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The iPhone 6 is now on sale for pre-orders and I thought it was a good opportunity to talk through how to earn miles or points on this purchase. Even if you aren’t in the market for an Apple phone, these tips might still be helpful on a future similar purchase.
Go through a shopping portal to earn points:
You can buy iPhones these days from multiple different stores such as directly from Apple, via cell phone carriers like AT&T, or at stores such as Walmart, Radioshack, Best Buy, Target, and more. This article has a pretty good list and pricing for the different stores so start there if you aren’t sure which is the best for you. Once you decide where you want to buy your iPhone, then check to see if you can earn miles or points via an online shopping portal.
Note that sometimes the purchases of a newly released iPhone are specifically excluded from online shopping portal purchases around the time of release. However, I don’t currently see those terms when doing some spot checking – but take screen shots though and be on the lookout for that as it could change. Also worth mentioning that many of these retailers aren’t taking pre-orders online, but they should be active for online orders once the phones officially go on sale.
Chase Ultimate Rewards:
Best Buy 1x
Sam’s Club 2x
Earn 1,000 bonus miles with $225 purchase between 9/12 and 9/18 – this makes it likely the best portal for this purchase!
Best Buy 1x
Best Buy 1x
If you are buying from a cell phone provider like Verizon, AT&T, etc. they are in many of the airline mileage malls, but usually the miles they award (and it is thousands of miles) are just for new accounts, so it probably won’t help if you are just upgrading your phone with the same provider. However, if you are signing up with a new provider then absolutely start by going through a mileage mall to try and get 3,000 – 4,000+ miles in the process!
Pay with a Credit Card that Earns a Bonus!
I do not recommend buying an iPhone or other large electronic type purchase with gift cards as you lose the protections you could have by paying with a premium credit card, so I’m going to focus on the category bonuses you can take advantage of based on where you buy your iPhone. If you wanted to take that risk you could likely get gift cards to places like Best Buy, Target, etc. at various stores while earning a category bonus.
Instead I will be using a rewards credit card that has a built in category bonus such as:
2x Membership Reward points at Apple: The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
5x Ultimate Reward points at cell phone providers*: The Ink Plus® Business Card give 5x on cell phone expenses, but this does not always apply to cell phone hardware. My personal experience the last time I purchased an iPhone from AT&T in May 2013 it did pay out at 5x when billed from AT&T, but that success is not universal with all carriers.
2x on cell phone expenses: The U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® card advertizes that it earns double points on most cell phone expenses. FlexPerks points are worth up to 2 cents each toward airfare, so this is like earning up to 4 cents per dollar toward airfare, but I have no personal experience with how this works out with cell phone hardware purchases.
If you are buying a new iPhone I’d love to hear how you maximized your mileage earnings!
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.