Subscriptions of which stores are worth spending money on, and which ones are better to bypass - ForumDaily
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Subscriptions of which stores are worth spending money on, and which ones are better to avoid

Is it worth paying to get a discount? In 2023, it seems like almost every retail chain or grocery store has some sort of loyalty program that offers you perks in exchange for regular shopping there. Some of these programs are "free" in the sense that you don't pay for them, although you can donate some of your data. For example, your purchase history will be used for targeted ads and coupons. But there are also paid ones. And here it is very difficult to figure out what is really worth paying for, and which programs should be avoided. Edition Lifehacker helped figure it out.

Photo: IStock

More and more stores are launching paid subscriptions to these programs, offering to pay a monthly or yearly fee in exchange for benefits. If you're one of those suspicious people, you might wonder if it's worth paying a store for the privilege of shopping there, but sometimes it really works.

Here are nine retailers whose paid membership programs are probably worth it, and seven that probably aren't.

Albertsons FreshPass
  • Cost: $12,99 per month or $99 per year.
  • Is it worth it: Yes

Albertsons (merged with Kroger in 2022) is one of the largest grocery chains in the country, and its paid FreshPass membership is a pretty good deal for one simple reason: unlimited free shipping on orders over $30. There are other perks and discounts as well, but if you buy groceries on a weekly basis, the $99 annual fee is just under $2 shipping, which is pretty good.

Amazon Prime
  • Cost: $139 per year
  • Is it worth it: very

Of course, Amazon Prime is part of Jeff Bezos' plan to lure us all into his garden. But he makes it very easy to lure us in: it is estimated that the scattered services you get with a Prime membership will cost you about $1 if you have to pay for them separately. This means that even if you're not using half or more of what Prime offers, you're still in the black. Even free shipping on its own is probably worth it if you shop a lot on Amazon.

Bed, Bath & Beyond
  • Cost: $29 per year
  • Is it worth it: no

Bed, Bath & Beyond is still in business (if you can call it a business), but there are doubts that it will still be in the market by the end of the year. This alone makes the paid membership a waste of money.

Barnes & Noble
  • Cost: $39,99 per year
  • Is it worth it: yes if you read a lot

If you're an avid reader and shop a lot at Barnes & Noble, $40 for a premium membership can be a pretty good deal. It gives you 10% off most purchases, $5 cashback for every $100 spent, and free standard shipping on all orders. There are many other perks, but this discount will pay for your membership if you buy books on a regular basis.

On the subject: Ten Benefits of a Costco Membership You May Not Know About

Best Buy
  • Cost: $49,99 or $179,99 per year
  • Is it worth it: no if you don't like Best Buy

Best Buy just introduced two new paid tiers to its loyalty program. For $49,99 per year, you get the perks of their free plan (free shipping, better order management), plus exclusive discounts, faster shipping, and more generous return policies. For $179,99, you get all this plus 20/XNUMX VIP support, access to Geek Squad experts anytime (even on items you didn't buy at Best Buy!), and XNUMX% off repairs. But none of this is worth the investment unless you buy a lot of stuff at Best Buy and need a lot of support. If you buy a TV there every few years, it’s overkill.

BJ, Costco, Sam's Club
  • BJ cost: $55/$110 per year + $30 for additional members
  • costco cost: $60/$120 per year
  • Sam's Club cost: $45/$100 per year
  • Is it worth it: for some people

BJ, Costco, and Sam's Club operate on the same business model: you pay a membership fee to gain access to items at wholesale prices. Because membership fees and perks are very similar, the usefulness of these memberships depends on how you use them. If you buy in bulk a lot, they can be very profitable. But with limited seats and the need to buy everything in bulk (which isn't always a good deal), it's very easy to waste money.

CVS Carepass
  • Cost: $5 per month or $48 per year
  • Is it worth it: yes, if you often shop at CVS

If you're a CVS regular, then the $48 you spend on a Carepass membership will probably pay off because you'll get $10 every month in rewards. $10 doesn't seem like much, but if you use it every month, you'll save $120. Plus, you get discounts, shipping options, and access to a pharmacist hotline.

