Free Military Sam’s Club Membership Until Shutdown Ends


UPDATE Oct. 25, 2013: Sam’s Club has extended this offer until Oct. 31, even though the shutdown has been over for more than a week. From Sam’s Officials:

“On behalf of every associate that engaged our military communities this month, Sam’s Club says “thank you” to the thousands of patrons who visited our clubs during the shutdown. We know these military families are relieved that shutdown restrictions have been lifted and they can resume a normal routine. To help support our communities through the transition, Sam’s Club has extended our Military Membership waiver program through October 31.”


If you live near a Sam’s Club and are in the market for bulk groceries, this could be your lucky day. According to Sam’s Club officials all military members will be allowed to shop in the members-only warehouse store for free until the government shutdown ends and the commissaries reopen.

“In appreciation for the service that military personnel provide our members and communities, Sam’s Club locations near military bases will waive membership requirements for military personnel, retirees and their families so they may continue saving on everyday goods and groceries,” club officials said in a statement.

Edit 4:45 p.m. ET, Oct 3: According to a corporate spokesperson ALL Sam’s Club locations are now participating in the military waiver program. Please be patient with your local store as they pass word down to the employees answering the phones and your questions.

The way it works is this: military ID card holders — Active Duty, Retirees and anyone else with commissary privileges — can show their military IDs to Sam’s Club employees at the door where they would usually have to show their Sam’s Club membership. They will then be directed to the membership counter where employees will get them squared with free entrance. They may also be able to skip the membership desk and just show their military ID at checkout.

Edit 3:45 p.m. ET: Sam’s Club officials confirm that this is different than the shopping program which allows you to go without a membership but pay a 10 percent service fee at check out. During the waiver program no military member will be charged a fee, Sam’s officials said.

“Any proof of past or present service can be shown at Member Services desks or at checkout to waive membership requirements,” Carrie Moore, a Sam’s Club spokesperson told us. “Greeter associates are happy to help anyone with questions as they enter the club.”

It’s possible, of course, that this will work a little differently at each club. Just be willing to roll with the punches and you should have no problem.

The free entrance program will continue until the government reopens and with it the commissaries.

Don’t know whether or not you have a Sam’s Club near you? Use this handy locator on their website to see where your closest one is.


About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of’s spouse and family blog A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.

105 Comments on "Free Military Sam’s Club Membership Until Shutdown Ends"

  1. I called our local Sam's club and they have not been given any directive about this. I even spoke with management to verify. They were very nice, but said they had not been told this and that if some stores are offering it that it must be an individual store choice.

  2. I heard that the sams club in Watertown NY ( near Fort Drum) is doing it but that they are charging a 10% service fee.

  3. Okay…so this is what I just got from the corporate office. It is true, but there is a catch. It is NOT all stores. It is stores in communities directly effected by the shutdown. To find out if your local store is "on the list" you have to call them.

    I called the local store and was told that they have not heard anything (spoke directly to the store manager) and she is contacting corporate to get more information. I will call again tomorrow to see if they've heard anything.

  4. I also called my SAMs club & they said no way

  5. Just called a Denver-Metro store & the associate was very kind & said her manager is already calling corporate to verify, but no information on it at this time…

  6. The Sam's Club in Fayetteville, NC (Fort Bragg) also said no to this. Hopefully, they were just unaware at the time, because it would be sure a nice gesture to all of our military families!

  7. I just called my SAMs and they said they had no idea where that got started! They are NOT doing that.

  8. Well, if it is true it is a poorly managed roll out of a policy! How can a "reporter" know about this policy before the stores in your chain?

  9. I called my local SAMs club & they said no way to the military free membership.

  10. Nope, it is legit at the Clarksville Tn Ft Campbell Sams Club. I just called and you show your AD ID to get in. You don't get a membership, you just get to shop there till the Commissary re-opens.

