One of the best ways to use Sam’s Club is to buy things in bulk that you’ll use eventually. That lets you save a ton of money over the course of the year by cutting out trips to the store for a single non-perishable item or two. The membership fees are very reasonable, and you’ll definitely save more than your membership costs.
What We Like
We like the huge number of options at Sam’s Club. The store has something for everyone, no matter what you’re shopping for. That makes Sam’s Club a great option for anything from groceries to electronics. Sam’s Club’s innovative business model helps them reduce the cost of goods for consumers, which means you can get the items you need and want at a far lower price than you’d find at another store. We’ve also found that prices at Sam’s Club tend to be lower than the prices you get at competitive stores like Cost Co. That’s why our choice between Sam’s Club and Cost Co goes to Sam’s Club.
In the United States, warehouse clubs remain popular among millions of consumers. Over 100 million consumers hold a membership to this type of retailer. Most warehouse clubs provide bulk pricing on everything from food to clothing and more. Plenty of locations provide other services and amenities to members as well. For an annual fee, members obtain exclusive access to savings and other membership features. It's not difficult to see why Americans love membership warehouse clubs and what they offer.
The average warehouse club sells products and services to members. Individual members can complete their grocery shopping at these locations with ease. Likewise, they can purchase household items and electronics with exclusive member pricing. Warehouse clubs tend to push the buy-in-bulk philosophy to help consumers save money long term. Pricing is more competitive on a per-unit basis with bulk prices after all. Plenty of shoppers like buying everything they need for weeks at a time in a single trip.
However, warehouse clubs provide other amenities and services, too. Food courts, delis, pharmacies, and other amenities are common at most club locations. A number of clubs may feature tire and maintenance centers as well. On top of that, club membership comes with other perks as well, including car buying assistance and even concierge services. Warehouse clubs continue to expand their amenities and extra perks to entice consumers into signing up for a membership on an annual basis.
In the United States, consumers can choose from three main warehouse clubs. This includes Costco, Sam's Club, and BJ's Wholesale Club. Each one comes with its own membership perks and selection of goods and services. Unfortunately, BJ's Wholesale Club operates most of its locations in the Eastern United States with no Western presence. Most Americans will find a Sam's Club or Costco within driving distance, though. Both warehouse clubs share some similarities, but they're not the exact same.
Deciding between Costco and Sam's Club can prove a difficult challenge. For some consumers, proximity to one option and not the other dictates membership choice. Others may find both warehouse clubs right down the street, and then the decision becomes more difficult. The differences between these two warehouse clubs are more nuanced than some might believe. For that reason, consumers should take the time to consider their membership choice before committing to one or the other, or even both.
Here's a quick breakdown of Sam's Club versus Costco:
A Breakdown of Membership Fees Between Both Companies
In most comparison areas, consumers will want to consider value rather than straight price. That's not the case with membership fees, though. It's all about the price when it comes to comparing the cost of entry for 365 days per year. The membership itself provides a lot of value, but the membership fee costs a fixed priced. Fortunately, both warehouse clubs offer multiple membership options to suit a consumer's needs. Pricing is similar across membership tiers, although there's a clear winner here.
Costco's base membership is the “Gold Star” or “Business” membership. Both memberships cost $60 and provide the same features to members. Unsurprisingly, one is designed for individual consumers, and the other is designed for business owners. A $120 “Executive” membership is available that covers an entire household for entry to Costco locations and provides a 2% cashback reward at the end of each membership year. All three memberships provide similar perks aside from the 2% cashback bonus check.
At Sam's Club, potential members will pay $45 for “Sam's Saving” or “Business” memberships. These memberships come with the same distinctions as Costco's basic two membership options. The “Plus” membership provides cashback of $10 for every $500 spent with a $500 annual cap. Also, Business and Plus members can access early shopping hours, which allows them into the store before regular business hours to shop. That's a major perk that potential members won't want to forget about.
When it comes to membership fees, Sam's Club beats Costco by a noticeable margin. A basic membership at Sam's Club costs $15 less per year than at Costco. Similarly, an enhanced membership is $20 cheaper per year at Sam's Club compared to Costco. That might not seem like much money, but consumers focused solely on price have a clear choice. It costs less to enter a Sam's club every day for a year than it does to enter a Costco. Such pricing differences will matter to a portion of prospective members.
