Sam's Club Mastercard
The Sam's Club Mastercard provides fantastic rewards on gas, travel, and dining. And thanks to having no annual fee, it's one of the best cards for gas purchases bringing in a whopping 5% cash back per $1 spent. What this card is not good for is it's return on Sam's Club shopping which, oddly enough, only provides you with 1% cash back. If you want to earn some great rewards for general travel expenses, the Sam's Club Mastercard is the way to go.
Sam's Club Mastercard Cash Back Rewards
Cash back earned with the Sam's Club Mastercard can only be redeemed once per year. Earnings will be mailed in the form of a check which are issued each February for the cash back earned during the previous calendar year. A maximum of $5,000 in cash back rewards can be earned in a calendar year. This could be problematic for anyone that is used to using their rewards as soon as they acquire them. If this is not an issue for you, the Sam's Club Mastercard will provide you with some of the highest earnings per $1 spent for gas, dining, and travel purchases.
The Sam's Club Mastercard features 3 bonus categories that earn bonus cash back. Those categories are gas stations, dining, and travel. The gas station category has a cap of $6,000 per year in purchases. Once this amount is reached, gas station purchases will earn cash back at the non-category bonus rate (1%) for the remainder of the year. There is no cap on the cash back bonus earned spending in the dining and travel categories. Sam's Club Mastercard holders can earn up to $5,000 in cash back spending on the card per calendar year. Once that limit is hit, all future purchases will earn 0% cash back. Earning $5,000 in cash back is not an easy task. Maximum spend on bonus categories would require you to spend $6,000 in gas ($300 cash back) and $156,666 between both travel and gas ($4,700 cash back). I would assume most card members would not get to close to this maximum with normal everyday spend. Rewards will also not be issued for any cash back amounts of less than $5. Below are the details on each bonus category featured on the Sam's Club Mastercard.
5% Gas Station
The Sam's Club Mastercard earns 5% cash back per $1 spent at gas stations. Eligible gas stations include Sam's Club gas stations, Walmart Gas Stations, and other gas stations coded as such (Exxon, BP, Speedway) that are located within the U.S. or Puerto Rico. The Sam's Club Mastercard offers one of the best returns on gas when it comes to a card with no annual fee. If you don't mind the fact that cash back rewards can be redeemed once per year, this card is a no brainer for anyone who does a great deal of travel by driving. The only two cards with no annual fee that come close to the Sam's Club Mastercard is the PNC Cash Rewards Card which earns 4% cash back on gas and the PenFed Platinum Rewards Card which earns 5x points per $1 spent on gas (each point worth 1 cent).
The Sam's Club Mastercard earns 3% cash back per $1 spent on dining purchases. This includes restaurants, drinking places, fast food places, and caterers. There's a few cards that earn 3% or higher on dining purchases that has no annual fee, but none that feature a high return on gas and a solid return on general travel purchases. The closest card would be the PNC Cash Rewards Card which earns 3% on dining, but it has a combined spending cap of $8,000 between it's four categories whereas the Sam's Club Mastercard only has a cap on gas station purchases. Other cards that feature a great return on dining consist of the Capital One SavorOne Card which earns 3% cash back on entertainment & dining and the Barclay Uber Card which earns 4% cash back on dining along with bonus cash back on nine additional categories. Like the Sam's Club Mastercard, both the SavorOne Card and Uber Card also have no foreign transaction fee so you can earn rewards on these categories while traveling internationally as well.
The Sam's Club Mastercard earns 3% cash back per $1 spent on travel purchases. This is considered to be anything related to travel which includes categories such as airlines, rental cars, hotels, passenger rail travel, bus lines, cruise lines, timeshares, travel agencies, travel sites and tour operators. The Sam's Club Mastercard is one of the rare no annual fee cash back cards that offer an unlimited 3% cash back on travel. This is a very generous return that can make for an excellent way to build up rewards on any vacation or business trip. If you're looking for other cards that earn big on travel, the AMEX PenFed Pathfinder Card offers 3x points (worth 1 cent each) for travel purchases with the ability to earn 4x for cardholders with military service. Another popular card of choice for travelers is the luxury Chase Sapphire Reserve Card which boasts a $450 annual fee, but features a 3x point bonus on travel and dining with points being worth 1.5 cents each for a total return of 4.5% per $1 spent. It also comes with an extensive list of elite travel perks that makes the hefty price tag worth it.
Non-Category spending on the Sam's Club Mastercard will earn 1% cash back per $1 spent. This will be for any purchase that is not coded as travel, dining, or gas stations. Surprisingly, Sam's Club purchases will also earn 1% cash back meaning this is not a good card for it's own store. In fact, there's not really a 'best' card to put Sam's Club spending on. There are plenty cards that can earn you decent rewards such as 2% cash back with the Citi Double Cash or 2x Membership Reward Points with the AMEX Blue Business Plus Card, but it will usually always come down to being categorized as a non-category purchase.
Sam's Club Store Card
The Sam's Club Store Card does not earn cash back. It can be tied to your debit card to receive cash back at any Sam's Club or Walmart® register and will double as your membership card. There's no real value to picking up the Sam's Club Store Card.
Sign Up Bonus
The sign up bonus for the Sam's Club Mastercard will depend on the promotion but it is usually a $45 statement credit when you use the card to make $45 or more in purchases at Sam's Club on the same day. This is not as big of sign up bonus offered on other cards such as 50,000 Points worth $500 with the Capital One Venture Card, but the return and earnings you can gain on the Sam's Club Mastercard makes this slightly overlookable.
Credit Card Fees
|Authorized User Fee|
|Foreign Transaction Fee|
There is no annual fee for the Sam's Club Mastercard or Sam's Club Store Card, but the card does require you to have a Sam's Club Membership which will cost you $45 per year. This is wiped out by the initial sign up bonus, but you will have to pay this fee yearly.
Authorized User Fee
There is no authorized user fee for the Sam's Club Mastercard or Sam's Club Store Card. Adding family and friends as additional users to the Sam's Club Mastercard would be beneficial for any cardholder due to the excellent amount of cash back this card is capable of earning.
Foreign Transaction Fee
The foreign transaction fee for the Sam's Club Mastercard is 0%. This allows you to earn cash back rewards when spending internationally. While the gas station category is locked down to U.S. and Puerto Rico purchases, the dining and travel categories are wide open to the 3% earnings this card offers making this just as good as a card as the Barclay Uber Card when it comes to international spend.
You can use this rewards calculator to calculate how many points, miles, or cash back you can earn based on your spend per category. This calculator will also give you the dollar value of the card based on rewards earned and how much each benefit is worth to you minus the fees. You can click the Compare A Card button to compare this card against another card in the same calculator.
All category spend entered in the primary card's column will carry over to all credit card pages on the site so you don't have to re-enter the same information over again.
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