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.


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connie clay

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

Joyce J White

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


when is your next open house


E mail me for your next open house

Pamela Hayes

Email next open house

Jim H

I bought a $100.00 membership to be allowed to shop early. My understanding now is that membership cards don’t have to be presented at the door any longer. What is to stop a consumer from shopping early with the $45.00 card now that no id is required upon entering.


Membership is now required to be shown at the door. Non plus members don’t get in until 10a and then must still show their card coming in….

Barbara Davis

Please send open house alert. Thanks


Let me know when there is an open house

Clemonette K Hamilton

You can get a great lunch desert included from the kitchen.

Mae Dickens

I let me know when the open house is.

LaShawn CoxBroadus

Can’t wait for the open house


Let me know when open house in st Joseph mo is please


You can get cafe items without a membership too at Sam’s I work here it is illegal to withhold restrooms and prepared hot foods to the public


Illegal? I doubt that. Stores can always restrict restroom access to customers. As for not being allowed to restrict prepared hot foods, that just sounds ridiculous. In any event, at my local Sam’s, the snack bar is outside the inner entrance to the store.

Darlene Lavern Archie

I need a free pass right now until I can apply for one


I got “Permission Denied
You do not have permission to access this document.” when I tried to access the fee 1-day pass page.


Please notify us of any open house events at Sam’s club