There was a time, less than ten years ago, that adult LEGO builders comprised a niche interest group. LEGO catered to these AFOLs (Adult Fans of LEGO) with occasional Creator Expert sets like modular buildings; by and large, these sets were the exception and not the rule.
But over the past decade, LEGO has done an unprecedented job of rebranding itself. Today, “automatic binding bricks” are no longer just a toy for kids—they are a mainstream hobby and pastime for teens and adults too. LEGO still makes original modular buildings, of course, but the company also makes scaled replicas of movie props, working amusement park rides, luxury car facsimiles, and more. The point of these sets was not to “play” with them—it was to build something fit for display—appropriate to stand at and appreciate from a distance.
Although expansion across LEGO products is great to see, the additional detail does come at a higher price borne from a higher piece count, not to mention licensing fees for the sets using third party themes—such as Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Nintendo, and Minecraft. Although retail prices can make some sets really pricey to the average shopper, it doesn’t mean LEGO shoppers will stop buying LEGO altogether. That said, there’s a good chance you’ll just be buying less of it and spending your money more judiciously.
LEGO tends to keep its prices at a premium; the company retires its sets rather than letting them depreciate in shelf value. However, there are specific days and weeks during the year that you should keep in mind when buying LEGO to maximize your dollar, and thus, maximize your fun.
Double Insider Points
In August 2023, the LEGO VIP program rebranded as LEGO Insiders. It’s free to join on LEGO’s official site, and it’s essentially a loyalty rewards program. There’s other quality-of-life incentives when you join—you get to buy LEGO.com exclusive sets before anybody else, for example. But the main draw for most members is the Insider points you earn for buying sets on LEGO’s official website or from a brick-and-mortar LEGO store.
In the United States, every dollar you spend earns you 6.5 points. You then direct those points towards future purchases; it converts to $1 for every 130 points you redeem.
So let’s say, for argument’s sake, you spend $300 on an expensive LEGO set. You earn $15 towards a future purchase—5% of what you originally spent. But the real savings come during promotional days and weeks where you can earn double the Insider points on select sets. So now, the same $300 will earn you $30.
These promotions are sometimes announced days in advance of the actual sale, so keep an eye on LEGO’s social media to be in the know here.
When is the next double points promotion for LEGO? As it turns out, there’s one this weekend! From 11/18 to 11/19, LEGO is promoting Insiders Weekend, so any set an Insider member buys will be worth 2x the points.
There are also some unprecedented price cuts on some of LEGO’s most expensive sets. Beginning on 11/17, sets like the Eiffel Tower will have a $100 discount. Check LEGO’s Insiders Weekend page for more information.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday
LEGO always takes part in the biggest shopping event of the year. Beginning on Friday, 11/17 and lasting until Monday, 11/27, there are some premium sets, such as the Batcave Shadow Box and the Pac-Man arcade, that will earn 3x the number of points. Even better, sets like the Hogwarts Chamber of Secrets and BMW M 1000 RR will earn 4x the number of points.
LEGO is currently focused on this upcoming Insiders Weekend, but they will announce more details on Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals beginning Monday 11/20. Until then, you can check our roundup of the best LEGO deals or check back on LEGO’s Black Friday page.
Amazon Prime Day
Of course Prime Day is one of the biggest sales days of the year in just about every category, and LEGO sets are no exception. Depending on when you are looking to buy a LEGO set, keep an eye out for deals during Prime Day in July, which runs from July 11 – 12. As long as you’re a Prime member, you can take advantage of LEGO discounts on Amazon Prime Day. Last year, the best LEGO deals during Prime Day included bigger franchise picks from Marvel LEGO and Star Wars LEGO sets.
Outside of the official LEGO stores, you can also buy LEGO at third-party outlets. Amazon, Target, Walmart, Barnes and Noble, and Best Buy all stock a wide variety of sets for purchase. So you should definitely check out those outlets in the coming weeks, especially for the retailers’ own Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
Note: With the exception of Target, these organizations do not offer redeemable Insider points for LEGO purchases (although they may have their own rewards ecosystem). Although Target purchases are redeemable, they are at a much lower dollar to point exchange (1:1) than what you can get on the official LEGO Store (1:6.5).
Gifts With Purchase
There are also ‘Gifts With Purchase’ (GWPs), where you get a complimentary set for spending a certain amount of money. Spend $170, and you get a Winter Market Stall gift. Spend $250, and you get Majisto’s Magical Workshop. These two specific gifts are exclusive to Insiders Weekend, and there’s also a different GWP at the brick-and-mortar LEGO stores. If you spend $40 in-person on Insider’s Weekend, you get a Holiday Winter Train.
There are new GWPs every month and sometimes every fortnight. If you’re not in a hurry for a new set, always look at the current GWP to decide whether to buy now or simply wait.
May The 4th Be With You!
It’s still a ways off, but Star Wars Day (May 4) is a guaranteed opportunity for excellent LEGO deals. It’s often when LEGO debuts its Collector Series replicas for the year, and this past year, purchasing select sets earned 5x the number of Insider points.
The main takeaway from all of this is to be vigilant. There’s lots of expensive sets, but the LEGO deals exist—you just have to be there on the right days to capitalize on them. If you plan ahead, you’ll be able to indulge in your brand new (or current) hobby, without the guilt and financial stress that comes with an adult hobby price tag.
Kevin Wong is a contributing freelancer for IGN, specializing in LEGO. His byline has appeared in numerous publications, including Complex, Engadget, Vice, Playboy, Gamespot, Popverse, and Kotaku.