Emily VanSchmus | 

Sam's Club vs. BJ's: Who Is Cheaper?

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Sam’s Club and BJ’s are both membership clubs that sell bulk groceries and household supplies — but which is better? It can be hard to decide between the two memberships when everything seems so similar — for example, both clubs offer discounts on gas, food court staples, and bulk paper towels.

Both clubs also charge a yearly membership fee to shop there, and we often see membership deals that put the fees within $5 of each other. So to help you decide which membership club is the best fit for you, we’re diving into how their prices compare.

We’re compared prices on some of the best things to buy at Sam’s and at BJ's, how their rewards programs stack up, and the savings potential of each membership. (And if you don’t live near a BJ’s, we’ve done the same analysis for Sam’s Club vs. Costco and Sam's Club vs. Walmart, too.)

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

Membership Costs: Sam's is $5 cheaper


The basic Sam’s Club membership is $50 per year, and a basic BJ’s membership is regularly $55 per year. So at regular prices, Sam's Club comes out on top for their membership cost, since they're $5 cheaper.

But if you're joining as a new member, you'll have access to some pretty sweet new-signup deals that can make a BJ's membership cheaper than Sam's.

For example, while the Sam’s membership cost drops to $25 pretty regularly for new joiners, we often share a BJ’s membership discount that brings the price down to just $20 for your first year — or even free with deals that offer $20 back in BJ's rewards.

It’s worth noting that both clubs provides two membership cards for your household. If you need more cards than that, you'll pay $30 per add-on card at BJ's and $45 per add-on card at Sam's.

Membership Type

Sam's Club Price

BJ's Wholesale Price





$110 (Sam's Club Plus)

$110 (BJ's Club+)

Military Discount*


$25 with $10 bonus offer

Teacher Discount*


$25 with $10 bonus offer

Student Discount*


$25 with $10 bonus offer

*Discounts available for first year only, with verification.

Related: Check out our complete guide to Sam's Club membership benefits to see what's included in their price.

Food Selection and Prices: Sam's has the edge

If you’re choosing a membership solely based on product prices, you should know that our analysis found that Sam’s Club is typically a tiny bit cheaper for their food prices. The Sam's Club Member’s Mark prices are almost always lower than BJ's private labels (Berkley Jensen and Wellsley Farms).

In fact, we compared food prices and found only one item that was cheaper at BJ’s (see the charts below). Everything else at BJ's was either the same price or more expensive than Sam’s Club.

But one area where they may differ is the selection. Some shoppers think that BJ's carries more gluten-free options than Sam's Club.

"[I’m] Team BJ's. They have far more gluten-free options than either Sam's or Costco, and that is important for my family." - KJ S., KCL reader

What's cheaper at Sam's Club:


Sam's Club


Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, Store Brand

$2.85 / lb

$2.99 / lb

Quaker Instant Oatmeal Variety Pack

$0.21 / packet

$0.30 / packet

Chobani Vanilla Nonfat Greek Yogurt

$0.15 / oz

$0.16 / oz

16.9 oz. Water Bottles, Store Brand

$0.10 / bottle

$0.12 / bottle

Tyson Fully Cooked Crispy Chicken Strips

$4.28 / lb

$4.85 / lb

Chicken & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food, Store Brand

$1.10 / lb

$1.33 / lb

What's cheaper at BJ's:


Sam's Club


2% Gallon Milk, Store Brand

$3.32 / gallon

$2.65 / gallon

Same price at either store:


Sam's Club


2-Ply Toilet Paper, Store Brand

$0.02 / sq. ft

$0.02 / sq. ft

Kleenex Trusted Care 2-Ply Facial Tissues

$0.01 / tissue

$0.01 / tissue

Sam's Club vs. BJ's: Couponing differences

While Sam’s does regularly have cheaper prices, BJ’s has something Sam’s doesn’t offer: coupons.

Coupons for Sam's Club don't really exist; instead, you’ll find "Instant Savings" at the store — which is just a fancy way of saying the items are on sale. BJ’s, however, offers tons of digital coupons, which you can load onto your membership card to automatically get a lower price at check out.

So although Sam’s regular prices are generally lower, you have more opportunity for savings by using BJ’s coupons.

Food Courts: Sam's Club wins for selection


We felt that Sam’s Club deserved the win in this category, given that many BJ’s locations started phasing out their food courts starting around 2016.

A few KCL staffers and readers have pointed out that they do still have a BJ's food court at their location, but the menu is limited to just hot dogs, popcorn, drinks, and cookies.

Sam’s Club, on the other hand, is known for their incredible food court deals, and these are found at way more locations than BJ's currently offers. At Sam's, you can grab a quarter-pound hot dog and a drink for just $1.38, and a whole 16-inch pizza is less than $9.

KCL TIP: You don’t actually need a membership to eat at the Sam’s food court. So if you’re usually a BJ’s or Costco shopper, you can still claim the food court deals at Sam's Club. 

Online Shopping and Delivery: It's a tie

One thing we love about both warehouse clubs is that Sam’s and BJ’s generally have the same pricing in-store and online. (The same cannot be said for Costco, as we've reported how Costco online prices are sometimes up to 49% higher than in store.)

Sam's Club members say the Sam’s Club app makes shopping super simple, and Plus members get free curbside pickup on any order. (Pickup for regular Club members is a $4 flat fee per order.) BJ’s has a slight edge over Sam’s in this category, because every BJ’s location offers free curbside pickup for all members. 

If you’re ordering online, Sam’s Club members get free shipping on orders over $45, and almost everything ships free with a Sam's Club Plus membership. BJ’s shipping costs depend on the items you’re purchasing and the ZIP code you’re shipping them to. (As far as we can tell, there’s no order minimum to earn free shipping.)

When it comes to grocery delivery, Sam’s charges $8 for Plus members and $12 for Club members. The full fee goes toward the driver costs, your items won’t be upcharged. BJ’s charges a flat fee of $14.99 for same-day delivery, so Sam's offers a better deal on same-day grocery delivery.

So, Sam's Club vs. BJ's: Which Is Better?

The basic Sam's Club membership is cheaper, and their everyday prices are consistently lower than BJ’s, which gave them the slight edge in our comparison.

If you factor in the insane value of the Sam’s Club food court offerings, you can save an incredible amount in just one trip. Plus, free shipping for online orders is a huge perk, especially if you don’t want to lug the huge packages of paper towels and toilet paper to your car. 

But Sam’s and BJ’s both offer a comparable rewards program: You can earn up to $500 in both Sam’s Cash and BJ’s rewards in a calendar year.

However, if you love the convenience of curbside pickup, but don’t want to shell out the cash for the higher membership tier, BJ’s could be the right pick for you. (Plus, you can use all those digital coupons to save on the slightly-higher store prices!) 

Another factor to consider is that BJ’s locations are primarily located on the East Coast. If you travel a lot and want to use your membership on vacation, you’ll have more luck finding Sam’s Clubs across the country.

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