As a LEGO investor and collector, there are many places where you can buy new LEGO sets. In the United States, large retailers like Amazon.com, Walmart, Target and Toys R Us sell massive amounts of new LEGO sets. Great Britain has similar large retailers like Argos, Myer and Tesco. Of course EBAY is a worldwide option for new and used LEGO sets. That leads us to The LEGO Group and its Shop At Home(S@H) online site and brick and mortar stores. The LEGO retail sites make up the backbone of their entire business model and is the one place that you can buy all the new LEGO sets. But a question arises, why would a LEGO investor and collector buy directly from LEGO when they can get the same LEGO set cheaper from another large toy retailer? One reason...the LEGO VIP Program. Let's take a look.
I would like to go into a short discussion about the benefits, and how best to use the LEGO VIP program. First off, as with any purchase, you should do your research and determine what is the best deal for you. There are times when it would be better to buy something at Walmart or another large retailer for 40% off, than buying from LEGO just to get the VIP points. But there are advantages to the VIP program that you cannot get anywhere else. Opportunities may arise when you can maximize your points and choose to buy from LEGO directly, instead of other retailers.
In summary, the LEGO VIP program allows you to earn points for each dollar you spend either at a LEGO store or using LEGO Shop at Home. You earn 1 VIP point for every dollar you spend. For your information, this article is focused on US purchases, because of my experiences with LEGO and the program. For every 100 VIP points you accumulate, you will earn a $5 VIP Reward towards a purchase of LEGO items. What that means is that, if you buy a Haunted House from LEGO Shop at Home (LSAH) for $179, you earn 179 VIP Points. This earns you one $5 VIP Reward and 79 points towards your next reward. Now, you may use that $5 VIP Reward on your next purchase, or you can save it up and accumulate more rewards dollars. In its basic form you are talking about a 5% discount to your LEGO purchases. Not bad, but probably not enough to really get you to purchase from LEGO directly unless you had to. This brings us to some of the other nuances of LEGO VIP program. The VIP program also gives you access to exclusive sets and deals. When you combine those sales and deals that is where you really start to maximize your LEGO VIP benefits. Signing up for the VIP program also gives you access to the VIP emails. I like these emails because they highlight upcoming deals or new sets that are coming out.
Just as there are certain items that you can only purchase from LEGO, LEGO “exclusive” items, there are also VIP “exclusive” items. If you are going to want to buy your Haunted House, then you have to buy it from LEGO as an exclusive, why not collect your VIP points for those purchases. In addition, LEGO VIP members have access to purchase items that non-VIP members do not; for example, the 10230 Mini Modulars set. Clearly purchasing this set is a personal decision, but you must be a VIP member to get it. Also, VIP members have access to certain items early. This year the 10229 Winter Village Cottage was available two weeks early to VIP members. This could allow you to pick up a few sets early and sell them to the eager buyers. Potentially picking up some profits. I personally cannot bear to part from my sets, so that is not a benefit to me.
Now we have talked about the basic program and exclusive purchases where you would want or have to use the program. Let’s talk about how to maximize your VIP point accumulation. If you want to really get the most VIP points from your purchase, then you want to buy items when they earn the 50 VIP “bonus” points or better yet “double” points! Double points and bonus points can be earned a couple of ways. Every month LEGO has deals for VIP members where sets are listed as bonus points where you earn an additional 50 VIP points for the purchase. You can find these deals by looking at your LEGO VIP account and looking for Promotions. As a bonus VIP point example, if set 6868 Hulk’s Helicarrier Breakout is earning 50 bonus points, then, when you purchase the set for $49, you earn 99 VIP points instead of 49. This is a bigger advantage on some sets than others clearly, but it can add up. When you start getting double points, things really start to add up. That Haunted House we were talking about earlier, if you are getting double points for your purchase, it is worth 358 VIP points. That means $15 in VIP rewards. OK, I understand that we are still just looking at 10% off, but the article is about how to maximize your VIP points, not to convince you to pass up the 40% off sale at Walmart. Double points are even better for earning VIP rewards. To earn double points LEGO has different monthly deals that you can take advantage of, they also give double points for all collection purchases, and certain times of the year they offer double points on all purchases. I try to strategically make my purchases from LEGO to take advantage of these offers. I used the double points on all sets this summer when I picked up my Monster Fighter and The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) collections. An example of a collection is the LOTR collection that contains all seven of the sets out at the time. The way LEGO grouped the collection gave you the Shelob Attacks set free, and it earns you 705 VIP points. Now you are talking a $20 set free and $35 in VIP rewards.
You might think at this point that we have discussed all the ways to maximize your purchases, but there is actually one more consideration. LEGO also likes to splash in free shipping here and there for purchases over $75. I think they are very strategic about this. For instance, when they release a number of new sets, they sometimes have a double points promotion, but not free shipping. All the eager buyers bought their stuff early. If you are patient you may see a free shipping offer start in the middle of the month. Double points and free shipping is the way to go if you can get it from LEGO. In the chart below I have tried to provide an example of the graduated benefits of a purchase of the Haunted House. Clearly highlighting the sweet spot of double points and free shipping.
|Case||Set Cost||Shipping||Total Cost||VIP Points||Rewards|
|Base Case||$179.00||$15.00||$194.00||179||$5 plus 79 Points|
|50 Bonus Point Case||$179.00||$15.00||$194.00||229||$10 plus 29 Points|
|Double Points||$179.00||$15.00||$194.00||358||$15 plus 58 points|
|Double Points & Free Shipping||$179.00||$0.00||$179.00||358||$15 plus 58 points|
I hope this helps with your understanding of the LEGO VIP program and how to maximize your rewards. One final way to maximize the VIP points is to look at the LEGO Sales and Deals and combine them with some VIP points and free shipping options. Some great specials can be found at times, so it pays to check daily. I personally like to save up my VIP rewards and get those sets that are more expensive. That is who I got my first Super Star Destroyer with just VIP Rewards and more recently my Death Star for $100 and VIP rewards. It is almost like getting free sets to me. How much do I have to sell the Super Star Destroyer for to make a profit? Not much.
!500 BrickPointsThis article was written by David (a.k.a dschooley). This was a great idea for him to bring this article to our attention and explain it. We do know people that don't ever buy from LEGO or use the VIP program. If you use the program and shop smartly you can definitely gain a nice advantage when you use your points. We thank David for taking the time to write this excellent article and have also awarded him