The holidays are just around the corner, a time when many Americans gather together with family and friends to exchange gifts. Finding the best bargains usually entail scouring the Internet endlessly, or hunting for coupons.
For some, however, the best deal of all may be found in the form of a retail membership.
Companies like Amazon, Sam's Club, REI and Costco have been offering memberships for years. Members pay an annual fee, and in return are offered perks like discounted prices, free shipping, and other benefits. Retailers get money upfront—and hopefully gain their customers' loyalty.
Brands such as Walmart, Restoration Hardware, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Land's End are just a few of the retailers hopping on the trend, which is growing popular with consumers. Investment firm Piper Jaffray estimates that nearly half of all U.S. households subscribe to Amazon Prime.
Mary Beth Quirk, managing editor of Consumerist.com told CNBC's "On the Money" in an interview that consumers need to assess if the value is worth the price.
"You want to make sure this pays for itself. You don't want it to be like that gym membership you get on January 1st and then you never use it again," said Quirk.