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Sam’s Club Mastercard Review – Everything You Need To Know

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An experienced points hacker, Erin is Alex’s partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points with in-depth guides and relationship management. Erin’s work has been cited in multiple major publicat...
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Wholesale clubs can help shoppers save money on groceries and other necessities. But do their store-branded credit cards offer savings? What benefits do they offer, and are they worth it?

This in-depth review examines the Sam’s Club® Mastercard®, considering its rewards, fees, APR, features, and more.

Sam’s Club Card at a Glance

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Sam’s Club Card
Benefits
  • 5% cash-back* on gas for the first $6,000 annually, then 1%
  • 3% cash-back* on dining
  • 3% cash-back* on Sam’s Club purchases for Plus members (otherwise 1%)
  • 1% cash-back* on all other purchases
  • Use wherever Mastercard is accepted
Annual Fee$0
APR14.90% variable (account type 1)
22.90% variable (account type 2)
Late FeeUp to $40

* For this program, “cash-back” comes in the form of Cash Rewards, not true cash-back. 

This rewards-earning card is issued by Synchrony Bank, and while there is no annual fee, cardholders must be a Sam’s Club member to apply. It costs $45 for an annual Sam’s Club membership and $100 for an annual Sam’s Club Plus membership.

Sign-Up Bonus Offer

The Sam’s Club card typically offers a sign-up bonus.

An example of a bonus is that if you open a Sam’s Club card and use your new account to make Sam’s Club purchases totaling $30 or more (excluding cash advances, gift card sales, alcohol, tobacco, and pharmacy purchases) within 30 days of the date of account opening, you will receive a 1-time $30 credit within 90 days after the qualifying purchases are made.

Benefits of the Sam’s Club Card

Sam's Club Mastercard
Image Credit: Sam’s Club

With the Sam’s Club card, cardholders can earn several benefits:

  • Earn 5% cash-back on gas anywhere Mastercard is accepted (on the first $6,000 per year, then 1%)
  • Earn 3% cash-back on dining
  • Earn 3% cash-back on Sam’s Club purchases for Plus members (otherwise 1%)
  • Earn 1% cash-back on all other purchases wherever Mastercard is accepted
  • Acceptance at all Sam’s Club and Walmart locations nationwide
  • No annual fee
  • Online account access at samsclub.com/credit
  • Doubles as your membership card

The 5% Cash Rewards for gas exclude purchases made at fuel stations of wholesale clubs other than Sam’s Club, certain supercenters, and supermarkets.

Cash-back on dining and all other purchases excludes purchases made at any wholesale clubs other than Sam’s Club.

You’ll only earn 1% cash-back on all in-store purchases at Sam’s Club and Walmart, though upgraded Plus members can earn 5% (2% for Plus membership and 3% with the card). With minimal in-store rewards value, there are better credit cards available to maximize rewards for in-store purchases (see the Alternative Rewards Credit Cards section below).

Also notable: the maximum cash-back amount you can earn per calendar year is $5,000

Hot Tip: Cash Rewards are issued starting in February of the following year and are automatically loaded onto the primary Sam’s Club member’s membership account. Rewards can be used for in-club or online purchases or exchanged for cash-back.

Cash Rewards that aren’t redeemed will expire as of the date listed on the reward notification. Additionally, rewards are forfeited if the member’s account is not in “good standing,” if the member is more than 2 months delinquent on the minimum payment, or if the Sam’s Club membership has lapsed or terminated.

Accelerated Earning for Plus Members

Sams Club Card Plus Member Earning
Image Credit: Sam’s Club

Club members who upgrade from the $45 base membership to the $100 Plus membership will see a 4% increase in Cash Rewards on their Sam’s Club purchases, but is the upgrade worth it?