A Look At Total Number of Locations For Each Warehouse Club
As of early 2018, Costco operates 518 locations in the United States alone. Sam's Club operates 597 stores across the country. We have another clear winner when it comes to sheer number of locations. Then again, it's important to remember that these stores are spread out across the country. One city might feature one warehouse club and not the other, and vice versa. Club availability and proximity to a given consumer make a difference. Sam's Club is slightly more likely to be near one's home, though.
Hours of Operation Between The Two Companies
Next we'll take a look at hours of operation between Sam's Club and Costco. A given member will want to access their warehouse club of choice at different times. With that in mind, longer operating hours ensure that more members can access a location. Nothing is worse than short operating hours, but thankfully neither warehouse club tries to keep the doors closed for extended periods of time. Operating hours are somewhat standardized, but a given location might vary somewhat here.
Costco Hours of Operation
- Monday Through Friday: 10:00 AM to 8:30 PM
- Saturday: 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM
- Sunday: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Sam's Club Hours of Operation
- Monday Through Friday: 10:00 AM to 8:30 PM
- Saturday: 9:00 AM to 8:30 PM
- Sunday: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Sam's Club stays open a little bit longer than Costco on Saturdays. Otherwise, the two warehouse clubs provide similar operating hours at first glance. Then members must consider the “early shopping hours” provided by Sam's Club for Plus and Business members. Most locations provide these early shopping hours from 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM on weekdays and 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM on Saturdays. Without a doubt, this added perk helps give Sam's Club another edge over Costco by giving members more time to come and shop.
Services and Amenities Provided By Each Warehouse Club
As previously mentioned, both Sam's Club and Costco provide members with added amenities and services. Most locations include a pharmacy, optical/hearing center, in-store food court, and photo center. Tire and maintenance centers, business services, travel concierge, auto-buying programs, and insurance services are commonly available as well. In a strange twist, all of these features are found at both warehouse clubs, and most services provided are quite similar to each other at first glance.
It's difficult to pick a winner in the amenities and services comparison, so we'll call this one a tie. A given company might excel in certain amenities and services. Regardless, the overall selection is identical across the two clubs, though. Members will have access to a wide variety of services and amenities at either warehouse club. Whether one provides better services than the other is a matter of anecdotal evidence, and you can't go wrong with so many service options at each location.
Sam's Club Versus Costco: Item Selection
Officially, Costco says the average warehouse club under its banner stocks 4,000 unique product SKUs. Sam's Club doesn't provide an official number; anecdotal evidence suggests its clubs carry well over 4,000 SKUs per warehouse. The thinking behind a limited selection for Costco allows the company to offer higher quality products. Sam's Club approaches the matter by maximizing quantity without necessarily hurting quality. Either way, there's a clear winner on sheer number of SKUs in each location.
Sam's Club Versus Costco: Item Price
An apples to apples pricing comparison is hard to acquire for Sam's Club and Costco. Both warehouses stock a large selection of items, and they're not always identical. Differences in quantities and sizes of products can make comparison difficult. In the pricing arena, Costco does offer its Kirkland Signature label of products. Kirkland Signature items are often priced competitively with a focus on quality that's difficult to surpass. Sam's Club tends to stock brand name items that cost a lot, too.
This slight different in approach to inventory might give Costco a slight edge in pricing. Still, consumers value different things when it comes to buying decisions. Some consumers will love Costco's private label Kirkland Signature products, and others will prefer the brand names provided by Sam's Club. Individual members will have a difference of opinion here, and it's hard to make a definitive call. For us, Costco maintains a slight edge in pricing but only in anecdotal fashion.
Sam's Club Versus Costco: Item Quality
Quality is somewhat subjective, but we'll do our best to provide some insight. Costco tends to push its Kirkland Signature brand, which is always a high quality offering. Also, the company opts for organic items whenever possible, while meats contain no antibiotics. Costco pushes for high quality, organic or GMO-free items whenever possible, and this commitment is something that many consumers appreciate. Various brands from lesser known companies are sold at Costco to keep quality high.
