Can The New Samsung Yearly Upgrade Program Save You Money?

Samsung has announced a new device upgrade program for its flagship smartphone. But does the Samsung Yearly Upgrade Program actually save you money?

Samsung has announced a new yearly upgrade program for its flagship smartphones. The Samsung Yearly Upgrade Program offers customers who purchase the Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9+ to upgrade to the next Galaxy S flagship (probably called the Galaxy S10) at a discount – plus some other immediate perks.

The Samsung Yearly Upgrade Program, which is offered at RM100 for customers who buy a Galaxy S9 or S9+ during the promotion period, actually offers three perks that appear to save you quite a bit of money. Here’s a breakdown of the Samsung Yearly Upgrade Program.

1) 10% Off The Next Samsung Galaxy S Flagship Smartphone

Samsung is offering an immediate 10% discount for the next Galaxy S flagship in 2019. Based on the terms and conditions, customers must purchase the Yearly Upgrade Program at the same time as the purchase of the Galaxy S9/S9+, and register for the program in-store using the Samsung Members app in the phone.

There is one caveat: the Yearly Upgrade Program discount only applies from the 13th to 15th month of the purchase of the current device (Galaxy S9/S9+). That means this program will not coincide with the launch of the next Galaxy S device in Malaysia, which usually takes place in the first quarter of the year. The current Samsung Yearly Upgrade Program promotion starts 2 July 2018 until 2 September 2018.

This means that if you purchased the Galaxy S9 or S9+ with the Yearly Upgrade Program in July 2018, the earliest you can enjoy the discount is in August 2019 – by which time Samsung may already have launched the next Galaxy Note smartphone (its other flagship smartphone of the year).

2) Free Screen Protection for the Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+

Each purchase of the Samsung Yearly Upgrade Program also comes with 1-year free Screen Protection from Samsung for the Galaxy S9/S9+. This extended warranty protection covers the cost of one screen crack repair within 1 year of purchase of the device. With this, customers only need to pay a RM100 service charge to replace the cracked screen instead of paying full price for parts, labour, and service.

Given that the Screen Protection warranty is sold at RM149, opting to get the Samsung Yearly Upgrade Program already saves you RM49 regardless if you choose to utilise the 10% discount next year.

3) 1-month waiver for 12-month EPP purchase

Finally, if you purchase the Galaxy S9/S9+ with a 12-month Easy Payment Plan (EPP), Samsung will also subsidise one month of the instalment.

Is it worth it?

Given that there are some consumers who live on the bleeding edge of technology and upgrade their smartphones frequently, an annual upgrade program does make sense. Most of the telcos in Malaysia have a phone leasing program catered to this group – the difference here is that in those plans, you don’t actually own the phones. With Samsung’s Yearly Upgrade Program, you own the devices outright.

However, the timing (and conditions) of this promotion is rather odd. The upgrade program is launched about four months after the Galaxy S9 and S9+ were released in Malaysia, and the conditions state that you can only apply the 10% discount within the 13th to 15th month after you purchased the S9/S9+. That means the 10% discount won’t apply at the time the next Galaxy S smartphone is launched here – you’ll have to wait at least until August 2019 before the discount can be applied.

If history is anything to go by, you can expect the device to already see some discounts by that time. For example, the Galaxy S9 64GB is now going for as low as RM2699 as part of 11street's Shocking Deals – more than 10% off the RM3109 RRP. The larger Galaxy S9+ 64GB can be purchased for RM3258 on 11street, which is still below the current RM3579 RRP.

Additionally, the one-month EEP waiver has a value of anywhere between RM259.08 to RM345.75 (depending on model and storage size), and coupled with the free screen crack protection worth RM149, you’re looking at an immediate saving of up to RM494.75.

Taking the Galaxy S9 64GB as an example, the savings you get for buying the device with 12-month EPP and subscribing to the Yearly Upgrade Program would cost RM2949.92 (RM3109 device price + RM100 YUP fee – RM259.08 EPP waiver). Compared to the RM2699 deal, the extra RM250 or so you end up paying here gets you the screen protection warranty (RM149 value) plus the 10% discount for the next Galaxy S device.

At the other end, the Galaxy S9+ 256GB has a retail price of RM4149 – the best deal we found for this is RM3599 in Lazada (using the store’s RM100 voucher). The cost of buying this model with the Yearly Upgrade Program would be RM3903.25 (RM4149 device price + RM100 YUP fee – RM345.75 EPP waiver). Compared to the RM3599 deal, the extra RM300 or so you pay for the YUP program gets you the screen protection warranty (RM149 value) and the 10% discount.

Overall, you will end up paying more by buying the Samsung Yearly Upgrade Program (YUP) even when you take into account the value of the 10% discount for the future device. Historical pricing of Samsung’s flagship devices indicate that you can almost expect a 10% or so drop in RRP 4-5 months after it is launched. Therefore, the YUP Program is a “nope” in terms of value for money.

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