If you’re a Sam’s Club member, you might have heard about the travel discounts and deals they offer through their Sam’s Club Travel & Entertainment portal. But does their travel site actually save you money? According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, only 9% of shoppers have booked travel through a big box store like Sam’s Club or BJ’s in the past three years. So if you do decide to make of the Sam’s Club Travel membership benefit, you’ll be among a small group of savvy travel deal hunters.
To help you figure out when (and if) it’s worth a look, we dug into all the details of the Sam’s Club Travel & Entertainment portal. I’ll tell you about the travel offers you’ll find, what you WON’T find, and how it all works.
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1. Sam’s Club travel deals have been around in some form since 2014.
When Sam’s Club Travel portal first launched way back in 2014, the company Tourico Holidays supplied all the travel services. By 2019, they switched to a new partner, Entertainment Benefits Group (EBG), who owns and operates the largest travel and entertainment benefits program in the country. So this isn’t some fly-by-night operation.
Today, the portal offers exclusive travel and entertainment discounts that are not available to the general public.
2. You have to be a Sam’s Club member to access their travel and entertainment deals.
If you’re already a member, it’s definitely worth checking out Sam’s Club Travel if you’re looking for tickets or planning a trip. But don’t join just for the travel deals. The membership fee is $50 per year, and you’ll want to make the most of that fee by shopping their bulk deals, too.
Related: Get the most out of your membership with our 30+ Sam’s Club hacks.
3. The only travel discounts you won’t see? Flights.
When it comes to travel, I bet the first thing that pops into your head is jumping on a plane and jetting off to an amazing destination (at least, that’s what I think of!). While Sam’s Club discounts can definitely help you out with booking hotel rooms, rental cars, and tourist attractions in your chosen city, if you’re on the hunt for discounted airline tickets, you might need to search elsewhere.
It’s important to keep in mind that because you’ll be purchasing items individually through Sam’s Club, you might find that other third-party travel sites or resorts who offer vacation bundles could end up being more cost-effective.
That said, Sam’s Club members can still take advantage of travel and entertainment deals including:
- Admission to theme parks, zoos, and museums: Up to 60% off
- Hotels: Up to 60% off
- Tickets to shows, sporting events, and concerts: Up to 50% off
- Ski resorts: Up to 45% off
- Movie tickets: Up to 40% off
- Rental cars: Up to 25% off
- Preferred Access for hard-to-find event tickets
4. When comparing prices, keep in mind that Sam’s Club only shows the base rate.
It’s important to do an apples-to-apples comparison when you’re trying to decide which travel discount site or app gives you the best deal. That’s why you should know that the price displayed by Sam’s Club isn’t the final price you’ll pay.
As their terms and conditions state, “We do not include taxes, shipping fees, service fees or transaction fees in our price when comparing hotel or rental cars with the supplier’s retail price.”
5. If you have any issues or questions, you can call Sam’s Club directly.
Sam’s Club has customer service representatives to help with any entertainment and travel questions. You can call from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET every day at 1-833-494-SAMS. This is good to know in case you hit some sort of technical snag and prefer to speak to a real person versus a chatbot.
6. Every purchase varies, so make sure you dig into the details.
Depending on the offer, you may get a physical ticket or voucher in the mail, an e-ticket, or have to retrieve your ticket at the box office. Your confirmation email will provide all of the key information you need. In some cases, you’ll need to show your photo ID.
You can also place orders for other people using your Sam’s Club membership. But just be mindful that the credit card holder may need to physically retrieve the item purchased.
Another thing to know: You may not be able to view or choose your specific row or seat for certain shows; instead, you’ll be given a general seating area or category.
Lastly, there are no refunds or exchanges for unused tickets, which is a pretty standard policy for most events.
7. “Preferred Access” and “Preferred Seating” can get you in, but prices may not be competitive.
Sam’s Club Travel’s Preferred Access and Preferred Seating is all about scoring exclusive seats that aren’t available to the general public. When tickets are hard to come by, it’s worth checking out your Sam’s Club Travel and Entertainment page to see if anything is available.
Although you might sometimes get a competitive price on exclusive tickets, with these particular offers, it’s more about access and availability rather than the overall discount.
8. Sam’s Club is just one of many travel deals worth comparing.
A Consumer Reports investigation found that Sam’s Club Travel and Entertainment is actually really strong when it comes to finding great hotel prices. Thanks to their many hotel options, it’s possible to find deeply discounted rates that you won’t find elsewhere.
As far as other offers, it’s more of a mixed bag. For rental cars, Sam’s Club offers discounts from Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty, and National. You could potentially find better offers by using your AAA or AARP membership, or by prepaying for a lower rate, which Sam’s does not offer.
TIP: If you’re a Disney fan, theme park aficionados report that you can get a solid deal through Sam’s Club on park tickets — especially for multi-day visits. Just keep in mind that Disney pricing is all over the place (depending on the day and time of year you visit), and discount offers change frequently. So if you’re planning a trip, it might be a good idea to track prices for a couple of weeks to get a feel for what actually makes a good deal.
9. Always check Sam’s Club Travel before you buy elsewhere.
When you’re looking to purchase tickets, plan a day trip, or book hotels or rental cars, research will almost always result in finding a lower price. If you already have a paid membership, Sam’s Club Travel and Entertainment should definitely be one of the resources that you investigate, along with your credit card travel portals, third-party sites like Travelocity, and membership benefits through AAA or AARP.
Will Sam’s Club prices be cheaper? It depends. Deals and discounts change all the time, so it’s really about snagging the best deal when you see it. You could also take a shot at browsing the Preferred Access section if you’re having trouble finding in-demand concert or event tickets elsewhere. There’s a good chance that if you do find tickets, they’ll cost less than what ticket resale sites like StubHub are offering.
The bottom line: If you’re a Sam’s Club member, definitely check their website, especially when researching hotels and Disney park tickets. You just may find a deal you can’t pass up.