Sam's Club® Mastercard®
Most branded store cards offer few opportunities to earn spending bonuses, but this card is an exception. It earns bonus cash back in all of the abovementioned categories and charges no annual fees. In this day and age, it’s pretty rare to find a rewards card that offers bonuses on travel, gas and dining and costs nothing to hold, so that’s a big plus.
One drawback is that the card doesn’t earn a multiplier on Sam’s Club or Walmart purchases, which is a bit odd considering the card targets shoppers at those specific stores.
Since you have to have a Sam’s Club membership to apply for the card and the cash back you earn is only good for Sam’s Club purchases, you probably won’t want this card unless you’re already a Sam’s Club customer. Let’s review the card’s benefits and earning potential.
Sam's Club Credit Card Features and Benefits
The Sam’s Club MasterCard offers a $45 statement credit to first-time cardholders when they make a $45 purchase on the card. The catch is that the purchase has to be made on the date of account opening. Doing this erases the cost of a one-year Sam’s Club membership, which is also $45.
The card also offers the convenience of using it as your Sam’s Club membership card, all in one. So next time you shop with the Sam’s Club MasterCard, you don’t have to juggle a membership card with your payment card.
The card itself costs nothing to apply for and use on your everyday purchases. However, as mentioned earlier, Sam’s Club membership costs $45, and you do need to be a member to shop at the wholesale store and to apply for this card.
What You Get
- Receive $45 credit after making a purchase on the day of account opening
- 5.0% back on up to $6,000 of gas per year
- 3.0% back on dining and travel
- No annual fee
The accumulated cash back earned with the Sam’s Club MasterCard is offered once per year in the form of a store check. The check is issued every February and can be redeemed toward any Sam’s Club purchase. Compared to other cash back cards whose rewards can be used any time, this is rather limiting.
The Sam’s Club MasterCard does not offer any special financing offers to cardholders. The Annual Percentage Rate varies based on your creditworthiness, and there’s no introductory offer.
This card does not offer Sam’s Club or Walmart shoppers any special privileges.
How Much Will You Earn with Sam's Club Credit Card?
The Sam’s Club MasterCard earns 5.0 percent back on all gas purchases in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, thought there is a $6,000 cap per year. You’ll also get 3.0 percent back on dining and travel and 1.0 percent back for all other purchases.
What’s interesting is that the card earns just 0.0 percent back at Sam’s Club and Walmart. You’d think that a card would earn some sort of a bonus at the store it’s co-branded with. Some credit cards with rotating bonus categories, such as Discover it and Chase Freedom, periodically include warehouse retailers in their bonus categories. You could earn some bonus points with one of those cards when that category is featured.
Cashback rewards are limited to $5,000 annually, but unless you’re a Sam’s Club enthusiast and a high spender, the limit would be hard to reach.
- Sam’s Club purchases
- All Other Purchases
The travel category is defined as airlines, rental cars, rail travel, buses, cruises, timeshares, travel agencies and tour operators. Only U.S. gas stations are eligible for the fuel bonus. Please note that gas and travel purchases from warehouse clubs other than Sam’s Club do not qualify for the bonus. In any case, you don’t have to worry about using your card at Costco because it doesn’t accept MasterCard credit cards, only Visa.
Should You Get the Sam's Club Credit Card?
Compared with many store cards, the Sam’s Club MasterCard actually offers significant value to cardholders. There are many bonus categories for common, everyday purchases, and the earning structure is solid. Who doesn’t want to earn quintuple rewards on gas and triple rewards on travel and dining? As mentioned earlier, such a lucrative rewards combination is rare.
Although a Sam’s Club membership isn’t free, holding this card is, and it can double as your membership card, which provides convenience to shoppers. No more juggling cards when you shop for items in bulk. Your hands are probably full as it is.
Assuming you maximize your rewards, the idea of receiving a fat check every February is appealing, but it can be spent at Sam’s Club only. Also, cash back cannot be applied to any purchase in any amount at any time. The check is issued only once a year, which can be inconvenient for some members. However, if you don’t mind the limited way of redeeming rewards, the Sam’s Club credit card presents a great option for shoppers.
It is interesting that the card doesn’t offer any bonus rewards for shopping in its own store. Sam’s Club and Walmart purchases earn just 0.0 percent back. If you have other rewards cards that offer bonus points or cash back at Walmart or warehouse clubs, I recommend using them when you shop at Sam’s Club.
