If you spend a lot of time at Sam’s Club and prefer to shop there instead of at traditional grocery stores, you may want to consider picking up the Sam's Club®
Mastercard®. This card offers exceptional rewards on Sam’s Club gas purchases along with travel and dining spending, and all with no annual fee.
Sam's Club® Mastercard® Key Takeaways
- No annual fee or foreign transaction fees
- Earn 5% back at gas stations, including Sam’s Club gas stations, on up to $6,000 in spending each year
- Earn 3% back on dining and travel
- Get 1% back on all other purchases, including purchases at Sam’s Club stores
Sam's Club® Mastercard®: Perfect for Sam’s Club Enthusiasts
If you frequently need to fill your car up with gas and you prefer to earn rewards you can spend at Sam’s Club stores, the Sam's Club® Mastercard®
is worth considering. This card gives you 5% back on up to $6,000 spent at participating gas stations, including Sam’s Club gas stations, every year. You also get 3% back on dining and travel, which could add up fast. Also, don’t forget this card comes with no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.
How much could you earn? Imagine you were able to max out the gas category each year with $6,000 in annual spending — or $500 in gas station spending per month. In that case, you would earn $300 per year in that category alone every 12 months you had the card. If you also spent $1,000 per month on dining and travel all year long, you would earn another $360 per year. That’s $660 in bonus earnings your first year, which doesn’t even include the 1% back in rewards you earn on non-bonus purchases.
If you’re someone who loves the idea of earning rewards for Sam’s Club purchases and doesn’t care about earning flexible rewards, this card isn’t a bad deal. Just remember that you do have to be a Sam’s Club member to qualify, which costs $45 per year at a minimum.
Where it Comes Up Short
In addition to the fact you must be a Sam’s Club member already to get this credit card, there are additional downsides to be aware of. Specifically, it’s important to note that the rewards you earn are only good for certificates you can use in Sam’s Club stores. Unlike other cash-back credit cards that go out of their way to offer some flexibility in their programs, the Sam's Club® Mastercard® doesn’t let you redeem points for merchandise, travel, or gift cards through a portal. You are limited to just Sam’s Club purchases, which may or may not work for you based on your goals.
Second, it’s important to note that the highest earning category this card offers (5% for gas purchases) is capped at just the first $6,000 you spend in this category each year. That’s a lot to spend on gas for some people, but consumers who commute long distances to work or drive gas-guzzlers may find themselves maxing this category out rather quickly.
Also be aware that you can only earn up to $5,000 per year in rewards. That seems like a lot, and it is, but it means your rewards are fairly limited with this card if you spend a ton of money at Sam’s Club for your business.
Why You May Want to Consider Another Rewards Card
The fact you can only redeem rewards for Sam’s Club certificates is the biggest reason to consider other cash-back credit cards. You may be fine cashing in your points for rewards you can use at Sam’s Club, but what happens if you find out you would rather have rewards for travel or cash back you can spend anywhere?
If you need more flexibility in the rewards you earn, here are a few different cards to consider:
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card gives a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. You can also earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. There’s no annual fee, and you can redeem your rewards for statement credits, merchandise, gift cards, travel, experiences, and more through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. (See also: 2019 Chase Ultimate Rewards Guide)
Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card
Also consider the Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card, which gives you 3% back on dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores, and 1% back on all other purchases. There’s no annual fee, and you get a $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on your card within three months of account opening.
Capital One Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Finally, also check out the Capital One Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, which is another cash-back credit card with no annual fee. This card gives you a $150 cash bonus when you sign up and spend $500 within three months of account opening. You also earn a flat 1.5% back for each dollar you spend, and there are no limits to how much you can earn.
The Bottom Line
The Sam's Club® Mastercard® isn’t the worst cash-back credit card in the world, but it’s certainly not the best. The earnings caps on gas and your annual spending mean you may not be able to maximize it as much as you want, and the fact your rewards can only be used at Sam’s Club leaves a lot to be desired.
For those reasons, we think the Sam's Club® Mastercard® is best for a specific type of consumer:
- Someone who spends a lot of money on gas each month
- Anyone who loves Sam’s Club and prefers to spend their rewards there
- Credit card customers who have no desire to redeem points for travel or anything else
Before you sign up for the Sam's Club® Mastercard®, we recommend shopping around for other cash-back credit cards so you can compare their ongoing rewards, signup bonuses, and perks. Also consider pairing the Sam's Club® Mastercard® with another credit card that offers a higher rate of return on regular purchases.
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