How the Sam's Credit Card Works: Benefits and Rewards (WMT)
Sam’s Club is a membership-only retail warehouse club that is a division of Walmart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT). The first store opened in Oklahoma in 1983, and as of March 2016, there were 653 clubs across the United States and Puerto Rico. There are three types of Sam's Club membership programs available to the public: the Sam’s Savings, Sam’s Business and Sam’s Plus.
How a Sam’s Club Credit Card Works
Sam’s Club offers four different credit cards to its members. The Sam’s Club Credit Card can be used for in-club purchases and is offered to both individual and business members. It can be used at any Sam’s Club or Walmart location, and can be accessed online at www.samsclub.com/credit. There is no annual fee, and the card can also be used as a membership card.
Sam’s Club also offers both an individual and business MasterCard credit card. This card has the same benefits as the in-club credit card, but can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted. The card also gives its users price protection up to 60 days and identity theft resolution services. The MasterCard credit cards are managed and serviced by Synchrony Financial (NYSE: SYF).
Signing up for any of these credit cards requires a Sam’s Club membership. There are three types of membership options. The most basic option is the Sam’s Savings for a fee of $45. Businesses can join using the Sam’s Business card, which allows up to eight cards for employees. The Sam’s Plus card has the most benefits available to members and can be purchased by individuals or businesses for $100.
Once membership is attained, applicants can apply for a credit card in-store or online. Personal information is required, and approval is dependent on a credit check.
Sam’s Club Rewards and Benefits
When applicants apply for the non-business consumer credit card options and make a $100 purchase on the same day, they are eligible for a $40 statement credit, valid through Dec. 31, 2016.
Other than the $40 statement credit, the in-club credit cards do not offer any benefits or rewards when used. The Sam’s Club MasterCard credit cards offer the 5-3-1 deal. Cardholders can get up to 5% back from gas purchases made at Sam’s Club for up to $6,000 spent, then 1% after. There is also 3% cash back on dining and travel and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Cardholders can get additional rewards and benefits by upgrading their membership to the Sam’s Plus for an additional $55. Sam’s Plus members get access to early shopping hours, the Extra Value Drug List, Optical Plus member benefits, add-on memberships and an extra protection service plan. However, the biggest benefit is the cash rewards program, which gives members $10 for every $500 spent in qualifying purchases, up to $500 annually. These rewards can be used toward purchases, membership fees, or be redeemed for cash.
Who Benefits the Most From a Sam’s Club Card?
Any Sam’s Club member looking for a credit card to use within the store would benefit from using one of the Sam’s Club credit cards. However, members would benefit more by specifically applying to one of the Sam’s Club MasterCard credit cards. The benefits on gas, dining and travel, as well as all other purchases, could result in a fair amount of cash back to the member when used. To maximize all available benefits, members should get both the Sam’s Club MasterCard and the Sam’s Plus membership.
Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) is the largest competitor to Sam’s Club. Costco offers its own credit card to its members, called the Costco Anywhere Visa Card. The card gives members 4% cash back on gas, 3% cash back on restaurants and travel, 2% cash back on all Costco purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Another wholesale club chain is BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc., which also offers credit cards to its members. The BJ’s Perks Elite card gives its members savings of 10 cents on BJ’s gas, 5% back on most in-club purchases, 2% back on dining out and non-BJ’s gas, and 1% on all other purchases.
The Sam’s Club credit card has an APR of 23.15%, and the Sam’s Club MasterCard has an APR of either 15.15% or 23.15%, depending on the applicant’s credit worthiness.
Upon approval, applicants may get the $40 statement credit if a single-receipt purchase of $100 is made the same day. Cash advances, gift card sales, alcohol, tobacco and pharmacy purchases are excluded as part of the $100 total purchase. The $40 credit appears within one to two billing cycles.