On the other hand, Sam's Club tends to prioritize popular name brands above all else. Most of these brands offer high quality products to some degree. Those same products are often overpriced as well, though. For better or worse, Sam's Club doesn't prioritize organic or healthier options for its products. Not all consumers will enjoy that fact, but others will prioritize a name brand over all else. Those consumers will prefer Sam's Club because they know exactly what they're buying in stores.
The quality battle isn't nearly as difficult to call as the pricing battle. In this arena, Costco beats Sam's Club in item quality. Overall Costco prioritizes healthier and more environmentally responsible products for its warehouse club members. Sam's Club sticks to name brands, but name brand isn't everything these days. Of course, quality will vary from product to product, and each consumer has different preferences. We're not going to argue against Costco in this category.
Returns at Costco Versus Returns at Sam's Club
Both warehouse clubs feature incredibly generous return policies. Members can return most items within a specified time frame. However, many locations will take returns beyond their return window, and that's the case at both warehouse clubs. If a member experiences issues with a given product, they'll likely be able to return it for a full refund. Surprisingly enough, this often includes membership fees! Costco wins here for sticking fewer items than Sam's Clubs into its non-returnable items list.
Payment Methods Between The Two Warehouse Clubs
Simply put, Sam's Club accepts more payment methods than Costco at the moment. Cash, check, EBT, and all major branded debit and credit cards work at Sam's Club. Costco is limited to cash, check, EBT, and Visa-branded credit and debit cards. Depending on how a customer prefers to pay, one warehouse club might make more sense than another. It's hard to argue that Sam's Club doesn't provide the most options for its members. Don't forget that Costco used to accept only American Express credit cards!
Sam's Club Versus Costco: Credit Card Perks
Speaking of credit cards, both warehouse clubs offer their own branded credit cards. Each card comes with its own set of perks and rewards. The Costco Anywhere Visa will double as a Costco membership card and comes with a 0$ annual fee. On top of that, cardholders receive 4% cashback on gas purchases at all gas stations. Members receive 3% back at restaurants, 2% back at Costco and Costco.com, and 1% back on all other purchases. Those cashback percentages are quite competitive to other credit cards.
The Sam's Club Mastercard acts as a membership card with a 0$ annual fee as well. Cardholders can receive a hefty 5% cashback on all gas purchases. From there, they receive 3% cashback on dining and travel as well as 1% cashback on other purchases. Cashback on gas purchases at 5% is capped at $6,000 per year, downsizing to 1% on all amounts beyond that threshold. Costco's card comes with a similar limitation for gas, providing 4% on a maximum of $7,000 spent each year on purchases for fuel.
We're going to declare Costco the winner here for one reason and one reason only. The company's Visa credit card gives 2% back at Costco locations and Costco.com. On the flip side, Sam's Club doesn't provide an increased cashback bonus for purchases at its locations or on its website. That minor difference makes Costco better for its branded credit card holders compared to those with the Sam's Club Mastercard. Some members may still prefer the increased cashback on gas from the Sam's Club credit card, though.
How Does Each Company Treat Its Employees Today?
Employee satisfaction may not mean much to the members of these warehouse clubs. Nonetheless, it's important to take a look at these factors. Costco tends to provide higher starting and continuing wages for its employees. Employees tend to work fewer hours at Costco because the locations aren't open as long as Sam's Club locations. At Sam's Club, workers get fewer holidays off as well. Long-term benefits like stock matching and healthcare are similar on the surface between the two companies.
Without getting into too much detail, we're going to declare Costco the winner here. Employee satisfaction generally seems to be higher at Costco locations. A higher wage and more company holidays throughout the year make a difference for many workers. Undoubtedly, both warehouse clubs feature satisfied workers, but Costco seems to go above and beyond to provide its employees with excellent working conditions. Potential members should at least consider these factors before purchasing a membership.
Sam's Club Versus Costco: The Final Verdict On Which One Is Warehouse Club King
After looking at all the factors, Costco and Sam's Club don't seem as similar as they did at the start. Both warehouse clubs provide consumers with an affordable membership that contains plenty of perks and savings opportunities. The slight differences among the two warehouse clubs means they each trade off victories in different comparison areas. Despite that fact, both warehouse clubs feature a similar number of warehouses, fairly similar operating hours, and even similar membership fees.
