Maximizing Points and Miles on Apple iPhone 6 Purchases

Sep 19, 2014

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The day has finally arrived! The Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are finally here. Geeks, I mean technophiles, rejoice! Perhaps you drove past an Apple store over the past few days and mistook it for a campsite as folks stretched out in lines and on the pavement overnight for the chance to be among the first to own this new gadget.

The new iPhones are here!
The new iPhones are here!

But for the rest of us working stiffs who don’t have the time to spend 24 hours (or even several days) in line, there are still ways to get the phone quickly and to earn a lot of points doing so through credit card category spending bonuses and online shopping portals.

I suspect that Apple stores are going to sell out of the new phones quickly, so I’m personally going to order mine online, which you can do through Apple as well as a variety of other places.

Where To Buy It

Unlike past iPhone launches where Apple has been the sole seller, iPhone 6 is being made available both through phone companies and other retailers. The one catch is that many of them are only selling them in-store for now, so going through an online shopping portal to get to Target, say, won’t be of much use.

Check EV Reward to see what bonuses are currently available.
Check EV Reward to see what bonuses are currently available.

In terms of shopping portal bonuses for Apple itself, I always check first to see which portals are offering which bonuses for a specific retailer and in this case, here is what I found:

ShopDiscover: 5%
Ultimate Rewards: 1 extra point per $1
American: 1 mile per $1
Delta: 1 mile per $1
Hawaiian Airlines: 1.5 miles per $1
Hilton HHonors: 1 point per $1
Marriott Rewards: 1 point per $1
Southwest: 1 point per $1
US Airways: 1 mile per $1
United: 1 mile per $1

Remember, those are in addition to any points or miles you earn using your credit card anyway. They’re not huge bonuses, but every point or mile counts.

*Also note that, as many readers point out, sometimes new iPhone purchases are specifically excluded from bonuses for the first few weeks after a new product launch, so be sure to read the terms of purchases in whichever portal you choose to go through.

Your personal strategy, if you’re looking to order online directly from Apple, might be to log into the Ultimate Rewards portal and click through to the Apple store so that you’re earning 1 Ultimate Rewards point per dollar, and then to use your Business Gold Rewards card from American Express, which earns 2x points per $1 on Apple purchases for a total of 3 points per dollar on your purchase.

Here is the list of merchants where you should be able to pick one up (when they’re in stock).


  • Best Buy
  • Radio Shack
  • Sam’s Club
  • Staples
  • Target
  • Walmart

If you don’t mind braving the hordes searching for iPhones in stores, Staples is an office supply store, so you might want to mosey on in there with your Ink Bold or Ink Plus and earn 5x points per $1 on your purchase.

The Ultimate Rewards portal is currently offering a bonus point per $1 at Apple.
The Ultimate Rewards portal is currently offering a bonus point per $1 at Apple.

Another strategy could be to use the Ink Bold or Ink Plus buy Visa gift cards at a store like Staples to earn the 5x points bonus on that purchase, then click through the Ultimate Rewards portal and use the gift cards to buy Apple products to earn a total of 6X points per $1.

Wireless Carriers

While you are stuck going into one of the retail locations if you want to get an iPhone 6 from them, if you’re due for a new cell phone, you might want to check with your wireless carrier. Many of them offer bonuses through shopping portals as well. Just note, that these bonuses tend to be for new customers/plans only, but if you are thinking of switching carriers (for instance to take advantage of T-Mobile’s unlimited international plans), now might be the time.

Here is the list of wireless carriers now offering the phone:

  • AT&T
  • Sprint
  • T-Mobile
  • Verizon
  • US Cellular
  • C-Spire Wireless
Starting prices on the new phones.
Starting prices on the new phones.

Not all of them are currently offering shopping portal bonuses, but several are. Here is what I found.

American: 2,000 miles
Marriott: 6,000 points

American: 3,300 miles
Delta: 2,100 miles
Southwest: 2,700 miles
US Airways: 2,100 miles
United: 1,900 miles

American: 3,300 miles
Delta: 2,100 miles
Marriott: 560 points
Southwest: 2,700 points
US Airways: 2,100 miles
United: 1,900 miles

Verizon Wireless
American: 2,800 miles
Delta: 1,800 miles
Marriott: 750 points
Southwest: 2,300 points
US Airways: 1,800 miles
United: 1,700 miles

So in this instance, if you’re going to purchase a new plan with your new phone, you could do all of this online, score one of these bonuses and then use your Ink Bold or Ink Plus to pay for it since they earn 5x points per $1 on telecommunications including wireless purchases.

Theoretically, the Ink 5x bonus points are awarded on telecommunications service purchases and not for hardware such as phones. However, many people have reported that they get the bonuses on phone purchases as well, so it’s worth a shot.

Are you planning on buying one of the new iPhones? What’s your strategy?

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