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How to maximize your purchases for the perfect home office setup

July 25, 2020
6 min read
A man works remotely in a home office.
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Due to pandemic, both learning and working is going to be a different experience, with everyone doing it from home. As universities craft their reopening plans for the fall, many students face the realization that most of their classes – if not, all – will be online again.

Over the past four months, I’ve had to adapt to these changes as a student and as a new hire. As a Class of 2020 graduate, my last month of classes were online and I started my first job virtually. While online learning is a completely different experience than having in-person classes, the right setup can help you have a successful school year.

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Use a shopping portal

Before making any purchase, be sure to check shopping portal aggregators like EVReward and CashBackMonitor. Simply search for a merchant and both of these sites will show you offers from a variety of rewards programs.

For example, I searched for Lenovo on EVReward, which aggregated all of the current offers on one page.

If you’re in the market for a new laptop or tablet, you’ll definitely want to maximize these purchases as they’re the most expensive part of your home office setup.

Save cash and save points on Apple purchases

By using a shopping portal when purchasing Apple products, you could earn a minimum of one mile per dollar spent or 1% cash back. Some portals offer better deals than others. For example, British Airways and JetBlue Airways offer 3 Avios or points per dollar, respectively. You’re getting upwards of triple the amount of points earned from a rewards card by using a shopping portal. So it’s absolutely worth taking a look before checking out.

Keep an eye out for bonuses too – we’ve even seen limited time offers as high as 7 miles per dollar spent on Apple purchases. To complete your transaction, don’t forget to use a travel rewards card to earn even more points.

As a student, you’ll also have access to Apple’s education pricing, which offers exclusive discounts. This year’s deal includes free Airpods (a $159 value) with the purchase of an eligible Mac or iPad. You can opt for one of the following:

  • Airpods with a charging case for free.
  • Airpods with a wireless charging case for $40.
  • Airpod Pros for $90.

For example, I can get the newest MacBook Pro 13-inch for as low as $1,199. If I then opt to upgrade to the Airpod Pros for just $90 (which retail for $249), my total comes out to roughly $1,300 before tax. Education pricing also offers discounts on accessories and 20% off Apple Care.

Earn TrueBlue points on Apple purchases

As a JetBlue flyer, I could use the TrueBlue Shopping Portal to receive three points per dollar on Apple purchases. I would effectively receive 3,900 TrueBlue points – worth about $50 according to TPG valuations.

If I make the purchase using my Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, I receive 2x miles on all purchases. As a result, I would also receive 2,600 Venture miles from this transaction, worth about $36. With Apple’s education pricing, an airline shopping portal AND a travel rewards credit card, I’m getting an amazing value on my Apple products.

If you don’t need a new laptop but want to take advantage of Apple’s education pricing, I highly recommend purchasing an iPad. Taking notes with my iPad and Apple Pencil was especially helpful during my Zoom classes.

I would also recommend the AirPod Pros in general for maximum productivity, as its noise-canceling abilities helps me focus on my work. While living with roommates who are also on Zoom meetings, my Airpod Pros have been invaluable in reducing background noise. By shopping for Airpod Pros on a shopping portal with the right credit card, you’ll also accrue a decent amount of points and miles.

Save on Dell products with Amex

If you’re not an Apple fan, there are plenty of other deals to be found. For Amex Membership Rewards cards, you can earn an additional point per dollar spent on Dell.com. Even better, if you’re a Business Platinum Card® from American Express cardholder you have access to two incredible deals right now. The card comes with up to $200 in annual Dell statement credits for U.S. purchases, every calendar year. However, you can get an additional up to $100 in statement credit through Dec. 31.

In addition, you can earn one extra Membership Rewards point per dollar spent in addition to getting 10% back (up to $1,500) as a statement credit when shopping on Dell.com. Just make sure that your card is enrolled in both of these Amex offers.

In tandem with shopping portals, you can maximize your purchase with bonus miles or cash back.

Dell sells everything from laptops to monitors to printers. If you’re in the market for any of these, taking advantage of these Amex offers can help you save money and maximize your purchase at the same time.

Related: How to Maximize Computer Purchases: Points, Credit Card Protections and More

Double up on savings with Amazon

Amazon sells many products that will make your work or remote learning setup a lot cozier. Some of my must-haves include a computer mouse with a mousepad, lumbar support pillow and stress-relief candles. Whatever the purchase may be, you want to make sure you’re maximizing these components of your work-from-home setup.

(Photo by Stella Shon/The Points Guy)

With the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, you’ll get 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases. While the card has no annual fee, you’ll need to have a Prime membership to qualify for it. You can use your rewards for cash back or transfer them to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal to book travel.

The information for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Best Credit Cards for Amazon purchases

Bottom line

Furnishing your home office for work or school can be costly, but the rewards can be lucrative. By taking these extra steps before you press "buy", you could be earning cash back and points for future travel.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases