Don't Miss These Perks of Costco and Sam's Club Membership

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Sam's Club
Ken Wolter/shutterstock

Warehouse Club Perks

To make the most of a Sam's Club or Costco membership, smart shoppers partake in more than bargains on bulk merchandise — wholesale clubs offer members a host of free services and deals. Some, like the free samples, are a downright essential part of the shopping experience — and a massive free-samples event coming up at Sam's Club will likely help do its part to cement shoppers' loyalty. Here are some of the many perks of warehouse club membership, whether you shop at Sam's or Costco. Not a member? You can apply here for Costco and here for Sam's Club.

Related: I Shopped at Costco for the First Time and This Is What I Learned

Sam's Club samples
Sam's Club

Free Samples

No discussion of member perks would be complete without mentioning free samples. While some stores shut down the practice during the pandemic, the option to try before you buy is back and all but compulsory, given that most food items at warehouse clubs are available only in bulk. Sampling the goods is also a way to discover products (which, of course, is the store's goal).   

Related: Food Court Showdown: Costco vs. Sam's Club

Technical Support

Tech Support

Costco members who have questions about setting up or using a TV, home theater, digital music player, camera, or computer bought at a warehouse club can rely on free tech support by phone. The service can be found from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. PST daily (excluding holidays).

Related: Costco Mistakes That Could Cost You

Tire Rotation
Cholesterol Medication

Cheap Prescriptions

Although many states require warehouse clubs to fill prescriptions for non-members, you have to be a member to participate in Costco's prescription discount program. People who hold a premium Sam's Club membership also can get 10 common generic drugs for free (in most states) and 600-plus others for $10 or less. 

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Satisfaction Guarantees

Satisfaction Guarantees

Costco and Sam's Club promise to refund the membership fee for customers who are not satisfied. They set no time limit for returns of most merchandise, with the exception of electronics. Sam's Club's Freshness Guarantee allows for a full refund plus replacement of fresh produce, meat, and baked goods, or double your money back.

Related: Products Costco Will Take Back That Are a Pain to Return Anywhere Else


Hearing Tests

Both wholesale clubs offer select hearing aid services. Members can make appointments for complimentary hearing tests and free hearing aid checkups. Costco includes hearing aid cleaning and adjustments for free. Sam's Club also offers free screenings, plus hearing-aid adjustments and cleanings.

online shopping

Discounted Insurance

Costco provides insurance services through third parties, which have exclusive rates for the wholesale club members. Costco offers health, dental, and vision plans to individuals and small groups, plus auto, home, life, and identity-theft insurance.

Paid Vacation

Travel Deals

When booking your next trip, remember to ask if there's a reduced rate for Sam's Club or Costco members (just as you might ask about an AAA or AARP discount). Both clubs have online travel portals and booking-by-phone for vacation packages, car rental, hotels, cruises, and more. Deals are posted on both clubs' websites, too.

Author Signing

Author Signings

Costco and Sam's Club stores often feature appearances by local authors, and some high-profile writers include the wholesale clubs on their book tours. People have lined up to meet Hillary Clinton at Sam's Club, and cookbook author Danielle Walker ("Against All Grain") has done book signings at Costco. Even Cheapism's own managing editor, Danny Jensen, has done signings at Costco for his book "100 Things to Do in Los Angeles Before You Die."

Write a Check

Check Printing

Costco and Sam's Club members can order checks at prices that often undercut the bank. This includes personal checks and payroll checks for businesses, plus a handful of other options such as tax forms and envelopes.

Food Court
Twy J./Yelp

Food Court

If free samples aren't enough, the food court at Costco is a legendary deal. The $1.50 price tag for a hot dog and soda hasn't changed in more than 30 years. Many members take advantage of a cheap (if not low-calorie) meal before or after they shop. 

Rotisserie Chickens Are $5
Helen N./Yelp

Prepared Foods

There was no arguing the value of Costco's sheet cakes, at $25 for 48 pieces. Costco and Sam's Club offer other prepared foods, including take-and-bake pizzas, large sub sandwiches, premade salads, and more. Costco famously sells rotisserie chicken for only $5

New Car

New Cars

Both Sam's Club and Costco offer car-buying services, allowing members to browse most every make and model imaginable. Prices don't appear to be significantly cheaper than using other online auto-sales sites, but occasionally you can find some deals.

Related: Is Costco the Best Place to Buy a Car?

Go Gift Card Shopping

Discounted Gift Cards

Sam's Club members can buy gift cards for popular stores and restaurants at a 20% discount off the face value. For example, a bundle of two $25 Steak 'n Shake gift cards costs just $37.50. Costco members enjoy a similar discount on gift cards and also offers discount certificates and tickets for amusement parks, sporting events, and other attractions. 

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In-Store Pickup and Grocery Delivery

Unlike Costco, Sam's Club lets members order anything online and pick it up at their local store, provided it's in stock. Costco offers in-store pickup of select categories of items. But both retailers offer local grocery delivery services.  

Credit Card Miles

Credit Cards

Members of both stores can apply for branded cash-back rewards cards that are more generous than some bank cards. Costco's Anywhere Visa gives members 4% back on gas up to $7,000 a year, 3% on restaurants and travel, 2% on Costco purchases, and 1% back on all other purchases. The Sam's Club Plus Mastercard offers 5% back on gas, 3% on restaurants and Sam's Club purchases, and 1% on all other purchases.

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Professional Support Services

Both retailers offer discount services for their business club members, including payroll management, small-business loans, employee health insurance, even custom product logo printing. Neither Sam's Club nor Costco provide these services themselves, however; but through affiliated third parties. Both retailers also offer business credit cards.

Glasses and Contacts
ESB Professional/shutterstock

Glasses and Contacts

At both warehouse clubs, you'll find optical departments selling frames and lenses to members only. Many locations also have in-house optometrists, which makes going to the eye doctor particularly convenient for Costco and Sam's Club shoppers.

Sideview of Costco Gasoline Gas Station, Cars Parked At the Individual Pumps Getting Gas