How to Earn Miles & Points for Your New Apple 5C or 5S Purchase

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As you have likely heard, Apple has announced details surrounding the new 5C and 5S iPhones.  The lower-end 5C will cost around $99 for the 16GB version and $199 for the 32GB version (with wireless contracts).  The higher-end 5S will cost around $199 for the 16GB, $299 for the 32GB, and $399 for the 64GB version (with wireless contracts).  Both versions will cost more if you are getting it without a wireless contract.  The 5C comes in bright colors and the 5S will come with a better camera, faster processor, and fingerprint scanner, so I am sure a few Apple fans will “have to have it” as soon as it goes on sale September 20th (pre-sale for the 5C starts today).  With that said, if you do decide to pull the trigger on one of these phones and are reading this site, obviously you want to earn as many miles or points as possible for your purchase.

iPhone 5s

Use a credit card that pays more than 1x:

An easy way to earn extra points on the iPhone purchase is to simply use a card that is going to give you more than 1x for the purchase.  My favorite way to do this when buying new phones from my wireless service provider is to pay with my Ink Plus® Business Card or Ink Bold® Business Card and earn 5x Ultimate Reward points since cell phone charges are a bonus category on this card.  Note that this may or may not work with your provider based on how the purchase is coded.  It worked fine for me when I ordered online with AT&T in the past.  Another option is to buy directly from Apple using the The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card® from American Express OPEN that recently added Apple as a 2x bonus category effective on September 16th.

Shop via a shopping portal:

If you are buying direct from Apple, it seems to be currently stuck at 1x on the major shopping portals, but it is showing as 5% back via ShopDiscover.  Of course, you can buy Apple products from several retailers other than Apple (Best Buy, Walmart, etc), so it pays to search for the shopping portal payouts of those other retailers as well.  In fact, Walmart is advertizing they will even have lower prices for the iPhones!  Be aware that pre-orders are often disqualified from many stores on portals, so double check the fine-print.  If you haven’t yet taken advantage of the 2,000 miles bonus mile offer from American AAdvantage shopping for spending $35 by 9/30, this could be a good chance to do so.

Buy gift cards with a card that pays a bonus:

Another option is to buy gift cards to the store where you plan to buy the iPhone at a grocery store, office supply store, gas station, etc. with a credit card that will pay a bonus at that retailer.  For example, if you plan to buy your iPhone at Best Buy, then you could use a credit card that pays out a bonus at grocery stores to buy your Best Buy gift card at a grocery store.  You could choose to use the Amex Blue Cash Preferred that gives 6% cash-back at US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.

Ideally you will be using a combination of either a card that earns a bonus for your purchase (or earned a bonus when you purchased the gift card) in addition to going through an online shopping portal to maximize this purchase that I know many folks will be making.

I’ll be siting on my iPhone 5 for a while since I just got it a few months ago, but congrats to anyone who is getting a fresh new piece of technology!


Disclosure:  I do receive a commission if you are approved for a credit card using one of my affiliate links.  I get nothing for you purchasing an iPhone other than perhaps a minor case of “Apple Envy”.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. Unfortunately, the Ink bonuses are for services only, not equipment. The one way around that is to ask for the phone to be billed to the statement instead of paying for it now (and then pay the bill with your Ink card).

  2. Good to hear! I tried it both ways last year and it did not work directly but did work on the bill. Who knows what parameters their systems use for things like this!

    • Charlie, yeah I don’t know. I’ve had nothing but success, but it is true that it needs to be coded like all the other transactions. Also different carriers may treat it differently. My experience was with AT&T and the orders placed online via AT&T if that helps.

  3. Gotcha – mine was Verizon. BTW, I do know that Verizon ETFs are “services” – it is most unfortunate that I have had to learn that, but at least I got to learn it at 5x!

  4. As much as I’d like to earn 5x or so I plan to use an Amex card, most likely the platinum, due to the great benefits. 5X is great but on a $200 phone, I’d rather have the protections and extended warranty offered by Amex than 1000 UR points. I will shop through a portal though.

  5. I 2nd Jeremy with the AMEX. Dropped my 4S and cracked front/back glass. Called AMEX and issued credit to my account for the purchase price plus tax and they let me keep my phone with I was able to fix for less than $60.

    WOW! A++++

    • I think that there are some similar warranties with the Chase cards. I also know someone who used the Ink to buy an iPhone and they replaced it when it broke just after purchase. Still, use the card you have the offers the best all around benefits for sure!

  6. I can second the statement where simply cash did not pay out the 5% 2 years ago when making the iphone purchase at the ATT store. I did not know that I could have had the purchase added to my monthly bill?!? That was not offered to me by the sale agent. Is that option a fluke or is it always available if you ask?

  7. can we get the 5800 miles from united mileage plus shopping

    Store Details for AT&T Wireless
    AT&T WirelessWireless from AT&T, formerly Cingular Wireless, is the largest wireless company in the United States, with more than 62 million subscribers who use the nation’s largest digital voice and data network. AT&T is dedicated to providing customers with wireless technology designed to enrich their lives.
    Offer Details
    5800 miles
    Shop Now
    How to Earn
    Click the “Shop now” button to start shopping and earning more miles.
    Remember to use your MileagePlus credit card. Cardholders are eligible for increased miles offers from participating stores in addition to earning one mile for every dollar you spend using your card.

    • If you are signing up for a new contract it is certainly worth trying to go through a portal to the wireless carrier. I haven’t signed up as a new customer in close to a decade, so I have mo personal experience with that. I can say I have tried it when renewing a contract and that was a no-go. 😉

  8. I hope AAdvantage eShopping℠ 2000 bonus works. Made a purchase a week ago, transaction still not posted on the portal.

    “Please allow 2-3 weeks for a transaction to be posted in a pending status, with an additional 1-3 weeks to confirm your transaction.”

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