Discount Club Match Up: Sam's v Costco

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Which discount club offers the greatest bang per membership buck? While rivals Costco and Sam’s Club tend to offer similar price points on a variety of products, who does it best when it comes to membership costs, rewards, coupons and returns?

Here’s our Savvy Spender breakdown:

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Annual Membership Costs

At Costco, Regular and Business memberships go for $55 each. Executive is $110. 

Sam’s Club offers three types, as well, and they’re cheaper. Sam’s Plus goes for $100, Sam’s Savings for $45 and Sam’s Business for $45. Sam’s also delivers more perks such as early bird shopping and in-store deals, so in the end, we think Sam’s offers the sweeter membership deal. Full refunds are offered if customers aren’t happy.

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Costco’s Executive Membership offers 2% cash back on all purchases, on MOST purchases, with a $750 cap.

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Sam’s Club is currently test driving a similar rewards program, but only in Texas.  "Plus" members in that state get 10 bucks back for every $500 they spend.  So, the clear winner here: Costco.


Once again, Costco wins this one hands down.  From groceries to tires, Costco mails all members coupons and there are online deals to be had, as well. Sam’s Club offers paperless coupons for all members but only every other month in the form of an Instant Savings Booklet.

Also See: When to Ignore Price Tags


And what if you decide that TV may not be right for you?  When it comes to return policies it’s a tie. At Costco, just get that flat screen – or any other electronic - back within 90 days of purchase for a full refund. Any other product can be returned anytime for your money back, thanks to Costco’s 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Sam’s also has a 90-day return policy on electronics and offers a 100% guarantee on all other merchandise.     

Not a Member?

Not a member but still want access? Not a problem…but only at Sam’s Club where the non-member surcharge is 10%. Costco is now members-only shopping.

And we want to hear from you. Which discount club’s your favorite? Connect with me on Twitter @Farnoosh and use #FinFit.

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