Dawn Papandrea | 

Is a Sam's Club Plus Membership Worth It? Here's the Math

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Whether you’re a frequent Sam’s Club shopper or considering joining for the first time, I think I can guess one of the questions that will likely cross your mind: Should I upgrade to the Sam’s Club Plus membership level? At more than double the regular Sam’s Club membership cost, it’s worth considering if you’ll squeeze enough value out of the extra $60 investment.

Below, I’ve laid out the most important things to know about Sam’s Club Plus membership so you can decide if it’s worth paying an extra $60 a year to upgrade.

Here are all the Sam’s Club Plus membership benefits that might sway you to level up.

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1. Sam’s Club “Plus” is their upgraded membership tier that costs $110/year.

hand holding Sams club card and phone

Similar to how Costco has an Executive membership level with extra perks, Sam’s Club also offers members an upgraded tier.

A Sam’s Club Plus membership will cost you $110 per year versus the $50/year for standard membership. But that extra $60 brings with it some exclusive perks, discounts, and store experiences that make it a no-brainer for some shoppers — but a waste of money for others who don’t shop as often or forget to take advantage of the benefits.

TIP: Don’t confuse a Sam’s Club Plus membership with a Walmart Plus membership, even though the two companies are related. Unfortunately, that’s a separate membership so you won’t be able to double dip. However, a Walmart Plus account does get you access to member prices at Sam’s Club fuel centers.


2. You get special Sam’s Club Plus shopping hours so you can avoid the crowds.

Person standing waiting at Member Services at Sam's Club

No one likes navigating crowded store aisles and waiting in lines that stretch for miles. This is why one of the top perks of a Sam’s Club Plus membership is getting to shop before the store officially opens to all members. Not only will aisle traffic and lines be way lighter, but it also gives you a first crack at popular items before everything gets picked through. And, the extra hours also apply to select online shopping events like “doorbusters” sales.

Store hours may vary by location, but here’s how it works at my closest Sam’s Club.


Sam’s Club Plus hours (just for Plus members):

  • Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.
  • Saturday: 8 a.m. – 9 a.m.

Just keep in mind that borrowing your friend’s Sam’s Club Plus card to snag early shopping hours may not fly. You’re more likely to get “carded” when you shop during Plus hours (kinda like the Costco membership sharing crackdown).


3. You get free shipping on most items, which saves you $5 (or more) per order.

Person searching with the computer, browsing through Sam's Club Furniture selection

For this perk alone, you might decide that the answer to “is Sam’s Club Plus membership worth it?” is a resounding yes. Only if you order frequently, that is.

Just as an example, for my ZIP code, the delivery fee for a case of K-cups is $5.05, while shipping for an office chair is $9.48. If you already place at least one order a month, you’ll save at least $60 a year with this perk — which is enough to pay for the Plus upgrade in itself.

Note: Plus members get free shipping on most online items (even Sam’s Club furniture), but it’s limited to ground shipping only.


4. And you can pick up orders for free, too, saving you $4 a pop.

Person in their car holding a phone.

Curbside pickup is a popular shopping strategy these days, but unfortunately for regular Sam’s Club members, the service tacks on an extra $4 to your total each time. Unless you’re a Sam’s Club Plus member, that is. You get free curbside pickup as a Plus member. And if you place at least 15 pickup orders a year, your savings will cover the cost of your membership upgrade.

What’s more, Plus members can start picking up as early as 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday, while everyone else has to wait until 10 a.m. It’s a great convenience if you want to swing by after you drop the kids at the bus stop or on your way to work in the morning.


5. Earn 2% back in Sam’s Cash on all your purchases as a Plus member.

sam's club plus membership card

Regular Sam’s Club members earn 1% cash back on their purchases, while Plus members get 2%. So the Plus membership gives you double the cashback with every purchase, and you’ll get more value the more you shop.

If you spend $3,000 per year (or roughly $250 a month) at Sam’s Club, the 2% cashback you’d earn as a Plus member would totally cover the $60 cost of upgrading your membership. And if you spend $5,500 per year (about $458 a month), you’d earn enough rewards to pay for your entire Plus membership fee.


6. Get even more cashback (5% or more) if you pay with a Sam’s Club Mastercard.

Person using their sams club card

Sam’s Club has their own co-branded Mastercard, but not every membership level earns the same rewards with it.

Plus members get 2% back on every purchase, plus an additional 3% with the Mastercard, while regular members get just 1% total. In addition, the card also offers 5% back on gas (up to the first $6,000 per year, then 1%), 3% on dining, and 1% on all other purchases.



7. Plus members get select prescriptions for $10 or less — or even free.

Pharmacy at Sams Club

All Sam’s Club members can access some low-cost prescriptions, but Plus membership takes the savings even further. You’ll get 10 popular generic medications like metformin and Vitamin D2 for free with your Plus membership, and more than 600 prescriptions are $10 or less.

Here are the prescriptions you can get for free with a Sam’s Club Plus membership (they cost $4 each with a regular membership):

  • Amlodipine
  • Donepezil
  • Escitalopram
  • Finasteride
  • Lisinopril
  • Metformin
  • Montelukast
  • Pioglitazone
  • Sertraline
  • Vitamin D2


8. There are some eye-opening optical discounts (20%) for Plus members.

Hand picking up a pair Glasses

If you need prescription lenses and want to give Sam’s Club Optical a try, you’ll score 20% off eyeglasses with the higher tier membership. For anyone who needs progressive lenses or other pricey specs, 20% off can end up saving you a nice chunk of change.

If you prefer to wear contacts, you’ll also get free shipping on lenses as a Plus member.


9. You can add up to 16 people to your Plus account for $45 each. (Take that, Costco.)

People waiting in line to shop early at Sam's Club

Unlike Costco, where you only get one free additional card for another person in your household, the Sam’s Club Plus membership allows you to add up to 16 additional people.

Each add-on member will cost $45, which is less than it would be if they joined on their own. Just be aware that some perks are reserved for primary cardholders only, like Plus-only free shipping.


So… is Sam’s Club Plus worth it?

If you shop at Sam’s Club often enough to earn extra cashback, the extra cost pays for itself — and then some! And let’s not forget the early shopping hours and extra savings on prescriptions and optical services.

Here’s a summary of how much you’d need to spend to cover the cost of an upgraded membership:

  • Spend $250 a month at Sam’s Club and you’ll earn $60 in cashback rewards after 12 months.
  • Make at least one delivery order a month and you’ll save $60 per year in fees.
  • Place at least 15 pickup orders a year and you’ll save $60 in fees.
But if you’re just a once-in-a-while Sam’s shopper, then the entry-level membership should suffice.

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