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It seems like min_price and max_price aren't generally accurate in catalog_product_index_price for simple products using tiered pricing.

I haven't yet drilled into Mage_Catalog_Model_Resource_Product_Indexer_Price_Default to get a better idea of what's going on under the hood, but I've taken a look at the sample data.

Here's a product using tiered pricing:

simple product with tiered pricing

And the values in catalog_product_index_price for it:

index values for simple product with tiered pricing

I would think this would be a perfect place for min_price to reflect, well, the minimum possible price for the product. It does seem that the tier_price column perhaps contains that value though.

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If you take a look at SELECT of Magento Product Collection, you'll see that Magento does LEAST(min_price, tier_price, group_price) as minimal_price.

So you minimal_price is not a value from min_price column. I think it is done, to make a lowest possible price without group or tier price discounts being available for devs to access. Especially if you consider all that backward compatibility mess.

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