Impression: GameStop PowerUp Rewards Pro

First things first –  I signed up for the GameStop Power Up reward program through their website weeks ago and requested I receive notice when the program was available “in my area.”  I never received any such email and found out for myself the last time I visited my local GameStop in Waukesha, WI. – Strike 1!

Second – For months leading up to this new and improved program I was advised by numerous GameStop employees (management included) at multiple GameStop locations that, leading up to the release of this program, the company was keeping track of all my purchases and trades.  These transactions would be converted to GameStop points when available.  Misinformation or a flat out lie none of my trades or purchases made any such conversion.  The explanation I received was that it wasn’t available in all regions – Strike 2!

Before I paint too bad of a picture I think it only fair to mention a few of the more notable “features” – albeit few and far between.  If, for nothing else, I can make the claim that the transition from the ordinary, run-of-the-mill GameStop membership to the new and improved rewards program was seamless and hassle free.  Upon handing over the old card my information was scanned into their system and I was handed a shiny new metallic-colored rewards card – no fee applied.  It was very much a one and done process. . . . or so I thought.  I was quickly informed that I’d need to activate the card at their website based on receipt of an email they would be sending me.  Neither uncommon nor a big deal.

Shortly after arriving home from my GameStop . . . err . . .  stop, I check email and find the promised message waiting in my inbox.  The attached link directs me to the new GameStop PowerUp Rewards site where I am prompted to complete the obligatory information necessary to establish and activate my new account.

The site itself comes across as pleasing to the eye and fairly easy to navigate.  It is suggested I update my gaming profile and library in order to receive an additional 500 points (I’ll get to the points structure in a minute) to my already acquired 250 enrollment points.  How much information you add to the gaming library is up to the user.  I spent a fair amount of time updating my own gaming library but eventually became bored and started to ask myself why they wanted me to list the games “I Have”, “I Want” or “I Had”.  I can only guess that from a marketing perspective the company will be using this information to ascertain your gaming habits in order to elicit future purchases based on follow up emails and advertising.  Then again, at second glance, everything I was doing was very much reminiscent of another gaming program I have been very happy with – Goozex.  Although I’m speculating it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if GameStop makes the jump to a similar Goozex-like trading program.  Just a guess but, for the sake of future reference, let’s just say I’m calling it.

So far I’m not all that impressed with this change.  Sure the website is presentable and easy to use but I don’t generally find myself gravitating to the GameStop site to satisfy my gaming needs.  For that I of course head straight to psnation.org (shameless, I know).  However, I did mention something about a points scheme which typically leads to free shit . . . and I’m all about the free shit.

Starting off with a quick and easy 750 points seemed like a good deal.  In no time I’ll be trading those points over for a free game or maybe an extra Move controller, right?  Anything is possible but in the case of the PowerUp Rewards Pro program it might be a long time in the waiting.  Currently listed as the lowest and highest points redemption rewards available here’s what you can expect:

1,000 Points = Game Protection Guarantee

50,000 Points = $50.00 off any GameStop purchase

In addition, the points are accumulated in the following ways:

10 Points per dollar spent on all new games, consoles and strategy guides.

20 Points per dollar spent on pre-owned games, accessories and consoles.

20 points per dollar on traded-in games or consoles.

I’ll let you be the judge if this is a good deal or not.  I will say that the available points redemption purchases are wide ranging from the ridiculous (Game Protection Plan – really?) to the unrelated (iTunes card).  Variety is always a good thing . . . if I’m at the grocery store!  If I’m on the hunt for a cheap wallet or stupid belt buckle (look ’em up, they’re listed) I’ll head to my local Dollar Store.

I realize this is a new program for the giant of used games and that this will probably be the first iteration of many changes and enhancements to come but so far I’m just not feeling the love that I had been anticipating since the beginning of the year.  For months rumors were abound and each GameStop employee I spoke with had his or her own speculative thoughts.  I was expecting something more . . . something better.

My overall impression is that for $14.99/year the GameStop Power Up Rewards Pro is an inexpensive means to, at the very least, receive a top notch gaming magazine in the form of GameInformer.  On occasion GameStop provides its customers with the ever tempting buy 2 get 1 free used game sale and the Reward Pro continues its already established 10% off used games offer.  Half of the games I’ve added to my library just this past year alone has been the result of such deals.  Trading in games via the GameStop trade-in program continues to be less than profitable, even with the added 10% trade-in deal that also remains with the Reward Pro.

Time will tell what becomes of this added points plan and if my predictions of a Goozex clone will come to fruition.  If you already have a GameStop membership card the Reward Pro is a free and painless upgrade – go ahead and do it.  If you’re walking into a GameStop store for the first time and the employee on duty offers you this $14.99 program (and believe me, they will – several times) I still say go ahead and do it.  It’s cheap and if you’re a gamer that has “the sickness” the amount saved on used games with the added 10% discount will more than pay for the cost of the card in a few short months.

Written by Bill Braun

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