Since I buy a significant number of new electronics and technology products throughout the year, I've done my research on the best ways to save money on future purchases. While someone who is patient enough can always just wait it out for their favorite product to go on sale (this can take many months or even years after its launch), I prefer to be an early adopter and have to be due to the nature of my business.
Fortunately, I achieve a 2%-5% discount on any and all electronics that I purchase throughout the year through responsible credit card use and taking advantage of the rewards programs offered through select cards. During the holiday months, there are often extra rewards opportunities available especially with cards that provide a 5% cashback with revolving categories.
In this article, I'll share the exact process on on how I'll save 5% on all my holiday shopping through Apple and Amazon by leveraging the rewards programs from two different credit cards, both are free to apply for with no annual fee.
However, it is important to remember a few things:
- This method will only be worthwhile through responsible credit card use, if you are going to charge more than you can pay off and will incur interest charges over time, then this method is NOT worth attempting. Having to pay off long-term debt will far outweigh the 5% savings that you can earn using this method.
- While I am technically saving 5%, this is through cashback which will show up in your account within 75 days after your purchase has been made or the credit card bill has been paid off. This means you'll still pay the full price originally, but will be able to convert the rewards points into statement credit, direct deposit or applicable gift cards which are as good as cash once processed to your account.
- I'll be including two different credit cards that I'll use to score 5% savings this holiday season, however, other competing cards might have a similar promotion through their rewards programs so do your research on any existing card you might have if you don't want to sign up for a new card.
How To Save 5% Shopping Through Apple During Holiday 2016
Apple is one of the most popular places to shop online during the holidays as a huge number of consumers plan to purchase one of their products like an iPhone, Apple Watch or Mac computer as a gift. If you are aware of Apple's sales tactics, they have such high demand that they only discount existing product lines when a new generation is released.
So if you want to score 5% off Apple, you'll first need to pick up a Discover Card if you don't have one already. As an added benefit, the first ten people who sign up for a new card through this link and make a purchase during the holiday season will receive an additional $50 Cashback Bonus (disclaimer: I will also receive a $50 bonus if these conditions are met).
For those unfamiliar with Discover Card, they are a popular competitor to MasterCard, Visa and American Express with some of most lucrative reward potential and customer service in the business. Their cards offer a great deal of savings by way of rewards earning/redemption beyond the retailers mentioned in this article, and there is no annual fee for being a cardholder.
Once you have the physical card in your hands, and it is activated. You'll want to register for a Discover Card online account which is the same area that you'll view digital statements, pay your bill online and opt-in to the revolving 5% cashback rewards categories.
When this is completed, and you are logged in, you'll want to navigate to the top ‘Rewards‘ tab then click ‘Discover Deals‘. From here you can search for Apple under the ‘Search Merchants‘ bar at the top or by navigating to it under the ‘Electronics‘ sub-section.
If you visit the right page you should see the following:
To be eligible to receive the 5% cashback, you must follow the terms and conditions correctly which means you'll have to place your order directly after clicking the ‘Shop Now' link (within three hours). There is no limit on the purchase amount so you can order the most expensive item on Apple computer on their website as long as it falls under your credit limit.
It also says there are some exceptions to the rule which includes any purchases of iPhone 7/7 Plus, Apple Watch, Airpods, gift cards, 1 to 1 Memberships, Bose items, and products to non-end user customers/purchases for resale.
However, older iPhones, iPads, Mac computers and accessories like the Apple TV are still eligible for the cashback option. Every computer I've ordered in the past five years has allowed me to save 5% cashback using this method, so it has become a routine for me when shopping through Apple.
Here's a recent example of the cash back I received when I ordered an Apple Macbook 12″ (2016) just a few months back:
How To Save 5% Shopping Through Amazon During Holiday 2016
A vast majority of our readers will make a holiday purchase through Amazon during the new few months as it is increasingly tough for traditional retailers to compete with the pricing, availability and customer service that the e-commerce giant offers. Since I order from Amazon on a weekly basis and have been a Prime subscriber for over five years now, I have been scoring sales on my purchases the past couple of years after learning to leverage my credit card rewards correctly.