  11. This is a rumor!

  12. Being a Military retiree on a fixed income, losing commissary benefits can hit the wallet. However, I don't see this as a good faith move by Sam's. All I see is a marketing tool to build sales & publicity. It /would't surprise me that they would still charge their 10% service fee above their already self proclaimed lower prices. They can keep their products, Walmart included, until they start paying higher wages & better benefit packages to their employees.

  13. The one in Hawaii is participating. They said you don't get a free membership just able to shop there without the 10% charge until the commi is up and running again. Our Wal-Marts/Targets don't have full grocery so our options aren't price comparable to the commissary.

  14. Virginia Beach VA, sams club is offering a free one day pass to military for today only. (10-3-13)

  15. Locations in Aurora, CO (Buckley AFB) confirmed that is is TRUE. The membership manager to the Southalnds had just arrived into work and was bombarded about it, but after being in contact with corporate, he confirmed that it is TRUE for only as long as the commissaries are closed. All military, retiree's, disabled vets (basically anyone with previous access to commissaries) with PROOF of service will be allowed to shop.

  16. I just called the one near fort bliss… You are welcome to come in and shop without a membership and no 10% upcharge with military ID. No free membership. But you can still shop until commisary is open again.

  17. I contacted the Yuma Sams Club (MCAS Yuma & YPG) and they are indeed honoring this.

  18. Brandon, FL store is participating. I just called them. The lady was extremely rude, and hung up on me, but they are participating. She confirmed it with her manager (because she didn't know about it). Show your military/retiree card, and you can shop free for that day (no fee). 2021 Brandon Blvd.W.
    Brandon, FL 33511; 813.685.8223. We'll see how well it works in practice, but if they follow through with it without hassle, it would be a really nice gesture.

  19. The Sams club in Palm Desert, CA is participating! I talked to them a few hours ago when I first read people posting about it on FB. Be patient. And it's not a free membership – it's being allowed to shop without having a membership. There is a difference so make sure you're asking the correct questions :)

  20. Also if you buy the personal membership, and show your military id they will add another year free on top of your membership right then. I just did that yesterday.

  21. SAMs in San Angelo, TX is offering this.

  22. How about extending these benefits to DOD Civilians, basically anyone with a CAC ID?

  23. Fort Walton Beach, FL is on board.

  24. Even our Sam's Club up here in Bangor Maine is participating, just called them, Thanks!

  25. The Sams Clubs in Savannah GA and Pooler GA ARE participating. I just called.

  26. Michelle Fannin | October 3, 2013 at 4:45 pm |

    O'Fallon Illinois is on board too!!!

  27. Agree with Tony, how about us furloughed civilians??

  28. Sams club in Bismarck ND is participating

  29. I just called our Sams Club in PA and was told only a 1 day free pass for Military!!

  30. Ft Benning is doing this!

  31. Military is still getting a paycheck, they should be doing it for us workers who are not getting paid!!

  32. I called corporate….it is ALL of them. Some employees do not have all the info since it just started today. Just tell the people at the service desk (if the have no idea of what you are talking about) to look up "article 1387".

  33. tracy, tony, karen | October 3, 2013 at 5:31 pm |

    do DOD civilians even have access to the commissary? according to the commissary website they do not…which is probably why sams club isn't extending the offer to them. it sucks to be furloughed, but military members whether payed or not can't just walk away from their jobs…

  34. While Americans who serve in the military may receive free memberships, regardless of whether they've been furloughed, I recommend that Sam's provide the same benefits for non-military USG employees who are being furloughed, including those who proudly serve in war zones and places which are off limits to our military. Just a suggestion, in the spirit of fighting for the same mission.

  35. mary ann frederick | October 3, 2013 at 6:15 pm |

    I just called the Sam's in cocoa, fl. and all they are offering is a $15.00 gift card if a Military member renews their membership.

  36. At Fort Knox, the Elizabethtown location confirmed they are participating.

  37. Ft. Wayne Indiana is also on board.

  38. I work at a Sams in So. California and we are doing this and no fee.

  39. I’m definitely going to look into this. I definitely think it’s great. Hopefully all stores will do this!

  40. Is this only for active duty? I’m a vet working as a DoD employee. I’m glad there’s so many people helping the active duty who will eventually get paid but no help for us civilians who don’t even get an IOU. Both my husband and I are furloughed but no assistance for us. I’d like to go to SAMs too.

