All the Ways to Shop at Sam’s Club Without a Membership

Updated March 21, 2024 by Kyle James

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.

All The 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 This 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 12/31/21.

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.

See Also: Sam’s Club Return Policy: Your 12 Burning Questions Answered

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

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, 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.

Bonus Tip #1

Similar to Costco, you’re annual membership is completely refundable.

So you can always buy it, then decide later if the saving the warehouse club provides is worth the annual fee.

They’ll actually let you get a full refund on day 364 of your membership. You can request a refund in-store at the customer service desk, or call them at 1-888-746-7726.

Bonus Tip #2

While not a free option, you can join the Sam’s Collegiate Membership and get a free $15 eGift card when you sign up for the $45 annual membership.

Also, if you’re active or former U.S. military, you qualify for their Military Membership which scores you a free $10 eGift card when you renew or join for the first time.

This offer is good for the spouses as well and expires on 12/31/20.

Happy savings!

By Kyle James

Photo by Walmart.


Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

When I try to access 1- day pass it says I was denied pass???!

connie hodgins

I was denied the pass also

Selinda vander waal

When is next free shopping day


When is next free shopping day, pls let me know


I work at facility # 8201 in Bradenton FL, and my husband works at facility # 4772 in Sarasota FL and the ONLY thing you can buy without a membership is the hard Liqour store outside the exit. Beer and Wine is kept inside the club and must be purchased WITH a membership card
Need to correct that statement.

Dianne Russell

Is it true that you can order online without a membership?


can I use a sam’s gift card without a membership


You can join Sam’s Club for free as I did last year, and I see that’s still in force, if the internet can be trusted. You pay $45 and get a $45 gift card for joining. That’s a pretty big omission on your part!