Sam’s Club vs. Costco: Which Offers the Best Sign-up Bonuses for New Members?


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Since the creation of warehouse clubs, two have reigned supreme: Costco and Sam’s Club. Both tout two levels of membership for consumers and both offer sign-up bonuses for customers. So which is the best of the best?

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Let’s compare the sign-up bonuses at both stores and the occasional extra bonuses they offer.


“There are two levels of membership – a Gold Star for $60 per year or an Executive for $120 per year,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at “Both have a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so you can cancel your membership at any time and receive a refund on the cost if you are unhappy with your membership.”

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What sign-up bonuses do these Costco memberships offer?

“As for sign-up bonuses, there will occasionally be promotions where you can get a $20-$30 Costco Shop Card, although you may need to look outside of Costco for these promotions on sites like Groupon,” Ramhold said. “That said, certain professions may earn Costco Shop Cards with new member enrollment and auto-renewal enrollment, including military, students, first responders, teachers, government employees, and professionals. of health.”

sam’s club

“There are also two levels of Sam’s Club membership: a Club level for $45 per year or Plus for $100 per year. Like Costco, the most expensive Plus membership has the most benefits and also offers a satisfaction guarantee. So if you don’t like the subscription, you can get the cost refunded at any time,” Ramhold said.

Ramhold added that Sam’s Club will occasionally offer $45 in instant savings when you sign up as a new member, making the basic level of the Club completely free for one year.

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How to save on subscriptions at Costco and Sam’s Club

“Honestly, the best way to save on a warehouse club membership will be to pick the most expensive one,” Ramhold said.

“It might seem counterintuitive, but since both warehouse clubs offer 2% cash back on qualifying purchases, if you shop around enough, you can actually pay for another year of your membership with your cash back earnings. silver. Other than that though, definitely take advantage of the discounts based on your profession and look for extra savings through sites like Groupon, although these may be like the ones mentioned above and more of a sign-on bonus rather than savings. real.

What these memberships get you

A mouth-watering sign-up bonus is one thing, but what do those warehouse club memberships really get you?

“It largely depends on the membership tier you choose, but unsurprisingly the basic tiers offer fewer benefits,” Ramhold said. “For example, at Costco, the basic level offers the possibility of shopping in clubs and online as well as 2 membership cards and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.”

Executive Membership offers more, however – a 2% annual reward up to $1,000 on eligible Costco and Costco Travel purchases, “plus discounts on Costco services like optical, pharmacy, fuel, the tire center and more, plus all the benefits of the base level,” said Ramhold.

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Sam’s Club works the same way as Costco.

“Sam’s Club Basic Level offers instant savings, 1% cash back at Sam’s Club with a Sam’s Club Mastercard, fuel savings, tire and battery center, free membership for one person in your fireplace and the ability to add memberships at a slightly discounted rate,” Ramhold said. “The Plus tier offers Sam’s Cash in the form of 2% back on qualifying purchases up to $500 per year free online or in-app delivery, free curbside pickup, pharmacy savings, optical savings, instant savings, 3% back at Sam’s Club with the aforementioned Mastercard, plus the rest of the tier benefits basic.

Why Warehouse Memberships Are Worth It

At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, how are these memberships really earning you money? It’s all in the pricing structure.

“Warehouse clubs allow members to buy items at wholesale prices, so it’s often a much better unit price than buying elsewhere,” Ramhold said. “Because of this, the savings usually add up to a point where the membership is essentially paid for itself in a short time – and if that’s not the case or you’re not happy with it, you can cancel at any time and have your membership refunded.

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