Preorder is here: Maximizing points, miles and coverage with Apple’s new iPhone 13
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Editor’s note: This story was updated with new information on Sept. 17, 2021
The iPhone 13 went on sale via preorder at 8 a.m. ET this morning, and people are already having issues securing it with Apple’s very own Apple Card, so much so that it’s currently trending on Twitter.
Friday’s iPhone 13 rollout came just three days after the annual “iPhone day” on Tuesday, Sept. 14, when the company introduced its latest products, including the iPhone 13 lineup, redesigned entry-level iPads and the Apple Watch Series 7.
For a recap, be sure to check out seven of the top reasons why you might want to upgrade to the latest iPhone. With battery boosts, camera upgrades and expanded 5G availability, the latest devices should appeal to many, especially to those who are always on the road, including myself and our flight review team.
There are four new iPhones you might be considering for an upgrade:
- iPhone 13 Mini, starting at $699
- iPhone 13, starting at $799
- iPhone 13 Pro, starting at $999
- iPhone 13 Pro Max, starting at $1,099
Preorders and in-store purchases
All four iPhones will be available to purchase on Sept. 24, but you can preorder your device directly through Apple as of 8 a.m. ET Sept. 17. Preordering gives you a better chance of receiving your device on launch day.
Beginning on Sept. 24, you’ll be able to make your purchase at an Apple Store, through your carrier of choice (AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile) or through third-party resellers such as Best Buy and Walmart (which is offering a $100 discount off retail prices).
The new iPhones certainly aren’t cheap, but they can be far more affordable if you’re willing to trade in your current phone. Credits range from $30 for the iPhone 6S (2015) to as much as $790 if you hand over last year’s iPhone 12 Pro Max.
You’ll need to make your purchase directly through Apple to take advantage of that particular offer, though third-party sellers may have similar promotions available.
Shopping portal bonuses
Typically, iPhones aren’t eligible for shopping portal bonuses shortly after launch, though that’s something to consider if you decide to make your purchase at a later date. It can also make sense to use a shopping portal aggregator like CashBack Monitor to easily identify the largest return.
Which cards to use
A number of Apple enthusiasts will almost certainly end up making their purchase with the Apple Card — it’s not the worst option since you’ll be able to take advantage of introductory APR financing and earn 3% back if you purchase directly through Apple. But it’s not your best pick, either.
Historically, I’ve made my Apple purchases with The Platinum Card® from American Express. Though you’ll earn just one Membership Rewards point per dollar spent, worth two cents each according to TPG’s valuations, the card’s included purchase protection is a great insurance policy if I end up breaking or losing my iPhone.
Plus, as you’ll see below, Amex recently added ongoing cell phone protection to the Platinum card, making this card my top pick for iPhone purchases.
Ultimately, given the high cost of Apple’s latest smartphones, I’d focus on cards that offer purchase protection and extended-warranty benefits rather than those that offer the greatest return — with one exception, which I’ll dig into below. Other top purchase-protection picks include:
|Card||Maximum coverage amount
||Maximum coverage amount||Coverage duration (days)||Earning rate(s)||Annual fee|
|American Express® Gold Card||$10,000 per item (or $500 per event for natural disasters)||$50,000 per card per calendar year||90||4x at restaurants; 4x at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x); 3x on directly purchased airline tickets or airfare purchases through amextravel.com; 1x on all other purchases. Terms apply.||$250 (see rates & fees)|
|Ink Business Cash Credit Card||$10,000 per claim||$50,000 per account||120||5% at office supply stores/telecom (up to $25,000 per account anniversary year, then 1%); 2% at gas stations/restaurants (up to $25,000 per account anniversary year, then 1%); 1% on all other purchases.||$0|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||$1,000 per item (or $500 per event for natural disasters)||$50,000 per card per year||90||3% at U.S. supermarkets on the first $6,000 per calendar year (then 1%); 2% at U.S. gas stations/select U.S. department stores; 1% on all other purchases. Terms apply.||$0 (see rates & fees)|
|Chase Freedom Flex||$500 per claim||$50,000 per account||120||5% on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate; 1% on all other purchases.||$0|
Protect your investment
These days, some credit cards don’t just include purchase protection during the first few months after getting your shiny new phone. A number of cards now offer ongoing cell phone protection, so long as you pay your carrier bill with an eligible card that offers loss and damage protection.
|Card||Coverage/Deductible||Notable Exclusions||Earn rate on cellphone bill||Annual Fee|
|Ink Business Preferred Credit Card||Up to $1,000 per claim; three claims max per 12-month period with a $100 deductible per claim.||Cosmetic damage that doesn’t affect the phone’s ability to function; lost phones.||3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar*||$95|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Up to $800 per claim; two claims max per 12-month period with a $50 deductible.||Cosmetic damage that doesn’t affect the phone’s ability to function; lost phones.||1 Amex Membership Rewards point per dollar||$695 (see rates and fees)|
|Chase Freedom Flex||Up to $800 per claim; max two claims worth $1,000 per 12-month period with a $50 deductible.||Cosmetic damage that doesn’t affect the phone’s ability to function; lost phones.||1 Chase Ultimate Rewards point per dollar||$0|
*On the first $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year in the categories of travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines.
Meeting minimum spend
It could make sense to time your large Apple purchase with the opening of a new card. This way, you’d be much closer to meeting the minimum spend requirement to earn a significant sign-up bonus. One of our top picks at the moment is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which is offering 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
I’ll run through some other top contenders below, and you can find a full list of top offers here. Just note that not all of these cards include purchase protection and extended-warranty perks, so if you’re looking to prioritize coverage over points, refer to the chart above.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Best starter travel credit card
- American Express® Gold Card: Best for dining at restaurants
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best for travel credits
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: Best for small business travel
- The Platinum Card® from American Express: Best for lounge access
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best for earning miles at a flat rate
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Best premium hotel card
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: Best for airline rewards
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card: Best mid-tier hotel card
- Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card: Best for Alaska Airlines miles
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®: Best for American Airlines flyers
The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card, and Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
For more on this latest round of Apple products, see our story on the seven reasons why you might want to consider upgrading to Apple’s latest iPhones.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here
Additional report by Caroline Tanner
Featured photo courtesy of Apple. Contributing Zach Honig/The Points Guy.
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