Reader John asked the following on the “Ask Lucky” page of the blog:

Ben- The new Ipad is coming out Friday. What is the best online shopping site or retail store to rack up the most points? Also, what is the best credit card to use?

While I can’t keep up with the rate at which Apple is introducing new products, I do try to keep up with the best ways to maximize miles and points on the purchase of them, whatever the product may be.

Maximizing points for Apple in-store purchases

The only credit card that offers bonus points for Apple store purchases is the The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card, which offers two Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at the Apple store. This is a new bonus category as of September 16, 2013, which applies at select computer hardware and software retailers.

Maximizing points for Apple online purchases

If you want to order directly from the Apple Store, I would generally recommend shopping through the Chase Ultimate Rewards mall for an additional 1.0 point/$1 of spend. Anyone with a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold has access to this shopping portal, so that’s an easy way to pick up extra points.

If you’re not concerned about purchasing directly from the Apple Store, then MacMall offers the same prices as Apple, though doesn’t charge sales tax. They are also listed in the Ultimate Rewards Mall, and this month you can earn an additional 2.0 points/$1 of spend, so this is likely the better deal for most people.

For those looking for instant gratification, you can still use a shopping portal to earn extra points! The Apple Store offers a “Pick Up In Store” service, whereby you can place your order online (thus earning bonus points), and then pick the item up at your nearest location.

If you’d prefer to earn airline miles directly, Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, Southwest, United, and US Airways all offer an additional 1.0 point/$1 of spend at both the Apple Store and MacMall as well.

Maximizing points through purchases at other retailers

While they don’t have the iPad Air in stock yet,  Staples sells iPads and Apple products as well. I’m told they should carry it soon. Once that happens, this will be a great opportunity to earn 5x points on your purchase by using the Ink Plus, Ink Bold, or Ink Cash, for your purchase (again, make sure you go through a shopping portal first to pick up those bonus points).

Those are the best bonuses I know of – anyone else have suggestions as to the best way to earn points on iPad purchases?

(In the interest of full disclosure, I earn a referral bonus for anyone approved through the above links. All are for the best available offers. Thanks for your support!)

  1. November 1st, 2013 at 11:10 am

    anon said,

    I bought an Iphone 5s at thru UR portal using a chase CC. Portal points never posted, and that portal has been pretty consistent in posting points.

  2. November 1st, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Justin said,

    The problem with Staples is that they don’t offer the education discount. Airline portal + biz gold amex + education discount + in store pick up has been my formula lately.

  3. November 1st, 2013 at 11:23 am

    John said,

    Went through Upromise for 5% cash back at Staples this morning; then Ink for 5x points; Delivery confirmed for Monday. The 16gb is $20 off list price on website.

  4. November 1st, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Adan said,

    7 UR per $ going through the UR portal to Staples and paying with Ink is where I’m leaning.

  5. November 1st, 2013 at 11:49 am

    JackDaniels said,

    MacMall charges sales tax in TN.

  6. November 1st, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Santastico said,

    I always use a Amex card for Apple purchases. Amex offers purchase protection with extended warranty for 1 extra year after manufacture’s coverage expires plus 90 days for accidental damage or if the product is stolen.

  7. November 1st, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    RMF325 said,

    I’ll be buying my iPad Air through Staples w/my Chase Ink Bold card. I will get extra points by going through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards Mall, and get 5% of the purchase price back by being a Staples rewards program customer.

  8. November 1st, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Andy said,

    When I ordered one this morning the Ultimate Rewards mall was 2 extra points per dollar for Apple Online Store.

  9. November 1st, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    bsbybms said,

    Don’t forget Discover! Though not as sexy as miles, you can stack the 5% back from the ShopDiscover portal plus 5% back for the current “online purchases” rotating promotion, for a total of 10% off. Not bad.

  10. November 1st, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Jason said,

    Just purchased a new iPad Air today. Best I could come up with was through Best Buy (even though I hate shopping there, I wanted a good deal).

    Best Buy price matched the $479 being offered at Wal-Mart, Target, and Staples for the 16GB version.

    Amex has a $25 off $250 sync promotion going. I used two Amex cards (total was >$500 with taxes) for another $50 off plus the 1% regular awards and Best Buy rewards.

  11. November 1st, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Allen said,

    I don’t see MacMall in the Ultimate Rewards shopping mall. Is it gone?

  12. November 1st, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Wolfgang said,

    For Aeroplan members, you can get 2 miles per dollar spent if you go through the Aeroplan estore when purchasing Apple products

  13. November 1st, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    AZO_Tim said,

    Be aware that some of the airline eStores specifically not that iPad Air will not earn the miles or points when shopping at iPad mini retina and iPhone 5C were also excluded. I found that notice when I went through BA’s site today.

  14. November 1st, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Dave said,

    @Jason’s deal is the way to go. I didn’t think about splitting it up on two Amex cards but now that’s exactly what I’ll do! Thanks.

  15. November 1st, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Brian said,

    I bought my iPad Air at the local AT&T store using my Ink Plus card (5x spend).

  16. November 1st, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    David said,

    Buy Visa GCs w/ Ink at office supply stores. Go to Apple store and use Visa gcs to buy Apple gift card. Then go through UR to buy online, paying with Apple GC.

  17. November 2nd, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Emily said,

    @anon 11:10am
    The terms when I purchased my Iphone 5s said that they and the iphone 5c were excluded from earning bonus points through the UR mall. Bummer.

  18. November 10th, 2013 at 3:10 am

    Eric said,

    Chase ultimate says that it does not apply to iPad air purchases

  19. November 13th, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Ben said,

    Anyone confirmed if shopping portal points post correctly for Staples on iPad Airs? T&C exclude electronics.

    @RMF325 ?

    Also, for most people, buying without sales tax may be a better deal than getting points and paying tax. My state is almost 10%.

  20. December 21st, 2013 at 7:48 am

    Jennifer said,

    Can confirm 732 miles miles posting for iPad Mini with Retina Display through AAdvantage eShopping℠ mall. Even though it was noted that iPad mini with retina was excluded.

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