Sam’s Club Credit Cards Review (Store Card and Mastercard)
Sam’s Club offers two types of credit cards, one known simply as the Sam’s Club Credit Card and the other referred to as the Sam’s Club Mastercard. The former is a traditional retail store card, with limit benefits and offers that are geared exclusively towards Sam’s Club. The other is an unsecured credit card that can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted and offers rewards for all purchases.
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Card Details: Sam’s Club Store Card
The Sam’s Club store card is very basic in terms of cash rewards and benefits. It functions as a membership card and there is no annual fee, but you won’t earn cashback inside or outside Sam’s Club.
The good news is that the Sam’s Club store card is accepted at all Sam’s Club and Walmart locations and you can get a cash advance of up to $100 at these locations. You can also access your account online via SamsClub.com, but that’s where the benefits stop.
Card Details: Sam’s Club Mastercard
While the Sam’s Club store card is disappointing, to say the least, the Sam’s Club Mastercard actually has some standout features worth mentioning. With this card, you can earn 5% cash back on all gas purchases up to $6,000 per year, after which the rate drops to 1%.
You can also earn 3% on restaurants and travel purchases, as well as 1% everywhere else that Mastercard is accepted. One of the surprising aspects of this credit card is that you don’t get any major account opening benefits, and Sam’s Club shoppers aren’t really incentivized to use the card at Sam’s Club.
However, as with the store credit card outlined above, the Sam’s Club Mastercard doesn’t charge an annual fee. It also has a respectable (albeit not great) variable APR.
Which Sam’s Club Card is Right for You?
The Sam’s Club store card is little more than a glorified membership card while the Sam’s Club Mastercard pales in comparison to other cash rewards credit cards.
The Sam’s Club Mastercard is clearly the better option of the two, but it only looks like a good rewards credit card if you have no experience of other cards. The rewards rate is high for some qualifying purchases, but it’s low for others, including Sam’s Club purchases. As a result, it simply can’t compare to even the most standard cash back cards, including the Discover It (discussed further below) and the Chase Freedom.
The truth is, there are many better cash reward credit cards out there. Just like the Sam’s Club, these alternatives offer a $0 annual fee, a low regular APR, and some big rewards. But unlike the Sam’s Club, they also offer a generous intro APR and account opening bonus, as well as low balance transfer fees and foreign transaction fees.
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Alternatives to the Sam’s Club Credit Card
If the Sam’s Club Mastercard isn’t quite what you’re looking for, take a look at these other cards, all of which offer cash back rewards, discounts, and other perks. Some of these are more traditional retail store cards, others are open-loop branded cards, and one is a traditional rewards card that puts most other credit card offers to shame.
Target REDCard Credit Card
The Target REDcard is not a traditional rewards credit card or cash back card. There are no points, air miles or cash back to accumulate here. Instead, all the benefits are offered in the form of regular discounts.
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The result is pretty much the same, because instead of getting 5% cash back on every dollar that you spend, you can get 5% discount on every item that you purchase, but “cash back” and “rewards” sound a little more appealing and also offer more redemption options.
As with all store cards, you need to be a regular Target shopper to benefit from the Target REDcard. If you are, you’ll be happy to know that there is a 10% discount offered to all new cardholders on their cardmember anniversary, as well as two-day shipping on thousands of items in the Target online store.
Staples Store Card
Staples is not the giant that it once was and these days there is much more competition, with many shoppers preferring to use sites like Amazon or even eBay to get the everyday office essentials they need. However, it’s still one of the best places if you’re looking for all essential office supplies under one roof and with the Staples card, shopping at this retail giant is an even more appealing prospect.
The Staples card offers a number of perks and benefits to small business owners, including the ability to add authorized users (such as employees) and set spending limits. In our opinion, the best benefits are the unlimited 5% cash back earned on all Staples products and the 0% APR charged for between 6 months and 18 months.
The length of the interest-free period will depend entirely on the size of your purchase, so you won’t always get the full 18 months. What’s more, your interest is deferred during this time, and if you fail to make your payment on time at the end of this period, all that interest will come back to bite you and you’ll be left with a huge balance.
Still, if the Staples store card is used responsibly, it’s one of the best store cards available for professionals and small business owners.
Amazon Prime Store and Credit Card
At last count, there were four different Amazon cards; two retail cards and two store cards. In each case, there is one “normal” card and one Prime card, with the latter offered to Amazon Prime members only.
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Our personal favorite is the Amazon Prime Visa Signature card, as it combines a host of features from the Visa Signature program with a number of benefits from Amazon, spanning everything from purchase protection and travel benefits, to 5% cash back every time you shop at Whole Foods or Amazon.com.
The Amazon Prime card also offers a 2% rate for purchases made at gas stations, drug stores, and restaurants, with a 1% rate for everything else. The only downside is that Prime membership costs $119 a year and is a prerequisite for this card. But if you are not interested in Prime or can’t afford it, we recommend trying out the traditional Amazon Store Card or Amazon Visa Card.
Discover It Cash Back Credit Card
The Discover It Cash Back credit card has a very generous loyalty scheme and welcome offer, as well as cash back that can be redeemed at any time and for any amount. You can earn 5% cash back on select categories, which change every quarter, and you’ll be given 1% cash back on all other purchases.
At the end of your first year, Discover will match all your cash back, doubling the amount that you earn, and there is no limit to how much you can earn via this bonus.
The Discover It Cash Back card doesn’t charge an annual fee, has a respectable interest rate, and is one of the highest-rated reward credit cards around.