A key change will go into effect for Sam's Club Plus members starting next month.

I've been a Sam's Club Plus member for about a year now. My wife and I love shopping at the warehouse retail center, buying everything from coffee to meat in bulk. We always finish off our visit with a hot dog and a fizzy drink at the Sam's Club Café. In fact, this is the primary reason I agree to go shopping with my wife. (It's like a reward.) If you shop at Sam's Club as well, there are new changes coming that you're going to want to be aware of.

According to USA Today, new shipping, delivery, and curbside pickup policies will soon hit Sam's Club stores across the nation. The move comes not long after the company rolled out new artificial intelligence (AI) technology aimed at making the shopping experience "faster and more convenient." USA Today previously reported that blue gateways were being installed at store exits to take inventory of the products in shopping carts and confirm nothing was stolen. The new technology allows customers to quickly confirm their receipts without waiting in line to have them checked manually. It also frees up other employees to assist customers.

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Sam's Club Plus members currently pay a $110 annual membership fee, which is $60 more than the basic membership. The premium version offers customers several perks, including free shipping on most online items. However, starting August 19, 2024, Plus members will need to spend at least $50 to qualify for free shipping. If the order is less than that amount, a flat $8 shipping fee will be added to the order. Analysts cited by USA Today believe the shift is aimed at reducing shipping costs for the company.

While spending $50 at Sam's Club is not difficult, I can certainly see how some Plus members might not be too keen on the new policy, especially after paying the premium annual fee. That said, there are some other changes coming that might be met with a more positive reception. For one, free same-day delivery will now be available for qualifying orders above $50. Additionally, regular club members will receive free curbside pickup on eligible items when they spend a minimum of $50. Currently, pickup orders are free only for Plus members. Club members must pay a flat $4 fee.

As an in-store shopper, the changes will not impact my world to a large extent. That said, I can 100% understand the frustration for regular online and app shoppers. There is certainly some give-and-take when it comes to these new policies. I'll be keeping my membership for the time being, and, of course, as long as Sam's Club keeps their Hot Dog Combo at $1.38.

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