Maximizing points, miles and coverage with Apple’s iPhone 11

Sep 12, 2019

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This week, Apple introduced a slew of new products, including three iPhones. First, for a recap, be sure to check out some of the most significant feature improvements here — I’m particularly excited about the iPhone 11 Pro’s trio of cameras, and the addition of a much-needed night mode, that’s sure to give our flight reviews a big boost.
All three models are worth a look, though — especially the base iPhone 11, which is now priced starting at a relatively reasonable $699. The three options include:

Preorders and in-store purchases

The new iPhones will be available beginning on September 20, but you can preorder your device directly through Apple as of 8 a.m. ET on Friday, September 13.

Beginning on the 20th, you’ll be able to make your purchase at an Apple Store, through your carrier of choice (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint) or through third-party resellers like Best Buy.

Trade-in options

The new iPhones certainly aren’t cheap, but they can be far more affordable if you’re willing to trade in your current phone. Credits range from $45 for the iPhone SE (2016) to up to $600 if you hand over last year’s iPhone XS Max.

You’ll need to make your purchase directly through Apple to take advantage of that particular offer, though third-party sellers may have similar promotions available.

Shopping portal bonuses

iPhones typically aren’t eligible for shopping portal bonuses shortly after launch, though that’s an option to consider if you decide to make your purchase down the line. For example, British Airways, which is currently offering 3 Avios per $1 on Apple purchases, specifically lists the follow exclusions:

Unless you are notified otherwise, no rewards are given on new products when launched including the new Apple Watch Series 5, new 7th Generation iPad, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max or on One-to-one membership, Shipping and Tax charges, Bose products, Apple Developer Programs, Apple Employee Purchase Programs, iTunes gift cards, Apple gift cards purchases and gift wrap. Orders purchased on the Government or Military and Veteran’s Stores are not eligible for additional rewards.

Which cards to use

A number of Apple enthusiasts will almost certainly end up making their purchase with the Apple Card — it’s not the worst option, since you’ll earn 3% back if you purchase directly through Apple, but it’s certainly not your best pick, either.
Personally, I’ll be making my purchase with The Platinum Card® from American Express. It doesn’t offer the greatest return — a flat 1 Membership Rewards point per dollar spent, worth 2 cents apiece based on TPG’s valuations — but I’ve always had good luck with Amex’s purchase protection benefit, and if I end up breaking or losing my iPhone, I know I’ll have some coverage.
Ultimately, given the high cost of Apple’s latest smartphones, I’d focus on cards that offer purchase protection and extended-warranty benefits, rather than those that offer the greatest return — with one exception, which I’ll dig into below. Some other top purchase-protection picks include:

Card Maximum Coverage Amount
Maximum Coverage Amount Per Year Coverage Duration (days) Earning Rate(s) Annual Fee
United Club Card $10,000 per claim $50,000 120 2x directly purchased United tickets, 1.5x other $450
$10,000 per incident $50,000 90 4x on dining, 4x U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), 3x directly purchased airline tickets or airfare purchases through, 1x other. Terms apply. $250 (see rates & fees)
Ink Business Cash Credit Card $10,000 per claim $50,000 120 5% office supply stores/telecom (up to $25,000, then 1%), 2% gas stations/restaurants (up to $25,000, then 1%), 1% other $0
Citi Premier℠ Card $10,000 per incident $50,000 90 3x on travel including gas stations, 2x on restaurants and entertainment, 1x other $95
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express $1,000 per incident $50,000 90 3% U.S. supermarkets on the first $6,000; (then 1%), 2% U.S. gas stations/U.S. department stores, 1% other. Terms apply. $0 (see rates & fees)
Chase Freedom $500 per claim $50,000 120 5% bonus categories each quarter, 1% other $0

The information for the Citi Premier, and United Club has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Meeting minimum spend

Of course, ideally you’ll be able to pair a large Apple purchase with a significant welcome bonus, giving you an opportunity to get even closer to a minimum-spend requirement. One of our top picks at the moment is the Business Platinum Card® from American Express, which is offering a tiered welcome bonus of up to 75,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend a total of $20,000 in the first 3 months.
I’ll run through some other top options below, as well, and you can find a full list of top offers here — just note that not all of these cards include purchase protection and extended-warranty perks, so if you’re looking to prioritize coverage over points, your best options are listed above.

Travel credit card Best for Annual fee

Best total value $550
(see rates & fees)

Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard

Best for Virgin Atlantic flyers $90

Best for beginner travelers $95

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Best for travel purchases and perks $450

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

Best for Southwest road warriors $149

Protect your investment

Many consumers assume that protection benefits simply cover your initial purchase, but a number of cards now offer coverage after you buy a smartphone as well. In order to be eligible for ongoing coverage there, you’ll want to pay your cellphone bill with a card that offers loss and damage protection, including:

Card Coverage/Deductible  Notable Exclusions Earn rate on cellphone bill Annual Fee
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card Up to $600 per claim, $1,800 per 12-month period/$100 deductible Lost phones 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points* $95
Citi Prestige® Card Up to $1,000 per claim, $1,500 per 12-month period/$50 deductible Cosmetic damage that doesn’t affect phone’s ability to function, lost phones 1 Citi point per dollar $495
Citi Premier Card Up to $800 per claim, $1,000 per 12-month period/$50 deductible Cosmetic damage that doesn’t affect phone’s ability to function, lost phones 1 Citi point per dollar $95
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card Up to $600 per claim, $1,000 per 12-month period/$50 deductible Cosmetic damage that doesn’t affect phone’s ability to function, lost phones 1% cash back $0
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card Up to $600 per claim, $1,200 per 12-month period/$25 deductible Lost phones 1 point per dollar $0
Uber Visa Up to $600 per claim, $1,200 per 12-month period/$25 deductible Lost phones 1% cash back $0
U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card Up to $600 per claim, $1,200 per 12-month period Lost phones None $0

For more on this latest round of Apple products, see my earlier post, 7 travel must-haves with Apple’s new iPhone 11s, Series 5 Watch.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday, click here.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: 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.