There are millions of people who will be descending on stores this Friday in the hopes of picking up a new iPad Air (or preordering the new iPad Retina Mini). When making a purchase such as this (which will start at $499 and go up as much as double that), it is very important to take your point earning into account! Yes, there are some other considerations as well (such as American Express and their warranty program) or meeting minimum spending on a particular card or hitting a spending threshold, but miles and points on a purchase like this is where it is at!
Best Point Earning: Buying a New iPad
What are the methods of best point earning if you plan on buying a new iPad this Friday? Not too surprising, but they are really not different from every other day spending that people make at the typical stores carrying these tablets. However, it is good to review the list so you are reminded before you whip out your Sears Mastercard to pay for it :).
I had not added this option yesterday but this may very well prove to be the best strategy if you are planning on buying a new iPad equipped with the cellular radio.
T-Mobile – Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus
T-Mobile had announced that they would be adding the iPad Air and the new iPad Retina Mini to their pricing scheme. Basically, you get the device from T-Mobile (the 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB) and pay $26.25 per month for 24 months ($22.08 per month for the Retina Mini). From current T-Mobile press releases, it does not appear that you need to have a contract or even purchase data from them to get this pricing structure (in fact, they will give you 200MB free each month for life!). That monthly payment structure is a zero percent finance method that allows you to pick up a LTE iPad at $0 down (for a 16GB), $99 down (for the 32GB) and $199 down (for the 64GB). The good part about this is that it will be billed by T-Mobile as a monthly charge. That charge (since it is being done monthly) should show as a service transaction and not an equipment charge. Because of that, you will still earn the 5x Ultimate Reward points (because of the telecommunication category) each month. Yes, this is a drawn out method of earning the points, but you will get a nice new iPad with nothing down and no interest and huge points!
Total points at T-Mobile using the Chase Ink Card – 3,150 UR points (for the base model with LTE) over 24 months or 131 UR points per month.
For our examples below, we will assume the iPad that is being purchased is the base model at $499.
Staples – Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus
Staples started carrying Apple devices not long ago which came as great news to Chase Ink cardmembers! Because Staples is an office supply store, customers who shop there using their Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus card receive 5x points on their purchases! So, for the base device ($499), you will be able to earn 2495 Ultimate Reward points if you use the Chase Ink cards. To make it sweeter, you can shop at Staples after going through the Ultimate Rewards portal (another 2x points). Warning: the terms of the portal says that the 2x points do not apply for technology purchases, however, I and others have still received the 2x points so your mileage may vary. Either way, you will still receive the 5x points by using your Chase Ink card.
Total points at Staples for our iPad – 2,495 Ultimate Reward Points / Total points if including the Ultimate Reward shopping portal – 3,493 UR Points
Best Buy Using Gift Cards – American Express Blue Cash Preferred
Most of the grocery stores in my hometown carry gift cards and Best Buy gift cards are among those that are available. By purchasing those gift cards at a grocery store using your American Express Blue Cash Preferred card, you will receive 6% cash back on your grocery store purchase. You can then take those gift cards to buy your new iPad. You can also try to go to Best Buy through a shopping portal for increased points. Note: Some portals will say that the bonus points do not count with gift cards. You lose nothing by trying!
Total points at Best Buy using gift cards – $29.94 cash back
Amazon – Chase Freedom
As reader Ed reminded me below, the 4th quarter 5x bonus on the Chase Freedom card is valid at Amazon. So, you can use your Chase Freedom card at Amazon and realize 5x UR points there.
Total points at Amazon using Chase Freedom card – 2,495 Ultimate Reward points
Amazon Using Gift Cards – Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus
Same as above except you can get your Amazon gift cards at OfficeMax and net 5 points per dollar when you use your Chase Ink card. Then use those gift cards on Amazon to order your new iPad.
Total points at Amazon using gift cards – 2,495 Ultimate Reward Points
Apple.com – Any card through the Ultimate Reward portal
Apple.com has increased over the last few months ever so slightly to currently sit at 2 UR points per dollar spent through the portal. You can technically use any credit card through the UR portal to shop at Apple. So if you want the added warranty protection, shop through the portal with your American Express card.
Total points at Apple.com through UR Portal – 998 Ultimate Reward Points
Wal-Mart Using Gift Cards – Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus or Amex Blue Cash Preferred
This is an easy one to find – Wal-Mart (or Sams Club) gift cards are everywhere! You can find them at grocery stores or OfficeMax. If you purchase them at grocery stores with your Amex Blue Cash Preferred, you will receive the 6% cash back on the gift cards. If you purchase them at OfficeMax, you will receive 5x Ultimate Reward points on the gift cards. Another perk about purchasing it at Wal-Mart is that they will be selling them at a discount right off the bat – $479.
Total points at Wal-Mart using gift cards – 2,395 Ultimate Reward Points (if you use your Chase Ink card at an office store) / $28.74 cash back (if you use your American Express Blue Cash Preferred card at a grocery store)
Any store! – Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard
The Barclay Arrival card allows you to earn 2 Arrival points per dollar (when you count the 2% rebate on points used, it is actually 2.2 points per dollar). This is at any store so if you do not have one of the cards above, plan on using your Barclay Arrival card to at least earn more than a single point per dollar.
Total points at any store using your Barclay Arrival card – 998 points
One caution about using gift cards for a purchase such as this is that you lose your option for extended warranty protection (as with American Express cards). If that does not bother you (such as if you plan on purchasing AppleCare for your new iPad), then by all means use gift cards. There are some other options for purchase locations but these are what I consider to be the best. If you know of another way to rack up serious points or savings, please leave them in the comments section.