Game Stop Pro
  • Cost: $15 per year
  • Is it worth it: Yes

Even if you only buy something at GameStop when slightly different versions of Call of Duty or Madden drop, it's a worthwhile membership. Basically you'll get your $15 back in coupons within a month or so, plus a permanent 2% return and other discounts with your membership. This means that if you only buy one game, your membership is charged. There is also a free printable Game Informer magazine, which is very unusual.

Kroger Boost
  • Cost: $59/$99 per year
  • Is it worth it: perhaps

Kroger, which partnered with Albertsons in 2022, offers two paid membership tiers: $59 a year, you get free next-day grocery delivery, earn points for gas discounts (up to $1 a gallon off). The free shipping alone makes this an attractive proposition if you shop regularly at Kroger. When you upgrade to the $99 tier, you'll get free same-day shipping within two hours.

Office Depot Business Select
  • Cost: $49 per year
  • Is it worth it: yes if you are a small business owner

Consumers appear to still be shopping at Office Depot, and while they offer a free rewards program for everyday people, they also have a paid tier for small businesses. For $49 a year, you get discounts, early access to sales, discounts on business services like printing, and free shipping. If you order from Office Depot, free shipping is a very good deal.

Petco Vital Care Premier
  • Cost: $20 per month per pet
  • Is it worth it: Yes

For those of us with furry pets, the Petco Vital Care Premier membership is a godsend. You earn points, get discounts and free food packages or visits to the groomer. In addition, you will have unlimited scheduled veterinary check-ups, as well as discounts on grooming, cat litter and food. In addition, you get a reward (about $15) and access to an exclusive support line. Free veterinary checkups and discounted haircuts make this membership worthwhile in and of itself.

REI Co-Op
  • Cost: one-time fee of $30
  • Is it worth it: Yes

If you spend any time camping, hiking, or other outdoor activities, you should definitely sign up for REI Co-Op membership. Unlike other programs, this is a one-time fee of $30 - you never pay a dime to stay in the program. All you have to do is spend at least $10 each year and you'll get 10% back in rewards that you can use towards future purchases. You also get discounts and even free shipping on certain purchases. A 10% return each year means you'll get paid for your membership even if you only shop at REI occasionally.

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RH (Restoration Hardware) Members
  • Cost: $175 per year
  • Is it worth it: Yes, if you often buy furniture or plan a major renovation

Because it's a luxury brand, the paid membership tier is expensive at $175 a year. But it's a win-win if you buy what RH sells, because you really get a lot of value out of that $175: 25% off all full price items and 20% off discounted items, plus you get free design consultations. . If you buy a lot of things in such stores or plan to spend a lot of money on interior renovation, then this membership will save you money.

Sephora Same Day Unlimited
  • Cost: $49 per year
  • Is it worth it: no

All you really get for almost $50 is same day shipping. Have you ever thought when buying cosmetics that you need it here and now. May be. But Sephora offers same-day shipping (if available) for $6,95, so unless you need it more than four times a year, it's probably not worth the membership.

Target delivery
  • Cost: $10,99 per month or $99 per year
  • Is it worth it: Most likely no

Target Shipt (it doesn't just serve Target stores) is essentially a personal shopper and delivery service. You choose your items, someone picks them up from the shelves, packs them, and delivers them to you. On the face of it, it might cost $99 a year, but Shipt puts a markup on everything you buy, so you'll pay a little more than if you bought it in person.

Walmart +
  • Cost: $12,95 per month or $98 per year
  • Is it worth it: perhaps

If you live in a city dominated by Walmart, then you know how easily it invades every aspect of your life. And if you shop at Walmart all the time, its paid membership might be worth it. At $98 a year, that's a lot less than Amazon Prime, and the company is working on adding a lot of similar services, like streaming through Paramount+, but it's still far behind Prime's value proposition. In return, you get free shipping, gas discounts, a faster queue, and other perks. But it all comes down to how often you shop at Walmart.

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Educational program the shops membership Loyalty program
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