How should this groom-to-be spend $10,000?

A few days ago, I received the following email from a reader:

I’m shopping for a wedding ring, plan to spend around $10,000, perhaps in Blue Nile.  After reading your blog, I can’t help to think how to get the most out of that purchase, perhaps by applying for a new credit card and getting signup bonus, using one of the online malls from various credit cards or airline companies, etc.
I have very good credit and can pay the full purchase price in cash.  Any recommendations?

Wow, $10,000.  That’s a nice problem to have!  Don’t tell Mrs. Miler that I spent quite a bit less than that on her ring…  Anyway, my first thought was that $10,000 happens to be the exact amount needed to get the sign-up bonus for the Ink Bold.  So, I asked the reader what cards he has so far.  Here was his answer:

I have Amex Blue and Capital One Venture. No Ink Bold yet.

Investigation

I’m not familiar with Blue Nile (the merchant he’s considering buying from), so my first step was to see what the reader could get from a shopping portal.  A while ago I reviewed various portal finders (e.g. ev’reward, NerdWallet Shopping, etc.) and I concluded that CashBack Holics was the best (see “The best portal finder”).  So, that was my first stop:

image

Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal is on the list, but currently it only gives 2 points per dollar for Blue Nile.  TopCashBack, on the other hand, gives 5.5% cash back.  That would be a nice rebate on a $10,000 purchase!

Next, I checked BlueNile.com to see if they sold gift cards, and found that they do: up to $1000 worth.  It’s not clear, though, whether you can use more than one for a purchase.  I then checked GiftCardGranny to see if the gift cards were available at a discount. Nothing came up.

Finally, I faked a purchase of an expensive bracelet to see if it was possible to pay with multiple credit cards.  The answer is, yes it’s possible, but to do so you have to complete the order over the phone.  It’s unclear whether the 5.5% cash back would still work in that scenario.

Recommendations

I think that the groom-to-be has several good options:

  1. Ink Bold, straight up: This is the easiest and most straightforward option.  Sign up for a new Ink Bold and use it to pay for the ring.  Going through TopCashBack to BlueNile.com should result in a $550 rebate; plus the $10K purchase would fulfill the Ink Bold’s minimum spend requirement and would result in 60K Ultimate Rewards points (50K from the sign-up bonus and 10K from the spend).
  2. Ink Bold + Amex Prepaid cards:  If you happen to live near an Office Depot that sells Vanilla Reload cards, then you can get Amex Prepaid cards as described in my post “One card to rule them all”.  American Express will allow each person to get 3 cards, so you can get 3 and load them to $2500 each (this will take several days as you can only load $1000 per day).  Then, use these cards to pay $7500 worth of the ring and use the Ink Bold directly for the final $2500.  It’s unclear whether you would get a TopCashBack rebate from this approach, but you would get the Ink Bold’s 50K bonus, plus 10K points from spend on the Ink Bold, plus 7500 * 4 = 30,000 extra points for spend within the Office Supply category.  This would lead to a grand total of 90,000 points!
  3. Multiple card sign-ups:  Another option is to look at the best current credit card offers and pick several cards with minimum spend requirements that add to $10K.  Ideally you would pick no more than one from each bank (or 2 if one is a personal card and another is a business card).  With this approach you would easily earn well over 100,000 points.  As with the second option above, you would need to call to split the purchase across multiple credit cards.

Reader Recommendations

I laid out some options above, but I’d really like to hear from readers.  What ideas do you have?  What is the best way for the groom-to-be to spend his money?  Comment below.

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About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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34 Comments on "How should this groom-to-be spend $10,000?"

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DeltaTraveler
Guest
First, I would avoid a place like BlueNile. Not because the product is per say, but becaus it is an interne site that could vanish tomorrow. My recommendation: choose a jeweler with long standing roots who you are confident will be there for many many years to come. If you are in that pricing tier, I have a great guy in NYC I can recommend. @FrequentFlier, feel free to share my email with the reader or I can send you my contact to forward over to your reader. Point being, when your fiancé wants to get her ring checked, sized,… Read more »
Donna C
Guest

great ideas!

DeltaTraveler
Guest

*bad per say

Pardon any typos. I’m on my iPhone!

Mark
Guest

Blue Nile is fine. I used them 3 years ago and are still ticking. Question is, $10,000 is a lot to spend on a ring unless you are a baller (read: wealthy). I spent less than 1/2 that and my wife couldn’t pick out a flaw if she wanted to. Carats more than .9 start to get spendy.

I’d be more concerned about the diamond you are buying than the scheme to purchase it. That’s secondary…

Steve
Guest

Step 1) buy from a wholesaler. Get a 10k ring for 6k. Save $4,000.
Step 2) multiple credit card sign up offers. Buy gift cards to hit the spend (If
Wholesaler has gift cards get their no fee merchant gift cards)
Step 3) use gift cards.

End result. Save $4,000 and get over 100,000 points from signup bonuses.

Anonymous Andy Jacobs
Guest
Anonymous Andy Jacobs
Bluenile has been around for more than 10 years, I wouldn’t be too worried about them going away. Provided the business isn’t horribly mismanaged, I would expect them to be around for quite some time. And, if they go away. So what? Ongoing ring costs are minimal. If it falls out or is damaged, they’ll fix it. For most folks (especially one “only” spending $10k), that will be the most expensive jewelry purchase you’ll make. I’m not sure if an ongoing relationship matters much from a customer’s standpoint. I spent a little more on the engagement ring years back from… Read more »
harvson3
Guest

First, find a partner who doesn’t need a $10K ring, and save money for important needs and investments. Grumble, grumble.
Fialing that, I agree with splitting the payment up for multiple credit cards’ minimum spending limits. Any jeweler (in-person) looking to make a sale would gladly incur multiple credit card swipes.

Piecerate
Guest

I like the idea of the Ink Bold + 3 prepaid AM Ex cards for the huge UR haul, but is there cause for concern if you purchase 15 $500 reloads in short order? When you broke the one card rules them all idea you advised caution? Is “perk abuse” not a concern here?

alex
Guest

Look, if you’re spending 10k on a ring, that probably means your spending like 70k on a wedding, so you will have no problem meeting all the minimum spends you want to meet. I do think, since i just went through this, that if you’re gonna spend 10k, spend it at van cleef or something…

Randall
Guest

BlueNile is great, bought my wife’s (expensive) wedding ring there and saved about 30% vs the overpriced jewelers in town. The diamonds are beautiful and flawless. To imply they’re some fly by night website that might get shutdown tomorrow is absurd. That’s like saying Amazon might shutdown because they’re an internet company. I’d be 1000x more worried that a local jeweler would take my money and shutdown. Moreover, if you’re paying by credit card you have that protection.

BTW, Blue NIle is a publicly traded company, ticker NILE.

Hilary
Guest

Another vote for Blue Nile–my ring is from Blue Nile (I suggested it to my husband) and we couldn’t be happier. The initial ring was too big, so we sent it back to get it resized and all went smoothly.

Would probably go with 2. and get 90K or more pts for Ink Bold, plus apply for another Chase personal card–United MileagePlus Explorer or Hyatt card if nights will be used on honeymoon, since both give pts/benefits with first use of card so no additional minimum spend required.

Lawrence
Guest

You could also go to a local jeweler and strike a good deal while paying with CASH. Often they don’t want to pay the credit card fees and pass the savings along to you. Sometimes merchants have a way of making the cash disappear and it benefits them. So you have to balance the cash savings to the points you can obtain putting it on the credit card.

Phil
Guest
I disagree with DeltaPoints advice wholeheartedly. Oh and hey on here he can’t censor the comments either 😉 Purchasing diamonds online can actually be very sensible, and it is very easy to take the final ring to a local jeweler to resize if that is absolutely necessary and it will cost very little. BlueNile is reputable but I will say when I bought a $20k 2.5 carat ring for our tenth anniversary a couple of years back we found a great deal on Diamond.com. You can search their database of stones and then have it custom fitted onto your choice… Read more »
Jon
Guest
Blue Nile is convenient and easy to order from. They are reputable, and I have no doubt that they sell quality jewelery. However, I found that a local jeweler was willing to beat Blue Nile’s pricing by a significant amount, and essentially match the price of some other lower priced, high quality online jewelers like goodoldgold.com. Further, the local jeweler I used was able to custom manufacture the engagement ring I bought based on photos from other high priced online jewelers. Bottom line is I received a high quality ring/diamond at a great price. The key is to avoid large… Read more »
Scottrick
Guest
I don’t have a problem with Blue Nile, although I chose to go to a physical store. I split the ring on my new AmEx SPG and Chase Sapphire. Gift cards weren’t an option (maybe I could have used pre-paid cards or even more CCs to split it further, but I try to avoid hassle). Regarding the cost, just because someone is spending a lot doesn’t always mean the person is wealthy or will have a huge wedding. I was saving even before I met Megan, so the amount was unconnected to how much I earn. Hopefully it’s one ring… Read more »
Heather Miller
Admin

Funny, I got (and answered) the same email. I advised getting Ink Bold (vs splitting the spend onto multiple cards) and putting the spend on that card, since it’ll meet the minimum spend for that card’s bonus. Which shopping portal works best depends on what points are needed at the margin for a specific reward.

Amit
Guest

Blue Nile is awesome – I used them a few years ago and they had a wider selection of diamonds at a significant discount from retailers. I used the wire transfer option because there was a 3/3.5 percent discount. I wonder if this is stackable with topcashback? 8.5-9 percent would be significant savings.

