So, the title of my post is a little deceiving, but hear me out… This quarter (April, May, June) the Chase Freedom card gives 5X Ultimate Rewards per $1 spent at grocery stores and movie theaters up to $1,500. We spend a significant proportion of our monthly budget at grocery stores, but we have yet to take advantage of this bonus as we have been meeting minimum spend requirements on my American Airlines Visa and American Express cards. We just met that minimum spend requirement (Thanks Citi for my 100,000 AA miles!) and have 8 more days to take advantage of the Chase Freedom bonus. Luckily, grocery stores sell gift cards so we can buy gift cards for almost every merchant we visit and still get the 5X rewards.
This morning I got an email from Amazon regarding the current price of the OLD version of the MacBook Air (which I’ve been eyeing for months). The price of this 11.6 inch MacBook is $829. Given the current price of the newer version and even the recent price of the older version ($999), I thought this was a great deal. This MacBook is being sold through Amazon by J&R. It’s also being sold directly by J&R.com. Upon looking closely at the payment options on J&R.com, you can “checkout with Amazon” which means they will “collect funds from you through Amazon.”
Before I purchase anything online, I go to EVReward.com to find out what all the online shopping portals are offering. I see that Membership Rewards gives you 5X and Ultimate Rewards gives you 3X your purchases at J&R.com. There are several other portals to choose from, but I find these two to be the best given their flexibility (my favorite redemptions are Ultimate Rewards to transfer to United miles or Hyatt points).Keep in mind that you must also have the Chase Sapphire or Ink Bold cards to transfer Ultimate Rewards to travel partners.
So, I can buy $800 worth of gift cards at our local grocery store using our Chase Freedom card. That will give me 4,000 Ultimate Rewards. I then apply these gift cards to my Amazon account. Log onto J&R.com, proceed to checkout and then “checkout with Amazon.” They will deduct the price of the J&R item from my Amazon balance. I will then get either 4,000 Membership Rewards or 2,400 Ultimate Rewards for the actual purchase from J&R.
I still haven’t made a final decision about the MacBook, but this certainly makes the move much more appealing. The best thing of all is that this process can be applied to many other direct sellers who partner with Amazon and allow you to pay with Amazon upon checkout. And next month the bonus categories for the 3rd quarter for the Chase Freedom are gas stations and restaurants. Gas stations sell gift cards too so there may be opportunities for the next three months as well! Our household has a LARGE fuel bill every month given our long commutes so we’ll hit this bonus just on gas alone. But for those who will have a difference between their spend and the $1,500 maximum, this is definitely something to consider!