Katie Searcy | 

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

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Sam’s Club offers an upgraded membership level called Plus. But with a fee of $110 per year, it’s like you’re paying for two regular Sam’s Club memberships instead of one. That got me thinking — do the added perks of Plus really make it worth the extra $60?

Especially since Sam's Club just announced (via an email to customers) that major changes are coming to Plus benefits starting Aug. 19, 2024.

Starting in August, Plus members will only get free shipping on qualifying orders of $50 or more. For shipping orders under $50, it'll be an $8 flat fee. So the "free shipping on most online items" perk will no longer be a major selling point of Plus membership.

So how do you decide if Sam’s Club Plus membership is worth it when you can’t get a free trial before you shell out the money to upgrade?

Rather than sell you on all the membership benefits you get at the Plus level, let me show you the math on the potential savings. And if the math doesn’t add up for your spending levels, you can feel justified in your decision to stick with the cheaper of the two Sam’s Club membership types.

For more smart shopping tips and savings hacks, download the KCL app or text HACKS to 57299.

How to Make Sam's Club Plus Worth It

Here's the hard truth: If you don’t make full use of all the Plus member benefits up for grabs, it might not be worth the $60 membership cost to upgrade to Plus. But for many people, the savings more than make up for the cost to upgrade.

Pro Tip: Don’t confuse a Sam’s Club Plus membership with a Walmart Plus membership, even though the two companies are related. Walmart Plus is a separate membership. However, a Walmart Plus account does get you access to member prices at Sam’s Club gas stations.

Earn 2% back in Sam's Cash.

This is probably the most widely known benefit of Plus membership — and also the easiest way to figure out if a Plus membership is worth it.

Consider how much you spend per year at Sam’s Club. If 2% of your yearly spend at Sam’s Club is at least $60, then Plus membership will be worth it. That’s because you’ll cover the cost to upgrade with your Sam’s Cash earnings.

"I have the Plus membership and I save the cash back to pay for my yearly membership." - Holly W., KCL reader

You can use your Sam’s Cash earnings to make purchases, renew your membership, or get paid in cash at the membership desk.

Annual / Monthly Sam’s Club Spend

Annual Sam’s Cash Earnings with Plus

$500 per year / $42 per month


$1,000 per year / $83 per month


$2,000 per year / $167 per month


$3,000 per year / $250 per month


$5,500 per year / $458 per month


$25,000 per year / $2,083 per month

$500 *maximum

Save $4 per curbside order under $50 (with no order minimums).

Person in their car holding a phone.

With Plus, you always get free curbside pickup for orders of any size. Without a Plus membership, you normally pay a $4 fee per order. But starting Aug. 19, 2024, Club members will be able to unlock free curbside pickup on orders of $50 or more.

Basically, Plus membership is your ticket to getting free curbside pickup for orders under $50 after the August changes take place.

So if you place at least 15 pickup orders a year where your order total is less than $50, upgrading to Plus will be worth it.

Save $4 - $12 per same-day delivery order with Plus.

For Sam's Club same-day delivery orders, Club members typically pay a $12 fee per order, while Plus members pay a $8 fee (a savings of $4 with Plus).

But starting Aug. 19, Plus members will get free same-day delivery for orders over $50 — which makes the potential savings more like $12 per same-day order.

KCL TIP: Make sure your address is eligible for same-day delivery from Sam's before you upgrade to Plus. Only select addresses within 15 miles of a Sam's Club store are currently eligible.

Get free shipping on most orders over $50.

If you don't live near a Sam's Club, the free shipping perk of Plus membership could be a huge factor for you to consider. Starting Aug. 19, 2024, Plus members will get free shipping on most orders over $50 (there are a few exceptions for heavy or oversized items).

For orders under $50 with Plus, it's a $8 flat-fee per shipping order.

To see how much this perk could save, I put these three items in my cart:

  • Hydroflask, 24 oz, $27.98

  • Member's Mark Super Premium Paper Towels, $19.98

  • H2OGo! Bounce Blast Kids Inflatable Water Park, $399.98

Without Plus, I'd pay a $28.15 shipping fee for that order. With Plus (after the Aug. 19 changes go into effect), my order would ship for free.

So if you're going to rely on Sam's Club shipping to get your goods, upgrading to a Plus membership could save you on shipping fees, which can really add up when you're adding multiple items to your cart.

Maximize your Sam's Cash with a Sam's Club Mastercard.


If you have the Plus membership AND the Sam’s Club Mastercard, you’ll earn Sam’s Cash at a slightly faster rate than normal. So instead of earning 2% at the Plus level, you’ll get 3% back with Plus when you pay with the Mastercard.

That means you’d only need to spend $2,000 per year (or $167/month) to make a Plus membership worth it if you’re using your Mastercard at the club.

And purchases you make outside of the club will earn you Sam’s Cash, too. You’ll get 5% back on gas (up to the first $6,000 per year, then 1%), 3% on dining, and 1% on everything else.

"We have the Plus membership and credit card. We put all of our gas on the credit card, restaurants, and travel. We get about $100 a month in rewards back. Just make sure you pay the bill on time and in full." - Sharon H., KCL reader

Score free prescriptions for 10 generic medicines.


With Plus, you’ll get 10 popular generic medications for free — saving you $4 per prescription if you happen to need any of the meds on the freebie list below. And more than 600 prescriptions cost $10 or less with Plus.

Here are the scripts you can get for free with a Plus membership:










Vitamin D2

Save up to 20% with Plus optical discounts.

Hand picking up a pair Glasses

If you buy your sunglasses or prescription glasses in-store at Sam’s Club, you’ll save 20% with your Plus membership. Even if you go with the cheapest pair — like the $59 London Fog frames — that’s a savings of $11.80. And for a more expensive pair like these $199 Carrera frames, you’ll save up to $39.80.

You’ll also get free shipping on contact lenses, which saves you $6.95 per order under $45. (Contact lenses always ship free from Sam's for orders over $45.)

Add more members for just $45 each.

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

Each add-on member costs $45, which is $5 cheaper than it would be if they joined on their own. Just keep in mind that free shipping isn't always offered to add-on members.

So ... is Sam's Club Plus worth it?

If you shop at Sam’s Club often enough to earn extra cash back, the extra cost pays for itself — and then some.

You can also factor in the intangible benefit of early shopping hours (and early curbside pickup hours) that help you avoid the crowds and get first dibs at doorbuster sales. Store hours may vary by location, but at my nearest Sam's Club, Plus members can shop two hours earlier than everyone else on weekdays, and one hour earlier on Saturdays.

And that's in addition to the tangible perks of free curbside pickup ($4 savings per order), discounted same-day delivery ($4 savings per order under $50), 2% cash back, and discounts at the Optical department and Pharmacy.

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 cash back rewards after 12 months.

  • Place at least 15 curbside pickup orders under $50 a year and you’ll save $60 in fees.

  • Place at least 15 same-day delivery orders under $50 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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