5 Tips on saving money on the Xbox Series X / Series S & Sony PS5 at launch
As of today, Microsoft has officially unveiled both the Xbox Series X ($499) and Xbox Series S ($299) gaming consoles. Both are timed for a November 10 launch date, just two weeks before Black Friday. Preorders for both consoles start on September 22 at all major retailers.
Sony is expected to announce the release date of the PS5 soon as well as the retail price of both the model with a disc drive and the all-digital model without a disc drive. Pricing will likely be in the $499 range.
Of course, new consoles are rarely, if ever, discounted at release, beyond a minimal amount of savings when purchasing with console with a handful of games in a pricey bundle. We’ve got a few tips that could help you shave some dollars off the retail purchase price!
1. Look very carefully at AMEX / Discover / Chase card special offers (and save your points!)
Over the last 12 months, all of these credit card companies have offered special bonuses for spending at a certain threshold. This gets even more aggressive during Q4.
For instance, I took advantage of an offer from Discover in early April that offered 20% off on orders up to $250 when paying with points at Amazon. I used exactly $0.56 of rewards points (my current balance at the time) and got an additional $50 off my order for paying with Discover. These offers have been predominately linked to purchases at Amazon, but I wouldn’t be shocked if more retailers (like Best Buy) offer something similar during Q4.
The first downside to this method is that you need a balance of reward points to spend in order to take advantage of the deal. If you have zero points, you are out of luck. On Amazon, you can adjust the number of points you spend during a purchase, ideal for keeping a few cents on hand to take advantage of a deal like this.
The second downside is that these offers can be targeted narrowly or broadly. There’s also a limited number of uses. But if you are lucky enough to qualify, you could knock $50 of the price of Series S bringing it down to $250 or 10% off the price of Series X or PS5.
We frequently post these credit card offers on Ben’s. In addition, you should check the rewards sections of your credit cards to see if there are any additional bonus offers for spending money at specific stores. AMEX frequently likes to offer additional bonus credit for shopping at retailers.
2. Look for bonus credits when trading in your older consoles at retailers
GameStop is particularly notorious for offering additional bonus credits when trading-in an older console as a new generation of consoles comes out. These bonus credits are typically $50 to $100 on top of the standard trade-in credit. Presumably, they are attempting to encourage you to purchase the new console at their store.
In you are trading in a collection of older games as well, be aware that GameStop’s store credit offer is typically better than the cash offer when it comes to trading in software. In addition, look for weeks when GameStop offers bonus % credits on software trade-ins. These typically range from 20% to 50%, increasing the amount of store credit you have to use when purchasing a PS5 or Xbox Series X.
If you prefer the cash route, look ate the trade-in values at places like Amazon or Decluttr. Regarding timing, you may want to check prior to the launch of new systems as trade-in values will continue to fall as we get closer to the November launch dates of the new systems.
3. Look for the post-purchase bonus gift card / store credit offers around Black Friday
There are a handful of retailers (particularly in November) that like to reward consumers when they purchase an expensive item. In the Black Friday ads, you will frequently see larger retailers like Target and Walmart offer an additional $25 to $40 gift card when purchasing a new gaming console.
This is specifically designed to get people into the store on Black Friday, but also helps online orders. In addition, look at Best Buy and Dell to see if they have any additional gift cards to sweeten the deal.
In addition, look to retailers like Kohl’s who have their own store credit systems in place like Kohl’s Cash. Last year, Kohl’s was offering $15 for every $50 spent during Black Friday. If you purchase an Xbox Series X, that’s basically a $150 store credit that you will have to spend the following week. Yes, you paid full price for the console, but you are effectively spending $500 to purchase $650 worth of goods.
4. Watch the Microsoft Store and Sony Store carefully for sales
In the past, the Microsoft Store has been particularly aggressive when offering sales on consoles as well as games. While you may have to purchase the console at full price, it’s possible a bundle will be offered with a pack-in game. It’s possible that Microsoft will package a bonus offer of 3 to 6 months of Xbox Game Pass with the purchase of a new console.
Traditionally, Sony has been more stingy with sales through the online Sony Store. However, it’s possible that additional competition from Microsoft will bring about more direct sales to consumers this year, especially with COVID impacting supply lines and inventory.
5. Check your current generation of games for free upgrades
As we all know, hardware isn’t the only thing that’s super expensive at a console launch. Upgrading to a new generation of games is typically very expensive. Thankfully, there’s a new upgrade process this year that many gaming developers are utilizing.
If you purchase the Xbox One or PS4 version of the game, many developers are allowing you to download a digital copy of the Series X or PS5 version for free (or upgrade for a fee around $10).
Here’s a full list of games that can be upgraded for free (if a fee or special edition is required, it’s noted):
- Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla
- Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (requires $10 upgrade fee)
- Call of the Sea
- Control (requires additional purchase)
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Dead by Daylight
- Destiny 2
- DIRT 5
- Doom Eternal
- Fable 4
- Far Cry 6
- FIFA 21
- Forza Horizon 4
- Gears of War 5
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Halo Infinite
- Hitman 3 (Digital version only)
- Kena: Bridge of Spirits
- Little Nightmares II
- Madden NFL 21
- Marvel’s Avengers
- Metal: Hellsinger
- NBA 2K21 (only the Mamba Forever edition)
- Sea of Thieves
- Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2
- The Ascent
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
- Watch Dogs Legion
- World Rally Championship 9
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon