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The offers are more limited than Amazon Prime, but you'll get savings on gas, food, and more at a lower fee
By Penelope Wang
If you’re a regular Walmart shopper who enjoys the retail giant’s low prices and huge range of merchandise, you may want to sign up for its membership program, Walmart+.
A relatively new offering, launched in September 2020 , Walmart+ membership provides several key benefits, including free shipping, same-day delivery on some orders, gas discounts, and a scan-and-go app for in-store shoppers.
At $12.95 a month, or $98 a year, Walmart+ is less expensive than Amazon Prime, which costs $139 a year. And you have an additional incentive to join now. An upcoming promotional event, Walmart+ Weekend, which runs June 2-5, will give members access to exclusive deals.
Overall, though, Walmart+ does not match the benefits available through Amazon Prime, which offers an enormous number of products, as well as streaming video, music, eBooks, and more.
That said, you may come out ahead with a Walmart+ membership, depending on where you do your shopping and your purchasing habits.
“If you live close by to a Walmart, and shop there frequently for groceries and gas, or you frequently get deliveries from them, a membership may be right for you,” says Trae Bodge, a shopping expert at TrueTrae.
To help you decide, here’s what you should know about Walmart+.
How Walmart+ Works
It’s simple to join Walmart+ by going to the online sign-up page. As noted, if you pay monthly, you’ll be charged $12.95, or $155 a year. But if you purchase an annual membership, the cost is $98.
You can also start out with a free 30-day trial membership. But if you want access to the Walmart+ Weekend deals, you’ll need to be a paid member.
There is a sign-up bonus during the upcoming Walmart+ Weekend. Between June 3 and June 5, in-store shoppers who purchase a paid membership (either monthly or annual) will get a promo code for $20 off their next online purchase of $50 or more.
But be aware, there are no refunds if you cancel your Walmart+ membership. You will have access to your membership benefits until the end of the paid period.
What You Get With Walmart+
The program’s benefits can add up quickly for frequent Walmart shoppers.
Free shipping and delivery. You can order a much wider range of products than a typical store carries, including groceries and merchandise, and have them shipped free with no order minimum. You can also get next-day or two-day delivery from your local store. (If the order is under $35, you will be charged a below-minimum fee of $5.99.) Same-day delivery is also available. For popular time slots, availability is first come, first served.
Gas discounts. Walmart+ members receive up to a 10 cents per gallon discount on gas purchases, which was recently raised from 5 cents a gallon. The discount applies to purchases at Exxon, Mobil, Walmart, and Murphy gas stations. Members can also fill up at Sam’s Club pumps, which generally charge lower fuel prices, although there is no additional discount.
Scan & Go. Using this feature of the Walmart app on their phone, members can skip long waits in line to check out. Instead, you scan the UPC codes for items as you add them to your cart, which also gives you a running total of your purchases. When you’re ready to leave, you scan the QR code at a self-check-out station. And you can pay with your phone if your payment information is saved in the Walmart wallet. (One downside is that the app does not let you load in coupons.)
Spotify access. Members receive six free months of Spotify Premium, the ad-free version of the music streaming service. That’s nearly a $60 value, given the cost of a Spotify Premium individual subscription ($9.99 a month).
Early deal alerts. Members get early notification of upcoming deals and product releases, including Black Friday promotions, which can be especially helpful when there is limited supply.
The Bottom Line
For those who live nearby a Walmart store and routinely order delivery, or purchase gas once a week, an annual membership can easily be worth the cost.
For example, by ordering weekly delivery, you would save about $32 a month in fees. (Without a Walmart+ membership, you would pay $7.95 to $9.95 per delivery.) Those savings alone would far exceed the membership cost.
If you purchase 20 gallons of gas a week, getting a discount of up to 10 cents per gallon, you would save about $8 a month, which would come close to offsetting your Walmart+ fee.
Before you sign up, however, be realistic about your purchasing habits. If you shop at Walmart only occasionally, you may be better off with a free loyalty program at another supermarket or retailer, says Burt P. Flickinger III, managing director at Strategic Resource Group, a retail consulting company.
Still, if you’re not sure whether you’ll benefit from the Walmart+ program, consider opting for the 30-day free trial. If you realize it’s not right for you after two or three weeks, you can cancel at no cost.
One more tip: if you have a rewards credit card, perhaps one that offers 5 percent cashback on gas and grocery purchases, be sure to link it to your Walmart+ account. That way, you’ll get savings on top of your savings.
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