Monday, December 13, 2010

The Math of Gamestop's PowerUp Rewards Program

Game retailer Gamestop has recently unrolled a new version of their Edge card program. The old version of the program came with a year subscription to Game Informer Magazine, plus 10% bonus credit on trade-ins, plus periodic special offers and coupons. These deals are still in place, but there's now an additional points that customers can earn, and redeem for the rewards of their choice.

Best Buy has a similar deal with their Reward Zone, where you earn points for dollars spent, then receive a gift certificate for a certain number of points (roughly $250 spent = $5 gift certificate). Unlike the Reward Zone program, Gamestop's PowerUp Rewards program offers much more than just gift certificates. Customers can redeem points for strategy guides, controllers, microsoft points, and more.

They're giving 10 points per dollar spent on New games on consoles, 20 points per dollar on used games or refurb systems. Obviously, the system is designed to reward players more for buying the products Gamestop has a much, much higher margin in. Customers also get 20 points per dollar for items they trade in, again this makes sense for Gamestop since they make the bulk of their profit in secondhand sales.

Basic enrollment is free, while for $15, you can get a year subscription to Game Informer, plus additional benefits. I know there will be those out there who disagree, but I think 12 issues of Game Informer is worth the $15. The ambiguous part is exactly how much I'd be rewarded for my frequent purchases at Gamestop.

A 1600 Microsoft Points card costs 20,000 Gamestop reward points. Let's assume you only accumulate points for preplayed games and trade-ins (20 points per dollar). Your $20 value reward costs $1,000 spent/traded to obtain.

Below are some more rewards and how much would need to be spent to obtain them, assuming always the higher 20 points per dollar:

360 Wireless controller: 35,000 points, $1750
Turtle Beach X11 Headset: 38,500 points, $1925
$5 off a Preplayed game: 4,000 points, $200
360 Afterglow Controller: 18,200 points, $910

Good news here is that as long as you retain your card (only need to make one purchase a year to retain your points in I remember right), so it's not like you're in a hurry to use those points. The bad news: To get anything decent, you have to spend quite a lot of money. Of course, there are bonus point offers from time to time, but you're still obligated to spend a lot for any rewards.

Would this program get me to shop there in place of my 10% associate discount from Walmart? God no. However, for customers without a store discount, Gamestop's rewards plan is equal, or sometimes a better dollar-for-dollar deal than Best Buy's Reward Zone. For Best Buy, $250 = $5 back, simple as. This dollar for reward ratio is about the same for costs in PowerUp, though slightly better if you go the preplayed game route (Note: It's only on-par if you go exclusively preplayed games).

Would this program make you more likely to purchase from Gamestop, or purchase there more often? Do you find this a good way to give a little something to repeat customers, or is it just a gimmic to try to drum up more sales?


  1. Had things like this going on in the UK for years. Its good and all but with such little I i find myself not bothered with it all.

  2. I feel ripped off. I paid about $15 to buy into this program. In the last month, I bought a full Xbox 360 package w/ Kenect & 250GB HD. I added some games and a gift card. In all, racked up 6500 points. I went to see what I've earned for all the money I spent. To my surprise, I have just enough points to get...a free poster. If I spend another grand or so, I might have just enough points for a $15 iTunes card, or $10 off a used video game. What a rip!

  3. Dont see how it was a rip if YOU bought a 360, technically there not ripping you off if your getting free items while buying stuff you can normally buy at walmart. so Seriously. THINK before you say its a rip. If you wanted to buy that all from walmart ok fine. You still paid the same amount. But here look, you buy something from gamestop and can get a free poster and or other things. Its not totally bad. And its free points. All you have to do is save them and then you can get good things. I honestly dont see a fault in getting a poster for a game i really like. I admire them. But to get a free PSN card is something saving for :D

  4. I've stopped supporting Gamestop a long time ago. I hate how their main focus is on used games when the publishers aren't getting money off those sales. I'm primarily a PC gamer though and use Steam for the majority (95%) of my game purchases.

  5. i have paid for this primarily for the magazines, but the point memberships are a plus. i do not recommend this to anybody who wants just the discounts because they are not too great. If on the other hand you spend tons of money on used games at gamestop then this may be for you.

    i feel this is a rather cheap way to bring up Gamestop's sells, especially with every employee nearly forced to bother customers with as much info about the program.