The Galaxy Note 7 (no, I’m not going to call it the “Note7” no matter how many times the brand managers email me) was something of a disaster for Samsung. Those fans who put down the better part of a thousand bucks for the flagship phone a year ago were disheartened to learn that their top-of-the-line gadgets had an unusually high chance of melting through their pockets. It was, to put it lightly, a bummer.
But there’s good news for those of you who are still firmly in Samsung’s camp, and who didn’t use your return and refund to go out and buy something equally expensive. Samsung has a fantastic trade-in deal for former Galaxy Note 7 owners, offering $425 off the new Galaxy Note 8 with a valid trade-in phone. Combined with free pre-order accessories, that’s an effective value of well over $500—not a bad way to say “sorry” to those customers who had to bid farewell to their Notes last year. Here’s how to get the best deal and the maximum rebate.
What You’ll Need
In order to do this, you’ll need two things:
- The email address you used to register your Galaxy Note 7. This determines your eligibility for the expanded trade-in rebate. This is the email you used for your Samsung account, not your Google or carrier account (though they might be the same).
- A recent high-end Android Phone or iPhone. Only the following models are accepted:
- Samsung Galaxy S5, S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, S7, S7 Edge, or Note 5
- Apple iPhone SE, 5, 5S, 6, 6S, 6S Plus, 7, or 7 Plus
- LG G4, G5, G6, or V20
- Google Pixel or Pixel XL
You do have to trade in one of the above phones in order to get the discount. But not only is the Galaxy Note 7 trade-in program eligible for a higher $425 trade-in value (the maximum for everyone else is $300), it’s also the same value for all of the phones that are accepted. So for the purpose of the upgrade, a Galaxy S5 from three years ago gets you the same trade-in value as a brand new iPhone 7 Plus.
Because the rebate is coming from Samsung and not a carrier, the phone that you trade in doesn’t even need to be yours, since you’ll be wiping it anyway. If you don’t have one of the above models (or you want to keep that new iPhone 7 Plus as a backup), you can save a huge amount of money on the new Note 8 by buying one of the older phones above and sending it in. All that you have to do is find one that’s working, not blacklisted by a carrier (read: stolen), and doesn’t have a cracked screen or other extreme defect.
The Galaxy S5 and LG G4 are the clear picks for inexpensive stand-ins. You can find working, secondhand models for under $100 on eBay, still giving you an effective $325 discount. And that’s before the bonus goodies for the pre-order. It’s still the best deal around on a very desirable phone.
How Much Can You Save?
Let’s break this down. Without any kind of carrier discounts, if you buy the unlocked Galaxy Note 8 directly from Samsung, it costs $930 USD, and you can give or take a few bucks for carrier differences. With the boosted Note 7 owner trade-in value, you get a direct $425 discount, bringing the effective price to $505. That’s pretty awesome for a top-of-the line Samsung model. Shipping to the US is free.
Now consider the pre-order goodies. Samsung gives you a choice between a bundle that includes a 128GB MicroSD card and a Samsung-brand wireless charging stand, or a Gear 360 action camera. The bundle is worth $190 according to Samsung, and the camera goes for $230. That’s a bit cheeky on Samsung’s part: even first-party Samsung chargers and 128GB cards together only cost about $80-90 from Amazon, and the latest model of the Gear 360 camera is going for $200.
So assuming you don’t actually want any of that stuff, I’d get the camera, resell it at 50-60% of its retail value (according to recent eBay prices), and bring the effective price of the phone itself down to $405. Awesome. Of course, you can save yourself the hassle and the discount and just keep the extras if you really want them.
Even if you need to find a used phone that’s compatible with the trade-in deal, this is a huge amount of savings on a brand new flagship phone, and you can make back the initial loss of buying the older phone by selling the bonuses.
The Clock’s Ticking
In addition to being only available for people who bought and then returned the Note 7 in the recall, this deal is only going to be valid until the end of September. The pre-order goodies are also, obviously, only for pre-orders. Since the Galaxy Note 8 officially releases on September 15th, it would be better to get an order in sooner rather than later. Also be aware that at this point, most of the new orders are delayed by a few weeks, so it might be October before you actually get your phone.
Another thing to note (no pun intended): for some reason, Samsung’s rebate system is very picky about this particular deal. The email link they send you to redeem your Note 7 upgrade offer is only good once. If you close out your session or remove the Note 8 and extras from your Samsung.com cart at any time, the rebate won’t work again, even if you re-send another email. I discovered this to my detriment while getting the screenshots for this article.
It might be possible to get a second chance at redeeming this promotion if you call in to Samsung support, but it’s not definite, and it might take a few days, pushing your phone’s shipping date back even farther.
Where to Go for All This Stuff
Here’s the link for Samsung’s promotional page for former Note 7 owners. The Samsung store is selling unlocked Galaxy Note 8 models that work on all US carriers, as well as carrier-specific versions. The prices are fairly similar for all of them, and interest-free financing is available if you qualify (the monthly price goes down to about $20 for the discounted phone).
Here’s an eBay search for the Galaxy S5 or the LG G4 if you don’t have a trade-in phone ready. Swappa is a good alternative (S5, G4)—again, both of these models can be found for less than $100, and it doesn’t matter what carrier you buy them for. If you can’t find them below $100 on eBay, try Craigslist in major city hubs. Remember, as long as it’s in decent condition and the screen isn’t cracked, you get the same discount.
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