Sam’s Club is a warehouse club that operates on a membership-only basis, which means you can only shop at a Sam’s Club if you have a membership. Warehouse clubs like this are members-only to ensure customers get the lowest prices.
Shopping at Sam’s Club can really help you cut a few dollars out of your spending if you play your cards right. You can get a whole lot of things such as groceries and household items for less.
But sometimes, it’s still quite the hassle to have everyone make their own Sam’s Club card just to do the monthly shopping. What if you, the card owner, are busy? What if your family member has to run to your nearest Sam’s Club really quickly to grab cheeses for your charcuterie board?
Can a Family Member Use My Sam’s Club Card?
Technically, no a family member can’t use your Sam’s club card. According to Sam’s Club policy, the cardholder will have to be present when making purchases at any Sam’s Club. Under most circumstances, family members above 18 are not allowed to use Sam’s Club cards under another family member’s name.
It is unclear whether Sam’s Club makes an exception for minors, but it would be wise to check with your nearest Sam’s Club staff for clarification.
Why Can’t I Use a Family Member’s Sam’s Club Card?
The main reason Sam’s Club prohibits family members, or anyone apart from the cardholder themselves, from using the card is for security reasons. It is mainly to prevent any worst-case scenario involving identity or card theft and misuse of a membership.
Sam’s Club even requires users to provide a passport-sized copy of their own photo to be used on their Sam’s Club card to match their face to their ID when shopping. Therefore, you can’t get away with using someone else’s card at the counter, even if you look really similar.
What Can Family Members Do?
The cardholding family member can’t be present whenever the shopping needs to be done. Family members still live in the same household and have to shop for each other once in a while, so what can you do?
Sam’s Club offers Add-On Membership, commonly used for families or businesses. A Sam’s Club cardholder can add up to 8 members, while users with Plus membership can add 16 members. Take note that even for Plus members, Add-Ons on their card are only Club memberships and not Plus memberships.
Sam’s Club Add-On Membership Pros and Cons
The price for each Add-On is $40. While the benefits are the same as that of a standard Club membership, that’s quite a hefty expense. For most people, the amount you save on having an Add-On membership instead of just having your own membership is almost nothing.
Most people would also just run the risk of using a family member’s card at their nearest Sam’s Club anyway. However, it is still $5 saved per card, and it is better than nothing if the Add-On cardholder shops as frequently as the primary cardholder.
Another issue with the Add-On system is that membership cards cannot be used by other Add-On members. Each Add-On member has to use their own card, even in the same household.
It is a tough spot to be in, but Sam’s Club has pretty restrictive policies on their membership and use of their membership cards.
AmEx and Sam’s Club
Despite all this, AmEx users can sometimes strike gold. Every now and then, Sam’s Club offers AmEx users a free Sam’s Club membership for a limited time. To claim this offer, make sure to check the AmEx offers section when logging in to view your card details online. Take note that the offer is only limited to users that aren’t already Sam’s Club cardholders.
If you’re lucky, you can claim a Sam’s Club membership that will be valid for a year by selecting Add to Card. With that, you can use your AmEx card as a Sam’s Club card for a whole year.
Sam’s Club membership cards are solely meant for the card owner and cannot be used by anyone else. The wholesale club has several policies preventing the multiple uses of any membership cards, even by family members.
If you’re lucky, you may find a sympathetic cashier the next time you go shopping at Sam’s Club, but it is also a risk to be taken.
Want to know more about Sam’s Club and other memberships? Check out these articles:
- Does Sam’s Club Take Your Picture For Membership Card?
- Does Sam’s Club Deliver? (And Everything Worth Knowing…)
- Is DashPass Worth It? (Cost, Benefits, + More!)
Do you have any questions about Sam’s Club and its policies, as well as anything to share about your own experiences at Sam’s Club? Let us know in the comments below!