Gift card and MBPro order…should have listened to MacSparky

After listening to David’s travails trying to apply an Apple Store gift card to an already-placed MBPro order, I should have known better…

I too placed an online order for a new M1Max MBPro, 24 core graphics, 32GB Ram, 4TB SSD. I have found that 90% of my time at my desk I am actually using my MBAir, so I decided to seek my M1 Mini and get an MBPro as a single machine. The Air will be traded in or passed down to a family member with the Pro arrives.

I didn’t do the trade in on the Mini when I placed the order, as I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to prepare it for trading in, but then this weekend I had the time and after making several clones (just in case), reinstalled Big Sur. I took it over to the Apple Store and traded it in.

I will give the team in the store credit. They tried valiantly to apply the trade in credit to my existing order, but to no avail. They did come up with a suggestion: hold on to the Mini until my new machine was actually shipping and the charges dropped to my Apple Card, and then bring it in for trade in. They thought the problem with applying the gift card to my purchase was because the charges hadn’t dropped yet. I decided to just take the gift card and gamble that the problem that David ran into getting it applied to the existing purchase was fixed. Dumb assumption.

I spend last night on the phone with Apple Support for about an hour, with three different people. They all tried really hard, but could not get the system to recognize the PIN on my card. Apparently the only PIN codes they can enter are all letters, but the PIN on the store gift card was a mix of letters and numbers, and just like David experienced, it just wouldn’t go through.

Several times I suggested that I just cancel the existing sale and start a new one (which would push my deliver date back) and apply the gift card, but they kept telling me they would be able to fix the problem. I also wondered if the problem was that I had paid with my Apple Card, as I noticed on the Apple ordering site that you cannot pay with a gift card and split the charge to an Apple Card, only to a different credit card. I wonder why that is. In any case, they didn’t think that was the problem.

Eventually I got to a fellow who did in the end solve the problem (I think). He had me apply the gift card to my Apple Account in the App Store. I was nervous about doing that and told him that I really didn’t want to gamble as I don’t need $950 worth of apps! He assured me that would not happen, so I redeemed the card in the App Store.

Ten minutes later he not only told me that things were all set, but in addition that I had another $38 in my Apple Account that he could also apply to the purchase, so I went ahead and did that.

This morning I got nervous and called Apple Support again. They checked my purchase and confirmed that it is now set to be paid out of my Apple Account!

Interestingly, it was not set to limit the chart on the Apple Account to the available $938 and apply the rest to my Apple Card, but he said he was able to fix that. I didn’t get a confirmatory email to confirm this change (I had gotten one last night after the first change) so I’m not sure how this is going to work out in the end.

I guess worst case is that I get a notice that either the charges didn’t go through, or the residual gets charged to the credit card backing my Apple Account (which is probably not my Apple Card, but whatever credit card it is will have some sort of a cash rebate anyway). I am just hoping that the purchase doesn’t fail and sent me back to the end of the line waiting for a new MBP at that point! I’m already waiting until December as it is.

I find it very odd that it is so difficult to apple an Apple Gift Card to an Apple Online Store purchase.