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Best Buy Totaltech: Can this $200 subscription help you get a PS5?

Best Buy's new subscription gives you all the Geek Squad you can handle -- and potentially gets you early access to some of the season's hottest gifts, too.

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BestBuy launched its new Totaltech membership option nationwide.

Angela Lang/CNET

The 2021 holiday season is looking to be all about shortages, thanks to everything from COVID-19, supply chain problems, a dearth of workers, shipping delays and even power disruptions at Chinese factories. With the White House scrambling to ensure that Santa shows up this year, consumers are starting to get the message: shop early. After all, Christmas is just over two months away, and Hanukkah starts the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

But what if you could jump the line, guaranteeing access to a hard-to-get gift like, say, a PlayStation 5? That's one perk of Best Buy's Totaltech, a new subscription service launched earlier this month. Although it offers benefits like unlimited Geek Squad tech support, special member pricing on products, free shipping and more, it's that premier access to those holiday shopping unicorns that's already enticing folks to consider ponying up the $200 annual membership fee. 

But is it really worth the money? Here's everything you need to know about Best Buy's Totaltech. 

What is Best Buy's Totaltech subscription?

Totaltech is BestBuy's new annual membership program. After launching nationwide on Oct. 5, the program offers its members perks like unlimited Geek Squad support, special member price on merchandise, up to two years of protection on most purchases and free shipping and installation, among other things. 

One of the more notable perks of the membership is access to hard-to-find products this holiday season. This could include the PlayStation 5, but Best Buy has not yet specified which high-demand products will be available for Totaltech members. More on what's included in the membership is below. 

Best Buy began testing the program in April at select stores in Iowa, Oklahoma, eastern Pennsylvania, Minnesota, North Carolina and Tennessee. At that time, the program was called Best Buy Beta.

If you're currently a member of Best Buy Beta or part of the company's other membership programs, such as Total Tech Support or Geek Squad Tech Support, Best Buy says you will be automatically upgraded to the Totaltech membership. 

How much does Best Buy Totaltech cost? 

Similar to the Beta version of the program, Best Buy's Totaltech membership program costs $200 per year. The only difference is that a discount is not offered this time for Best Buy credit card holders. If you paid for the Best Buy Beta at $180, you will be charged $200 on your next renewal date for the Totaltech membership. 

You can cancel the membership at any time. If you want to cancel within the first 60 days of purchasing the subscription, Best Buy says you'll be refunded the full price, minus any membership discounts you received. For cancellations after the first 60 days, you'll get a prorated refund. 

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What's included in the membership? 

Best Buy offers Totaltech members a collection of perks ranging from round-the-clock tech support to exclusive member prices on products. Here's a full list of the perks included in Best Buy's Totaltech membership:

  • Free unlimited Geek Squad tech support 
  • Totaltech Expert Access 
  • Up to 24 months of protection on most Best Buy purchases, including AppleCare Plus on Apple products (you must, however, be an active Totaltech member)
  • Free delivery and standard installation
  • 20% off labor for repairs and advanced services, and 10% off labor for custom installations
  • Free haul-away on most replacements
  • Exclusive membership price on merchandise
  • Extended 60-day return and exchange window for most products

As part of the Totaltech subscription, Best Buy will offer its members access to hard-to-find products this holiday season. Subscribers will also get access to Member Monday, a series of special events that offer members exclusive deals on tech products. Member Monday starts on Oct. 18, and will continue through the holiday season. 

Which hard-to-find products will members have access to this holiday season? 

Best Buy has not specified which high-demand products will be available for Totaltech members, but the retailer's PS5 inventory drop on Oct. 11 confirmed the earlier rumors that had popped up on Twitter in the days following Totaltech's launch: Totaltech members were indeed getting waved to the head of the line

Despite being perpetually sold out since its launch last November, the PS5 has been Sony's bestselling game console to date, blasting past the 10 million unit mark after only eight months. And between the chip shortage and shipping constraints, and the fact that scalper bots scoop up PS5s within minutes whenever they appear online, parents and gamers nearly a year into their PS5 quests are getting increasingly desperate. Yes, ultimately Best Buy is dangling a $200 surcharge to deliver the possibility -- not even a guarantee -- at a shot at the year's most popular gift. But for many who are already looking at mark-ups on eBay or StockX, that's a price they may well be willing to pay. 

If you're on the hunt for the PlayStation 5, CNET has been tracking every restock here

Doesn't GameStop offer the same sort of membership program? 

Yes. GameStop's PowerUp Rewards Pro also offers early access to some game console inventory drops -- but it only costs $15 per year.