Membership stores such as Sam’s Club and Costco can be intimidating at first. There’s the personal financial quandary of whether to pay the annual membership fee if you don’t know what the store has to offer in the first place.
Is it Necessary to Get a Membership?
If you’re unfamiliar with membership warehouse stores, you might wonder, “Can you go to Sam’s Club without a membership?”
Yes, you do need a membership to make the majority of purchases at Sam’s Club.
However, Sam’s Club is required by law to provide certain specialty departments to anyone, member or not.
You do not need a Sam’s Club membership to shop in the following locations:
The Liquor Shop
The Food Court
Don’t let the fact that you don’t have a membership deter you from taking advantage of the great deals offered by these specific departments.
Fill your prescriptions and then head to the food court for some cheap eats.
Everything else, on the other hand, will require you to leap through a few hoops.
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What is the Cost of a Sam’s Club Membership?
Sam’s Club has two membership options.
Club: An annual membership in the Club costs $45 USD.
Plus: The Plus membership is $100 per year.
It includes extra benefits such as 2% cashback on qualifying purchases up to $500 per year.
They also include Free shipping, additional pharmacy, and optical savings.
As long as they live in the same household as the primary cardholder, you can add one complimentary cardholder to either type of membership account.
A secondary cardholder must also be at least 18 years old.
Add-On Members: For $40 per person, per year, you can add up to 8 extra members to the Club membership and up to 16 to the Plus membership.
How can I shop at Sam’s Club if I don’t have a membership?
There’s something enticing about getting great deals on bulk items at Sam’s Club and Costco.
However, many people struggle with the decision of whether to invest in an annual membership.
Sam’s Club used to provide one-day guest membership passes and open houses for those interested in trying out their membership.
Unfortunately, they have discontinued the one-day guest pass and open houses.
Whatever the case, there are clever ways to gain free access to the Sam’s Club warehouse all year.
Here’s what you need to know to get started.
1. Take Advantage of the 90-Day Free Trial.
Sam’s Club no longer provides one-day guest membership passes.
But they do now provide a better free 90-day trial membership to new members.
If you have not been a member in the previous 6 months, then it’s for you.
The 90-day free trial includes all the benefits of a paid club membership.
And you can use it right away after signing up in-store or online.
You can also add a free cardholder (someone in your household) to your 90-day trial.
If you decide the membership isn’t worth the money, simply cancel before the 90-day trial period ends.
Please keep in mind that if you cancel your trial membership before the 90-day period is up, you forfeit your benefits.
2. Shop at an Open House
Throughout the year, Sam’s Club host open house events where non-members are welcome to shop at the warehouse.
The best way to stay up to date on upcoming open houses is to sign up for email alerts from Sam’s.
You can follow them on Facebook, as they always let people know ahead of time when they plan an open house.
3. Join Sam’s Club as an Add-On Member
If someone in your household is a Sam’s Club member, they can add you as a complimentary add-on member to their account.
So you can get member prices in stores or online without paying the 10% non-member service fee.
It’s worth noting that each additional member now costs $40.
So there are only $5 savings over purchasing your own separate “Club” membership.
You can also shop with a Sam’s Club member and pay them back – or even split the membership fee.
It appears to be a bit of a hassle, but it is a possibility.
4. Buy Online at SamsClub.com
Non-members can still shop online at SamsClub.com.
But they will charge them a 10% surcharge for non-member online purchases.
Before going this route, double-check that the item you want to buy is still a good deal after being charged 10% more.
In general, large appliances and electronics may be more valuable online due to the significant savings even after the surcharge.
Paying the surcharge on smaller items may cancel out the savings.
If you’re making a large purchase from their site and aren’t a member,
Consider asking a friend or family member who is a member to do it for you.
5. Earn Cash Rewards that will Cover the Cost of your Membership
Okay, before you scream, this last tip does require you to purchase a membership.
But it could easily allow you to get it for free in the end.
It works by signing up for a Sam’s Club Plus membership ($100/year) and earning 2% cashback on all purchases.
If you spend $420 per month on average, the 2% back will easily cover the cost of your membership.
While that number may appear large, if you buy all of your groceries and household items for your family at Sam’s, it is fairly easy to achieve.
Is Getting a Refund on my Sam’s Club membership Possible?
Yes. If you purchase an annual membership and are unhappy with the benefits, you can request a refund.
Sam’s Club will cancel your membership and refund your membership fee for the current year.
Please keep in mind that it only entitles you to one Plus membership refund per member or business per year.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I go to Sam’s Club Without a Membership?
The guest pass allows you to shop at Sam’s Club without a membership, but there is a 10% service fee.
2. Can I Shop at Sam’s Club Online if I’m not a Member?
Non-members can still shop online at SamsClub.com, but they will charge them a 10% surcharge for non-member online purchases.
3. Can You Get a Day Pass to Sam’s club?
The Sam’s Club One Day trial pass will get you in, but if you buy anything, they will charge you a 10% service fee on your purchases.
4. How Much is Sam’s Club Card?
$45 a year.
5. Is Sam’s Club Membership Only $8 Right Now?
Sam’s Club’s $8 membership is a reintroduction of a deal that debuted in January 2022.
6. Is it Cheaper to Shop at Sam’s Club or Walmart?
Consider Sam’s Club to be a bulk membership club (which it is) and Walmart to be a store that offers low-cost items to everyone—including shipping and pickup.
7. How Long Does the $8 Sam’s Club Membership Last?
From June 17 to June 26, Sam’s Club is offering annual memberships for $8 for a limited time only.
As you can see, you don’t have to be a Sam’s Club member to test the waters and try the warehouse club’s membership benefits.
But experiencing true savings as a non-member may be more difficult than you thought.
With the current offer of “free” membership, it may be worthwhile to give it a shot.
After all, if you’re not satisfied, you can always get a refund.
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