Monday, September 25, 2023


Is the Good Sam Club reneging on a promise to some members?

By Dave Helgeson
Several months ago RV Travel ran an article announcing Good Sam Club CEO Marcus Lemonis would be launching a newly titled RV Magazine to replace its Trailer Life and MotorHome magazines for Good Sam members.

My wife and I have been members of the Good Sam Club since 1990. We converted to lifetime members in 2006, which has included a lifetime subscription to a Good Sam magazine. Like others, we have been awaiting our copy of the new RV Magazine. Having recently received a “Happy New Year” email from Good Sam with an offer to subscribe (for a fee) to the new RV Magazine, I figured it was time to reach out to Good Sam. I wanted to remind them that my wife and I were lifetime members and should be receiving a free quarterly edition of the new RV Magazine.

Lifetime magazine subscription included with lifetime membership

Free magazines for lifetime Good Sam members

Why a free quarterly edition, you ask? Most lifetime Good Sam members already know the answer, but here is the explanation for the rest of you.

For years, one of the major benefits of paying to become a lifetime Good Sam member was a lifetime subscription to Highways Magazine, which was published quarterly. When Highways Magazine was discontinued in 2014, Lemonis himself extended the lifetime subscription by offering lifetime members “four free” (quarterly) issues of Trailer Life or MotorHome Magazine. As a travel trailer owner, I chose Trailer Life, which I have been receiving quarterly free of charge since.

2013 Woodalls Press Release

When do we get the new magazine?

To find out when to expect our new magazine, I first reached out to “Marcus” via the “email me” at the “If You Are Not Happy, I’m Not Happy” link. The following response arrived – surprisingly not from Marcus: “Thank you for your time and email. I do apologize, because the subscription was tailored for the MotorHome/Trailer Life magazines, this has been discontinued for the new magazine. I apologize for this inconvenience.”

In responding, I pointed out that my lifetime subscription had been honored from Highways to Trailer Life magazines. I questioned why it should not be continued with the latest replacement, RV Magazine. I mentioned that surely it cost Good Sam no more to produce and mail the new magazine than the past magazines. In response, I was referred to the disclaimer on the Good Sam website that states “Benefits are subject to change.” Wow, dismissed without responding to my question!

Would a Good Sam member get respect on Facebook?

Next, I reached out on the Good Sam Facebook page, thinking lifetime members might get a little more respect there. I wrote, “As a Good Sam lifetime member will I receive the new RV Magazine in place of the discontinued Trailer Life Magazine I received in the past as part of my membership?” Good Sam replied, “Hi Dave! Go ahead and give us a call at 866-205-7451, we can help with that!”

Feeling a bit more hopeful that Good Sam was willing to honor its commitment, I called the number provided. A nice lady (who I will not name to avoid jeopardizing her job) promptly answered. After explaining my situation, she clearly understood and agreed with my line of reasoning. Placing me on hold while she checked with her supervisor, she quickly came back on the line. She was surprised and disappointed to learn Good Sam would not honor its lifetime subscription with the new magazine. She suggested I call the Marcus VIP help line, which she referred to as the “complaint line”!

Another less than truthful reply from the people at Good Sam

More online research on Good Sam members

Further online research revealed questions raised by paid annual subscribers to Trailer Life or MotorHome Magazine about the replacement magazine. Following are responses from Logan Zoot, presumably employed by Good Sam:

  • “RV Magazine will replace our legacy publications, Trailer Life & MotorHome”
  • “As a loyal subscriber, beginning January 2021, you will receive RV Magazine in place of Trailer Life/MotorHome for the length of your remaining subscription.”
  • “You’ll receive the same number of issues you would have with the previous publication.”

I did reach out to Logan Zoot, asking if my lifetime subscription to the magazine would be honored. I haven’t heard back.

My take on the whole situation

My wife and I became a lifetime Good Sam member when we were offered to upgrade to a lifetime membership. I recall it was many times the cost of an annual membership, but we figured it was worth it. So we signed up. I reasoned the club needed quick cash to make an acquisition. Where better to raise it than from your members. (This was 10 years before Camping World went public.)

