What Is Walmart Plus, and Is It Worth It?
With prices rising everywhere, a subscription service like Walmart Plus can help stretch your shopping dollars. The key is making the most of the program's benefits.
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No one could have predicted how brothers Sam and James (“Bud”) Walton would change the world of retail when they opened their first store in Rogers, Arkansas. The year was 1962, and little did anyone know that their new outfit, called Wal-Mart Discount City, would go on to become a global brand with nearly 11,000 stores, supercenters and membership clubs. In 2022, Walmart’s worldwide revenue reached $573 billion, a figure that represents a 7% uptick over the previous year. Walmart’s fee-based membership program, Walmart Plus, is a contributing factor. So what is Walmart Plus? Good question!
Walmart Plus is one of many fee-based subscription services offered by retailers hoping to appeal to consumers with a variety of shopping—and saving—options. (In 2021, Amazon Prime was far and away the most-used subscription service in the United States, offering numerous Amazon Prime benefits beyond the all-important free shipping.)
The perks of Walmart Plus include free local delivery, free shipping, discounts on gas, first-dibs access to sales, and free entertainment. But is all that worth the price of membership? That depends on you—specifically, where you live, your shopping habits, your gas usage and your entertainment streaming preferences. It’s also worth noting that if you belong to any subscription service, you should know how to cancel subscriptions on your iPhone or preferred device so you’re prepared, should you decide you don’t want to renew.
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How much is Walmart Plus?
Right after asking “What is Walmart Plus?” you probably wondered how much it costs. For the first month, it costs nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Meaning, you can test Walmart Plus for free for 30 days. After the free trial, membership costs $98 a year upfront, or $13 a month. Number crunchers at Walmart estimate that membership can save shoppers more than $1,300 a year, based on eliminating delivery and shipping fees for multiple deliveries and Walmart.com orders, plus savings on gas and streaming services.
Walmart Plus benefits
Back to “What is Walmart Plus?” As in, what are the actual benefits? Paid membership in Walmart Plus comes with numerous perks, including:
- Free delivery from your store on $35 minimum orders, at in-store prices. (Some restrictions apply, and this is only available in certain locations.)
- Free shipping for most orders, even the small ones. (Exclusions include Marketplace items and freight surcharges.)
- Contactless checkout with Mobile Scan & Go, meaning you scan items with your phone as you shop, then leave as soon as you’re finished shopping—no traditional checkout!
- Cheaper gas, with savings of up to 10 cents a gallon at more than 14,000 stations nationwide.
- Early access to sales, product releases, online Black Friday specials and other deals.
- Free streaming through Paramount+ Essentials, a streaming service that offers access to 40,000 show episodes, live sports, movies and more. Current Paramount+ subscribers can take advantage of this benefit, but first they’ll need to cancel their existing Paramount+ subscription. Once their final billing cycle with Paramount+ is complete, they can visit their Walmart Plus account and create a new Paramount+ account.
- Prescription-medication savings at Walmart pharmacies, with select medicines free.
- Walmart Rewards for members, with rewards for both in-store and online purchases redeemable on future Walmart purchases.
- Additional limited-time perks, such as the free six-month Spotify trial being offered through March 2023.
Walmart Plus vs. Amazon Prime
Now that we’ve covered “What is Walmart Plus?” you may be wondering how it stacks up against Amazon Prime. When comparing the two, it’s not necessarily apples to apples—after all, while Amazon leans heavily on online transactions, Walmart has thousands of brick-and-mortar stores.
- Both services offer fast, free shipping on most orders.
- Amazon offers entertainment through Prime Video, while Walmart offers streaming through Paramount+ Essentials.
- Amazon has a substantial library of free reading material accessible with its Kindle app and free music through Prime Playlists.
- Amazon offers an additional 10% off certain sale items at Whole Foods stores.
- Walmart Plus offers gas discounts at partner stations.
- Prime gives members an early crack at Prime Day specials and a 30-minute head start on Amazon’s Lightning Deals when they occur throughout the year.
- For picture-taking enthusiasts, Prime offers free unlimited photo storage through the Amazon Photos app.
- Walmart Plus features a rewards program simply for shopping.
In the end, the value of each subscription program depends on your lifestyle, habits and preferences. And as with any subscription-based service, the real value comes from using it often enough to first recoup the cost of subscribing, then rack up those additional savings. Of course, you can always sign up for both if you’d like!
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