With almost 600 locations over the United States and Puerto Rico, chances are good that there’s a Sam’s Club in your area. You may be wondering…how can I get a free Sam’s Club membership?
Sam’s Club is a great place to buy items in bulk. You’ll find baked items, dry goods, packaged snacks, rotisserie chicken, toilet paper, and more at awesome prices.
But Sam’s Club can offer these low prices because you need to be a member to shop there. A Sam’s Club membership starts at $50 per year.
I know, it’s a little strange to pay for the privilege of shopping, which is probably why you’re asking how you can get a Sam’s Club membership for free.
Table of Contents
- Purchase Items Without a Membership
- Find a Sam’s Club Membership Discount
- Maximize Your Membership Cost
Purchase Items Without a Membership
In the interest of transparency…you can’t get a free Sam’s Club membership.
And by that, I mean that you can’t just walk up to the customer service desk and demand a free membership. You won’t find a link online that gets you a free membership without having to pay anything out of pocket.
But there are still plenty of ways you can shop for free at Sam’s Club. Use a little creativity and ingenuity to make it happen!
Some items at Sam’s Club can be purchased without a membership. Several categories of items are legally required to be available to be purchased by non-members.
Here are some ways to work around Sam’s Club membership requirements with a clear conscience.
1. Get a Free 1-Day Pass
Sam’s Club used to offer a free 1-day pass in the form of a coupon or an advertised free shopping day. This allowed guests to come in and see what Sam’s Club has to offer.
Now, guest memberships are no longer available at Sam’s Club…officially.
However, if you go to SamsClub.com and try to purchase something online and get to the checkout screen, you may get a nice surprise.
When you click the “Begin Checkout” button, click “Create a guest account” on the next screen that comes up. Enter your email address, mailing address, and phone number, and create a password.
After I did this, Sam’s Club sent me a 24-hour guest membership via email! This included a temporary membership number to use both in-store and online.
A guest membership doesn’t allow you to get the Sam’s Club Instant Savings offers or other benefits, and you will have to pay a non-member surcharge at checkout.
Still, it is a way to get in the door for free.
2. Shop with a Sam’s Club Member
If you have a friend, family member, or neighbor who’s a Sam’s Club member, see if they will let you tag along with them as they shop.
This is a perfectly valid option for someone who just wants to check out Sam’s Club or only make occasional purchases.
Sam’s Club even encourages it! The website states that members are welcome to bring up to two guests per visit inside.
Your friend will still need to swipe their membership card to receive the members-only prices, but you can always have your items rung up separately.
3. Place an Instacart Order
Another way to shop at Sam’s Club without a membership is to place an Instacart order.
These items will be priced higher than you’ll see in the store, but that’s the case with just about any order from Instacart.
There is an option to enter your Sam’s Club membership card number on Instacart to save more and earn rewards, but you don’t have to do that to place an order.
You’ll also have to factor in the cost of service and delivery fees as well as a tip. Instacart has a $35 order minimum, and new customers get their first delivery free.
4. Shop Online at SamsClub.com
Many items that you can find in-store at Sam’s Club can also be purchased online and at SamsClub.com and then shipped to your home.
While nothing is marked as “members only,” you won’t get access to any Instant Savings deals, and you’ll have to pay for shipping.
But the biggest drawback to buying from Sam’s Club online without a membership is the non-member surcharge. I tried it on non-food items and found anywhere from a 10 to 40% non-member surcharge!
All that to say, you may still find a good deal on bigger-ticket items, even with the surcharge, but don’t assume that Sam’s Club will automatically have a low price for you if you’re not a member.
5. Buy Alcohol
Sam’s Club website states that liquor purchases do not require an active membership. This complies with alcohol regulations in most states that require equal access and pricing for everyone.
The liquor section at Sam’s Club has a separate entrance, so you won’t even need to flash a membership card to enter. Note that not all Sam’s Club locations have a liquor store.
Their Member’s Mark brand has been producing liquor since 2010 and includes gin, rum, tequila, vodka, and whiskey.
