Costco Members: Try Sam’s Club For Free This Week

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past month or twelve, Costco recently switched from an exclusive agreement with American Express to now only accepting Visa.

That’s been a big deal in the credit card world, which I guess is not surprising given the volume of business that Costco does. It has also spilled over into the miles and points world, given how many of us shop at Costco, though savvy OMAAT readers have been able to use whichever credit card they like at Costco for at least a year.

I think Ben alone has posted about the Costco transition about a dozen times in the last month, which is pretty impressive for a guy who has no need for a six-month supply of baby wipes.


Well, it turns out that a guy named Sam is now a little jealous of the attention that his arch-rival Costco is getting. Apparently he’s worried that a few folks have started to think that Costco is the only name in the warehouse club world.

So to try to capture a piece of that buzz, Sam’s Club is effectively honoring Costco memberships as their own through July 4th.

All you need to do is show your Costco card and you can shop just as though you are a Sam’s Club member — no day pass, no added fees, no riding on your neighbor’s credentials, no nothing. It’ll be more or less as though you have a Sam’s Club membership.

My family is pretty loyal to Costco, and there’s a reason we chose Costco in the first place. That said, I think it could be interesting to see what the competition looks like, and you know, shop around a little. I don’t think I’ve personally been in a Sam’s Club in at least a decade. I also figure they carry slightly different products, so it could be a chance to diversify our cereal stockpile.

Sam’s Club is also eligible for 5x points on the Chase Freedom at present, which makes that part easier. The only real downside I can see is that anything we buy at Sam’s instead of Costco will displace the 2% year end rebate we receive as Costco Executive members. So anything we buy at Sam’s that we could have purchased at Costco better be 2% cheaper, or else it’s a bum deal.

But aside from that, I figure it’s a chance to sample the competition, and if your family is like ours, I do mean sample

If you have a Costco membership, will you give Sam’s Club a try at some point over the next week? Any unique products I should keep an eye out for?


  1. Sam’s Club offers a bit more continuity to their products. If you buy something there once, you’ll likely find it again. That’s one of my biggest pet peeves with Costco…I get hooked on something, but it’s gone when I need to buy it again. Sam’s Club does tend to “clearance” out discontinued items, which is great. Those items will usually end in $-.-1.

    The soft pretzels in the food court are scrumptious…try one!

  2. My Sam’s membership just expired last week and I chose not to renew because there’s too much overlap with Costco and Sam’s doesn’t have the outstanding customer service / returns policy that Costco does.

    I got a year of “Plus” membership to Sam’s from Groupon for like $50 which included a $20 gift card and some free stuff (a rotisserie chicken, a big jug of salsa, and a tray of cupcakes, IIRC), which made the membership almost free.

    In my experience, Sam’s has way more “junk” food – an several entire aisles of lunchbox snacks/chips/cookies, and fewer meats, seafoods, and in-store prepared foods than Costco. Sam’s also has more “name brands” (Ore-Ida, Tyson) on things like frozen foods whereas Costco seems to have more of a variety of smaller/regional and house brands. Sam’s does have Pampers though at prices roughly comparable to Amazon. So I’d say Sam’s is worth a look if you have school-age kids that go through a lot of Lays and Chips Ahoy, for example.

  3. I think I saw a post by Penny Hoarder about the price differences at Sams Club, Costco, and BJ’s. They found that overall Sams club is cheaper and Costco was the more expensive place to shop in terms of Membership fees and goods cost.

  4. Word on the street is Sam’s treats their employees like Wal-Mart does, while Costco has a culture of respect and promotion from within. FYI.

    Unfortunately, we only have a Sam’s Club in my area. Personally, I like getting the Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit mix and using one of the fancy extra sharp cheddars from the cheese section to make them. Dee-licious!

  5. Overall Costco is our preferred store, even though it’s always MUCH busier than our nearby Sam’s. Sam’s has better hours. Gas is similarly priced. 2% back on the Executive membership helps Costco, as now does the Citi Costco card. Plus Costco is closer to us and is a right turn out of the lot to get home…

  6. Thanks you but no thank you. Similar to offer a Porsche owner and opportunity to test drive a Dodge for couple days.

  7. As someone else said Living Social has a $25 membership for Sam’s but it also comes with a $10 rebate. That’s why I hate renewing Sam’s automatically – they do this or a Groupon just about every year (usually in the fall though) and if I let my subscription lapse for 30 days I can get the new deal.

  8. Tried Sam’s and it’s buy online and pick up service.
    Entered info at kiosk. Still had to go to service desk, wait, wait again for items to be brought up. Took around 20 minutes which seemed far longer.
    Likely go back to Costco and use Freedom next Three months

  9. They have Nathan’s hotdogs at their food court, but I switched to bratwurst at Costco a while back. There was also single serve ice cream treats that I purchased once in a while. Costco isn’t losing me anytime soon, but I think every retailer needs strong competition to keep them honest!

  10. Loyal Costco member here. I’ve never been in a Sam’s Club. But Costco had that Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit mix last time I looked. It also sells several excellent cheddar cheeses. And fresh wild sockeye salmon is on sale this week at my local store for $10.99/pound!

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