After signing up, we received our lifetime membership card and a lifetime member decal for our RV. Like clockwork, we began receiving quarterly magazines.

Fast forward to today, when there’s another change in magazine names – a “replacement” magazine, according to Good Sam’s Logan Zoot. And with the change, it appears to me that CEO Lemonis has discontinued the magazine subscription to lifetime members as promised when I joined. By the way, a lifetime membership to the Good Sam Club now costs $399.

What does Good Sam Club get out of this?

How much does Good Sam stand to net out of this? I reached out to multiple sources at Good Sam to determine how many lifetime members are no longer being mailed their lifetime magazine subscription. When I asked how large of a windfall this would be for the company, they sent the following response: “That is not something I or anyone would know.” Funny! I felt like responding with, “Then how do you know which members to send membership renewals to or not?” But I figured, why bother.

Since Good Sam is unwilling to share, that leaves you and me to speculate.

As you have likely deduced by now, for me it’s no longer about the magazine at this point, but being sacrificed to Lemonis’ obsession to become “The Profit” at the expense of club members. Sadly, this is a far cry from the selflessness shown by the Biblical Good Samaritan that Good Sam was founded on.

Thank you for reading and letting me vent.

EDITOR’S NOTE: editor Chuck Woodbury reached out to Marcus Lemonis at his personal email address, asking for an explanation about this. Lemonis did not respond.

Dave Helgeson
Dave Helgeson
Dave Helgeson has been around travel trailers his entire life. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership long before the term “RV” had been coined. He has served in every position of an RV dealership with the exception of bookkeeping. Dave served as President of a local chapter of the RVDA (Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association), was on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college and was a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. He and his wife Cheri operated their own RV dealership for many years and for the past 29 years have managed RV shows. Dave presents seminars at RV shows across the country and was referred to as "The foremost expert on boondocking" by the late Gary Bunzer, "The RV Doctor". Dave and his wife are currently on their fifth travel trailer with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications on his own unit.


  1. I am a member of the roadside assistance club and in good standing. But my car broke down and needed a tow about 10 miles away from where it was to my dealer I bought it from. They wanted to tow it to some unknown garage down the street where my dealer would not cover repairs. I told them it has to go to the dealer they wanted to charge me $180 to tow it 10 miles. This was all after I was told before that it would be covered. I spent 3 hrs on the phone to fix this problem. I used to get stranded by aaa now I have to fight just to get the service I was promised. Sad… is there not any good roadside clubs anymore.

  2. Good Sam is nothing but a scam. I have been trying to get reimbursed for a roadside service that I had to pay for even though I had coverage. Now this scam outfit has no record of the service call and has lost my claim form. Go figure.

  3. When will people come to understand that Marcus A. Lemonis is a con man. All he knows of in business would be a legal Caveat or work around his team can devise to continue with unfulfilled promises, executed contracts stating one thing, turning that one thing to read something entirely different. I bought an RV from Camping World which was Salvaged in less than one year. He took my ENTIRE RETIREMENT SAVINGS, IN CASH, for its’ purchase. It sent he to the hospital twice for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning from a faulty leak of the Generator, terminating behind the drivers door and into the cab. He knew the devastation and financial ruin he set the path for and further knew I was homeless on Skid Row because of him, and only him. CAREFUL WHO YOU TRUST… SALT LOOKS A LOT LIKE SUGAR!

  4. I looked forward to the new magazine, thinking that it would be a combination of TL and MHM. NOT! It, to me , seems to be a cross between Martha Stewart and Sunset , both of which my wife reads. Sorry, but when the subscription runs out, no renewal. I am hoping someone can fill the void.

  5. As an officer in our local Good Sam camping club (whose charter requires club members to be Good Sam members “in good standing,” (i.e. paid up dues). BML (before Marcus Lemonis), Good Sam national helped support state rallies usually with prizes, entertainment or similar contribution. That hasn’t happened in a long time.