And of course, they also offer beer, hard seltzer, wine, and cocktail mixers from other brands inside the liquor store.
You can even get their wines shipped to your home in select states!
6. Eat at the Café
Sam’s Club website also states that Café purchases do not require an active membership. You won’t have to pay a non-member surcharge, either.
So if you want to indulge in hot bites, cold drinks, and sweet treats at your local Sam’s Club, go right ahead! A hot dog and fountain drink combo is just $1.50.
The Café at Sam’s Club also offers pizza, pretzels, yogurt cups, sundaes, salads, fruit and yogurt parfaits, and ICEEs.
7. Use the Pharmacy
You do not have to be a Sam’s Club member to buy prescription medications at the Sam’s Club Pharmacy.
Most pharmacies also offer free or discounted flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines to non-members. You should be able to just walk in, or schedule an appointment in advance to cut down on wait times.
Non-members can also get health screenings for blood glucose and cholesterol at the pharmacy inside Sam’s Club.
However, members have access to the RxSavings network which offers generic medications for as low as $4. Plus members get even more benefits, including ten select prescriptions for as little as $0.
Find a Sam’s Club Membership Discount
So you’ve tried out the free ways to shop at Sam’s Club without a membership. Now you’ve realized that you want a membership for yourself.
Before you head inside and get started with your membership, hold on! There are a few ways to get a Sam’s Club membership discount so you don’t have to pay full price.
8. Check SamsClub.com
Often Sam’s Club offers a membership discount on SamsClub.com – you just need to know where to find it!
Right now you can get 50% off your Club membership and pay just $25 when you sign up here. Offer ends 1/31/23.
Please note that this is for the Club membership only (normally $50/year). A Plus membership is $110/year.
9. Check Online Deal Websites
Periodically throughout the year, Groupon will offer a Sam’s Club membership deal that gets you a discount off the full price and/or gives you a gift card or free items with your membership purchase.
Of course, this isn’t a free Sam’s Club membership, but the gift card and free items typically offset most – if not all – of the cost.
For example, in August 2022 this deal was available in which you could get a Sam’s Club membership for just $20 and also get $25 off your first purchase of $25 or more.
10. Get a Military Discount
Sam’s Club offers an ongoing membership offer to qualified military. Join or renew your membership in the club to receive $10 off your first purchase of $10 or more within the first 60 days.
The Sam’s Club military discount covers:
- Active military personnel
- Retired military personnel and veterans
- Civilian military employees
- Military spouses
It’s rare to find a discount on a membership renewal, so be sure to take advantage of this if you qualify!
11. Find a Friend for a $20 Gift Card
Chances are good you already know someone who has a Sam’s Club membership…but did you know they can get you a free gift card when you sign up?
Current Sam’s Club members have a personal referral link in their online account. When you sign up through someone’s personal referral link, you’ll get a $20 e-gift card to use at Sam’s Club!
There’s a bonus for the member who is sharing, too – they’ll get a $10 e-gift card for every friend who joins through their link.
12. Give Yourself a Free Trial
While you can’t just walk into Sam’s Club and start shopping for free, there is kind of a way to give yourself a free trial.
Sam’s Club has a 100% membership satisfaction guarantee. If at any time you’re unsatisfied with your membership, let customer service know.
They will cancel your membership and give you a refund of the amount paid for your current year’s membership. They give you a full refund – it’s not pro-rated to the length of time you’ve had your membership.
Please be honest when trying to get a membership refund. It’s pretty rude to use a membership all year and get a refund on the last day.
However, if you’re really uncertain as to whether the Sam’s Club membership price is worth it, know that you can get your money back if you really want to.
13. Become a Sam’s Club Add-On Member
This isn’t a huge discount, but it is a discount: you can get a Sam’s Club Add-on Membership to save $5.
You’ll need to be added to a current member’s plan to become an add-on member (hence the name). You’ll have your own separate membership that includes a separate card.
Add-ons are always a Club membership, not a Plus membership. Your membership period will coincide with the Primary Member’s membership period.
