So this year Sam's Club is running a "Gift of Membership" promotion for members through December 24th and possibly extended through the 31st. With this promotion for every Advantage Plus Gift of Membership card purchased you receive a $25 Sam's Club/Wal-Mart gift card - or- for every Standard Gift of Membership card purchased you receive a $10 gift card. The Advantage Plus Membership is $100 and Standard Membership is $40.
That is a pretty nice deal in itself if you were planning on giving away Sam's Club Memberships to friends or family. You would receive a 25% bonus that you could save for yourself or give away. But the hidden jewel here and the reason for my blog is that the Gift of Membership cards are really just glorified gift cards. So, if you are attentive enough to read the back of the card you would see that it states "This card may be used for purchase of merchandise at Sam's Club, or any retail format of Wal-Mart stores, INC. in the US and Puerto Rico."
When I discovered this I confirmed with the Sam's Club manager that they can indeed also be used for purchases at either Sam's Club or Wal-Mart. So really in effect you are buying $125 in gift cards for $100 (Advantage Plus Gift of Membership card). Do this enough times and the savings can really add up! It is equivalent to saving 25% at Sam's Club or Wal-mart, your choice.
For my family we buy a $250 Wal-mart Gift card each month to be used for groceries so I know in advance that I am going to have at least $3000 in expenditures at Wal-mart this coming year for groceries so I purchased 24 Advantage Plus Gift of Membership cards. This came to $2400 and I received an additional $600 in gift cards which totaled $3000 - the amount needed for 2011 at a savings of 25 %. That $600 in savings is a new HDTV, Computer, Ipad, Digital SLR or just over 2.5 months of free groceries for my family.
To avoid confusion with the the cashiers I would suggest that you quickly convert the Gift of Membership cards to traditional gift cards by going to Wal-mart.com and just purchasing new gift cards using those Gift of Membership cards as the payment method. I can just see trying to explain to a cashier for 20 mins that the cards are also good on purchases. As a small bonus right now Wal-mart.com will ship the gift cards to you for free which saves you the regular $.97 delivery cost for gift cards.
I will admit I tried to do something similar last year using Microsoft Bing Cash back when it was still around and offered 20% cash back on Wal-mart.com. I bought a year's worth of gift cards then after waiting 3 months to receive the cash back found out that Bing invalidated the transaction because it was apparently not applicable to the purchase of gift cards.....should have read the fine print. So this year I got wiser and got my savings up front versus waiting til later.
I know that $2400 seems like a lot of money and it is to us as well but when I compared keeping the money in savings longer, earning a measly 1% interest, to pre-purchasing the gift cards (that I know will be used), earning a 25% return, the choice was simple.