REI members get a dividend, or rebate on their purchases. I don't recall the amount, but it's a percentage of full price items (most sale items are excluded). They also offer more if you get an REI charge card and use it for purchases.
To add this, you don't get money back on sale items EXCEPT if you use an REI Visa. If you have the discipline to alway pay off the balance within a couple of weeks of a charge posting, it is a good investment. If not, the interest is high and can beat you up.
BUT with the REI Visa, those sale, clearance, and discount purchases will get you a 5% return. As an employee, I haven't gotten a dividend in years, because all my purchases were already discounted as an employee. Last Summer, I got an REI Visa and my dividend this year was over $50.
You also get a 1% dividend on ANY non-REI purchase, though I only use the REI Visa for gear and trip-related expenses.
The REI Visa is a good deal, if you pay it off (of course, that's true for any credit card that offers frequent flyer miles or any other incentive.)
My wife and I also try to put all our gas, hotels, meals out, etc. on the card, since you get 1% or so on all purchases, and 15% on REI purchases. This year, we effectively converted about $700 of routine household expenses into REI dividends.
By the way, did anyone point out that you can spend the dividend like cash at REI? You can even get a check issued to you if you really can't find anything to buy (yeah, right - ours is already spent on a new car-camping tent and a really cushy camp bed for Karol.) However, they won't issue a check until mid-summer (July, maybe?)
Loc: Atlanta, GA, USA
Yes my dividend and the 20% off this month will go towards a new water filter. The dividend is a nice little bonus for shopping at REI. Of course you have to take into acct their prices, which are reasonable, especially if you wait for sales. I like their liberal return policy but I mostly like the store because it's just a cool place to shop and browse and lust for gear.