Walmart+ members are getting an extra perk this holiday season

How to Get Fast, Free Shipping From 5 Major Retailers This Holiday Season

Walmart+ members are getting an extra perk this holiday season

It’s the holiday shopping season, the clock is ticking, and there’s an even greater chance than usual you want to avoid crowded stores.

What to do? Unsurprisingly, the answer is to continue what you’ve probably been doing for most of a year dominated by a pandemic: shop online.

The problem is that the huge increase in online shopping is beginning to lead to shipping delays, which may get worse as Christmas Day 2020 nears.

What’s more, delivery fees can add to the complications and often seem unavoidable, especially if you’re a procrastinator who needs super-fast shipping at the last minute.

To avoid the fees and get your goods delivered promptly, it’s important to know how and where to get that magical combination of shipping that’s free and fast.

The simplest option for shoppers is to sign up for a subscription service offering unlimited free delivery of orders that often arrive within a couple days, or even on the same day. Amazon Prime is one such delivery service, and the biggest player in the category.

Walmart+ is another, and the company just made it easier for members to get free shipping by dropping the $35 minimum purchase requirement for most orders.

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Bear in mind that these “free” delivery services should come with an asterisk — because they typically come with a monthly or annual fee. Before you commit and cough up cash for a subscription, take advantage of free trials that generally last from 15 to 30 days. There’s no better time of year than now, when you’re sure to be ordering online, to test these services out.

It’s also good to take into account the free shipping options that require no subscription or fees whatsoever, because then there’s no risk of forgetting to cancel a service before the trial ends and you’re charged. And remember: There are ly to be some shipping delays in the weeks ahead, so, if possible, shoot for deliveries that will arrive at least a day or two before you really need them.

Below, you’ll find all the information you need to know about subscribing to delivery services and scoring free shipping, as fast as possible, from five major retailers, plus details on one shipping service that provides free two-day shipping from dozens of stores.

Walmart and Walmart+

With a Walmart+ subscription, you’ll get free grocery delivery for all orders of $35 or more, plus free shipping on other items from with no minimum required. Walmart+ costs $98 per year or $12.95 per month, after a 15-day free trial, and most orders are eligible for next-day or two-day shipping.

In addition to free shipping, Walmart+ subscribers get a couple of extra perks: 5% off fuel purchases at Walmart and Murphy USA gas stations, and Scan-and-Go purchases in the store, to speed the checkout process with your smartphone.

On the other hand, it’s also easy to get free shipping for purchases without paying any subscription fee. Most non-grocery items at the site are eligible for free two-day shipping without Walmart+ subscriptions, so long as each order hits the $35 minimum purchase.

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Cost: $98 per year or $12.95 per month, after 15-day free trial
Fastest Delivery: Next-day
Minimum Purchase: $35 for groceries, $0 for other items
Extras: 5% off at partner gas stations
Other Options: Free 2-day delivery with $35 purchase

Target and Shipt

Target’s Shipt subscription service normally costs $99 a year and gives members unlimited fast and free delivery for orders of $35 or more. There are some holiday season deals, though. Now through December 27.

, 2020, special Shipt promotions are offering a one-year subscription for $49 to new subscribers, or half-price passes that give three deliveries for $13.50 (normally $27) or five deliveries for $20 (normally $40).

All of these deliveries still require a $35 minimum purchase, and there’s a $7 fee for orders with alcohol.

Shipt subscribers can get same-day or one-day delivery of groceries and other goods sold by Target through the service, and new subscribers can try out Shipt for four weeks for free.

If you’re a regular Target shopper, stay on the lookout for an even more generous free trial: During the 2020 winter holiday shopping season, we’ve heard of people being offered a Shipt free trial that lasts a full six months.

Shipt subscribers aren’t limited to shopping just at Target, mind you. Members can also get delivery from retailers Costco, CVS, Petco, and Office Depot, though there are sometimes markups when you’re ordering from a store other than Target, which owns Shipt.

