Blockbuster Gimps Total Access Plan, Now Only 5 Free Exchanges a Month, $1.99 Each AfterS

Click to viewOne of the main selling points of Blockbuster online vs. Netflix is the fact that you can take your online mailers into brick and mortar Blockbuster stores and exchange them for in-store movies. In fact, that's the reason we give when we recommend people choose Blockbuster over Netflix. It's too bad that they're now totally cutting the plan off at the knees and limiting $17.99 plan to only FIVE free in-store exchanges a month, and charging $1.99 per exchange after that.

And this is only for the 3 DVDs, $17.99 plan. If you have the 2 DVD plan, you'll get 3 exchanges. The 1 DVD plan only gets 2 exchanges. The reason for this? Blockbuster's saying this will be a $38 value when you factor in the exchanges:

Value Message:Based on a member renting and returning two sets of DVDs in one month on the 3 out plan (with 5 in-store movie exchanges) for a total of 6 online rentals. Five (5) online rentals are then exchanged in-store for a free movie rental under BLOCKBUSTER Total Access, valued at the average in-store movie rental price of $4.00 each, totaling $20 in one month. Adding that to the base membership fee of $17.99 for the 3 out plan gives you a total monthly value of $38.

That doesn't even count the fact that they throttle your online mailers if you rent too many movies too often, which means you're getting less in-store exchanges anyway. Our tipster says they're taking down every sign that advertises the Total Access plan in store. Thanks, Blockbuster, for making it that much easier to recommend Netflix.

Thanks Jake!

Update: Looks like Blockbuster sent out an email yesterday saying they were changing plans on the 26...which is yesterday. Fortunately for me, I'm what they call a "preferred customer", and still get unlimited in-store rentals. (I still get the 2 free games or movies a month as well). So my plan doesn't change. Too bad for everyone else though. But if I make any changes to my plan, it'll move me to the new gimped rate plans and I'll lose my preferred status.

Dear Jason,

We want to let you know about some changes to our BLOCKBUSTER Total Access™ subscription plans. This information is provided for your reference only - your subscription plan will not be affected by these changes.

Beginning July 26, 2007, there will be a price increase on your current unlimited plan. We will also begin to offer plans which limit the number of in-store exchanges available each month.

As a preferred customer, your plan will not change at this time. Please continue to enjoy your exclusive subscription plan, including no monthly limit on free* movie rentals or discounted game rentals when you exchange in-store, at today's price - far below the published rate available to new subscribers.

At any point, you can log in and review your current subscription plan or see all available plans. Keep in mind that if you want to change your subscription plan at any point after July 26, 2007, your new plan will be subject to prices and terms available at that time.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.