Maximizing Points With iPhone 5 Purchases
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
I love my gadgets and while I'm not exactly ready to camp out overnight to get the new iPhone 5, I am getting ready to purchase the shiny new product thanks to enhanced features like a slimmer, lighter build, a larger screen, the sharp retina display and better camera, and the super-fast new iOS 6 operating system. I haven't gotten it yet because I am waiting to be upgrade eligible (sounds familiar) in October.
Having to wait a little while is good for a few reasons, though, while I decide which credit card to put it on. For instance, one of the Chase Freedom fourth quarter bonus spending merchants, at which I can earn 5 points per dollar I spend up to $1,500 - is BestBuy. The bonus earning period starts on October 1, so I'm waiting at least until then, and then I'll have all the way through the end of the year to make my purchase at the 5 points per dollar rate.
Best Buy is selling iPhones for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon in both white and black and with 16GB-64GB in memory. Prices range from $199 for a 16GB iPhone with a 2-year contract with one of the phone companies up to $899 for an unactivated 64GB phone. That would mean if you charged an iPhone to your Freedom card, (not including taxes, which vary from state to state) you'd earn between 995-4,495 Ultimate Rewards points per phone, depending on which model you got and whether you opened a new service contract. Unfortunately, though Best Buy is offering an extra point per dollar through the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal, which would bring your earning potential to 6 points per dollar, the iPhone 5 is currently only available for in-store purchase, so you're out of luck on online shopping portal bonuses for the moment.
Or you could wait until the Apple shopping portals no longer prohibit the new iPhone from shopping bonuses, though no one knows how long that'll be since there is such a high demand for it. But if you were planning to order the iPhone 5 directly from Apple anyway, you might as well try going through an online shopping portal because you never know – the store may not catch it and you could still end up getting the bonus. Doesn't hurt to try.
If you're determined to get a bonus on your points, however, you could also consider using the Ink Bold to buy Visa gift cards at a store like Office Max and score the 5x points bonus on that purchase, then use the gift cards to buy the iPhone. Another option with the Ink Bold would be to use it to purchase the iPhone from your wireless carrier since the card also gives 5x points on wireless/phone category spending, so you might be able to get the 5x points that way. While the card's terms say that the 5x bonus is on service, I've often noticed that I earn 5x points on my entire wireless bill when I use the Ink Bold to pay for it, so you might as well try!
If you don't have a Chase credit card, you can still take advantage of Amex's "Link, Like, Love" campaign via Facebook to save $20 on a purchase of $200 or more at Best Buy. Simply go to the "Link, Like, Love" Facebook page and sync your card, then "Load More Offers" until you see the Best Buy one and click "Get Offer" and "Add to My Card" and you're good to go. When you spend $200 or more at a Best Buy store or online using your synced Amex by October 31, you'll get a one-time statement credit of $20.
Does anyone have the new iPhone yet and if so, what are your thoughts?