Good Sam membership closes in on two-million mark

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By Chuck Woodbury
COMMENTARY BY THE EDITOR

An article in the Motley Fool this week reported that membership in the Good Sam Club has grown to 1.92 million, an all-time high.


Traditional benefits to club members have almost vanished in recent years, with local chapters struggling to survive as their members grow old and die. The club’s popular rallies were discontinued a few years ago, replaced by occasional Super Sale-type events, where the focus is selling rather than education, entertainment and member interaction.

Member benefits today include discounts at Camping World stores and RV parks, which pay Camping World/Good Sam to display the Good Sam logo. Roadside Assistance, Extended Warranties, vehicle insurance and a host of other paid services are offered to members as well, most available elsewhere but positioned as member benefits by the company, where members were once called “marketing tools” by CEO Marcus Lemonis. — Chuck Woodbury

Are you a member of the Good Sam Club? Why did you join?

 

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PGR

Not sure why anyone believes getting a .05 discount on gas or .08 on diesel at one particular gas chain is a bargain. I get 5% back on all fuel purchases, anywhere when I use my credit card. That comes to about .13 – .15 a gallonI can stop anywhere and not have to deal with overpriced truck stops. GasBuddy is my friend, Good Sam, not at all. It is true I don’t get that cash back on my credit card until the end of the year but it’s nice to get a big, fat check out of the blue when it comes.

Anyone who try’s to tell me they typicallyget better deals at CW than thru Amazon or eBay is living in La La Land and their opinion is opinion meaningless as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve also discovered that the larger a flag a company displays out in front the more one has to “watch their back” and refuse to shop in any place that tries to push their so called patriotism or religious beliefs on me.

Trevor H

Chuck, Love your site & newsletters, very informative. My wife & I are soon to be fulltimers. That said I have been doing my due diligence, going to a few RV shows and have done a lot of research lately. CW was one of the 1st places I checked out. I’m a big baseball fan and they advertise on MLB TV. Upon first review, I thought their prices were decent and GS seemed great. But after more research, I found that CWs RV/TT prices were higher than many others.
Roadside & Insurance can easily be found for 1/2 of GS costs. That makes me doubt the people saying GS had better prices. They either didn’t really look or are CW shills. CG discount was a wash w/others. The gas discount was about the only redeeming feature, but only if available on your route. Saving $2.50 on 50 gals of gas is cool but if you gotta go 10 miles out of your way to find a PIlot J you’re losing money. Especially since they are not everywhere and as many have said you can often find similar/better prices in many nearby places. For me GS is no deal, plus to put it nicely Lemonis is very shady.

GARY SCHULTZ

While the meager discounts are nice, the only reason I’m still a member is because I bought my RV at Camping World and it came with a 3 year premium membership. No plans to renew.

Larry

I use the gas discount quite a bit and it pays for the membership plus I don’t se it for my everyday vehicles she gas prices are the same all over. I live in pilot/flying j country, Tennessee. Discount at parks but I usually go with a military discount

Eric Devolin

Originally we joined in the early 70’s for the discounts on overnight sites.and then after a bad experience with CAA rv roadside assist. We started Good Sam road side assis. as our rv’s were a used type and travel with small. children was unpredictable as our ranges excelled. I’m not renewing any products to do with Good Sam as the returns are not there anymore. Camping World will not ship to Canada with their FREE shipping but will take our money just the same. I keep on getting renewal notices for GoodSam with discounts for Camping World except they are not valid unless you are in the USA. WHAT A SCAM.

Al Florida

OK, you asked why I joined (remember, past tense) so I answered. However I have not renewed in several years. I also won’t renew unless something I buy gives me more of a discount than the renewal of the membership.

Jim G.

Back when I joined the Good Sam Club, it was a good organization for the good of the camping community. The magazine was informative and had helpful articles. Later I became a Lifetime member to save membership costs over the long run. Anymore the main benefit is the Fuel discount at Pilot/Flying J. They are a great place to stop to refresh and refuel (especially Flying J) and they normally have the same fuel prices (before discount) as the stations across the interstate.

Deb

we joined for the campground discounts, their Travel Planning software, and also use the mail service which seems very reasonably priced. However we HATE the dozens of solicitations we get yearly for travel services and insurance, etc. Please save the paper and the postage! (Fortunately we can shred any mail before paying for forwarding. However that does not change the fact that GS is wasting tons of resources.)

