REI Membership: Is it worth the $30?
The following is my own opinion based on my value extracted from the membership. Valuation and priorities may vary from individual to individual.
In short: Yes.
Every store I’ve ever shopped at has attempted to get me to sign up for a loyalty program, but the REI Co-op’s is the first that’s been worth it. There is a one-time membership fee of $30, and after that you get all the perks listed below!
Co-op Member Reward – The REI dividends are accrued on eligible purchases throughout the year and typically amount to 10% back annually.
Extended Return Policy – The member return policy is within 365 days of purchase (does not apply to outdoor electronics and re/supply purchases); compared to non-members which is 90 days.
Free U.S. Standard Shipping
Exclusive Offers and Discounts – Member-exclusive coupons and access to the ‘member collection’.
Buy and Trade Used Gear – Members can shop the Re/Supply in-store and online for discounts on used products and gear.
20% Off Bike & Snow Shop Services
Up to 33% Off Rentals
Free Flat Tire Repair
There are more perks than the ones listed, but the main selling points for me were the extended return policy and access to the Re/Supply store. These two alone made the $30 fee worth it for me.
My first large purchase from the REI Store was an Osprey backpack. It was an excellent pack, fit well, and was high quality. Unfortunately, after several months, I had still only used it once. There was nothing wrong with it; it was just too large a pack for what my typical use was. Because I was an REI member, I was able to return the $170 pack without any issue even though I had taken the tags off and used it. In this instance the $30 fee was well worth getting $170 back.
The second time the membership proved its worth was much more recent. While preparing for our recent camping trip, we decided to upgrade tents from our 15+ year old one to a new one. I looked at the members only re/supply section in the store and found a tent for only $25. It was slightly used and one of the pole clips was missing, but it cost less than $5 to fix. For around $30 we had a new tent – if we had bought brand new it would’ve easily cost over $100.
If you anticipate making multiple purchases, especially for high-dollar items, then I think the REI Membership is well-worth it.