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Sam’s Club Discontinues Popular Member Perk

Club retailer increases free shipping minimum
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Sam's Club
Starting Aug. 19, Sam's Club Plus members will be required to spend at least $50 to receive free delivery for online orders.

Sam’s Club has informed its Plus members that it will soon increase free shipping minimums. Starting Aug. 19, Plus members will get free shipping only on eligible items online or in the app when they spend $50 or more per order. Otherwise, an $8 fee will be applied. Currently, Plus members get free shipping on most online items

With Sam’s Club Plus membership already costing $110 a year, many of the retailer's customers have taken to social media to voice their frustrations that what was once a free perk will now cost them even more money. Some customers have even threatened to leave Sam’s Club for its warehouse club competitors, such as Costco or BJ’s, after learning about the increased shipping minimum.  

Sam’s Club justified the increase on its website, writing “By adding a cart minimum, we are increasing access to different ways of shopping for our members. This will make it easier for you to get the products you want, the way and at the time you want.

The company also emphasized such other Plus Perks as free Curbside Pickup on eligible items; the ability to earn 2% Sam’s Cash on qualifying in-club purchases, up to $500 a year; 10 free select generic prescriptions and 600-plus generics priced at $10 or less; and early shopping at select locations. 

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In addition, starting Aug. 19, Plus members will also receive free same-day delivery on qualifying orders when they spend $50 or more. Same-day delivery orders previously had an $8 flat-rate fee on all orders, which will still be applied if the new cart minimum isn’t reached.

There’s also good news for customers with base Club membership. Free curbside pickup will be available starting on Aug. 19 when they spend a minimum of $50. Otherwise, the current $4 fee will still be applied to each eligible order. Club membership costs $50 annually. 

Sam's Club membership changes come at a time when more consumers are flocking to big-box retailers to shop in bulk to save money on food items. For its first quarter ending April 26, Sam's Club reported stronger dollar and unit share in grocery. Net sales at the retailer increased 4.6% to reach $21.4 billion during the period. Digital was a bright spot, with an 18% rise in e-comm sales and an expansion in membership income. 

[RELATED: Walmart Posts Strong 1st Quarter]

Sam’s Club is a division of Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart Inc. The company operates nearly 600 clubs in the United States and Puerto Rico. Meanwhile, Walmart operates more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites in 20 countries. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on Progressive Grocer’s 2024 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while its Sam’s Club division is No. 8.

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