Sam's Club
A Sam's Club Shopper.

Sam's Club has quietly rolled out a new membership tier requiring customers to pay more for access during specific hours. This move ignited discussions among worried customers on social media.

With only six weeks left to use the prized perk, Sam's Club Plus members are voicing their displeasure at the loss and threatening to jump to Costco. This news follows Sam's Club's recent announcement of a new AI-powered checkout system designed to reduce customer wait times significantly.

Sam’s Club Plus membership
Sam's Club Plus faces backlash for new $50 minimum on free shipping, sparking comparisons to Costco and threats to switch. Twitter / The Space Cowboy @akaspacecowboy

On June 19, Sam's Club announced via email a change to their Plus membership benefit. Effective August 19, free shipping on website and app orders will only apply to qualifying purchases of $50 or more.

Orders under $50 will incur a flat $8 shipping fee. However, be aware that some product categories may have variable shipping costs that differ from the flat fee. As Sam's Club's policy outlines: "Some category exclusions apply whereby variable shipping will be charged."

Are Plus Members Happy?

"Hey @SamsClub, how are you spinning these new changes, and now for plus members, we have to order $50 or more for free shipping?" @Victorino1 posted to X. You are taking away benefits. ENOUGH, respond back to your plus members. This is some BS!!! Don't ghost us!"

"By adding a cart minimum, we are increasing access to different ways of shopping for our members. This will make it easier for you to get the products you want, the way and at the time you want," Sam's Club responded.

Another X user, @mbarthur1, expressed strong disapproval, suggesting a potential lawsuit, stating, "Class action here we come." Additionally, some users have threatened to switch to Sam's Club's competitor.

X user @80zkid4Ever expressed frustration with the new $50 minimum for Plus member free shipping, stating their intention to switch to Costco. In response, Sam's Club acknowledged the user's feelings and offered further communication, urging the X user to private message them.

Another X user, @monroe8831, highlighted the impact of the new policy on disabled customers who rely on online shopping for essential items. They pointed out that many of the products they need are only available online, making the free shipping with a $50 minimum irrelevant. Their post concluded with a plea for assistance.

Sam's Club Plus Updates Membership Benefits

On a brighter note, starting next month with the new $50 minimum for free shipping, Plus members will also qualify for free same-day delivery on eligible orders that meet the threshold. Sam's Club Plus membership goes beyond free shipping, offering additional perks like free curbside pickup, early shopping hours, and 2 percent cash back through their rewards program.

Plus members also benefit from prescription and optical savings and exclusive access to "big year-round savings events" two hours early. Sam's Club, owned by Walmart, is offering a limited-time deal on its Plus membership. Sign up before Sunday and save $50, bringing the price down to just $60.

In March, Walmart also faced criticism after implementing a pilot program in select stores. This program offered certain benefits, including access to self-checkout lanes, to customers who subscribed to a yearly membership costing £76 ($98).

In a statement to FOX Business, a Sam's Club spokesperson emphasised their commitment to members, stating, "Our members are at the heart of everything we do." They added that the company is "continuously working on providing an easier and more convenient shopping experience for our members."

On the other hand, Costco offers two main shipping options for online purchases: some items already include shipping and handling in the price, while others require a minimum order of $75 to qualify for free two-business-day delivery.