dealsrei anniversary sale on now, outdoors clothing…

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I didn't know REI had a membership. Is it free?

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@1rudeboy: It's a lifetime membership for $20 and worth every penny (I think that I paid $10 for my membership a long time ago). You get dividends back for most of your purchases (usually about 10%). They send members-only coupons several times a year. The free shipping over $75 for members is a great newer addition. There are also discounts on a lot of REI services (my daughter likes the free time on the climbing wall).

I'm not big on having to buy memberships but this one has paid for itself over and over again. https://www.rei.com/membership/benefits

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@glindagw: Totally agree. I've had an REI membership for years and while I'm not overly "sporty" I have a job that involves working outdoors. I think dividends have paid at least for my annual sunblock needs - saying something since I have blue eyes and fair skin.

Edited to add: Dividends are like a store credit and good for over a year, so you can actually use them. Shop there just for things like reusable water bottles and some of their other unique stuff, and you've made back the cost of membership in a year or two.

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@emilyb0902: I've just discovered that you can redeem your dividend for cash after July 1. I've always spent it before then.

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Link is broken/out-of-date

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I love REI. It's full of outrageously expensive full-retail stuff. But it's mostly great gear and sometimes you can find a bargain, which is the only time I ever buy anything.

Unless something has changed, you only get a dividend on non-sale items. You'll have to spend $2000 to get your $20 membership back. That said, there are other benefits to membership.

REI offers a lifetime satisfaction guarantee on everything they sell. Keep your receipts if you're not a member as they'll obviously want proof of your purchase. I had to return a seam-sealed REI branded rain jacket that began to come apart after 18 months. I received a store credit with no hassle.

Also, I own that exact jacket in the picture. And I bought it at REI. That's really why I came in here. :)

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@kooosh: True about sale or outlet items, no dividend "points" for those.

I may need to review my shopping habits! :)

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@kooosh: The link should be http://www.rei.com/Sale+and+Clearance.

I'm having a bit of trouble with your math. The dividend is usually about 10% on full price items every year. You would need to spend $200 on full price items to pay for your $20 lifetime membership.

One of the benefits of membership is that they can use your member number to access your purchase history. I've been able to make returns purchased under my member number without any receipts (no time limits).

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@kooosh: The dividend is 10% on non-sale items, so you get your money back after spending $200, not $2,000. But, they also have great specials like 20% of any full-priced item 3-4 times per year, free shipping on large orders, and discounts on shop services, trips, and classes. Plus you get the money-back guarantee as you said. I try only to buy things on sale, but I love them anyway!

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Thanks for the correction on the dividend. For whatever reason, I thought it was 1%. I was way off and I apologize.

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Everything above is true in regards to the value of the membership. I recently had a pair of flip-flops that I had bought at REI 18 months ago, come apart. I took them back, they looked up my purchase history from my member card and gave me full price credit on the flops. No hassle at all.

Perhaps even more valuable, as a member you have access to the garage sale that happens a few times a year. This sale is for all the items returned to the store. Sometimes this gear is in near-new condition and ridiculously cheap. I once bought a backpacking stove that still had the tags, but was missing one small piece. The stove sold for $80 brand new, I bought it for $10. I then went home, called the manufacturer told them it was missing this particular piece and they mailed it to me for free. Many other similar stories from the garage sale.