That would be Apple brand, naturally. My husband is a huge technology buff. We are complete opposites, since I still use a flip phone and couldn’t care less what anyone thinks of it. Out of all things IT, Apple brand is the apple of his eye (yes, I know it’s corny).
So, any time a new iPad or Apple laptop comes out, he has to have it. And not just any product, but their top of the line model. This year, he decided to get a new iPad. Of course, he wanted to order it as soon as it was released, which was a couple of weeks ago.
This is his thing, which is why I don’t make a huge deal about it. However, there was one issue. My Citi Thank You Premier card will renew at the beginning of November. If you looked at my “Best credit card deals for family” page, the bonus is tiered and the second part of the minimum spending requirement doesn’t start till the second year.
At that moment, I was only $500 short of meeting my minimum spend on Amex SPG, and had no other cards to take care of. That’s a first! Obviously, if we are going to spend 1 grand, it better go towards a new bonus, right?
When making large purchases, my priority is always meeting minimum spending requirements on new cards. So, my first inclination was to use Amex SPG for his $1,000 toy. However, we only needed to spend $500 to get the bonus. Plus, the purchase would earn 1 Starpoint per dollar. Yawn.
Discover Shopping portal pays 5% cash back on Apple purchases, but not on pre-orders. That’s one of the exclusions on Be Frugal, Ebates and other portals as well.
I started looking into other options. I have a Capital One Venture Rewards Visa that I plan to cancel in December. The card is one of my top bonus picks. It earns 2% cash back on everything, when redeemed for travel purchases. At the time, I had 1,580 miles left, which was just sitting there and doing nothing.
I figured that I could buy an iPad and perhaps zero out my points balance. While browsing through their rewards center, I noticed something interesting. It looks like they have added gift card options that can be redeemed at 1 cent per mile.
Turns out, I could wipe off my rewards balance after all. There were other options starting at 2,500 miles, like $25 Amazon gift card. So, even if you are not interested in travel redemption, Capital One Venture Rewards bonus could give you $400 in Amazon gift cards, nothing to sneeze at.
Anyway, my Capital One points found a good home, so I looked at other options. Chase Freedom currently pays 5% cash back on Amazon and certain online stores, and Apple wasn’t one of them. Moving along.
I looked at my Discover It card and currently, it pays out 5% on all online shopping. Bingo! That’s the one we ended up using. Sometimes having 30 cards can come in handy. Currently, the best non-affiliate offer for Discover It comes with a $100 Amazon gift card. Thanks to my reader Kishore for letting me know about it.
When the iPad came, my son got all excited because he thought it was a present for him. I told him it was Daddy’s toy and he understood.
As much as I try to focus on minimum spending, sometimes it’s worth it to go a different route. Getting 5% cash back on a $1,000 purchase is a substantial incentive.
Although I don’t keep close track of rotating bonus categories, it’s nice to have that option when making a large purchase. I’m not a huge fan of buying gift cards just to save 5%, and my husband absolutely hates them. But in this case, the process is quite simple.
My “keeper” list has several cards that could be a good fit for that, even if you only use them occasionally. They are: Discover It, Chase Freedom and US Bank Cash Plus cards. My personal favorite is Discover It. It was my very first credit card in the US, so it holds sentimental value, I suppose.
As I mentioned earlier, their shopping portal has one of the highest payouts on many merchants. Plus, the bonus category is often more broad than Chase Freedom (online shopping vs. certain online stores). It’s not a”keeper” I would put in my wallet, but it’s a keeper nonetheless.
Do you have any of those three cards and which one is your favorite?
P.S. See a comment below from the author of Bighabitat blog for some tips on Apple purchases.