Ken Luke

Joined just about five years ago for the RV park discounts and the discount at the CW store. But the last few years, CW stores have gone downhill and we shop there only as a place of last resort. The discount at RV parks is nothing special, either, since you can get the same discount other, more practical ways. When the next renewal notice comes, we will be dropping from the roster and peeling the sticker off the windshield.

pam and dick

We are lifetime members of GS and joined years ago for the people aspect of meeting fellow campers. One thing that is still extremely helpful, which I don’t think anyone has commented on, is the list of state Standby Sams – members who have volunteered to help fellow members traveling to or through their state. When we were going to Vermont, I contacted several Standby Sams and they were unbelievably helpful with recommendations for RV friendly routes, what roads to avoid with an RV, camping and dining suggestions, attractions to not miss, and so on. Standby Sams are a hidden gem!

Vance Pursley

When I retired in ’14, my co-workers, who knew my wife and I were going to be full timing, gave me a membership. We rarely shop at CW because I can usually find what I need somewhere else much cheaper. When we do shop there, I’m always told I can renew my membership for one year and get one free, plus, they give us enough merchandise and send me a $25 gift card that our last renewal cost a few cents. That, along with the fact that their “Trip Planner” app is the best one I’ve found so far, keeps me a member. If I ever meet anyone thinking about buying an RV, I caution them about buying at CW. If they do, I discuss the financing aspect with them…if they want to listen. That’s all!

Colleen

I joined Good Sam many years ago when it was still a great organization of and for RVers. I enjoyed the magazine. Then they switched to giving 4 issues a year of Trailer Life or Motorhome with a insert from Good Sam. I have not gotten any of those 4/yr issues since they switched even though I have called yearly to let them know. As with everything else they do, they promised the problem was fixed but still haven’t gotten any. The discount on diesel at Pilot/Flying J would be nice IF their diesel wasn’t so horribly overpriced. It usually runs $.15-20 less at any other gas station near by and, even with a 31′ 5vr, I can get into them without a problem if the pumps are parallel with the building or have good spacing and room to turn. 10% is not much of a discount at RV parks….. many also have PA, military, Escapees, or some other type of discount as well. Had Good Sam insurance with National General for years which seemed like a good deal until we had a minor accident and had a terrible time dealing with them. After they finally got around to paying, they raised the insurance $1000 a year. Camping World will never touch an RV I own again for service. They couldn’t even install a Fantastic fan without drilling a hole in the wrong place in my roof, screwing the trim in so tight that it broke the trim piece, and wiring it so the ceiling lights have to be on to use the fan. I have had good luck dealing with the roadside insurance when I had flats.

Tom

Joined about 12 yrs ago for the discount and other benefits but no longer a member.

Phil Smith

I joined because, being interested in starting RVing, I knew as a teenager that my grandparents were members with their RV, and figured it would be a good place to start learning before I actually bought an RV. Sad to see their business practices, and I only consider the discounts as a reason to stay a memeber.

Bob

We joined for the road service. We were in Kentucky with a flat tire on a Sunday. Good Sam could not get anyone out there until the next day. We called AAA and they had someone out there within an hour. Need I say more?

Jill

I purchased a used motor home at Camping World one year ago (that is a whole other story, but in the end I am happy with my purchase) and received a free Premium Good Sam membership with the purchase. I don’t plan on renewing it.

Margie Woodall

Fuel discount at Pilot/Flying J

TomS

Originally joined for the campground discount. I wasn’t renewing last year but had a free year given. Wonder if the free members are to keep the “customer’s numbers” up as a marketing ploy for investors. Don’t care for owner.

Fred

Been a member for about 12 years, but I’ve been questioning the benefits of membership for the last year or so. I joined mainly for the insurance program, but for the last few years I’ve obtained the insurance directly from the Insurance Company rather than thru Good Sam. It saved me some money. I also thought I’d use the campground discount, but in 9 years of fulltiming, I’ve used it less than 10 times. We do a lot of boondocking & when we stay in a campground it’s usually a National Park, National Forest, county park or municipal park. I rarely shop at Camping World anymore. I buy most things on Amazon or eBay.

Kim

I voted “other” because I use their travel itinerary to plan our camping trips but may let my current subscription expire and begin using RV Trip Wizard.