Best place to buy cell phone (Samsung S10)

I’m planning to pre-order a Samsung Galaxy S10 cell phone. I’m preordering to get the free ear buds, because why not.

What I’m wondering is where the best place to buy from is. My phone service is Verizon, but I’d ideally like to purchase an unlocked one for potential future sale value, and to reduce bloatware to only one company’s (Samsung) useless software. I plan on purchasing it as an “upgrade” where Verizon will charge the price of the phone over 24 months. Is there any way to maximize cash back here, is there a particular retailer that’s better, etc.? If I preorder with Best Buy for instance, can I get cash back on the full phone price even though the up-front charges will only be tax?

To head off potential objections, yes I realize there are cheaper phone service providers, and there may be cheaper phones available that some consider better. I also realize there may be better opportunities to finance the purchase with someone other than Verizon. Feel free to mention those for others, but because of the way my company reimburses, that is a much worse option for me, so I’d appreciate keeping those to a relative minimum.

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I’d buy it direct from Samsung and use a credit card that doubles the warranty (AMEX is usually good). You need to pay for the entire cost of the phone with the credit card to get the warranty. I did this on an iphone a few years back and the ear speaker died after 1.5 years and 1 phone call to AMEX said have Apple fix and send in bill and I had full refund check a few weeks later.

I don’t believe this is correct. You can charge less than entire amount, but the coverage is limited to the part charged to the card. Most other card programs’ are worded similarly, but you must look at them all yourself for details. A few programs DO indicate you must charge the entire amount to the card to receive the benefit (often the travel insurance - related things. With Chase nicely allowing partial credit payment only if the rest is paid with points earned through Chase, but no limitation that the points even need to have been earned by the same person.) . Installment plans are interesting, it is unclear if they’d use a stack of bills for payments and add them up to determine the amount charged to the card or not. Where the partial amounts is very useful is when you have gift cards or other things you are not necessarily disqualifying purchases from extended warranties or price protection (citi). I have used a split payment of gift card and Citi credit when I think a price rewind is likely, and made sure the credit portion covers the possible price difference.
" Coverage is up to the actual amount charged to your Card for the item up to a maximum of $10,000; not to exceed $50,000 per Card Member account per calendar year."

For phones, Costco is now the best, but I only pay attention to Tmobile related things. Because I don’t see a more economical option coming around anytime soon, we have a ~$100 bill for voice with 9 lines when 2 are using as much data as they want and all with the no-throttling option. With Tmobile, Costco often has the overall phone price $25-100 lower and no activation fee. And at Costco Tmobile phones are all paid in full, no installment plans. But they often have similar promotions to other Tmobile channels – Except rather than the rebate value being spread over 24-36 month, at Costco the full amount comes on a prepaid card a month or so later. But this info isn’t relevant to OP with VZ.

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