Best Buy uses membership fee as indirect graphics card price hike method

Best Buy store
Best Buy store (Image credit: Best Buy)

What you need to know

  • Due to the global chip shortage, reasonably priced graphics cards have become one of the rarest commodities in tech.
  • Sites such as eBay are filled with people trying to sell their GPUs for inflated prices.
  • Best Buy seems to be getting in on the action as well with its recent enforcement of a $200 membership paywall for the mere chance to acquire some of its GPU stock.

If you thought the best graphics cards' current inflated prices were bad, wait until you hear what Best Buy is up to. The retailer has taken to setting a portion of its available product aside exclusively for those who hop aboard its $200-per-year Totaltech membership.

This isn't a new phenomenon. Best Buy has done its Totaltech schtick before with products such as the highly sought-after PS5. Still, it's always worth noting when consumers can expect an already bad situation to become artificially worse.

In this particular instance, Best Buy was gatekeeping RTX 30-series Founders Edition cards behind its membership setup. The situation was spotted by @CameronRitz (via Tom's Hardware).

Totaltech memberships include more than just exclusive access to rare tech. They include Geek Squad support, "free delivery" (barring the $200 you paid for it), extended return windows, and more. With that said, if you rarely shop at Best Buy, $200 is a hefty surcharge for a product type such as a graphics card.

It's been a tough time to get GPUs or associated PC technology at a fair price just about anywhere, given how the market has redefined the word "fair" as a result of the global chip shortage. Thankfully, NVIDIA and others are confident that the situation, specifically as it pertains to graphics cards, will get better in the second half of 2022.

Robert Carnevale

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to