What they're doing is essentially eliminating the evaluation benefit for us Gold CPS members.
So what's left? A slight discount and expedited shipping on repairs? I've never used them for a repair, only the evaluation service. I've been evaluating new equipment for the last nine years and I nearly always later bought what I had tested and found useful. I've been trying to get one of the 200-400 lenses for testing since June and I always get the same answer. "Not enough to go around." Apparently so. Too many CPS members nowadays it seems.
Now, since I live in Colorado, the best option is to ask that a loaner ships on a Friday, arrives Tuesday, and ships back on Wednesday unless I want to pay for overnight shipping. With shipping running $60-100, it's not a bad deal if I can have it for more than 48 hours.
Unfortunately, those days are now gone. Too bad. Now I'm thinking perhaps it would be good to have a Nikon D700 and a Nikkor 200-400. After all, the two of them together still cost less than the Canon EF 200-400. Canon is not really interested in supporting the average pro photographer any more, I guess. Sad, very sad.
I've sent my final email to CPS now. Sadly, I will no longer pay to maintain my membership in what was formerly a very nice program with wonderful benefits. All these changes in benefits were set in motion, in my opinion, when they changed the requirements for CPS membership a few years ago. I'm sure they're now so vastly oversubscribed and stretched to the limit trying to keep up with the numbers that they're looking for some way out. Lately, all you had to do was buy some equipment and pay the fee. It wasn't always so easy. There were very real requirements to prove professional status in the past. I'm definitely not an elitist but it looks like they wanted to increase revenues more than they wanted to support their customers who were trying to make a living.