In mid-February, My GameStop PowerUp Rewards Pro subscription expired, and like I do every year, I went back and forth about renewing. Over the past few years, I’ve been buying less games overall, which means less used games, which means I haven’t been getting as much of a return on my PowerUp Rewards investment. Now that said, I do still enjoy Game Informer magazine, and I would argue that a $15 a year subscription fee for a print magazine is well worth it. And I saved a little over $100 for the year, so the subscription fee was made back and then some.
So I was leaning toward renewing again when I saw that Best Buy was having a sale on its Gamers Club Unlocked (GCU) membership, knocking the price down from $99 to $30 for a two-year membership (a change it has now made permanent). I still buy a lot of stuff from Best Buy, so I decided to sign up for GCU, and see if it it held more or less value for me over the next year.
So, both of these plans offer an additional 10% in trade-in credit, and 10% off of used games. To me, there are two major differences. GameStop is offering a print magazine with your membership, while Best Buy does not (they no longer put out @Gamer magazine as of May 2014, I believe). BUT, Best Buy gives a 20% discount on new games to GCU Members, while GameStop does not offer a discount on new games. That discount takes the price of a new game down to about $48 (plus tax) instead of $60. After taxes a new game is about $51 with GCU (instead of $63). On top of that, GCU often offers additional reward like $10 Best Buy reward certificates for pre-ordering games. And those rewards stack.This past week, I pre-ordered Battlefield: Hardline, got the bonus DLC (which GameStop also offers) and a $10 Rewards Certificate, which can be used on anything. Plus the Rewards points which are doubles for new games purchases). My total was $51.
Another big difference with Best Buy Rewards is that you can use the certificates for more than just games–they’re basically gift certificates to Best Buy.
If you’re considering one of these rewards programs over the other, I think you’d have to decide whether the GameStop’s print magazine or Best Buy’s 20% discount on new games is more valuable to you. I feel like the Best Buy GCU membership is a better fit for me right now. Time will tell if it ends up being more of a value to me than the PowerUp Rewards subscription.
Of course, you could always spend $45 and get both of them, which is still less than the cost of one new game.