Even a cashback card that offers a fixed 2 percent back on all purchases, such as Citi Double Cash, will provide more rewards when shopping at Walmart and Sam’s Club. As a reminder, Sam’s Club accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards, which is different than Costco, which only accepts Visa cards.
Overall, the Sam’s Club MasterCard is a decent option for a rewards card. If you’re already a Sam’s Club member and spend in the bonus categories frequently, it’d be difficult to find a more lucrative cashback card that charges no annual fees.
Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, please click on “Ask Now” below.
- Depending on the card issuer and the card network, foreign transaction (FX) fees vary between 1 and 3 percent per transaction. The Sam’s Club credit card used to charge 3 percent for every transaction made outside of the United States, but now the card waives those fees.That’s right. The card adds zero fees when swiping it at international locations, which can save you quite a bit if you prefer using credit cards to spending cash when traveling overseas. It’s an important factor to consider when choosing a rewards card.
- The Sam’s Club credit card is on the MasterCard network and can be used at all retailers that accept MasterCard credit cards. Keep in mind that fuel, dining and travel purchases all earn bonus cash back, even if you’re not shopping at Sam’s Club.There is a regular store version of this card that is not on a major payment network, such as Visa or MasterCard, and cannot be used anywhere but Sam’s Club and Walmart.
- It costs nothing to hold the Sam’s Club MasterCard, and earning rewards is absolutely free. However, the card is available to Sam’s Club members only. A membership costs $45 annually.
- Sam’s Club members who would like to apply for this rewards card must have a Good credit score to be approved. If your score is at least 700, you’ve got a good chance of approval. If your credit score is lower, your results will vary. You might still be approved, but I recommend looking for ways to solidify your credit history first.Depending on your credit health, you might qualify for either the Platinum or the regular version of this card. The Platinum version is a MasterCard, whereas the regular card can only be used at Sam’s Club and Walmart.To find out where you stand with the credit bureaus, check with one of the free services, such as Credit Karma or Credit Sesame. It’s always good to know your credit score before applying for an additional credit line.
- After your statement closes, you have 22 days to pay off your balance in full. If not, interest rates will apply to your balance. There’s no introductory APR offer. Depending on your creditworthiness, your APR may fluctuate between 15.9 and 23.9 percent, which is pretty high.In order to avoid paying interest and erasing the value of your rewards, we recommend paying off your bill in full every month. Doing so will help you establish on-time payment history and, in turn, increase your credit score over time.
- As long as your account is open and in good standing, cash back earned with the Sam’s Club Credit Card does not expire and will keep accumulating. Remember that rewards are capped and will not accumulate once you reach the annual max of $5,000. Rewards checks expire 180 days after being issued, so make sure to use them within six months.
- No, the programs are different. Cash Rewards is a benefit for Sam’s Club Plus members. After enrolling, Plus members receive $10 for every $500 spent at the store. It’s not possible to accumulate more than $500 in earned cash rewards per year, and rewards are loaded on to the membership card (with a maximum balance of $2,000). Sam’s Plus membership costs $100, and it is possible to accumulate rewards in both the Cash Rewards and MasterCard rewards programs at the same time.
- To help you make your shopping experience more secure, the Sam’s Club MasterCard comes with an EMV chip + signature technology. Most merchants have started accepting chip-enabled cards, which is a more secure type of payment. The regular Sam’s Club credit card comes with a magnetic strip only.
Sam’s Club offers two co-branded credit cards to consumers: the Sam’s Club MasterCard and the standard Sam’s Club credit card. Although both cards can be used to pay for Sam’s Club and Walmart purchases, they are not the same. Let’s see what makes them different.
Compare Cards in the Same Lineup
|APR On Purchases||23.90% Variable±||15.90% to 23.90% Variable±|
|Second Year Value||$0||$240|
Unlike the MasterCard version, the regular Sam’s Club card cannot be used everywhere. The regular Sam’s Club card can be used at Sam’s Club and Walmart stores only. The card doesn’t cost anything, either, except the club membership fee.
Similar to the MasterCard version, all rewards earned with the Sam’s Club credit card are issued once a year in the form of a check. The check can only be redeemed toward merchandise at Sam’s Club.