    Many camping clubs display lawn flags that identify the name of their group. By charter, we are required to include the Good Sam logo on that flag…free advertising for Marcus. And we get to pay dues in order to “earn” that privilege!

    The Good Sam membership card also gets 10% discount at Camping World stores. Most of that merchandise is available elsewhere at a lower price without discount.

    So what do we get from Good Sam? Not a thing that I can see. Already several of the clubs in our state Good Sam organization have pulled out. There is no longer any advantage to being associated with the national organization. Or with Marcus. Sayonara!

  6. Of all the memberships I have taken out over 20 years of RVing I only regret taking out a Life Time Membership in Good Sam. I am sad to see that what was a good club which enabled us to quickly get involved in the sociability of RVing has become nothing more than a tiny piece of a giant marketing machine that offers nothing of value to its members. I resent what Camping World and Good Sam has become and will never ever recommend them nor will I darken their door, or fulfillment center.

  7. “If you’re not happy, I’m not happy”. These are NOT words or a promise from Lemonis, that’s from an advertising company he paid to come up with. Pathetically unoriginal btw. Probably the biggest heap of BS ever perpetuated by a company trying to hock their wares. Lemonis destroyed everything that was “good” about Good Sam. Along the way he destroyed Camping World and Gander Mountain no less.

  8. I work for a company that was bought out in 2015, All the benefits I accrued that were to last until retirement were gone the minute the new company took over. The same applies to memberships things change the minute the original owners sellout and there is nothing you can do about it. I don’t trust anything that come with the lifetime option too many things change.

    • As far as employment entitlements you worked for, no one can take those away from you! You need to contact your Department of Labor!

  9. I have received the first two issues of RV magazine. It is not worth the paper it is printed on. Basically a promotional mag for CW. Will not renew nor Good Sam membership.

  10. We tried Good Sam for one year. That was enough. They will eventually exhaust whatever goodwill long time members have left.

  11. I am fairly new to RV’ing, but read my brother in laws Trailer life magazine for several years. I bought his fifth wheel rig this past year and also a 2 year subscription to Trailer life. When I received the first RV mag, I was very disappointed in the content. I agree, I’m not looking for 5 star gourmet when I’m camping. I’m so disappointed in this fluff piece, I told my wife I’ll give it two more issues. Well, the second one came and it’s as bad as the first one. It appears they are trying to cater to the “new” camper people who were kept home by C19 and went out and purchased a unit. We know that most will sell it this spring. Unfortunately it doesn’t look good for me continuing my subscription. Anybody have a good recommendation for another camping mag that actually is useful?

  12. Thank you!!! We are about to buy our first C and will be doing it full time in two years. We WERE going to join Good Sams. I thought they were reputable. I was wrong. You’ve cost them 1 membership.

  13. I got my lifetime membership the first year it was offered. I enjoyed its benefits for several years, but noticed many of those benefits either disappeared or changed. Standby Sams was one of them. If you go to their website and click on any “assistance” tab you get a page to buy one of their services. I haven’t stepped foot in a Camping World or any other affiliates for years. I honestly can get stuff cheaper elsewhere. When any newbie asks me about Good Sam I tell them not to join. I feel all us lifetime members got handed a whole lot of ____.

  14. Good Sam member since 94. Loved the Highways magazine, more information than either Trailer Life or Motorhome. It was published 11 times each year. I believe they didn’t put out an edition the month of December. Have had Good Sam roadside assistance for many years and have had both good and not so good experiences. They used to publish a booklet titled “Standby Sams” which was a directory of members all over the US that would assist Good Sam members, providing information for places to get repairs, parking, needed supplies etc. When Art Rouse died Good Sam pretty much died with him. When I received the “new” Highways ie. Camper World flier I thought that it was about the ultimate insult but then I received the NEW RV magazine!! Like many of you I won’t do business with Camper World any longer and will be shopping for a new roadside assistance provider.

  15. I am a lifetime member also – since about 1987 or so. When ML quit the Highways magazine and replaced it with Motorhome mag. that was a joke! I already subscribed to MH mag and every quarter I got two! What good are two of them? Why didn’t they just extend my subscription by 4 months for the each year remaining on my MH sub?

