The perks of REI's lifetime membership far outweigh its one-time $20 cost
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- The $20 lifetime REI membership is a great deal.
- Members receive 10% off of almost everything in the store automatically (paid back in an annual dividend), access to members-only deals, deep discounts on REI classes, events, and adventures, and can vote on the company's board of directors, among other perks.
- The $20 fee quickly pays for itself, especially if you or someone in your family plan to buy from REI.
Chances are that you've likely heard of REI if you're either an outdoor enthusiast or someone who has just had to buy a winter coat once in their lifetime. What might come as more of a surprise, though, is their $20 lifetime membership program.
Although paid retail memberships rightfully inspire some skeptical thinking, this is one that, all things considered, is actually an insanely good value.
There are the obvious benefits: REI is a household name in the outdoors world for good reason, and carries a dauntingly huge selection. They have a strong sense of community and awesome customer service, the latter of which I'm willing to wager is influenced by the former. If you spend over $50, you get free shipping. And if you want to look online to see if a product is stocked locally to buy and pick up in person at your convenience, you can do that, too.
Not to mention, they treat their employees pretty dang well, with some of the best benefits for a part-time job out there; and that's always something worth supporting, especially if it doesn't change your shopping experience.
If you're like most customers, you might be unsure the benefits are actually worth parting with $20 upfront - even if they are for a lifetime. You might be concerned you won't shop there frequently enough, being more price-tag loyal than retailer. Or, if you're already stocked with gear or just like to travel light, you might be wondering how frequently you'd really use it anyway.
But keeping all these things in mind, I'm convinced REI's co-op membership is worth it, even if it's just for a new pair of boots in four years. REI has one of the best, no-questions-asked return policies (though curtailed in recent years due to policy abuse), meaning that if you do buy the same pair somewhere else for less, you may come to regret it when it's not as simple to replace after an unfortunate break. And if you happen to lose your receipt, like most of us are prone to do, your membership keeps a log of everything you've bought, for a seamless process.
And when all are considered together, that $20 price tag turns out to be a great value.
Below, I take you through all the benefits that come with an REI membership, so you can see for yourself.
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Receive 10% back on your purchases
Get members-only special offers
Play, learn, and travel for less
Access in-store REI Garage sales
Have a direct impact on the retailer itself
Be a part of something good
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