The perks you receive depend on which version of the card you get. The Sam’s Club Mastercard has many more perks than the regular Sam’s Club Credit Card.
New cardholders receive a one-time $30 statement credit. The catch is that you only get the statement credit after you make a purchase of $30 or more with your new Sam’s Club Credit Card or Sam’s Club Mastercard in your first month. Think of it more as a $30 store discount than an actual cash back bonus. Regardless, this is significantly lower than the average credit card sign-up bonus, even for cards with no annual fee.
No annual fee
It’s nice that neither the Sam’s Club Credit Card nor the Sam’s Club Mastercard requires an annual fee to maintain the card. This is common among store credit cards, but is still worth mentioning. Unfortunately, though the cards themselves don’t have annual fees, you need a Sam’s membership, which can get costly. Club memberships start at $45 a year, which, for the Sam’s Club Credit Card, translates to a fairly high annual fee for a card with no perks or rewards. And the Plus membership, which you’ll need to boost your rewards, costs $100.
Doubles as a Sam’s Club membership card
Cardholders don’t need to carry a Sam’s Club membership card, as both the Sam’s Club Credit Card and the Sam’s Club Mastercard serve that function.
Up to 5% cash back on purchases (Mastercard only)
The regular Sam’s Club Credit Card doesn’t earn any additional rewards. The Sam’s Club Mastercard, however, has some decent cash back rewards. For one thing, you’ll earn 3% back at Sam’s Club, including both in-club and online purchases. If you’re a Sam’s Club Plus member, you’ll get another 2% back on these purchases through that membership, for a total of 5% back.
Note that Sam’s Club Plus members can earn up to $500 in cash back per 12-month membership period. That limit applies only to the 2% cash back rate, not the 3% offered by the Sam’s Club Mastercard.
You’ll earn 5% cash back on gas purchases, though this is capped at $6,000 of gas purchases per year, after which the rewards rate drops to 1%. Cardholders also earn 3% cash back on dining and takeout purchases, and 1% back on everything else. These categories aren’t capped, but you can only earn up to $5,000 in total cash back per year.
What could be improved
As with most financial products, there are some negative attributes of the Sam’s Club credit cards as well.
The interest rates can be rather high on both cards. The regular Sam’s Club Credit Card has the typical high rate of a store card. The Mastercard version has an APR range that varies based on your credit, but the APR gets into the 20s if your credit score doesn’t earn an interest rate from the low end of the range. These APRs aren’t sky-high, per se, but are definitely high enough to warrant consideration.
The most disappointing drawback is the Sam’s Club Credit Card earns no rewards at all. So many store credit cards offer some form of rewards, that the basic Sam’s Club Credit Card is seriously lacking in this area.
The Sam’s Club Mastercard doesn’t have that problem, but it still caps the total amount of cash back you can earn in any given year. Once you’ve reached $5,000 in rewards in one year, you stop earning rewards altogether.
Sam’s Club membership required
While the Sam’s Club Credit Card and Sam’s Club Mastercard are both no-annual-fee credit cards, you still need a Sam’s Club membership. This starts at $45 per year, which effectively negates most of the $30 introductory bonus right off the bat if you aren’t already a Sam’s Club member.
And, unless you cancel the card before your membership renews, you’re charged that membership fee every year. Since both applying for and canceling a card can hurt your credit, avoid these cards if you don’t plan on keeping your membership.
View more information: https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/credit-cards/sams-club-credit-card-review/