TCGPlayer is an online platform for buying and selling products from trading card games. The website also serves as a pricing reference for individual Magic: The Gathering cards. One of the biggest draws for players eager to purchase trading cards is TCGPlayer's bonus bucks promotion. Periodically, TCGPlayer offers bonus bucks as a percentage of total purchases. The bonus bucks turn into store credit a few days after the promotion ends. The store credit has historically varied between 5% and 15%. The promotional events are commonly advertised just before an event start date and occur for a limited period of time.
I have compiled a list (updated 12/18/2019) of previous TCGPlayer bonus bucks events from January 1, 2018 through December 18th, 2019. This list was created based on saved email announcements from TCGPlayer. While I may have missed a few promotional days, I believe the list is over 90% accurate.
2018 TCGPlayer Bonus Bucks Days
In 2018, TCGPlayer ran bonus bucks promotions on 63 different days throughout the year. The discounts per bonus bucks promotion varied between 5% and 15%. On average, the bonus bucks percentage offered was 5.6%. In addition, there were restrictions on earning bonus bucks for 22 of the days. These restrictions were either direct orders only or photo listings only. The chart below illustrates bonus bucks promotion dates and discounts during 2018.
In 2018, only 8 of the 63 promotional days offered more than 5%. The highest bonus bucks discounts were offered on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the release week of Commander 2018. One commonality of the bonus bucks days is that they all fell on release weekends for Standard sets. They also fell on the release weekend for Masters 25 and Battlebond.
2019 TCGPlayer Bonus Bucks Days
As of December 18th, 2019, TCGPlayer has offered a bonus bucks promotion on 51 different days. This is 7 less days over the same time period in 2018. The average bonus bucks discount throughout 2019 is 7%. An interesting fact is that the bonus bucks percentage has reached 10% on 10 different days. The only days bonus bucks were 10% or higher in 2018 were around Black Friday. It appears that TCGPlayer is getting more aggressive with bonus bucks percentages. None of the bonus bucks days in 2019 have had restrictions regarding direct orders or photo listings. Additionally, the Standard set releases, as well as Modern Horizons' release, have featured a bonus bucks promotion. There are 11 other days that anniversary a bonus bucks promotion from 2018. The chart below highlights bonus bucks promotions and discounts during 2019.
Future Bonus Bucks Promotions
The historical information contains 114 different bonus bucks promotion days over the span of 718 days. During this time period, bonus bucks promotions occurred on 15.9% of the days. The average bonus bucks percentage was 6.2%, a 0.6% increase over the 2018 average. All of the Standard set releases during the historical time period have had a bonus bucks promotion. In addition, 3 specialty sets have had a bonus bucks promotion.
One assumption from the data suggests that TCGPlayer will offer bonus bucks promotions on future set release weekends. They have offered a promotion for each Standard set and specialty set release since the beginning of 2018. If you are planning to pre-order individual cards, it may be advisable to wait until release weekend before purchasing them.
Looking at the 2018 data, there were 5 bonus bucks days from December 1st, 2018 to December 31st, 2018. Another assumption is that TCGPlayer will have 5 additional bonus bucks promotion days between now and the end of the year. If this happened, there would be 7 less promotional days in 2019 than in 2018. There is a high probability TCGPlayer would anniversary the days just before Christmas. The chance for another promotional day on December 31st, 2019 is not too farfetched. The 5 remaining days could potentially occur in November.
There is a possibility for TCGPlayer to offer 12 additional promotional days in 2019 to equal 2018. However, the increased bonus bucks percentage in 2019 could mean that TCGPlayer offers less discount days going forward. As a business, it is likely that TCGPlayer budgets the amount of store credit distributed for each promotional day. In theory, 3 days offering 5% in bonus bucks could equal the distributed amount of store credit for 2 days offering 8% bonus bucks. Offering less frequent, but more impactful events is a strategy TCGPlayer could execute moving forward.
Other online trading card vendors, such as Channel Fireball, have offered similar promotions to bonus bucks this year. To stay competitive, TCGPlayer is likely encouraged to continue offering bonus bucks with a percentage greater than 5%. This assumption would also increase the probability that the 2019 average bonus bucks percentage of 7% will continue or increase in the future.
*The information in this article is of my own knowledge and opinion. It is meant for informational purposes only. I am not a registered financial professional or trying to act as one.*