  41. sabrinacking | October 3, 2013 at 7:02 pm |

    I hope that through this people once again learn their Aesops. Don't be a grasshopper. Be prepared. I for the life of me don't understand anyone on any budget not having a minimum of two weeks food at all times, we have two months before we even have to break into the beans rice and canned goods routine. Be prepared people. Then you aren't killing each other over pork chops t the commissary or running for a SAMs club card. Preparing for an emergency, during an emergency, is never a good SOP.

  42. Can deactive military do this?

  43. Can deactive military families do this

  44. Veteran retirees will be getting paid DFAS released that statement. I feel bad for the those furloughed but I really hope this makes them a little more grateful for their jobs and they remember who they show up to work for. Too many civilian employees run around post acting like they run something. Without our soldiers you’d have no job.

  45. Nicole jeffries | October 3, 2013 at 7:12 pm |

    Des Moines is doing it

  46. We just went to the one here in Hattiesburg, (camp Shelby) they said the pass is only good for the wknd.

  47. Not to be a downer, but it's not just military that was furloughed. Quite a bit of people working for the Federal Government were furloughed and you just left all of them out.

  48. Sam’s in Greensboro, NC is participating!

  49. yes they truly are the one on Gratiot in Roseville Michigan I just called them

  50. This isn't a rumor it is true for SOME Sam's Clubs. Great Falls, MT is participating! Mostly it is clubs near military bases.

  51. This is really nice. And i admire the soldiers for their job but Who thinks about those civilians that are home without a job. My husband is one of them.

  52. That’s really cool, but what about all the government civilians that were actually laid off if work…

  53. Furloughed Civilian | October 3, 2013 at 10:06 pm |

    As much as I love my job and love working for the DoD people are Not realizing this shutdown is not affecting the pay of military. Sam’s and other businesses should be offering this to all government employees wether active, retire, reserve, military, & the over 600,000 civilian personnel that that so proudly support our troops and government agencies.

  54. At least AD are still receiving a paycheck. Think of the ones with no income coming in, what do they get?

  55. It is nice of Sam's club to give the AD Military a place to shop while the commissary is closed. In a perfect world, they would be able to help everyone disrupted by the shutdown. I hope this gets resolved soon… especially for the sake of those furloughed.

  56. I think all of you bickering should be ashamed. This article was put on here to spread the word about a good thing and you all are being hateful to each other. its hard times all the way aound. You want to help solve the problem…. Vote New representatives in next time. If the current ones can’t do the job get new ones. Again shameful behavior and comments.

  57. the first mel | October 3, 2013 at 10:28 pm |

    It appears that some commenters have forgotten that Sam's Club can choose whomever they want to help. It is their company and they can do what they want. If you aren't happy with their choice, then don't support them by patronizing their business. It is not the active duty military's fault that they were chosen to receive this act of kindness. You all are acting like a bunch of 3 year olds who got left out of the party. Be adults, accept that you aren't able to utilize this and like one poster repeatedly said, bring your complaints to Congress. They are the ones holding your pay hostage, not Sam's Club or our country's service members.

  58. Thank you Sam’s Club for doing this.

  59. Teaparty Man | October 3, 2013 at 10:30 pm |

    All of the Walton's except for the one Grandson, Sam Rawlings Walton, have all stood firm for conservative values and are true supporters of the military and their families.

    It's shameful that Obama directed to close the stateside commissaries. Any one who know exactly how shutdowns REALLY work, knows it is his call. Say what you will about Republicans and tea party and dump hate on Cruz, but Obama is calling the shots. we are living in seriously troubling times.