Depending on your shopping habits, you may not really need a Shipt membership to get free Target delivery that’s speedy enough.

Anyone with a Target RedCard — available as a credit card or debit card — already gets free shipping on non-grocery purchases at, and many items at the site are eligible for quick (two-day) delivery.

There’s no minimum purchase required, no annual fee for the Target RedCard, and shoppers get 5% off all Target purchases as a sweet bonus.

If you don’t have a RedCard or a Shipt membership, you can still get free two-day shipping on most Target purchases, but there is a $35 minimum purchase requirement.

Target Shipt

Cost: $99 per year after free 4-week trial
Fastest Delivery: Same-day
Minimum Purchase: $35
Extras: Delivery for other retailers, Costco and CVS
Other Options: Free 2-day shipping for RedCard holders

Amazon and Amazon Prime

It’s pretty obvious how to get fast free shipping from Amazon: All you need is a Prime subscription, and you’re good to go.

Prime subscribers get multiple free shipping options, including grocery delivery in as little as two hours from Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods, and same-, one-, or two-day delivery on most other things purchased at

In some cases, there is a $35 minimum purchase required for Prime members to be eligible for the fastest delivery at no charge.

For most people, Amazon Prime costs $119 a year. But there are ways to pay less, starting with a 30-day free trial for new subscribers.

There’s probably no better time of year to test out Prime and see if you it than around the holidays, when you are most ly to take advantage of the free shipping perk (and streaming Amazon Video movies and TV shows while you’re taking off from work). You can also subscribe to Prime on a monthly basis ($12.

99) and pay for it only during the key times of year when you really use it. Yet another way to save is with the special 50% off discount, available to eligible students, EBT debit card holders, and others who receive government assistance.

If you’re not a Prime member, free shipping at Amazon is still available on most purchases with a $25 minimum order.

Bear in mind that non-Prime members shouldn’t expect free shipping to be fast — Amazon generally says delivery occurs within five to eight days with this option — but, anecdotally, many of these deliveries are completed within a few days.

Also, non-Prime members should be careful when doing their virtual checkout: Amazon constantly nudges customers into signing up for Prime, and when that mission fails the site often defers to a “standard” shipping option, which incurs a fee. Shoppers must then select the “FREE” option, which will have the slowest delivery.

Amazon Prime

Cost: $119 per year or $12.99 per month after 30-day free trial
Fastest Delivery: Same-day
Minimum Purchase: None or $35
Extras: Unlimited streaming of video and music content
Other Options: Free (slow) shipping with $25 purchase

Best Buy

Best Buy offers free next-day shipping on thousands of items. While there’s a minimum-purchase requirement of $35, that’s a pretty easy mark to reach for the kinds of electronics and appliances most people buy from this retailer.

Be aware, however, that not all items qualify for free shipping. If something’s not available in a nearby store or warehouse, you may not be able to get it shipped for free. Larger items, including TVs measuring 51 inches or larger, are also ly to incur delivery fees. If your order comes with a hefty delivery fee, check to see if free curbside pickup at your local Best Buy is possible.

Best Buy

Cost: $0
Fastest Delivery: Next-day
Minimum Purchase: $35
Other Options: Free curbside pickup


Now through December 10, every Macy’s shopper gets free shipping with a $25 minimum purchase. (Normally, there’s a $49 minimum required.) If you make purchases using a Macy’s credit card, you get free shipping on all orders from the site, with no minimum required, throughout the year.

How fast are these free shipping options from Macy’s? They qualify only for “standard” delivery, which generally is completed within three to six days. For faster shipping, including the possibility of same-day delivery for certain items, you’ll have to pay up. The fees vary widely, from $10 to $26 depending on the shipping speed, your status as a Macy’s cardholder, and availability.


Cost: $0 or varies
Fastest Delivery: Same-day
Minimum Purchase: Usually $25 to $49
Other Options: Free standard shipping with $25 purchase


Finally, consider ShopRunner if you’re looking for fast free shipping.

