valid at AMC, Regal, Cinemark, and more. Look to save 25% (two $25 gift cards for $37.50)

  • $50 MovieTickets.com Gift Card, Only $37.50 at Sam’s Club

I also find Build-A-Bear gift cards for 20-30% off.

  • Build-A-Bear Workshop $50 Gift Card, Only $38 at Sam’s Club
  • Today Only! Save up to $30 on Select Gift Cards at Sam’s Club

Plus, more like Apple and restaurants.

  • Fast Food Gift Cards, Starting at $28.98 at Sam’s Club
  • Save on Apple App Store & iTunes Gift Cards at Sam’s Club

 

19. Save with Sam’s Club Member’s Mark line.

The Member’s Mark line is the Sam’s Club equivalent to Costco’s Kirkland store brand. Shop home, grocery, furniture, apparel, baby, pet, and more at low member-only prices. Here are a few examples:

Baby formula:

Cage-Free eggs:

 

20. Earn 5% cash back at Sam’s Club Fuel Centers with the Sam’s Club Mastercard.

Sign up for a Sam’s Club Mastercard and earn 5% cash back on gas, even at Sam’s Club fuel centers. You can also earn 3% on dining and travel and 1% on other purchases. Cash back earned automatically loads to your Sam’s Club card and can be used to pay:

  • Sam’s Club credit card statement charges
  • An in-store order at the register
  • Renew or upgrade your membership
  • Online at SamsClub.com

Here’s a list of Sam’s Club Fuel Center locations

PRO TIP: While Sam’s Club Mastercard offers some great cash back on gas, dining, and travel, the card doesn’t earn you a single cent when you shop at Sam’s, which makes zero sense. So use a different cash back card, heck even a 1% cash back card to shop in store.

 

21. Shop through TopCashback or Rakuten to save at SamsClub.com

Shop through TopCashback or Rakuten to earn cash back when you want to shop at SamsClub.com. Some departments like Toys, Apparel, Mattresses, and Office Furniture can earn you cash back (which can vary)with TopCashback. Recently TopCashback offered up to 15% cash back on Shocking Values at SamsClub.com. Use a cash back card to pay through TopCashback or Rakuten and earn even more!

Vitagoods Scalp Massaging Shampoo Brush, (reg. $15.98), $9.78
TopCashback rebate $1.47
BabylissPRO Nano Titanium V1 Full Size Hair Dryer (reg. $189.98), $109.98
TopCashback rebate $16.50

 

22. Redeem Ibotta offers on your Sam’s Club purchases.

Select your Ibotta offers, then shop Sam’s Club to save a few extra bucks. When done shopping, upload the receipt to Ibotta to earn cash back.

Ragu Old World Style Traditional Pasta Sauce, 3-pk., 45 ounces, reg. $6.98
Ibotta cash back $0.75
Dove Men + Care Deodorant, Extra Fresh 5-pk, 2.7 ounces, reg $15.98
Ibotta cash back $0.10

 

Sam’s Club Shopping FAQs:

 

1. Does Sam’s Club accept coupons?

No. However, they accept vendor checks from products like Purina, Similac, and Enfamil.

2. Are the prices the same at SamsClub.com as they are in the warehouse?

Yep.

3. Can I return Sam’s Club items to Walmart?

No, and you can’t return Walmart items to Sam’s Club either.

4. Who do I contact if I have issues with my Instacart order?

If you have any trouble with your Instacart order, you must contact Instacart customer service (888) 246-7822.

5. Can I get a refund if I’m not happy with my membership?

Yes, you have two options:

6. Visit the Membership desk while at any club to get a cash refund.

Call customer service (888) 746-7726 and you’ll receive your refund via a gift card.

Sam's Club Return Policy

Sam's Club may be Walmart's little sister, but their return policy is definitely different. Whether you're a Sam's Club member or someone who received a gift purchased at this warehouse store, you'll want to know the ins and outs of the Sam's Club return policy.