Best Buy this week began a temporary sales promotion for its Reward Zone members. In it, the nation’s largest electronics retailer began discounting iPhone 3G units to well-below retail prices.
In fact, at the deepest level of discounts, Best Buy matched AT&T’s refurbished-unit prices, but with brand new iPhone 3G units.
The discounts center around Best Buy’s Reward Zone membership/rewards program. The program typically awards points, which can be stacked and redeemed for gift certificates. For most Reward Zone members, Best Buy is only offering a $50 discount on the price of iPhone 3G. However, for its most paying customers, Premier Silver members, the company is offering the full $100 off.
Premier Silver members are those that spend more than $2,500 per year, as recorded during the year on their Reward Zone card. The Premier Silver program also offers other benefits such as an additional 15 to 30 days of returns (depending on the product), as well as waiving all restocking fees (including on Apple products).
It is not clear if Apple authorized this promotion. Apple typically requires retailers to maintain strict price controls, preventing significant price disparities on new and current models. It is also not clear what percentage of Best Buy customers qualify for Premier Silver status.