4 Ways Sam’s Club Is Better Than Costco

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A woman shopping for bulk products at Sam's Club.
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We’re all looking for ways to save money, and buying your groceries in bulk is one way to do that.

Consumers who buy in bulk can save 27% on their shopping compared to those who don’t, according to a LendingTree analysis. Two common places people go to buy in bulk are Costco and Sam’s Club. But which one of those warehouse stores is most worth your time?

Some things come down to preference, but here are perks that Sam's Club has over a Costco membership.

1. Cost of membership

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Costco has three different forms of membership. Sam’s Club offers two, and they’re $10 cheaper than Costco’s.

Costco tiers:

  • Gold Star Membership: $60
  • Business Membership (for resellers): $60
  • Executive Membership: $120

Sam’s Club tiers:

  • Club: $50
  • Plus: $110

Fees are paid annually to each retailer.

2. Accepted forms of payment

Woman using self-checkout at the grocery store
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Costco shoppers need to be more conscientious of their payment methods. Sam’s Club accepts 13 different methods of payment while Costco accepts 11. Costco members who want to use a credit card or run their debit card as a credit card can only do so if they have a Visa card. Whereas Sam’s Club takes all Visa, American Express, Mastercard and Discover cards.

Another nice thing about Sam’s Club is that you can use Walmart gift cards, not just Sam’s Club gift cards.

3. Checkout process

Woman at a grocery store checkout
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Sam’s Club lets you skip the line — even the self-checkout line. Sam’s Club’s app has a Scan and Go feature that allows customers to scan the barcodes on items they’re purchasing as they walk throughout the store.

Customers are able to see how much they’re spending as they shop and at the end of the trip they can simply pay on the app and show staff their digital receipt on the way out.

4. Pricing

Shopping cart in an aisle
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According to AARP, Sam’s Club had overall cheaper pricing in 2023. For example, a shopping trip at Costco came out to $81.60. A trip to Sam’s Club with 30 similar items came out to $68.94. Those numbers were calculated based on unit prices for an apples-to-apples comparison.

It should be noted though that the price of the all-important rotisserie chicken was about the same at each chain ($1.66 per pound).

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