Sam's Club Mastercard
Review the benefits of the Sam's Club Mastercard, calculate how much cash back you can earn based on your spend, and compare results to top rewards cards.
The Sam's Club Mastercard does not shine when it is used at Sam's Club. In fact, it's pretty bad as you'll only earn 1% cash back when you use it in-store and online at their store. Where the card does shine is in the travel department. The Sam's Club Mastercard offers a magnfiicant 5% return on gas purchases and a wonderful 3% return on travel and dining purchases. The only drawback to the Sam's Club Mastercard is that you receive all the rewards you've earned during the year the following February. If you don't mind receiving your rewards once per year, the Sam's Club Mastercard can be a very reward travel card.
The Sam's Club Mastercard features 3 bonus categories which are gas station, dining, and travel purchases. The gas station category has a cap of $6,000 per year in purchases. Once that cap is hit, you will earn at the non-bonus category rate of 1% for the remainder of the calendar year. There is no cap on the bonus cash back earned spending in the dining and travel categories.
You can earn up to $5,000 in cash back per calendar year spending on the Sam's Club Mastercard. Once you hit that limit, you'll earn 0% cash back using the card. This is not something you should be concerned about unless you're spending a hundreds of thousands on the card. For example, you would need to spend $166,666 between travel and dining alone to earn $5,000 in cash back.
5% Gas Station
Using the Sam's Club Mastercard at gas stations will earn you 5% cash back per $1 spent. 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. (including Puerto Rico). You will not earn 5% at other (competitor) grocery and warehouse gas stations such as Costco, BJs, HEB, Kroger, Meijer, and Publix.
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 if you want to rake in the cash back without worrying the need for other bells and whisles like top of the line travel cards offer.
When you use the Sam's Club Mastercard on dining purchases worldwide, you'll earn 3% cash back per $1 spent. These will generally be restaurants, drinking places (bars), fast food places, and caterers.
Earning 3% back on dining is about the industry high at the moment. Considering that you have gas, dining, and travel built into one card, the Sam's Club Mastercard is pretty much a one stop shop. Other cards that offer the same return on gas consist of the PNC Cash Rewards Card (3% back, but has an annual cap) and the Capital One SavorOne Card (3% back) which also earns 3% back on entertainment.
The Sam's Club Mastercard will earn you 3% cash back when you use it to make travel purchases. Travel is considered to be anything related to travel which includes categories such as:
- Rental Cars
- Passenger Rail Travel
- Bus Lines
- Cruise Lines
- Travel Agencies
- Travel Sites
- Tour Operators
You will not earn 3% cash back on travel purchased through Costco and BJ's.
Earning an unlimited 3% travel on a card that only requires you to have a membership (which is a benefit in itself) is pretty good. The only no-annual fee card that can compete with a return on travel like this is the Wells Fargo Propel Card which features similar bonus categories on travel, dining, gas, and popular streaming services.
1% Sam's Club
Purchases made at Sam's Club with the Sam's Club Mastercard will earn you 1% cash back. Yes this should be listed under the '1% Non-Category' section below, but I wanted to make sure that you know this card earns 1% cash back. The best alternatives to earning a higher return on Sam's Club purchases will be to either grab up the Sam's Club Plus membership which comes with a $100 price tag ($55 more than basic membership) or use one the few no-annual fee 2% cash back credit cards on the market. While I believe that you should always have a 2% cash back (or 2% return) card onhand, I feel that the Plus membership offers enough benefits to easily be worth it. This, of course, is for you to decide based on how often you shop at Sam's Club.
All other purchases made on the Sam's Club Mastercard will earn 1% cash back per $1 spent. This is a low return that should either be put on a 2% cash back credit card or another card that earns you a great return per $1 spent depending on the category. I don't recommend running non-category spend through this card.
Perks and Benefits
The Sam's Club Mastercard does not offer any special benefits specific to the card itself. The card will double as your Sam's Club membership card.
Sign Up Bonus
The standard 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, 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 some of the top travel cards.
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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