Sam’s Club is Raising Its Membership Prices This October

It’s now been nearly three years since I first became a Sam’s Club member. In that time, I’ve gone from wondering if warehouse club shopping made sense for a couple to relying on the store (as well as EveryPlate) for the majority of our meals. Plus, the store was a lifesaver during the early days of the pandemic when buying in bulk and using Scan-and-Pay made a lot of sense. However, it looks as though our next membership renewal — which hits on Christmas Day for us, funny enough — will come at a slightly higher cost.

This week, Sam’s Club sent out an email to members informing them that it was raising prices for both of its membership tiers effective October 17th. Now, the regular Club membership will come at a cost of $50 a year (up from $45), while the Plus membership will go from the current $100 a year up to $110 a year. Apparently, this is the first time in nine years that the price of the Club membership has increased, while the Plus hasn’t gone up since its introduction way back in 1999.

In a bid to soften the blow for current members, the email states that customers will have some Sam’s Cash applied to their accounts shortly after their next renewal. Club members will receive $5 Sam’s Cash while those renewing at the Plus level will get $10 in Sam’s Cash. If you’re doing the math, yes, these rebates are meant to effectively give loyal members one more year at their current rate.

By the way, this news had me take a closer look at what the Plus membership entails to see if it made sense for us. While the membership site lists several additional perks, the one that stood out to me was the ability to earn 2% back on eligible purchases (up to $500 back per year). Rather than guess as to whether or not we spent enough at Sam’s to make this benefit worth it to us, I found that I could actually download a CSV spreadsheet of our Sam’s Club purchases for the year so far. Then, by adding a couple of formulas to the spreadsheet, I learned that… nope. Currently, that 2% back would have amounted to about $30 — so still well below the additional $55 a year we’d have to pay in the first place.

Back to the matter at hand, if you were going to join Sam’s Club and wanted to beat this rate hike, you do have until October 17th. Even better, I did notice that Rakuten has an offer where you can get $45 back on your first in-club purchase after buying a new membership (in addition to cashback you’ll earn on Rakuten itself). On that note, even after that rate increase hits, I suspect you’ll still be able to find deals that will help offset the cost of that initial membership fee.

Obviously no one enjoys paying more for something. But, truth be told, it’s quite unlikely that this $5 increase is really going to impact whether or not I stick with Sam’s Club. If anything, with Costco now finally in Springfield, it would be a hop to that store that would pull us away from Sam’s (although the Sam’s location is still significantly closer to our apartment). In any case, if you do want to join Sam’s Club, doing so in the next month may be in your best interest.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com.

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