Costco and Sam's Club tend to differ in overall item selection and quality. The latter is a subjective matter that varies from consumer to consumer. In the end, Costco does tend to feature a better reputation when it comes to quality and member satisfaction. Results will vary for each member, but you can't go wrong with either warehouse club membership. The simple fact remains that some people hold a membership to both warehouse clubs to take advantage of everything that each offers to its members!
Both companies continue to make marked improvements in their warehouse clubs each year. Membership fees don't rise too often, but the list of perks and features of each membership continues to expand. For these reasons, you can't go wrong with either a Sam's Club or Costco membership. Various consumers will praise one membership over the other, but each consumer will realize a different measure of value from a particular membership. Costco is right for some, and Sam's Club is right for others.
If you're not comfortable purchasing membership, you can always look at Walmart deals instead.
Sam’s Club was founded in 1983 and was named after Walmart’s founder, Sam Walton. It is a retail warehouse that offers significant savings to their members on popular grocery and household items. If you are considering getting a membership to Sam’s Club, you may have a few questions about how it all works. Below are answers to some of the common questions about obtaining and using a Sam’s Club membership.
Cost of a Sam’s Club Membership
One of the main considerations of obtaining a Sam’s Club membership is the cost of the membership itself. If you are considering getting a membership to Sam’s Club, it helps to know exactly how much it will cost. Below are some of the questions you may have about obtaining a membership to this popular membership-only retail warehouse.
How much does a Sam's Club membership cost?
Sam’s Club is a warehouse store that sells items at a discounted price. The cost of a membership to Sam’s Club is $45. This amount is paid on a yearly basis.
How much is a Sam's Club membership 2018?
As of December 2018, the cost of a Sam’s Club membership is priced at $45 and is calculated on a yearly basis. Shoppers wishing to buy goods at Sam’s Club will need to have a membership card.
Sam’s Club Membership Expiration
If you have a Sam’s Club membership, you may be curious about when it expires or about how to cancel it. After obtaining your Sam’s Club membership, you may find that it no longer works for your needs or fits your lifestyle shopping requirements. Below are answers to some of the questions you may have about having a Sam’s Club membership and canceling it.
How to cancel Sam's Club membership?
In the event that you would like to cancel your Sam’s Club membership, you will need to contact customer service by calling them at 1(888) 746-7726 and informing them that you would like to cancel.
Does Sam's Club membership automatically renew?
Yes, Sam’s Club membership automatically renews. You can avoid this by canceling the auto-renewal by calling customer service and requesting that they cancel the auto-renewal on your account.
How to cancel Sam's Club membership online?
To cancel Sam’s Club membership online, visit the website at www.samsclub.com. Then you will need to select Member Services and follow the prompts to completely cancel your membership.
When does Sam's Club membership expire?
After your Sam’s Club membership has been activated, the account will expire by the 12-month anniversary. Unless you opt out, your membership is set to auto-renew for another 12 months.
How often do you renew your Sam's Club membership?
You will only need to renew your Sam’s Club membership once every 12 months. A Sam’s Club membership is good for an entire year after the original activation date.
Getting a Sam’s Club Membership
Learning about the best ways to get a Sam’s Club Membership can be helpful if you are considering taking out a membership to this retail warehouse. Prior to obtaining a membership to Sam’s Club, it helps to learn where you can get your Sam’s Club membership simply and efficiently.
How to get a Sam's Club membership?
You can get a Sam’s Club membership at any Sam’s Club membership location in the United States. Once you visit a Sam’s Club location, you will be able to get a membership card at their member services desk.
Can you get a Sam's Club membership at the store?
Yes, you can obtain a Sam’s Club membership by visiting the local Sam’s Club store and obtaining a membership card. Once you pay the fee, your membership card will be active immediately.
How to get a Sam's Club membership for free?
After paying for your membership, if you try out the service and you are not satisfied with it, you can always request a refund. In this way, you would have the experience of a Sam’s Club membership free of charge.
How to get a Sam's Club business membership?
You can sign up for a Sam’s Club business membership online at www.samsclub.com. You can also request a Sam’s Club business membership in person at any store location.
Shopping at Sam’s Club
Whether you are a Sam’s Club member or you have been considering getting a Sam’s Club membership, it helps to know what shopping there entails. If you have questions about shopping at Sam’s Club or you are wondering how to go about it, it helps to read below to find out more about what the process involves.
Do you need a membership to shop at Sam's Club?