Method #1: Discover Card
Similar to the Apple 5% cashback above, Discover Card holders can score 5% on purchases from Amazon, Department Stores & Sam's Club from October to December of this year.
To do this, you must have an active Discover Card (this link give the first ten people to sign up $50 cashback after their first purchase) and log into the online account panel. From there, click on Rewards then navigate to the menu option 5% Cashback Bonus. Once you are on this screen you must opt-in to activate the 5% cashback eligibility and when this is done you'll see a checkmark with the words ‘ACTIVATED' next to it like you see below:
You'll also receive an email confirmation to your register account email that confirms your enrollment into the promotion:
Once you are active with the 5% promotion, you are free to purchase any items from Amazon using your Discover Card, and they will automatically be credited with cash back within two billing periods. There are no extra steps or links to follow like with the Apple method previously described.
If you read the fine print on this offer, it says the following:
You're signed up to earn 5% Cashback Bonus on up to $1,500 in purchases at Amazon, Department Stores and Sam's Club from 10/1/16 (or the date on which you sign up, whichever is later) through 12/31/16. Amazon purchases include those made through the Amazon checkout, including digital downloads, Amazon gift cards, Amazon Fresh orders, Amazon Local Deals and Amazon Prime subscriptions and items sold by third party merchants through Amazon's marketplace.
There is not much red tape with this promotion as you are free to buy any product on Amazon including digital downloads, gift cards, Amazon Fresh orders, local deals and Prime subscriptions.
Keep in mind, you are only eligible for earning rewards on $1,500 in qualified purchases during this period combined between Amazon, Department Stores, and Sam's Club, so a maximum of $75 in cash back rewards is up for grabs. Once this $1,500 cap is hit, you'll still earn 1% cash back like you do on everyday purchases so it that still counts for something.
Worst case, if you've got the cash and don't have any holiday shopping to do on Amazon, but want to extend the savings to carry over for purchases throughout the year then buy $1,500 in gift cards to store away for use with future Amazon-related expenses. This would equate to earning $75 in cashback credit. To me saving this amount wouldn't be enough for me to tie up $1,500 in capital although some people might be frugal enough to see the value in this approach.
Method #2: Amazon Prime Store Card
The second method is a bit difference as it requires an active Prime membership which is Amazon's premium account offering a lot of added benefits for $99/year. Since there are so many Prime subscribers in our audience, I decided to share this tip as it works not only for purchases made during the holiday season but for the lifetime of the credit card account.
For those who qualify and hold an active Prime subscription, visit this link and apply for the Amazon Prime Store card. Once approved you can choose from the following two perks:
- Earn 5% cashback on everyday purchases (as a statement credit)
- Promotional financing on orders of $149 or more
As I stated earlier, my approach to credit cards as a buy only what you can pay off at the statement due date so for this I opted to have the 5% cashback for all future Amazon purchases (including third-party sellers).
With this card, there are no limits on reward potential, so you aren't capped to the $1,500 in eligible spending (aka $75 in total rewards earned) like with the Discover Card and can score 5% cash back each month, year-round as long as you stay within your given credit limit.
Rewards are automatically credited during each month's statements:
And there you have it, these are the exact methods that I will be using to save 5% on my upcoming Holiday 2016 purchases through Apple's Online Store as well as through Amazon. If you can manage to take on an additional credit card and are financially responsible enough towards future purchases then these methods can give back some extra cash on holiday shopping orders that you were already planning to make.
As a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and our Managing Editor, Colt loves testing out the newest tech products/services. His goal is to help better educate other consumers to ensure the most satisfying purchases decisions on consumer electronics and services. When he is not working on creating new content, Colt enjoys spending time with his two Australian Shepherds, Mia and Zoey.