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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
The wait is finally over for us Apple fans, and the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c went on sale this morning – to huge lines and excitement at Apple stores all over the world. While I didn’t camp out on the sidewalk overnight to pick mine up, I know a lot of readers are technophiles like me and are considering an upgrade to the newest model – especially because it comes in a whole range of Technicolor-bright hues.
There’s been quite a craze around the new model lately, especially with the release of iOS 7 this week. As a lover of all Apple products, I’ve had the iPhone 5 for quite a while now but it has been on the fritz lately randomly shutting off and draining the battery within just a few hours.
Since I had to be on a flight back to NY early this morning I was able to recruit TPG Director of Ops Kate to go to her local Verizon store and pick up a phone for me. Retail stores opened up at 8am and Kate arrived at Verizon around 7:45 to a line of about 20 people – not too bad compared to the people who went to Apple retail stores and were waiting since 3:30am! Although she had to wait for about 45 minutes they were letting customers in at a pretty steady rate.
Of course the real wait is when you get in there since it always takes forever to get everything situated on the account and activate the new device. In all she was there for about an hour and a half but left with a beautiful 64gb silver iPhone 5s (unfortunately they didn’t have the gray which I would have preferred, but I’ll take what I can get!) for a grand total of $466.
That’s why, before you go out and purchase one of these beauties, it’s important to have a strategy to maximize your purchase and earn the most points possible. Just beware that for the first few weeks or months a new product like the iPhone is out, Apple tends to restrict shopping portal bonuses on it, so you might not get the most bonus points by purchasing right away. Still, for those of you that can’t wait (like me!) there are ways to earn a lot of extra points on your purchase.
The company releases its iPhones for sale through its own online and physical stores, and the stores/sites of its telecommunications partners, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon – but luckily, you can also buy them at Best Buy by purchasing them with a new phone plan from AT&T, Sprint or Verizon so can get a category or merchant spending bonus there as well.
So here are a few different ways to consider maximizing your points on an iPhone 5c purchase.
Recently, Amex announced that its Business Gold Rewards card would earn 2X points on purchases from computer stores, including Apple, so you can earn double points right off the bat if you carry this card. Currently, the card is offering a limited-time bonus of
50,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in 3 months and the annual fee of $175 is waived the first year.
However, before you simply go to an Apple store or apple.com to purchase, take a look at some online shopping portals to see what other bonuses are being offered so you can double dip on your points by clicking through one of them and then using your Business Gold Rewards card. By taking a quick look at EVReward.com and searching for Apple, it looks like most of the airline and hotel shopping portals are earning just 1 extra mile/point per $1 at Apple, but still that’s at least a few more for double dipping on this purchase.
ShopDiscover is actually offering 5% cash back at Apple this quarter, so that’s a pretty good chunk of change back on your purchase as well if you have a Discover card account.
You could also consider using a Chase Ink card for your purchase since the Ink Bold, Ink Plus, Ink Classic and Ink Cash all earn 5X points per $1 spent on telecommunications expenses, so if you use them to purchase the phone along with a new plan at your wireless carrier, you could earn 5X points per $1. However, the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal is also offering a bonus of 1 extra point per $1 for purchases at Apple and Best Buy, so if you click through there first, you can earn a total of 6 Ultimate Rewards points per $1 at Best Buy when purchasing an iPhone 5c with a new phone plan – or you could double dip with another shopping portal, many of which are offering 1 extra point per $1 at Best Buy as well, and then still use your Ink card to earn the 5X bonus.
Another strategy could be to use the Ink Bold or Ink Plus buy Visa or Best Buys gift cards at a store like Office Max to earn the 5x points bonus on that purchase, then click through the Ultimate Rewards portal and use the gift cards to buy Apple products to earn a total of 6X points per $1.
Purchasing the iPhone through your wireless carrier could be a good way to double dip since Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint are also offering one-off point bonuses for purchases and new services through airline and hotel programs’ online shopping portals.
- 2,800 American Airlines miles
- 1,800 Delta SkyMiles
- 2,300 Southwest Rapid Reward points
- 1,800 US Airways miles
- 1,700 United Airlines miles
- 2000 American Airlines miles
- 1,790 Amtrak points
- 5,500 Marriott Rewards points
- 650 American Airlines miles
- 1,167 Choice Privileges
- 400 Delta SkyMiles
- 550 Southwest Rapid Rewards points
- 400 US Airways miles
- 400 United Airlines miles
- 3,500 American Airlines miles
- 2,200 Delta SkyMiles
- 2,999 Hilton HHonors points
- 2,900 Southwest points
- 2,200 US Airways miles
- 2,100 United Airlines miles
Personally I can’t wait to use my new iPhone 5c, and if any of you buy yours today as well, comment on your experience below!