Yes, in order to shop at Sam’s Club, you will need to have a membership. You can also accompany someone who has their own membership and have them complete the checkout process for you.
Can you shop at Sam's Club without a membership?
Yes, you can shop at Sam’s Club without using a membership card, however, your purchases will be subject to a 10% surcharge. You can also shop at Sam’s Club online as an alternative to shopping in the store.
Can you go to Sam's Club without a membership?
Yes, you can go to Sam’s Club without a membership and you will have the option of signing up for their one-day trial pass which will allow you to get some of the great prices that members can access.
General Sam’s Club Membership Questions
You might have general questions about what it means to have a Sam’s Club membership and what is involved in the process. If you are wondering how to get a Sam’s Club membership or whether a membership is even worth it, the answers below will prove helpful.
How many Sam's Club cards per membership?
Each Sam’s Club membership will also include a complimentary card that can be used by another primary member of the household. This card operates just like the primary card does.
Is a Sam's Club membership worth it?
Sam’s Club offers access to items and grocery store merchandise that would normally be available at a higher price. This makes the membership a great deal especially for shoppers who buy in bulk. Depending on what you need though you may be able to find similar deals elsewhere like the Amazon Lightning deal offers for example. Just do some comparing to see what works best for you.
What is a Sam's Club Plus membership?
A Sam's Plus Membership allows members to earn $10 on Cash Rewards for every $500 that is spent in qualifying pre-tax purchases. There is a maximum reward of $500 for each 12-month membership period.
Can I add someone to my Sam's Club membership?
Sam’s Club members can add up to 8 add-on members for an additional fee. Each membership is accompanied by an additional, complimentary card that can be given to another household member.
Can you share Sam's Club membership?
No, a membership card cannot be transferred to another member since the membership cards are non-transferrable. The membership cards are available for individuals who are 18 years and older.
Do Walmart employees get Sam's Club membership?
Walmart employees do not automatically get a Sam’s Club membership, however, they do get a discount on the overall price of a Sam’s Club membership which allows them to become a member for less.
How do I find my Sam's Club membership number?
You can find the number to your Sam’s Club membership by looking at the back of your membership card. You can also find your number by checking your online account.
How many cards for a Sam's Club membership?
Each Sam’s Club membership card comes with one additional card that can be given to another household member who is 18 years and older. The membership allows for the purchase of add-on cards.
How long is a Sam's Club membership?
A Sam’ Club membership is good for an entire 12-month long period. After this time, the membership will expire and then it will automatically renew unless the member cancels the auto renewal.
Can I use my Sam's Club membership in Mexico?
Yes, you are able to use your Sam’s Club membership card overseas which includes Mexico. You will simply need to present your Sam’s Club membership by showing the card to the cashier.
Costco is an American based corporation that sells grocery items, alcohol, and other products in a warehouse setting. The products are offered at a discounted price for individuals who sign up for a membership. There are different membership levels available to choose from based on your personal needs. Below are answers to some common questions about the Costco membership program.
Obtaining a Costco Membership & The Cost
One of the first things you will want to know when you are considering obtaining a Costco membership is how much the membership costs. You may also want to find out exactly how to obtain a Costco membership. The answers below will provide you with insight into how you can get a Costco membership as well as how much it will cost you.
How much does a Costco membership cost?
To become a Costco member, you will have to pay a fee of $60 or pay $120 for an executive membership. The fee only needs to be paid once every year.
Is a Costco membership worth it?
The benefits of a Costco membership are many and include convenience and savings. However, if you prefer to buy just enough for each week, you may not benefit from having a Costco membership.
How to get a Costco membership?
Most people prefer to visit their local Costco location and sign up for a membership in person. However, you can also sign up online by selecting the membership of your choice and adding it to your cart.
How to get Costco membership free?
The best way to get a Costco membership virtually for free is to use the discounts on products and food. Eventually, your savings on high ticket items like tires will definitely offset the cost of your membership.
How much is a Costco membership per year?
Costco membership fees are priced at $60 for a Goldstar membership while executive memberships are priced at $120. This price is paid annually and allows the member to buy anything in their local Costco store.
How much is a Costco executive membership?
The price of a Costco executive membership has been set at $120. This amount is paid once every year and the benefits allow businesses to shop at their local Costco locations.
