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Sam's Club Credit Card Review: An Introductory Bonus for No Annual Fee

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Sam's Club credit cards, issued by Synchrony Financial, come in two varieties. There's the Sam's Club Credit Card, which can only be used for purchases at Sam's Club and Walmart. Then there's the Sam's Club Mastercard, which can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted and comes with cash back rewards. Read our Sam's Club Credit Card review to see if either card is for you.

Full Sam's Club Credit Card review

Pros

  • Sign-up bonus
  • No annual fee
  • Doubles as Sam's membership card
  • Mastercard: cash back rewards

Cons

  • High APR
  • Limited rewards
  • Sam's club membership required

Top perks

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.

Sign-up bonus

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.

High APR

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.

Limited rewards

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.

Find the best credit card for your needs

Compare credit card rewards, fees, APRs, and more using our side-by-side comparison tool.

Suggested credit score

Ease of approval varies based on which card you're going after. The Sam's Club Credit Card is likely easier to obtain than the Mastercard versions due to its limited utility and lack of rewards. You still probably need at least fair/average credit to qualify. The Sam's Club Mastercard likely requires good credit or better to qualify.

Alternatives to consider

If you want to earn high rewards everywhere you shop: The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer earns a flat 2% cash back everywhere, on every purchase, with no cap on how much you can earn. (You'll get 1% back when you make a purchase, and another 1% when you pay your bill on time.) If you want a card that gets you a great cash back rate no matter where you use it, this Citi card is a winner.

If you want gas rewards with no spending cap: The Citi Premier® Card earns 3 points per dollar on gas purchases, without the $6,000 spending cap of the Sam's Club Mastercard. It also offers 3 points per $1 at restaurants, supermarkets, hotels, and on air travel. Depending on how you redeem your rewards points, you could easily out-earn the Sam's Club Mastercard.

As of Jun. 21, 2022
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Image for
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer Citi Premier® Card
Apply Now for Citi Premier® Card

On Citi's Secure Website.

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Welcome Offer:

N/A

Welcome Offer: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

80,000 ThankYou® Points

Rewards Program: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Up to 2% cash back

Rewards Program: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

1x - 3x points

Intro APR:

Purchases: N/A

Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 months

Intro APR:

Purchases: N/A

Balance Transfers: N/A

Regular APR:

15.49% - 25.49%, variable

Regular APR:

17.49% - 25.49% (Variable)

Annual Fee:

$0

Annual Fee:

$95

Highlights:

  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.49% - 25.49%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.49% - 25.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

Highlights:

  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Apply Now for Citi Premier® Card

On Citi's Secure Website.

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Sam's Club Credit Card is right for you if:

You can qualify for the Mastercard version and will make good use of the rewards on Sam's Club, gas, dining, and takeout purchases. The Sam's Club Mastercard is best-suited for those who want to maximize rewards on Sam's Club purchases.

The Sam's Club Credit Card doesn't have much to offer. Because it doesn't earn any rewards, it's only worth considering if you plan to use it to improve your credit score.

FAQs

  • The credit limit for the Sam's Club Credit Card typically ranges from $1,000 to $10,000, although reports indicate it's possible to get higher limits. Your credit limit on your Sam's Club Credit Card is determined by multiple factors, including your annual income and credit history.

  • You can use the Sam's Club Credit Card at all Sam's Club and Walmart locations nationwide. If you're approved for the Sam's Club Mastercard, it can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted.

  • Yes, the Sam's Club Credit Card can build credit. Its card issuer, Synchrony Financial, reports the activity on your card to the consumer credit bureaus. If you stick to consistent credit habits, such as paying your credit card bill on time, your card activity can make your credit score go up.

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