    Now I have a paid subscription to MH mag. which expires in 2024 or 2025. The new RV magazine is nothing more than a recipe and Camping World ad. It is trash! No motorhome or maintenance info, no warranty help or info.. Great if you’re a chef. Who cooks exotic meals in a motorhome or trailer? Dumb content! Frozen dinners? Pot roast? Sloppy Joes? These arn’t 5 star hotels – they are camping in woods vehicles. (Sorry full-timers!).

    I’ve received two RV mag. so far. I told my wife if it doesn’t improve I will be cancelling my remaining mag. subscriptions. The 2nd issue was the same as the first – Out it goes!!! And Camping World with it!

  16. Renewed my membership for 5 years a few years back but will not renew again. I will not use Camping World any more, they are just too greedy.

  17. I too don’t like the new RV magazine. I loved Trailer Life, It had more interesting information. I don’t plan on renewing my subscription. Feel sorry for those who paid for a Good Sam lifetime membership.

  18. I too have been a lifetime member of the Good Sam Club for several years and I have to say that I would not spend the annual fee to be a member now. It has been turned into nothing more than a marketing tool for Camping World. I also had several months remaining on my Trailer Life subscription when its publication ended. After receiving two issues of the new RV Magazine I have to say that it is now an RV lifestyle magazine and also nothing more than a marketing tool for Camping World. I will not renew. I also recently received the latest issue of “Highways” magazine and guess what. It is a “sale” catalog for Camping World. Welcome to Marcus’ world. I have joined FMCA and I find their monthly magazine to be much more informative and useful to me. YMMV.

  19. I got a lifetime membership about 6 or 7 years ago. Thankfully, we got it at a reduced rate due to my in-laws being lifetime members already. Mostly for the discounts but we really liked the magazine for features on places to go camping. Ones we liked we cut out, scanned and saved as pdf’s for future use. I hadn’t realized that they first stopped Highways and went to Motorhome and also that Motorhome stopped coming. Pretty pathetic they won’t give lifetime members their latest iteration of the maginze, RV.

  20. I have been a member of GOOD SAMS for a number of years Added their road service which I have had just about as long. Used it for Jump Starts and Lockouts a few times but late last year I had a breakdown in my Motorhome 5 miles from a Camping World and 76 miles to my home Repair Facility.
    Camping World refused the Repair so GS Roadservice was going to tow me to a FORD Car Dealership 25 miles away. I requested they tow me to my Home Repair location and I would pay for the additional mileage. GUESS WHAT they refused. They said I had to go to the CAR DEALER or I would have to pay for the entire tow.
    I’m dropping my membership with GOOD SAMS and anything that has to do with Marcus (MR PROFIT). He had already given reason for all of OUR KIND not to spend money at his businesses. So I’m taking my money elsewhere.
    I must add that the Towing Service Did a great job and the Driver was SUPER. He gave me a sizable discount from what his dispatcher had quoted YATES TOWING CHATT. TN

  21. Interesting – I got pretty much the same answers – and I was a life member of both Camping World and Good Sam so I really got the sticky end of the stick…

  22. I don’t want to offend anyone here but I’m mystified why anyone would want anything (or expect anything) from Good Sam any more. At one time (decades ago) I think it truly offered some value but no longer. Coupled with Marcus’ comments to millions of us some time ago that our business wasn’t needed at his stores made many move on. There are so many good sources of rv related material around these days in all kinds of formats…many free or mostly free. That’s why after almost 20 years I still love RV…:) AND, even though we’ve only been members for under a year I think Escapees is a nice organization, and they have a pretty good magazine as well.


  24. Just before they announced discontinuing Trailer Life I renewed my subscription for 2years. I’m now in an RV park in Arizona and my magazines are not forwarded so I’m expecting a big change when I get home. Doesn’t sound like I’m going to enjoy the new magazines. Not a lot of money involved but the principal of it. Why do I as a consumer want to pay for advertising aimed at me. That what the new format sounds like.