  60. I feel bad for the DOD civilians and others that are furloughed and think it would be nice to allow then the same opportunity. It is good they are waiving the fee for the military since they are the ones with the actual commissary privileges… Govt employees don’t have access to commissaries. Sucks that their pay is cut but the commissary is one of our benefits that military gets and is a factor when they calculate out base salary… Commissaries are a military benifit not a government one… Thank you SAMs club for looking out for us…

  61. sams club in san diego was NOT offering it but due to lots of military people showing up we had to make a temp card to check people out. no biggy. come give us business we need it. Get the feel of the store then come and pay for the yearly membership :)

  62. Wow!! For one the commissary isn’t always better to shop at and two for the ones who use it stop acting so stuck up! I mean seriously? You sound like a bunch of children! Im a DOD on furlough, a vet, and married to a retiree but let’s face it we all know that the civilians do a lot for our military and their families…they work at the hospitals, at our commissaries, and in many other areas… oh and civilians do get deployed so lets not get all stuck up when a civilian asks what about them because not all of us make tons of money off of the the DOD.

  63. I currently work for sams club all clubs are participating it is just taking time to get the word out to every club. anyone who had a military id can shop it is called a military one day pass now just because it’s called a one day pass doesn’t mean it’s for just one day this pass is good until the commissarys reopen and they are NOT charging the 10 % up charge just make sure when you go that you have your id and you ask for the MILITARY ONE DAY PASS if you say free membership they may not know what your talking about it is not a free membership there is a difference but if you already have a sams club membership card everytime you renew you get a $15 gift card but you do this at the service desk this is something you’ll always get its our way of saying thank you for your service if you have any questions ill do.My best to answer them

  64. Does anyone think it would be better to include the furloughed civilians since no matter where they shop right now they are not getting a paycheck for the time being? It would be nice to see the active duty community support the civilians that support them.

  65. Does this apply to military veterans and disabled veterans as well? Please advise. Thanks.

  66. Gulfport MS is participating, near Keesler AFB

  67. I agree that this isn't a move to support the troops from Sam's Club, it's a ploy to pick up those customers that can't use the commissary. I'm surprised they aren't using a bait and switch trick to lock military families into paying membership fees.

  68. I am AD. I work in a hospital and am setting up a fundraiser to help a nurse who is not getting paid at all. She just went on maternity leave when the shutdown happened. The DOD workers who are still working will get reimbursed their pay even if it is causing problems now. How about you look out for each other instead of trying to prove who has it the worst.

  69. carl retired | October 4, 2013 at 9:30 am |

    When I "joined" at Erie Pa Sams I was given a credit of $35 and my sams card has military embossed on it.

  70. carl retired | October 4, 2013 at 9:40 am |

    Correction! I believe the amount was $15 not $35 but it was very much appreciated. thank you sams club

  71. When Sams first started, membership was free to active, reserve and retired military. After a couple of years, they began charging for the privilege of shopping there. We dropped our membership after price comparing what things cost there with our local supermarket, Super Target and Walmart. Not to mention the hassle of having your receipt checked by a door monitor who just watched you get checked out.

  72. I just talked to the one close to Fort Knox, Kentucky and they are honoring the military at there store, so I am going to there and stock up on goods since it is closer than the commissary.

  73. Tried the membership for a year, didn't find many items less expensive then most other stores. Even found a few in a Wal-Mart next door less. As for the laid off civilian getting access, why should they? I worked next to civilians doing the same job for my entire career and they were paid more then double what I was getting.

  74. Does Anybody know if the one in Charleston, SC is up and going for this waiver for military???

  75. Why should furloughed military personnel get anything for free?

    Would this policy apply if, for example, an employe of a private company lost his or her job? I doubt it.

  76. this include the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ?

  77. Thank you Amy. :-)

  78. too cheap to include DD-214 holders…. veterans served too

  79. I know this comment is going to be unpopular so let me preface by stating that I was in the Army for 6 years. The military is STILL GETTING PAID. Why not offer this to government employees who were sent home without pay? I count myself lucky that I am a paramedic at the federal prison so I continuing to work. I may not be getting paid, but at least I will (almost definitely) be getting back-pay. But members of the armed forces are still in a better position than I am right now (and God knows they should be.)

