Maximizing Credit Card Spend Part 4
- Part 1 – Small Purchases, Dining, and International Spend
- Part 2 – Hotels, Airlines, and Rental Cars
- Part 3 – Office Supplies, Groceries, Large Purchases
- Part 4 – Large Purchases, Department Stores, & Summary
Large Electronics Purchases
For many people, buying an expensive TV or top of the line computer is an infrequent and carefully thought out event. Hours are spent doing research, making sure the right device is chosen. What many people fail to take into account, however, is a year or two down the road when that device breaks or malfunctions. What kind of warranty did it come with? Will the manufacturer fix it? Luckily, using the right credit card can ease some of those worries. Most electronics come with at least a one-year warranty – computers, TVs, home-theater systems, etc. The bad thing is that you’re likely to have those items for much longer than one year. However, when you use an American Express card the warranty is automatically extended by one year by American Express. This means that that one-year warranty just became a two-year warranty for no additional charge. You’ll even get an additional year if you buy an extended warranty from the manufacturer. For instance, if you buy a brand new MacBook Pro and purchase the three-year AppleCare extended warranty, it will automatically become a four-year warranty with American Express covering the fourth year. Rick always says how great a card the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express is from a reward standpoint, but it’s also a perfect card for buying electronics!
In 2011, the Chase Freedom card offered 5X Ultimate Rewards points at Department Stores in the fourth quarter. In 2012, Chase is again offering 5X UR points during the fourth quarter, but only at Best Buy and Kohl’s. 5X UR points is huge to me and I make sure to use my Freedom card wherever the 5X points currently are. If you have a Chase Freedom card, make sure to check to see when Department Stores will be up – most likely during the fourth quarter for the holiday shopping season. If you don’t have a Chase Freedom card, the Discover More Card offers a similar system. Every quarter there are rotating categories that offer 5% cash back on the first $1,500 in purchases. For 2012, the fourth quarter has Department Stores and All Online Shopping for those that prefer to avoid the crowds. While the Discover card’s rewards can really only be used towards statement credits and gift cards, 5% cash back is still 5%. If you prefer to earn points, most cards will be the same, depending on how you value a program’s points.
Over the last several weeks I’ve covered many different shopping categories as a way to get you all to maximize your credit card spend. Unless you have room in your wallet for 10+ cards, you’ll have to make sacrifices in certain categories. My first advice would be to figure out where you spend most of your money. It doesn’t matter if you can get 10X points at nail salons if you never go to them! With that said, remember that gift cards can be a great way to boost your earning potential. If you shop at Amazon a lot, but have a card that offers 5X points at grocery stores, buying Amazon gift cards at grocery stores would automatically boost your Amazon earning. I’m a huge fan of the Chase offerings: the Freedom, Sapphire Preferred, and Ink Bold are a great triple threat when it comes to most types of spends. However, if you have a more specialized type of spend, make sure to get a card that rewards you for it.
Deal of the Day
For today’s Deal of the Day FlyerTalk is giving away A FlyerTalk Luggage Tag & Hoodie combo for the best overall travel deal submitted. A great mileage run, mistake fare, partner promo, new card sign-up offer, or the special twist you figured out on a deal today. Add it to the comments section of this post (with your First Name, Last Initial, and 3 letter airport code) or this afternoon’s Deal of the Day post to be eligible to win.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Annual Fee: $95 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The Sapphire Preferred offers 2x points on dining and travel, and no foreign transaction fees, making this the go-to card for travelers.
This card accumulates Ultimate Rewards points, which are very valuable for transfer to United and Hyatt. Overall, this card is a great choice for maximizing earnings on dining, travel, and every day spend.
- Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
- 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value — that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
- 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
- Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95