I think it makes more sense to just get your own membership with a discount, but I wanted to mention this as an option anyway.
Maximize Your Membership Cost
There’s no such thing as a free Sam’s Club membership. But there are lots of ways to save at Sam’s Club to help you offset the cost of your membership and get the most bang for your back.
A Club Membership is $50 a year, and a Plus Membership is $110 a year. Here are some Sam’s Club shopping tips to help you recoup that cost.
14. Buy Gasoline
This is where I get the most savings at Sam’s Club – buying gas!
Yes, there’s almost always a line, and yes, you can only drive up to the pumps one way. But it’s worth the wait to save big on gas.
Let’s do the math: currently, my Sam’s Club has gas priced at 32¢ per gallon cheaper than the next lowest price.
If I fill up my SUV with 20 gallons of gas each time, that’s a savings of $6.40 each time I fill up.
I drive a lot to bring my kids to school and other activities, so I fill up about once a week. If I choose Sam’s Club to fill up each time, I’ll save $332.80 per year, just on gas!
Even if I filled up at Sam’s Club just eight times over the year, I’d pay for the cost of my membership.
RELATED: 9 Ways to Get Free Gas
15. Buy Discounted Gift Cards and Movie Tickets
Sam’s Club has discounted gift cards available both online and in-store. Use these to save extra at other retailers, or take them out of the package and give them as gifts.
I found savings of up to 25% when buying gift cards online at SamsClub.com, and I know there are lots of local gift card deals available in-store.
For example, right now I can get $50 worth of Krispy Kreme gift cards for just $37.50, and $30 worth of Cold Stone Creamery gift cards for $20.79. If I were to purchase both of those deals, I’d save $21.71!
Before you head to the movie theater, check Sam’s Club for discounted movie tickets, too. I saw 2 Regal or AMC Yellow tickets for $18.98 online. Not bad!
16. Earn Sam’s Cash
If you sign up for the higher-priced level of membership at Sam’s Club (Plus), you’ll get extra perks that you won’t get with a standard Club membership.
One of those perks is Sam’s Cash. Plus members earn 2% Sam’s Cash on in-club purchases.
So if you spend $5,500 at Sam’s Club in a year (a little over $450/month), your Sam’s Cash will cover the cost of your Plus membership. (That’s a lot to spend in one place, I know.)
If you have a Sam’s Club Mastercard, you’ll earn 5% back in Sam’s Cash on gas (first $6,000/year), 3% at Sam’s Club, and 1-3% on dining and other purchases outside of Sam’s Club.
17. Buy Tires
Sam’s Club is on our list of places to get the best deals on tires. Right now you can get up to $120 off a tire set at Sam’s Club!
While you hopefully won’t need to get tires for your vehicle every year, you can easily cover the cost of a Sam’s Club membership with the savings you’ll get on tires.
Their all-in tire installation ($20/tire) includes 24-hour roadside assistance, road hazard protection, lifetime tire balance, rotation and flat repair, and waste tire disposal.
18. Use Coupon Apps
While you can’t use coupons at Sam’s Club, you can put some money back into your pocket when purchasing certain items at Sam’s Club.
Some of the best coupon apps will give you cashback when you scan your receipt or link your Sam’s Club membership card to the app.
Here are some coupon apps that you can use at Sam’s Club:
- Ibotta – add offers for select products and shop, then submit your receipt to get cash back
- Coupons.com – activate offers, submit your receipt, and get cash back
- Fetch Rewards – earn points for scanning any eligible receipt, including Sam’s Club receipts
If you keep up with scanning your receipts in these coupon apps and others, you’ll see that just a few minutes of effort can add up over time. You’re getting paid to shop for what you’re already buying!
Yes, it’s a bummer that you can’t get a free Sam’s Club membership. But that doesn’t mean you have to write off Sam’s Club altogether.
If you only need to buy certain things, you may be able to purchase items without a membership. If you do need a membership, it’s pretty easy to find a Sam’s Club membership discount.
And of course, making sure that you use your membership wisely is a great way to maximize your savings.