Some Alternative Cards to Sam's Club Credit Card
As far as store credit cards go, the Sam’s Club MasterCard offers a solid return on purchases in popular categories, especially for a no-annual fee card. However, your rewards are limited to Sam’s Club only. Let’s take a look at a few cashback cards whose flexible rewards can be redeemed toward any purchase.
- Discover it® - Cashback Match™
Up to 5% cash back offerRead Review
- Citi® Double Cash Card
1% cash back on purchases and 1% as you pay for those purchasesRead Review
- Discover it® Chrome Card
Up to 2% cash back offerRead Review
- Chase Freedom® Card
$150 bonus offerRead Review
Best Cashback Card
Citi Double Cash is one of the most rewarding no-fee cards that offers cash rewards. It earns 2.0 percent cash back on all purchases. You get 1 percent back when you make a purchase and another 1 percent back when you pay your bill.
Rewards are unlimited, and the card costs absolutely nothing. The best part is that there are no category restrictions. Every single purchase earns double cash back.
Rewards can be applied toward any statement in any amount. When you compare cashback cards that have a fixed earning rate, the Citi Double Cash card is one of the best options available.
Best Gas Card
Discover it Chrome offers rather generous rewards. This credit card earns 2.0 percent back at restaurants and gas stations, and 1 percent back on everything else. Keep in mind that double rewards on fuel and dining are limited to the first $1,000 each quarter, but if those two are your main spending categories, then you can earn a lot back.
The card charges no annual fees and doubles all cash back earned at the end of the first membership year, offering you a chance to earn 4 percent back in the bonus categories.
Best Rotating Category Card
The Discover it Cashback Match card earns 5.0 percent back in rotating categories. Quarterly categories range from grocery stores and gas stations to restaurants and Amazon. You can earn at the 5.0 percent rate on up to $1,500 every quarter.
Additionally, Discover cards have a unique earning feature. All the cash back you earn in the first year is doubled at the end of the year. So, there’s a potential of earning 10 percent back in bonus categories during the first membership year.
Cash back earned with Discover cards can be redeemed any time and in any amount. The annual fee is $0, and there are no foreign transaction fees.
Get the Biggest Bonus
Earn a 15,000 points bonus with the Chase Freedom after spending $500 in the first three months of card membership. Get 5 points per dollar spent on select rotating bonus categories. The points you earn with this card will never expire as long as your account is open. There’s also no limit on the amount of points you can earn, though the 5 percent bonus for select categories is only good for $1,500 worth of purchases per quarter. After reaching that cap, you’ll earn the standard 1 percent back.
This card also comes with 0% APR for 15 months on both new purchases and balance transfers. That makes this card a good choice if you’re thinking about making a big purchase that you’d want to pay off over time.
Whenever you apply for a credit card make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card and the rewards program to find out about minimum spend requirements and any restrictions to ensure you can successfully obtain the card and earn the rewards it offers.
Good credit score
Card Terms and Conditions
While it's easy to focus on the benefits of the Sam’s Club card, it's worth taking a closer look at the terms and conditions. There's a lot to consider as you think about how you're going to use the card. Will you carry a balance, get a cash advance or maybe make a big purchase? Below is a rundown of the various interest rates, purchase protections, security features and mobile banking options that come with this MasterCard.
- Intro APR:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Intro APR for balance transfers:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Ongoing APR:
- 15.90% to 23.90% Variable±
- Minimum Grace Period:
- 23 days
- Extended Warranty Protection:
- The benefit extends the terms of the manufacturer's warranty by up to one year on anything purchased with the Sam’s Club credit card.
- Price Protection:
- Purchase an eligible item with your Sam’s Club credit card and receive a reimbursement if you find the same item for less within 60 days.
Cash Advance Features
- Ongoing APR:
- 20.90% to 26.90% Variable±
- Cash Advance Fee:
- Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
Security and Protections
Cardholders are not liable for any unauthorized charges made on the card. In the event of identity theft, MasterCard will contact credit bureaus on your behalf. It’s possible to manage your card account, set up large-purchase alerts and pay off your bill on the go. The card comes with a Chip + Signature technology for extra security.
- Account alerts:
- Set up alerts to be notified when large transactions occur, if there’s an unauthorized withdrawal and when your bill’s due.
- Banking On the Go:
- Track your account with the mobile app.
- EMV Chip Technology:
- Get global acceptance and enhanced security at merchants that use chip-enabled terminals.