Apple Card scenarios

So I’ve been thinking about the Apple Card and I’m just trying to understand a couple of scenarios. Looking for confirmation more than anything else or if I’m not thinking correctly.

a) Let’s say I’m getting billed monthly for iCloud. If I use the Apple Card, I should get 3% cash back. But, let’s say that I buy an Apple gift card online somewhere for 15% off and then apply that to my iTunes account. When iCloud uses that gift card, do I no longer get the 3% Apple Card cash back? If not, then it’s a better deal to get a 15% off gift card. (I know this is peanuts but just trying to understand.).

b) If I buy a HomePod from the Apple Store using the Apple Card, I would get 3% cash back. At $299, I would get about $9 cash back. But if another NON-APPLE-PAY store has it on sale, I would get the 1% cash back on top of the sale price. I think the best solution is to find a store that has it on sale AND uses Apple Pay (2% cash back). Does that make sense?

I haven’t bought an Apple laptop since 2012 (although I’m in need of one) but I remember buying most of my computers from certified resellers because I could get it a little cheaper. Same with my iPads. The only thing of any value I’ve bought directly from Apple in the last 5 years were two sets of AirPods. I feel like those discounts I got were more than 3%.

If you buy Apple hardware from discount resellers, you can probably get a better deal than 3%. However, if you want your Apple hardware on launch day, or you want a specific build-to-order configuration, or you want a product that doesn’t normally show up though reseller channels (like the Mac Pro), or you want to walk out of an Apple Store with your product, the 3% you get from Apple Card is a pretty good deal.

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My regular MC pays 1% on everything, 2% on groceries and wholesale clubs, and 3% on whatever category I choose (up to a $2500 quarterly limit). Currently I’ve chosen to get 3% back on all online shopping. If I continue to order more from Amazon every year, I’ll probably look at their Prime card at some point in order to get 5% back on purchases from them.

I made my last Mac purchase from a certified reseller and saved a little over 18% with their sale price and my 3% cash back.

The Apple Card has some nice technical bells & whistles, and is a spiffy thing to stick in your wallet. But financially, it should be evaluated exactly the same as you would any other credit card.


(a) and (b) are both correct.

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Thanks to @bowline, I have my answer.

I just wanted to add this. I noticed that Costco, which takes ApplePay, has the HomePod for $249. So I get the $50 discount PLUS the 2% cash back. That’s a nice win-win.

Except that while Costco has Apple Pay they still only take Visa cards, so you cannot use your MC Apple Card there.

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Thanks for that tip. Bummer.

B&H has the white HomePod for $279 (plus no tax outside NY/NJ). At 2% that’s $5.58 back with the Apple Card.

I imagine prices will go down to $249 at some places around Black Friday if you’re willing to wait.

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Just a heads up that the no tax part might not be true everywhere outside of NY/NJ. I’m in IL and received an email some time ago from B&H indicating, as a result of the Supreme Court ruling on South Dakota v. Wayfair, they would start collecting sales tax on orders sent to my state.

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Just chiming in to add that, if you purchase the 15% iTunes gift card from someplace that takes Apple Pay, you can add 2% daily cash on the initial purchase of the card.


This calls for a spreadsheet


You guys have to stop trying to save $5 and just get what you want… :thinking:

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Good catch. I just found an article about that - they’re now obligated to collect tax from the following 22 states:

Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington (state), and Wisconsin.

My California friends are still buying from B&H and Adorama, and this New yorker still buying from Peecision Camera (TX), Samys (CA) and a few other places for high ticket items.