Basically, everything at REI is perpetually on sale for you. As far as you are concerned, 10% is raining from the sky.
When you buy something using your member number, REI gives you 10% of the price back in an Annual Dividend in March. So essentially, they give 10% of your own money back to you.
Though you won't receive a refund on certain products (like those already discounted), you will essentially have a coupon to the store in general, which makes spending on best-selling products that never hit the clearance rack feel a little bit better.
While the membership is $20, it's also for a lifetime, so it'll pay for itself over time.
And even if you don't have much faith in yourself ever dropping enough money to physically see that $20 fee in your pocket again, family members are able to use your membership as well, making it easier to rack up purchases and your annual return.
Get members-only special offers
Often, REI will host member-only sales where members can get up to 50% off. Though you only see 10% back of what you buy full-price, you might not have to use that benefit as much as you think.
Play, learn, and travel for less
When REI boasts about having a community, it's wise to believe them.
Most REI stores have frequent classes on subjects that might come in handy for anyone, whether you're looking to take up an activity outdoors and don't know where to start, or even if you want to dare something more dangerous in the wild where mistakes have serious consequences. In the REI outdoor school, you can learn everything from outdoor survival to fixing your bike.
The Members Only Garage Sale is an extremely popular event for good reason. You'll find slightly used or returned gear and clothing listed at huge discounts. Quantities are limited, items are sold as is, and all sales are final, but no one in the crowd is complaining about that considering the prices.
In a lesser-known but extremely cool portion of the REI membership, members are able to influence the future of the company that they have become involved with. Each spring, an election ballot is included with their annual dividend and REI members are able to vote on the company's board of directors.
Members are able to read through candidate profiles themselves and then directly vote for those who reflect their values and their hopes for the company, helping to ensure REI always stays true to its core values.
Be a part of something good
The REI Co-op invests in the future of the outdoors by giving back nearly 70% of its profits. They invest in the work of nonprofit partners who help hundreds of organizations improve outdoor access for all, and offer local events of stewardship where members can volunteer to protect and expand trails.
Not to mention that if you choose to, REI members are able to donate all or just a portion of their dividend to the REI foundation, which supports the environment that you love through community partnerships and REI grants.