ShopRunner is a service that provides free two-day delivery from over 100 retailers, including popular spots to shop for gifts Bloomingdale’s, American Eagle, J.

Jill, Under Armour, Tommy Hilfiger, Brooks Brothers, TaylorMade, Lenovo, and Peet’s Coffee. Members get free return shipping from participating retailers as well.

A ShopRunner membership normally costs $79 a year, but it’s easy to get a free subscription. If you enroll with any American Express credit card or Mastercard, membership is free indefinitely. Others can sign up right now for a free ShopRunner trial that lasts a full year before you’re charged.


Cost: $0 or $79 per year
Fastest Delivery: Two-day
Minimum Purchase: Usually none
Other Options: Most retailers also have their own free shipping promotions

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Walmart Plus — Everything you need to know

Walmart+ members are getting an extra perk this holiday season
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Walmart Plus is a membership program that competes with Amazon Prime. The service offers subscribers in-store and online benefits, such as unlimited free delivery and fuel discounts from participating gas stations. 

In terms of price, Walmart Plus costs $98 a year or $12.95 a month. However, it includes a free 15-day trial. Here's everything you need to know about Walmart Plus. 

Walmart Plus free trial

Walmart Plus: 15-day free trial @ Walmart
Walmart Plus is a subscription service from Walmart.

Priced at $98 per year, it includes perks unlimited free delivery on more than 160,000 items as well as fuel discounts at more than 2,000 Walmart and Murphy USA fuel stations. Shoppers can also opt for a $12.

95/month option. Walmart Plus comes with a free 15-day trial.View Deal

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Walmart Plus waives shipping minimum for members

Walmart Plus members no longer need to meet the retailer's $35 minimum purchase requirement to obtain free shipping. Last year, Walmart announced members would be able to get free shipping on all purchases without worrying about hitting that $35 minimum threshold. 

In addition, Walmart is also expanding the number of locations where members can use their fuel savings. Walmart Plus customers now have access to fuel discounts at more than 500 Sam’s Club locations. All of these features are a welcome perk for shoppers, especially in light of Amazon shuttering its Prime Pantry service.

Walmart Plus membership

Walmart Plus membership costs $98 per year or $12.95 per month. (It includes a free 15-day trial period which you can sign up for now).

The membership program — which is Walmart's version of Amazon Prime — is a rebranding of Walmart's $98-per-year Grocery Unlimited service. The grocery delivery service launched in 2019 and quickly expanded to 1,400 additional stores in September of 2019.

 However, Walmart Plus goes beyond groceries to also include tech, beauty, and sports products. By comparison, Amazon Prime costs $199 per year or $12.99 per month. 

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Walmart Plus includes a handful of benefits that will grow with time. Currently, Walmart Plus benefits include the following: 

  • Unlimited free delivery: Customers will receive fast, free delivery on more than 160,000 items including tech, toys, household essentials, and groceries. Delivery will occur as fast as same-day with 1-hour delivery windows. 
  • Scan & Go: This feature in the Walmart app will allow for a faster way to shop in-store. Using the Walmart app, customers can scan their items as they shop and pay using Walmart Pay for a quick and touch-free payment experience.
  • Fuel discounts: Walmart Plus members will be able to save up to 5 cents per gallon at nearly 2,000 Walmart, Murphy USA, and Murphy Express fuel stations. Sam's Club fuel stations will also be added to the lineup.

It's unclear what other perks Walmart Prime will offer in the near future. However, it's no secret that Walmart and Amazon price match each other all the time, especially on retail holidays Prime Day. The renewed rivalry could make for excellent deals.

Walmart Plus vs. Amazon Prime

(Image credit: Walmart)

At the start of 2020, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos stated that there are over 150 million paid Prime members around the world. That's a number that Walmart Plus is certainly hoping to reach. 