If we evaluate a breakeven solely based on Sam’s Club purchases (not including other earning categories):

  • Club members earning 1% on Sam’s Club purchases would need to spend $4,500 annually at Sam’s Club
  • Plus members earning 5% on Sam’s Club purchases (2% for being a Plus member and 3% for the Sam’s Club card) would need to spend $2,000 annually at Sam’s Club

If you are frequent Sam’s Club shopper, upgrading to Plus membership could accelerate your earnings and offer enhanced benefits like:

  • Free shipping at samsclub.com
  • 2% Cash Rewards on qualifying in-club and pickup purchases
  • Early shopping hours
  • Free select generic prescriptions
  • 20% off of glasses
  • 15% off Pandora streaming radio

The 2% Cash Rewards have a maximum reward of $500 per 12-month membership period and a membership can accumulate a maximum balance of $2,000 on a membership card. Earned rewards are loaded to the membership account at the end of each membership year (12-month period) and can be redeemed as cash or store credit at Sam’s Club locations.

Hot Tip: It is worth noting that for the Cash Rewards managed by the Plus membership program and the Cash Rewards managed by the Sam’s Club card, each program is independently operated and managed.

Additional Sam’s Club Card Features

The Sam’s Club card offers special features including:

  • 1-card convenience since your credit card is your membership card
  • Special financing/promotional offers
  • $0 fraud liability
  • Enhanced security via smart chip technology
  • Online account management
  • Mastercard ID theft protection services
  • Contact-free technology, including the integration of payments capabilities into Sam’s Club Scan & Go, both in-club and at the pump

A Note About Special Financing

The Sam’s Club card has specific terms and conditions related to special financing. As a cardholder, if you’re going to utilize this benefit you want to pay close attention to the terminology used.

There is a significant difference between “no interest for 6 months” and “no interest if paid in full within 6 months.”

No interest for 6/12/18/24/36/48 months:

  • When you make a qualifying purchase, no interest applies to the purchase during the promotional period, but minimum monthly payments are still required
  • After the promotional period ends, regular account terms will apply to the promotional purchases
  • Purchases made outside of the promotional offer are subject to regular account terms

No interest if paid in full within 6/12/18/24/36/48 months:

  • IF PAID IN FULL is the key phrase here — this is called deferred interest and it can mean hefty fees if you’re not careful
  • When you make a qualifying purchase, no interest will be applied IF you pay your promotional balance IN FULL within the promotional period; if you DO NOT pay the balance in full, the interest will be applied to the balance all the way back to the date of purchase
  • Minimum monthly payments are required
  • After the promotional period ends, regular account terms will apply to the promotional purchases
  • Purchases made outside of the promotional offer are subject to regular account terms

Fees and Drawbacks of the Sam’s Club Card

While there are many benefits to the Sam’s Club card, including the lofty Cash Rewards offers, it’s important to remember all credit cards come with fees and drawbacks.

The easiest way to avoid these is to be a consistently responsible cardholder. You should pay your balance in full every month. If you can’t pay it in full, the next best option is to pay as much as you can, leaving as small a balance as possible. You should always make at least the minimum payment.

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Sam’s Club Card
Annual Fee$0
Purchase and Quick Cash Advance APR14.90% variable (account type 1)
22.90% variable (account type 2)
Cash Advance APR19.9% variable (account type 1)
25.9% variable (account type 2)
Cash Advance Fee$5 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance (whichever is greater)
Late FeeUp to $40

With the Sam’s Club card, your given APR percentage depends on which account type you receive:

  • Account type 1 is generally reserved for applicants with better credit scores
  • Account type 2 is generally for applicants with lower credit scores that still meet the minimum score required for issuance.

The APRs range from pretty average for a rewards card (for account type 1) to high (for account type 2). However, the APRs can add up, especially if you often carry a balance.

As mentioned previously, the Cash Rewards from the Sam’s Club card are not true cash-back. The rewards come in the form of an automatic credit to the member’s account and can only be used for Sam’s Club purchases — both in-store and online.

Alternatively, other cash-back credit cards typically give you your cash-back every month.

Applying for a Sam’s Club Card

There are several ways to apply for the Sam’s Club card. Members can either apply digitally (online, via the Sam’s Club app, or via text message) or in-store at their local club (at the member service desk, at a register (including Scan & Go), or at specific self-checkouts). Members must sign in or create an online account with their Sam’s Club membership to apply online.

