7 Ways to Shop at Sam’s Club Without a Membership

April 7, 2016 by Kyle

(Updated 12/01/17) A while back I talked about the clever ways you can shop at Costco without a membership. The article was very popular and made me realize I should write the same article for Sam’s Club. Maybe you’re on the fence about dropping $45 for a standard membership, or you know you won’t buy enough in a year to make it worth it. Whatever the case may be, there are clever ways to get free access to the Sam’s Club warehouse throughout the year. Here is what you need to know to make it happen.

7 Ways to Shop at Sam's Club Without a Membership

1. Use a Free 1-Day Pass

The easiest way to get into Sam’s Club and shop without a membership is to Print a One-Day Pass for free.

Be aware that you’ll be charged a 10% fee on all purchases and the 1-day pass cannot be used on Black Friday. If you live in California or South Carolina you won’t have to pay the 10% surcharge.

This 1-day pass expires on 1/31/18.

This is a great way to get in and check out Sam’s and not have to shell out $45 or $100 for an annual membership.

2. Shop Items That Don’t Require a Membership

Here are the items at Sam’s Club that you can buy without an active membership:

  • Alcohol: According to Glamour Living, “Because of a law that prohibits the sale of alcohol through members-only arrangements, all Sam’s Club stores will sell beer, wine, and the hard stuff to nonmembers.”
  • Prescription Drugs: From the Sam’s site, “You do not have to be a Member to buy your prescription medications from Sam’s Club. For pharmaceuticals with a script there is no fee for non-members.”
  • Optical Services: Also from the Sam’s Club site, “A Sam’s Club Membership will be required to purchase optical products. However, a Membership is not required to see the doctor of optometry.”

Do you know of any other items you can buy at Sam’s without a membership? Let me know if you do.

3. Shop During an Open House

Several times throughout the year, Sam’s Club hosts an open house event where all non-members are invited to shop the warehouse.

The best way to be kept in-the-know of upcoming open houses is to sign up for email alerts (look at bottom of page) from Sam’s or follow them on Facebook as they always let folks know in advance when an open house is in the works.

4. Have a Member Add You

If you have a family member who has a Sam’s membership and is the only person on the account, they can add you to their account for free.

You’ll get a separate membership card in the mail and be good to go (and save). Important note: You must be the primary account holder to add a complimentary cardholder.

5. Shop at Sam’s Club.com

Another smart way to take advantage of Sam’s Club pricing and selection is by shopping their website.

You DO NOT have to be an active member to shop on SamsClub.com, BUT you’ll be charged a 10% surcharge on your online purchases.

If you’re making a significant purchase from their site, and you’re not a member, consider asking a friend or family member (who is a member) to make the purchase for you.

6. Shop With a Friend

Avoid the 10% fee you’ll get charged with a 1-day pass, and simply shop with a friend or family member that is a paying member.

They’ll use their card at checkout and you can simply repay them for your purchases. This tip seems fairly obvious but is often an overlooked way to shop at Sam’s without paying for a membership.

7. Earn Cash Rewards That’ll Pay for Your Membership

Okay, before you holler at me, this final tip does require you to buy a membership, but….it could easily allow you to get if for free in the end.

It works by you signing up for the Sam’s Club Plus membership ($100/year) which earns you 2% cashback on all purchases. The 2% back can easily pay for your membership if you spend $420/month on average.

While that number might seem big, if you’re buying all your groceries and household items for your family at Sam’s that number is fairly easy to reach.

Happy savings!

By Kyle James

Photo by Walmart.

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23 Responses to “7 Ways to Shop at Sam’s Club Without a Membership”

  1. karen keel on August 6th, 2016 10:18 am

    please let me know when open house day is. thanks

  2. Mary Chapman on November 18th, 2016 2:51 pm

    please let me know when the open house day will be . Is it possibly going to be before the holidays? Thank you so much.

  3. Tesla on December 14th, 2016 1:37 pm

    Are EcoATMs things you can access without membership? If so, does lack of membership alter the amount offered for each item?

  4. Jackieheavner on December 21st, 2016 7:01 am

    Please let me know when the next open house is

  5. FLOY GRANT on January 12th, 2017 6:35 am

    I just want a one day pass only to shop today

  6. Lorraine Krasner on April 13th, 2017 2:11 am

    I would like a free pass to shop today thank yu

  7. Elouise on March 10th, 2017 9:55 am

    And for the cash rewards, if you let someone use your card, you get credit for their purchases

  8. Eve on April 2nd, 2017 4:51 am

    Can I shop today without paying the 10%

  9. Glendalee Morales on June 22nd, 2017 9:00 am

    I would like a free pass today thank you

  10. louis basile on June 26th, 2017 5:33 am

    I want a pass for today thank you

  11. The Voice on June 26th, 2017 2:22 pm

    I just recently reviewed the Sam’s club no membership required items. These include any third party vendor, such as Cell phones, Alcohol, Tobacco, milk, vision services, pharmacy, contractor services, delivery services, gift cards, auctions, taxi’s, and a few other ventures. EFFECTIVE 6/26/2017.You do need to be a member for the hot foods cafe.

  12. Bobby eaves on August 7th, 2017 4:15 pm

    Let me know when open house is.

  13. Felecia on August 7th, 2017 6:56 pm

    I want a one day pass to shop

  14. rose winke on August 17th, 2017 11:09 am

    Join the discussion

  15. Betty-B on August 21st, 2017 5:31 am


  16. Betty-B on August 21st, 2017 5:29 am

    So unlike Costco, can’t get a gift card?

  17. Sadietz on October 8th, 2017 12:35 pm

    When’s open house, please

  18. Mary on October 28th, 2017 12:09 pm

    Free shopping days

  19. Shirley on November 8th, 2017 3:13 pm

    I need a one day shopping pass, or when your having open house, both would work better. TY.

  20. connie clay on November 19th, 2017 7:08 pm

    I would like open house alerts and or- day pass. Thank you

  21. Joyce J White on November 25th, 2017 7:30 am

    I would like very much to receive One Day Passes an Open House alerts..Thank You..

  22. Kyle on December 1st, 2017 10:24 am
  23. Rebecca on December 11th, 2017 9:30 am

    when is your next open house

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