Once the country's top retailer, Walmart has watched as its rival Amazon has dominated online sales. Amazon now accounts for roughly 38% of all online retail sales in the U.S., according to eMarketer. By comparison, Walmart is a distant second place with just over 5% of the U.S. e-commerce market. The hope is that Walmart Plus will help it take some of that market share from Amazon. 

This isn't the first time Walmart has taken on Amazon Prime. In 2015, Walmart launched ShippingPass, an unlimited online shipping service that cost $50 per year and promised deliveries in three days or less.

This was Walmart's attempt to undercut Amazon Prime, which at the time cost $99 per year. Two years later, Walmart dropped its membership fee and switched to a 2-day free shipping program on orders of $35 or more.


However, Walmart's biggest chest thump came in 2016, when it purchased for $3 billion. The hope was that would help Walmart establish a bigger online presence. (Walmart announced last month that it was permanently closing 

The Walmart vs. Amazon feud continued into 2019. Just as Amazon announced its plans to offer 1-day shipping, Walmart followed suit with its own 1-day shipping pilot. Most recently, Walmart announced 2-hour Express delivery for an additional $10 over Walmart's typical delivery fees. 

Even on big retailer days Black Friday, Walmart has shadowed Amazon with similar sales of its own. Walmart Plus is an extension of this ongoing battle and only time will tell if it's the true knockout punch that it needs to take on Amazon and its legion of subscribers. 


What to expect for Black Friday and holiday shopping during COVID-19

Walmart+ members are getting an extra perk this holiday season

With Thanksgiving soon to be in the rearview, the mad dash to the holidays begins, unofficially, with Black Friday, typically among the busiest sales days of the year in the United States.

Yet there’s little in life the coronavirus pandemic has not altered in some way this year — and holiday shopping is no exception.

Shoppers may have already noticed the savings to be had on what’s traditionally the biggest deals day are not limited to just Nov. 27 in 2020.

“In general, I think what the retailing community has been pushing is that Black Friday is no longer a day, similar, , [to how] Small Business Saturday is no longer a day, you know — it’s a season,” Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, told

“You’re not going to see the barn-burner, door-buster type of deals that haven’t already been available,” he added.

Many stores have spread around their savings to customers over the course of November, offering promotions both in-store and online as retail went heavily virtual when pandemic-related measures first kept shoppers home in the spring.

With cases and virus transmission rates on the rise once more, those trends show no signs of stopping. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in fact, considers shopping in crowded stores “just before, on, or after Thanksgiving” a higher-risk activity.

Some major retailers have bulked up their staffing to handle curbside and delivery orders to meet anticipated demand. Walmart, for example, announced last week it more than doubled its personal shopper ranks over last year’s staffing levels to manage the influx.

Hurst expects to see many more transactions taking place online this year. Previous holiday seasons saw 18 to 20 percent of sales happening online, he said. For 2020, he projected that number to jump to 30 to 33 percent, at least.

But just because consumers are shopping differently this season, they aren’t expected to be spending less, even with the financial havoc wreaked by the global health crisis.

On Monday, the National Retail Federation forecasted holiday sales to grow between 3.6 and 5.2 percent this year in November and December, compared to those months last year. Sales could total between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion, excluding purchases made at car dealers, gas stations, and restaurants.

Last year, sales topped $729 billion. On average, spending has increased at a rate of 3.5 percent annually over the past five years, according to the NRF.

“We know this holiday season will be un any other, and retailers have planned ahead by investing billions of dollars to ensure the health and safety of their employees and customers,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a press release. “Consumers have shown they are excited about the holidays and are willing to spend on gifts that lift the spirits of family and friends after such a challenging year.”

Here are a few things to keep in mind about Black Friday (Nov. 27), Small Business Saturday (Nov. 28), and holiday shopping this year:

COVID-19 safety, guidelines, and other tips

While state regulations cap occupancy limits at 50 percent of permitted capacity for most retail buildings (or 10 people per 1,000 square feet in non-permitted spaces), CDC guidelines say to limit virus spread, it’s best to avoid crowds, including in stores.