Some applicants may be approved instantly (there are many other instant approval cards as well). However, other applications may require further review, resulting in a waiting period of 7 to 10 days.

Generally, a “good” credit score is necessary to secure a Sam’s Club card. Some individuals have reported approval with scores in the upper “fair” range.

Sam’s Club Log-in and Online Account Management

Sams Club Online Account
Image Credit: Sam’s Club

Cardholders have the option to manage their credit card account online by logging in at the Sam’s Club online account portal or via the Sam’s Club mobile app (iOS, Android).

Once logged in, members have the opportunity to:

  • Access account information
  • View electronic statements
  • Sign up for paperless statements
  • Make statement payments
  • Sign up for account alerts
  • Request a credit line increase

Alternative Rewards Credit Cards (Our Recommendations)

You can maximize your cash-back by using the Sam’s Club card for gas and dining purchases to earn bonus cash-back and, if you are not a Plus member earning 5% for in-store purchases, select a different credit card that offers a cash-back earning rate higher than 1% for in-store purchases.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns an unlimited 1.5% cash-back on all purchases and is a no annual fee card.

Alternatively, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ also has a $0 annual fee and allows you to earn 5% cash-back/5x Ultimate Rewards points on quarterly rotating bonus categories on up to $1,500 in purchases. These categories have a history of including wholesale clubs like Sam’s Club.

Bottom Line: If you’d like some other suggestions, check out our list of the best credit cards to use at Sam’s Club.

Final Thoughts

The Sam’s Club card provides generous cash-back benefits. With 5% on gas, 3% on dining, and 1% on most other purchases, it could be a decent option for your wallet if you’re going the cash-back route.

However, keep in mind that you must be a Sam’s Club member (with a $45 annual membership fee) to apply for a card and retain your benefits.

You can only get your Cash Rewards once per calendar year, and the program doesn’t offer true cash-back. This is a big drawback for those who want to take advantage of their rewards quickly or utilize their cash-back in any way they choose.

Lastly, if you’re looking for a travel rewards credit card or a card to help you earn more points and miles, this is not the card for you.

The information regarding the Sam’s Club® Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Sam's Club credit card a good card?

That depends on which rewards strategy you prefer.

The Sam’s Club card is generally considered a good card for earning Cash Rewards, with higher than average reward percentages in certain categories. Cardholders earn 5% cash-back on gas (up to $6,000 per year then 1%), 3% on dining, and 1% on all other purchases.

It’s important to note these Cash Rewards are only issued once per year for the previous calendar year and can only be redeemed in a Sam’s Club store or exchanged for cash-back.

Is the Sam's Club credit card easy to get?

In general, reports state applicants need a “good” credit score (700+) in order to be approved for a Sam’s Club card. However, while not the norm, some individuals have reported approval with scores in the top of the “fair” range.

To learn more about what makes a “good” or “bad” credit score and it’s important, check out our in-depth guide here.

Who issues the Sam's Club credit card?

The Sam’s Club card is issued by Synchrony Bank.

Can my Sam's Club credit card be used at Walmart?

Your Sam’s Club card can be used wherever Mastercard is accepted.

Where can I pay my Sam's Club credit card?

You can pay your Sam’s Club card in a number of ways:

  • The online account portal
  • In-person at your local Sam’s Club Member Services desk or at any Sam’s Club/Walmart register
  • By phone by calling the number on the back of your card
  • By mail to the payment address shown on your billing statement

How do I cancel my Sam's Club credit card?

The most efficient way to cancel your Sam’s Club card is to call the customer service phone number listed on the back of your card.

What is the Sam's Club credit card phone number?

For the Sam’s Club card, the contact phone numbers are as follows:

  • Website Help: 866-221-1126
  • Credit Services: 866-220-0254

You can find additional Sam’s Club related contact information here.

Erin Miller's image

About Erin Miller

An experienced points hacker, Erin is Alex’s partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points with in-depth guides and relationship management. Erin’s work has been cited in multiple major publications.

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