Shopping At Costco or Sam's Club Without a Membership
Some people are curious about how they can shop at Costco without having to pay for a membership. It’s true that the cost of a membership at Costco is a significant investment. This makes it necessary to think carefully about the cost of a membership prior to making the choice to obtain your membership with Costco.
How to shop at Costco without a membership?
To shop with Costco without paying for a membership, you will be limited to shopping at the online store. However, your purchases are subject to a 5% surcharge when you shop online.
Can you shop at Costco without a membership?
If you would like to shop at Costco without a membership, you can accompany someone who does have a membership at Costco. This would allow you to obtain your desired items.
Do you need a membership to shop at Costco?
One way to shop at Costco without a membership is by shopping with a service like Google Express or Instacart. These services will allow you to get your grocery items delivered from Costco.
Do you need a Costco membership to buy tires?
Yes, you will need a Costco membership in order to buy tires from them. The membership will allow you to get a lifetime warranty and free tire rotation services as well. Its easy to buy online tires though their website.
Do you need a Costco membership to buy gas?
Not all Costco locations have gas stations, however, the ones that do will require the purchaser to swipe their Costco membership cards in order to fully complete their gas purchase.
Can you buy alcohol at Costco without a membership?
Some states prohibit stores from requiring a membership for alcohol purchases. In the states where this is illegal, shoppers can obtain alcohol from their local Costco location without a membership.
Can you buy glasses or contacts at Sam's without a membership?
No you have to have a membership for this service. However if you're trying to save money you can find a discount contact lenses coupon and shop online elsewhere.
Can you buy computers and printer supplies at Sam's Club?
Yes you can. You can also use their online portal to buy these things. Some people say they find the cheapest printer ink at Sam's Club for example.
Costco Membership Expiration & Cancellation
Once you have your membership, you may be wondering whether or not it is worth the investment. If you decide that you no longer want your Costco membership, then you will need to take the necessary steps to cancel it. Below are answers to some of the common questions you might have about your Costco membership expiration and cancellation.
How to cancel Costco membership?
A Costco membership can be canceled over the phone by calling 1-800-774-2678. Follow along with the various prompts to get to the option which will enable you to compete canceling the membership.
Is Costco executive membership worth it?
Executive members receive a 2% annual cash back on their membership. In order to recoup the cost of the executive membership which is $120, executive members would have to spend over $2,000 annually.
When does my Costco membership expire?
You can find out when your Costco membership expires if you have a Costco.com account. Navigate to My Account and select ‘Renew Membership’ in order to find your renewal date.
How to check if Costco membership is still active?
If you are unsure about whether or not your Costco membership has expired, you can find out by contacting the main customer service number and speaking to a representative about your account.
How to renew Costco membership?
You can easily renew your Costco membership in person at any Costco location, by calling the customer service number, or by visiting Costco.com and choosing ‘My Account.’
Can I renew my Costco membership online?
Yes, you can renew your membership online when you visit the website at https://costco.com. You will then need to select the ‘My Account’ tab and then choose to renew your membership. You may also want to take a look at saving money apps that can help you find more deals.
General Costco Membership Questions
During the course of having your Costco membership, you may have specific questions that arise. Below are answers to some of the most common questions you may have about using your membership cards or about how many people can access one Costco membership.
How many people can be on a Costco membership?
Each Costco membership allows for an additional household card which can be shared with a spouse or domestic partner. However, on each shopping trip, you can bring up to two people.
Does my US Costco membership work in Mexico?
Yes, the US Costco membership card can be used internationally. This means that you can definitely use your card while traveling to Mexico. Simply present your membership card at checkout like you would at a US store.
Is Costco membership monthly?
The cost of a Costco membership is calculated on a monthly basis. The cost of a gold individual membership is $60 annually while an executive membership is priced at $120.
Does Costco have a trial membership?
No, Costco does not have a trial membership where you can shop using a one-time free trial or day pass. However, you can go with a member and have them complete your checkout with their membership card.
How do I find my Costco membership number?
Each Costco membership card has a 12-digit number on the back which is the Costco membership number. If you have misplaced your card, you can contact customer service to find out the number.
Can you dropship with Costco?
Some people on Quora say they do with something called Importify. If this is for your business you could also use dropshipping companies for your products.