The CDC also recommends shopping online sales on Black Friday and in the days before the winter holidays; using contactless services, such as curbside pick-up; and shopping in “open-air markets” while maintaining six feet of space from others and wearing a mask.

Many retailers also have their own coronavirus–related policies shoppers may want to check out online before heading to the stores.

Even with the holiday season turnout, Hurst doesn’t expect shoppers will find long lines outside stores or other occupancy issues on Friday. He pointed to the state’s sales tax holiday in August — which has historically drawn larger turnout for some RAM members than Black Friday — and said retailers didn’t experience those kinds of challenges.

“The stores’ owners have learned a lot on sanitation and customer service, and we as consumers have learned a lot about sanitizing, wearing masks, and keeping our distance,” he said. “We anticipate no problems there.”

Hurst advises consumers to consider heading to the stores at different times than they usually would this holiday season. With many working from home and no longer having to face long commutes, shoppers may want to use that extra time to peruse shops on weekday mornings and evenings rather than on the weekends, he said.

“Why not on a Monday morning, for instance? We have more flexibility today than what we did in the past, and you’re going to have a pleasant shopping experience: nobody in the store [and] lots of service from employees,” Hurst said.

Plus, because of the pandemic, many stores have been more conservative in the inventory they order than in the past, according to Hurst. Being an early bird and getting that shopping done quickly this year could have extra perks.

“The earlier you shop, the more selection you’re going to have on inventory and consequently, the later you shop, the less selection you’re going to help whether it’s in-store or even ordering online,” Hurst said.

Deals and savings

Many major retailers have already started Black Friday deals, extending savings events at stores for the entire month of November.

Target launched its “Black Friday Now” deals on Nov. 1, which will run through Saturday.

“Our completely new approach to Black Friday is giving guests flexibility to safely get the best holiday deals on their own terms,” Christina Hennington, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, said in a statement this week.

At Walmart, the “Black Friday Deals for Days” campaign offered shoppers savings at three different events over the course of the month. The final of the three began online Wednesday, with new deals hitting stores at 5 a.m. on Friday.

“We’ve been very thoughtful as we planned this year’s event. By spreading deals out across multiple days and making our hottest deals available online, we expect the Black Friday experience in our stores will be safer and more manageable for both our customers and our associates,” Walmart Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer Scott McCall said in a statement.

And at electronics giant Best Buy, Black Friday began on Nov. 22, although other events were held throughout November and sales aren’t over yet, of course.

On Saturday, The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Strong, and The Boston Globe, are hosting “Shop Small Saturday” — a virtual marketplace open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. that puts shoppers in touch with small businesses around the commonwealth.

“With the pandemic and holiday shopping season, the Greater Boston Chamber recognizes the importance of supporting small businesses that are struggling to navigate the pandemic and shopping season … The Shop Small Saturday virtual marketplace allows shoppers to connect directly with Massachusetts small businesses to buy local from entrepreneurs when they need it most,” a chamber spokesperson told in an email.

Hurst said consumers can definitely shop safely this holiday season. But it’s also important to keep in mind where they spend their money, he added.

“The consumer is literally 70 percent of our economy,” he said. “And we get it that today, with a few strokes of their smartphone, they can send their dollars anywhere around the world. But, you know, it does matter for our local economy that you got to shop jobs depend on it because they do.”

Store hours on Black Friday


Burlington Mall: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Copley Place: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Cape Cod Mall: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Liberty Tree Mall: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Liberty Tree Strip: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Natick Mall: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Northshore Mall: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Shops at Chestnut Hill: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Solomon Pond Mall: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

South Shore Plaza: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Square One Mall: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Wrentham Village Premium Outlets: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

All malls listed above are closed on Thanksgiving Day.


Best Buy: 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Target: Stores open at 7 a.m.

Walmart: Stores open at 5 a.m.

All retailers listed above are closed on Thanksgiving Day.

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