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

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Warehouse Club Perks

To make the most of a Sam's Club or Costco membership, smart shoppers partake in much more than bargains on bulk merchandise. Wholesale clubs offer their members a host of free services and deals. Didn't take time to read the brochure? 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 — now with a $10-$20 sign-up bonus — and here for Sam's Club.


Related: Things Not to Buy at Costco, Sam's, or BJ's

Technical Support
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Tech Support

Members who have questions about setting up or using a TV, home theater, digital music player, camera, or computer purchased at a warehouse club can rely on free tech support by phone. The service is no longer available at Sam's Club (as of November 2019) but it can still be found from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. PST daily (excluding holidays) at Costco.


Related: Costco Mistakes That Could Cost You

High Blood Pressure
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Health Screenings

Sam's Club offers free health tests at its pharmacies. Blood glucose screenings are free for members any day of the week, and cholesterol tests are $19. More comprehensive health screenings, which include body-fat analysis, blood pressure, cholesterol, hearing, and vision testing, are available on specific health screening events throughout the year.


Related: Health Products and Services That Cost Less at Costco

Tire Rotation
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Cholesterol Medication
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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 five common generic drugs for free (in most states), plus 600 others for $10 or less.


Related: Prescriptions That Cost More Than a Car

Satisfaction Guarantees
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Satisfaction Guarantees

Costco and Sam's Club both 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

HearUSA
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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 loss/damage purchase protection for free. Sam's Club also offers free screenings, plus hearing-aid adjustments and cleanings.


Related: Sam's Club vs. Costco: Which Has Better Prices and Services?

online shopping
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Discounted Insurance

Sam's Club and Costco provide insurance services through third parties, which have exclusive rates for wholesale club members. Sam's Club sells health insurance for individuals and businesses, and Costco offers health, dental, and vision plans to individuals and small groups, plus auto, home, life, and identity-theft insurance.


Related: Tips to Keep You From Buying Too Much Insurance

Paid Vacation
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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.


Related: Travel Discounts for Seniors

Author Signing
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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
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Why We're Costco Fanatics
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Free Samples

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


Related: Reasons Why Shoppers Are Addicted to Costco

Food Court
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Food Court

If the 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.


Related: Costco Foods With Cult Followings

Rotisserie Chickens Are $5
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New Car
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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. If you're in the market for a BMW, for example, showing your Costco membership card can result in an extra $500 or $1,000 off the price. Sam's Club members can get similar members-only discounts on Jeeps.


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

Go Gift Card Shopping
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Walmart Turned to New Tech for Delivery
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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. However, both retailers offer local grocery delivery services. Surprisingly, when we tested this service in Austin, Texas, Instacart was the delivery provider both Sam's and Costco used.


Credit Card Miles
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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 food and travel, 2% on Costco purchases, and 1% back on all other purchases. The Sam's Club Mastercard offers 5% back on gas, 3% on food and travel, and 1% on all other purchases.

Don't File Payroll Reports
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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; they're all through affiliated third parties, such as Clover and Elavon. Both retailers also offer business credit cards.

Glasses and Contacts
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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.

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Costco

Photo Gifts

Although Costco is removing its in-store photo centers effective Feb. 14, you can order photo books, photo blankets, photo transfers (digital versions of existing prints), and more. Pricing is more than competitive. Costco offers a two-pack of 30-page 8x8 softcover photo books for $20 — more than $10 cheaper than a single one roughly the same size on Shutterfly (although Shutterfly offers a variety of deals throughout the year).