Is Sam's Club Travel Actually Cheaper? 3 Real Itineraries Put to the Test

is sam's club travel actually cheaper? 3 real itineraries put to the test

Couple packing a suitcase or vacation.

Our favorite wholesale clubs aren't just great for your budget on everyday goods. Costco and Sam's Club both offer their own travel portals where you can get discounted travel.

However, Sam's Club Travel differs from Costco Travel quite a lot. Instead of booking travel packages, you book pieces of your trip individually. Also, Sam's Club Travel doesn't include flights, but it does include many attractions, including theme parks and even shows.

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To put Sam's Club Travel to the test, I researched three destinations and Sam's Clubs offerings for them. I then looked up the same hotels, rental cars, and attractions to compare real-world prices. Here's what I found.

Trip 1: New York City, New York

When: Jul. 15, 2024 through July 19, 2024

Who: 2 adults and 1 teen

Hotel: Paramount Times Square

Which room: Superior Two Double

  • Sam's Club Travel: $1,089.24 ($928.60, plus a $160.64 resort fee)
  • Direct Booking: $1,130.54
  • Difference: $41.30 (3%)

Rental car: Thrifty Car Rental

Which vehicle: Compact car

  • Sam's Club Travel: $499.29
  • Direct Booking: $524.80
  • Difference: $25.51 (5%)

Attraction 1: New York CityPASS

What's included: Prepaid admission to five popular attractions

  • Sam's Club Travel: $400.22
  • Direct Booking: $422.00
  • Difference: $21.78 (5%)

Attraction 2: Lion King on Broadway

What's included: Orchestra tickets, Row R

  • Sam's Club Travel: $638.25
  • Direct Booking: $775.50
  • Difference: $137.25 (18%)

Trip 2: Chicago, Illinois

When: Dec. 22, 2024, through Dec. 29, 2024

Who: 1 adult and 2 children

Hotel: Hilton Chicago

Which room: 2 Double Beds

  • Sam's Club Travel: $1,289.92 ($1,149.71, plus $140.21 resort fee)
  • Direct Booking: $1,293.92 (Hilton Honors rate, membership is free)
  • Difference: $4.00 (0.3%)

Rental car: Budget

Which vehicle: Economy car

  • Sam's Club Travel: $452.18
  • Direct Booking: $492.92
  • Difference: $40.74 (8%)

Attraction 1: Big Bus Tours Chicago (Essential)

What's included: Two-day hop-on-hop-off tour passes

  • Sam's Club Travel: $104.00
  • Direct Booking: $138.70
  • Difference: $34.70 (25%)

Attraction 2: Go City Chicago Explorer Pass (3 Choice)

What's included: Prepaid admission to three popular attractions

  • Sam's Club Travel: $219.75
  • Direct Booking: $280.00
  • Difference: $60.25 (22%)

Trip 3: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

When: Feb. 7, 2025, through Feb. 10, 2025

Who: 2 adults

Hotel: Hotel Blu Vancouver

Which room: Loft king suite with terrace

  • Sam's Club Travel: $950.41 USD ($1,309.71 CAD)
  • Direct Booking: $1,110.96 USD ($1,516.94 CAD)
  • Difference: $160.55 (15%)

Rental car: Hertz

Which vehicle: Mid-size SUV

  • Sam's Club Travel: $284.91 USD ($392.62 CAD)
  • Direct Booking: $298.83 USD ($411.80 CAD)
  • Difference: $13.92 (5%)

Attractions

There was a very limited array of attractions available for Vancouver, none of which were available during my test itinerary. Sam's Club Travel does include tickets to various sporting events -- the Canucks are in the NHL playoffs as of writing -- so presumably you could find those during the regular season. If the typical discounts applied, this could be a nice way to score cheaper hockey tickets. Your mileage may vary.

Saves money, but not the best interface

All in all, I can definitely say that Sam's Club Travel saves you money. It's not always a lot of money, but savings is savings, eh?

One big annoyance I want to point out is that the interface for the site is junk. It's hard to navigate. It's very hard to find what you need. Fees are tucked into fine print everywhere (hotel resort fees particularly).

Perhaps the most egregious issue was the lack of a map option when searching for hotels. You may need to look up hotels in your location through Google Maps (or a similar site) and then look those hotels up in Sam's Club Travel for deals.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you won't get your typical travel perks. You won't get hotel status points, and your booking may not code as travel on your credit cards. If you can get past the drawbacks, however, there is a lot of potential for saving money on travel with Sam's Club.

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We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Brittney Myers has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Alphabet and Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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