  80. I'm nowhere near a base here in Hickory NC but the lady was great when I just called saying "Absolutely, just come in and show your ID and shop for free". That's a nice gesture since my husband is FT NCNG and on leave without pay…. this will help some.

  81. HarbingerDJB | October 4, 2013 at 4:15 pm |

    Some here just do not know when to simply say, "Thank you." and shut up.
    Gee folks, count your blessings!

  82. I wish they would allow the civilian government workers that lost their jobs for this shutdown the same privilege. It would seem to be the right thing to do. Yes we lost our Commissaries, but we are still getting paid, they are not.

  83. mine in crystal lake il said no prob just bring in id with no 10%

  84. I called our local SAMs who was rude to me and denied this being true. Come home and the news announced this being true at all SAMs clubs so I wrote our news station about all the denials including mine as well as I wrote to SAMs club seen multiple articles that states all SAMs clubs is participating. I'm awaiting responses. I asked the news to investigate this. Everyone here should write SAMs if they have been denied asking why giving your SAMs clubs info who denied you. This would be nice for us military if it was true. Good luck!

  85. Sam's in Hot Springs , Arkansas honors the military also. They will not charge the 10 % , all u need is ur ID. There r also specials for military to join sams club.

  86. I live 15 mins away from the SAMs headquarters in Bentonville AR. They are doing it but you have to give them time to get the word to all SAMs Club in the US. I bought one yesterday and I’m going to see if they will refund it.

  87. Fort Lee Virginia is also participating in this. You can talk about Sam's being a corporate raider but they know when and how to get publicity and make money. They are truly a company that seizes the moment.

  88. Can overseas military purchase online without a membership while the shutdown is going on?

  89. I am grateful to Sam’s club for doing this, even though I already shop there. Just to clarify, yes, a Bill has been signed that military will get payed. BUT this is our government… due to all of the regulations, DFAS is not guaranteeing when we will get payed. My husband is deployed without guarantee of when he will get pay. My brother is essential DOD who is working not knowing when he will get pay. We are all in this together.

  90. In southern cali, I was told to go "pound sand"! cause I live in the high desert.

  91. I am a 26 year Sam’s associate, Airforce aunt and Navy Mom! Thank you Sam’s and thank you U.S. Armed forces!

  92. Haven't called either of the 2 Wichita, KS stores yet, but this link is from the Sam's Club site.

  93. Got a call from my boss. My local commissary is opening back up. Not sure if all of them are opening up at once or in groups.

  94. Sam's Club in Wesley Chapel, FL is participating.

  95. Augusta, GA and Hattiesburg, MS are offering shopping with military ID while commissaries are closed. Not free membership.

  96. Heatherdawn67 | October 6, 2013 at 7:59 pm |

    We can verify that all Sam's Club locations accross the nation will be temporarily opening thier doors and waiving the 10% service fee to all Military personel, retirees, and thier families to shop in our local Clubs until the Commissaries reopen. We ask that you please bring any Military ID OR PROOF of PAST or PRESENT service at the Menber Services desk or at checkout to waive the Membership Requirements. YES, A Copy of your DD214 WILL SUFFICE.

  97. Yvonne Heikkinen | October 7, 2013 at 7:52 pm |

    Now that the commissaries have been reopened does the military get the same deal even though the shut down is still in place?

  98. Not in miami

  99. Commissaries are now open.

  100. In Colorado Springs, yesterday was the last day military could use a free membership. I tried and was unaware they did not accept VISA. I tried to pay by check and they told me they won't accept checks from military since they don't have a history in the area! Not buying a membership there.

  101. Love to know if my local Sam's Club is honoring this deal.

  102. McAllen, Texas is honoring it also

  103. Sam's stores in the Northern Virginia are offering access to their stores without membership and without the 10% fee. I've gone twice so far to the Woodbridge store and just showed my id at the door and then again at checkout. Nice opportunity to check out Sam's!

Comments are closed.