  25. We bought our first trailer in 1996 (a 1997 Nash 25-S). We quickly became Good Sam Life Members. Attached the Life Member plaque to the rear of our trailer. We were proud members. As everyone knows, over the years membership benefits declined and so did the ‘prestige’ of belonging. When we sold that trailer we let the plaque go too. Haven’t gotten anything but mail telling us what we ‘should’ be receiving – and as of yet, receiving nothing. And, I DON’T CARE! We’re done.

  26. I too received a “magazine” titled Highways. The issue is February 2021 #10 . It s 27 pages of ads and a few articles.
    This maybe the answer to the Life-timers benefit.

  27. I got my new issues and am very dissatisfied with new publication. Trailer life was full of hints, projects and information. I would like my money back for the remainder of my subscription as this new one is terrible

  28. I understand the point but don’t fret, you are not missing much. I will not be renewing my subscription to a magazine that mostly “advertises” items for Crapping World.

  29. We have dropped our long-time annual Good Sam membership. After they killed the online Trip Planner, which we used constantly, support/publicity for local GS chapters, and, now, both magazines, which I usually read cover-to-cover, where is the value in being a member? Despite having a Camping World dealer/store only 5 miles from our house, we long ago learned that Wally World is cheaper for the expendable RV supplies and accessories we use and are located everywhere we travel. Plus other nearby RV dealers do better, faster, cheaper RV repairs and maintenance. We have gone back to AAA for our roadside assistance despite the higher cost. And we will start patronizing RV parks that offer a AAA or AARP discount rather than looking for ones offering a GS discount.

    After all, it is actually possible to be a “Lemonis-free RVer” despite all the GS-CW hype online and in print!

  30. I too am a life member, I did this after being elected to president of the local chapter of Good Sam Club. Since Marcus took over the entire club has disappeared, just a few of the program’s remaining and those are no less than any other programs so what’s the advantage? None, I would gladly turn in my Lifetime membership for a partial refund but I know that’ll never happen.

  31. I am not a lifetime member but have had a subscription to the 2 magazines for years. After receiving the new magazine I will not be renewing my subscriptions. There is not much in the new one.

  32. As a much younger man, I loved RVing (still do) and really enjoyed Highways Magazine. Starting thinking and planning to become a fulltimer at some point. When the offer appeared for Good Sam Life Membership, I jumped on it. I became a Charter Lifetime Member. Still have the plastic, embossed membership card. I also received a few stickers and a nifty little flag proclaiming my status, all of which I still have. As a fulltimer, I learned quickly that the Camping World service department was NOT my friend (won’t bore y’all with details).

    As it stands today, I wouldn’t pi$$ on Lemonis if his guts were on fire. I avoid all things Camping World (Amazon is your friend, for now anyway). Good Sam is nothing but a paid-for discount program for already over priced stuff from CW.

    Granted, I have cheated a couple of times over the years when I needed an RV gadget quickly, such as an Oxygenics shower head for my new motorhome – two years ago.

  33. As a Good Sam life member, I just received a copy of Highways magazine. It had a few small articles and lots of things for sale a Camping World. It looks like they are make a feeble attempt to “honor” their promise of a “free” magazine.

      • i get a Highways three or four times a year. Its no longer a magazine but just a bunch of ads for merchandise. Its good for starting campfires but not much else. Joined Good Sam back in 1983 and lifetime a few years later when it was first offered at a discount. Today its just a plastic card in my center truck console along with grocery cards for Jewel, H-E-B, Sentry, etc.

  34. I just received my copy, Let’s see if I receive any more, I’m a Lifer 25 years. As for C W, we have a local store and nice to see real ads., not pix in a magazine. I utilize their Roadside program and have good luck with it.

  35. Even though I was one who was duped by Good Sam to get a lifetime membership when it first began, I have since quit using Camping World for anything after several, to me, huge problems. Good Sam membership is a joke. The 10% discount is not a 10% discount after it is marked up 20% and then discounted 10%. I often find parts and camping supplies much cheaper and same product from other suppliers on line. The old saying, “let your fingers do the walking and your money do the talking” applies here.


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