Credit Card Credit Card Reviews

Sam's Club Mastercard Review

overall rating
2.5

Investopedia is committed to providing our readers with unbiased product recommendations. We may receive compensation when you click on links to products, but this doesn't affect how we rate, review, and rank them.

The Sam's Club Mastercard is a cash back credit card that doubles as a Sam's club membership card and earns cash back on categories like gas, dining, and travel. While there is no annual fee with this card, if you want to use it at Sam's Club and redeem your cash back rewards, you'll need to purchase and maintain a club membership.

Sam's Club® Mastercard®

overall rating
3.5
Sam's Club® Mastercard®
On Synchrony Bank's Secured Site.

Current Offer:

Get $45 as a statement credit when you open a new account and spend $45 online today

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.4% - 24.4% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 5% cash back on gas (on the first $6,000 per year), 3% back on dining & travel, and 1% back on all other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $10 or 4% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater.
how this card stacks up
When compared among all rewards cards in our database:
Rewards
Benefits
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
worst best

Full Review of Sam's Club Mastercard

Pros
  • Higher cash back in certain categories

  • No annual fee

  • Cash access of up to $100 at Sam's Club and Walmart registers

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons
  • Limit to the amount of cash back each year

  • Must buy a Sam's Club membership to use the card at Sam's Club

  • Small one-time offer, only available for a limited time

Pros Explained

  • Higher Cash Back in Certain Categories: The Sam's Club Mastercard offers 5% back on gas and 3% back on dining and travel. The 5% cash back on gas only applies to the first $6,000 in gas purchases each year, however.
  • No Annual Fee: Because there is no annual fee, there’s no need to worry about whether your rewards will justify the fee. However, cardholders who want to shop at Sam’s Club have to purchase a membership, and Sam’s Club and its website are the only places where you can redeem your cash-back rewards.
  • Cash Access of Up to $100 at Sam's Club and Walmart Registers: Cardholders can get cash advances of $20 to $100 at Walmart and Sam’s Club stores, which could be a convenience. These "quick cash advances" are treated as purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee: This card charges no foreign transaction fees, and because it's a Mastercard, it's widely accepted abroad.

Cons Explained

  • Limit to the Amount of Cash Back: You can earn 5% cash back on up to $6,000 in gas purchases each year, for a total of $300. Once you reach the $6,000 threshold, gas earns just 1% cash back. On top of that, you’re limited to $5,000 in total cash back for the year.
  • Must Buy a Sam's Club Membership to Use the Card at Sam's Club: Even though the Sam's Club Mastercard can double as a membership card at Sam's Club, you don't get automatic membership. You still have to pay for that membership if you want to use the card for shopping at Sam's Club. What's more, because the cash-back rewards can only be redeemed at Sam's Club, you'll need a membership in order to take advantage of the rewards program. A regular Sam's Club membership costs $45, while a Plus membership, with additional benefits, is $100. 
  • Small One-Time Offer, Only Available for a Limited Time: There is a bonus of sorts with this card but it is quite modest compared to what you could get with many other cash back credit cards. Currently, the bonus offer is a $45 statement credit after spending $45 on the day of account opening (which equals the dollar amount of the membership fee for new members); offer expires June 15, 2020.

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Cash Back Strategist Persona
    Seeks to maximize cash back earnings across spending categories
    Cash Back Strategist
  • Avatar for Frequent Diner Persona
    Dines out regularly while traveling or in home city
    Frequent Diner
  • Avatar for Head of Household Persona
    Primarily responsible for household grocery and other major purchases
    Head of Household

The Sam's Club Mastercard is designed for consumers who regularly shop at Sam’s Club and want a convenient way to pay with a card that doubles as a membership card.

This card could also be a good choice for anyone who drives a lot. The average household spends about $2,109 a year on gas, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So even if you’re just average, you’d collect $105.45 in cash back, which is more than enough to justify the cost of a Sam’s Club membership.

Additionally, with the 3% cash back on dining and travel, this card can be good for those who like to spend money on eating out and experiences.

But consumers who want a card that rewards them for everyday spending, such as groceries, might be better off looking elsewhere. For example, the American Express Blue Cash Everyday card offers 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases, then 1%), as well as 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and certain department stores. The SavorOne Rewards card from Capital One offers 2% cash back at grocery stores, along with 3% cash back on dining and entertainment.

Sam's Club Mastercard Bonus

Until June 15, 2020, it’s possible to get a $45 statement credit for $45 in spending the day of account opening. This is a rather limited bonus. Some competing credit cards offer much bigger bonuses, often in the range of $150 to $200.

Rewards Earning Details

Cardholders earn 5% cash back on up to $6,000 in gas purchases per year. Additionally, the card offers 3% cash back on dining and travel. Other purchases earn 1%.

There's also a $5,000 cap on how much cash back you can earn in a year. 

Rewards Redemption Details

Cash-back rewards can be redeemed only at Sam's Club locations, including SamsClub.com.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

The best way to maximize rewards with the Sam's Club Mastercard is to use it to buy gas, at least until you’ve spent $6,000, at which point the 5% cash back drops to 1%. It would also be worthwhile to maximize use of this card for dining and travel to take advantage of the 3% cash back earnings for these categories.

The Sam's Club Mastercard could also be used to complement another credit card, with a different rewards structure. For example, you could use the Amex Blue Cash Everyday card to get 3% back on groceries (on up to $6,000 in purchases) and then use the Sam's Club card for its 5% cash back on gas, which is much higher than Blue Cash Everyday's 2% gas earnings rate.

Sam's Club Mastercard's Standard Benefits

  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Up to $100 cash at Walmart and Sam's Club registers

Cardholder Experience

Synchrony Bank, which issues the Sam's Club Mastercard, came in 10th out of 11 national credit card issuers in J.D. Power's 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. It scored 780 out of 1,000 points, compared with the national average of 806 points. 

Cardholders can manage their Sam's Club Mastercard account online, making it easy to view statements, pay the bill, and set up account alerts.

Security Features

For the most part, the Sam's Club Mastercard provides the security measures common to other Mastercards. This includes zero liability for fraudulent purchases and ID theft protection. The card doesn’t offer much in the way of additional security.

Our Verdict

The Sam's Club Mastercard could work well for anyone who wants 5% cash back on gas or 3% cash back on dining and travel. However, it might be best for people who already have a Sam’s Club membership, since that’s required in order to redeem rewards.

If you're looking for more flexible cash-back rewards with tiered categories, the Blue Cash Everyday card from American Express and the SavorOne Rewards card from Capital One could be good alternatives. However, the Sam's Club Mastercard can also be a useful complement to another card, especially one with higher rewards on purchases like groceries.

Apply Now
For Sam's Club® Mastercard®
on Synchrony Bank's Secured Site.
Compare This Card
See how this card compares to similar cards
CURRENT CARD
Sam's Club® Mastercard®
overall rating
2.5
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.4% - 24.4% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 5% cash back on gas (on the first $6,000 per year), 3% back on dining & travel, and 1% back on all other purchases.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.