Steelsnow
Guest
First off, research the heck out of what you want. Learn about the C’s (cut, color, clarity) and how the diamonds are graded (what is certified, and what is marketed hype). It’s worth the time as you are only planning on doing this once! For the price you are looking at, you should be able to get an EX/EX/EX rated diamond of at least 1 ct. In a platinum (unfortunately, it doesn’t get her into any lounges!) setting. After you have that knowledge and your mind set, find it and see what’s out there. Price sometimes trumps extra points. Another… Read more »
econjon
Guest
I went through this last year. And boy do I wish I knew what I now know, at least in terms of getting points for spend. But as Steve and a few others pointed out here, what matters the most is not which cards you use (Ink, SPG, etc… you’re going to score a bunch of points) BUT where you buy the stone. If you plan on buying the rock online (like I did) utilize the forums on pricescope.com. There are a ton of knowledgeable folks that will happily look at your options and give you unbiased opinions. Oh, and… Read more »
Harold
Guest
First, Congratulations! I agree with Lawrence from personal experience. I too wanted to put the big expense of a ring on a card, but when I used cash as a negotiation tool I received a discount which far exceeded the potential points gained. For example even with the multiple card sign ups you stand to gain 100,000 points reasonably valued at $0.02 then you need to only save 20% by using cash (which I did). Plus my local jeweler inspects and guarantees the ring for free. I suggest at least trying to negotiate a cash deal to see what kind… Read more »
Harold
Guest

Also, I agree with econjon’s recommendation of pricescope.com

al613
Guest

Better use it for BA card $10k spent for 25k miles.

Mark
Guest

I would push the envelope and go for multiple sign ups. Having a diversify portfolio of points would be good.

Start a apply orama. Hit all the minimum spend. Even get some for only status. Since I can foresee a wedding or honeymoon in the near future, those can be on Ink Bold via Amex Prepaid.

He can really get a huge pot for the honeymoon.

mangoMan
Guest

I second Steelsnow’s advice on checking Costco. Their prices can be quite a bit better than Blue Nile. The savings would trump any extra miles earned thru a shopping portal.

Mark
Guest

And Costco has 2% cashcack for executive members. Wondering if that applies to Jewlwery.
This is seriously a good problem to have.

Mikes
Guest
Ditto on Costco. Actually Sam’s in my case. Costco is a bit more high end, but either would do given the cost of the membership being relatively trivial. The only downside is lack of selection, but after hitting 6 ‘real’ jewelery stores (plus a few in Mexico) I found the perfect ring at Sam’s. In our case, we also had to get a custom made wedding band because Sam’s didn’t sell a matching piece, and it required a notch due to the size of the mount. The local jeweler was happy to make it and for $400 we got a… Read more »
mrredskin
Guest

purchased mine from a long-standing local retailer. put it on my Amex Plat in several installments. I figured they would have the best customer service and support if there ended up being an issue with any part of the purchase or ring. $7.2k for a 0.99 tiffany. ignore the idiot that said you must be spending $70k on the wedding if spending $10k on ring.

having looked at a good few dozen diamonds before finding the one i gave my fiance, i’m glad i was able to see what i bought before i made the purchase.

MDAccount
Guest

Ring up another person voting for Costco. Their markup on everything they sell is 14-15%, including high-end jewelry, which is a level of value few places can, or will, match.

Chris
Guest
It’s great to get points for your money whenever possible, but this might be a situation where you need to go through a merchant that does not show up on a shopping portal. A wedding ring is something that could very well be passed down to your children and grandchildren. With that in mind I highly recommend going with a custom ring designer. For my wife’s ring I used Green Lake Jewelry Works in Seattle. (www.greenlakejewelry.com) They have a staff of artists and metal smiths that do amazing work. It is an online process of collaboration where you get drawings… Read more »
Tara
Guest
We got my ring from an online site for a fraction of what it would have cost locally… in fact, we couldn’t even have bought what we wanted locally without doing some kind of special order. We were looking for as close to flawless as possible and ended up with a D VVS1, whereas all the local places mostly had SIs with some VSs. That being said, if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t care nearly as much about the near-flawless aspect. I’d recommend more like a F-G color and VS2 would suit me just fine! I’ve… Read more »
Max M
Guest
Absolutely have to say without hesitation, skip the miles from Blue Nile, and buy from Costco. I bought my fiancee’s ring there [surprisingly online] and don’t regret it at all. The ring was certified by both GIA and IGI and looks absolutely amazing. I first tried a local jeweler that was well respected, and even with an employee discount for that jeweler since my future sister-in-law worked there, I was able to get a much larger diamond with better cut, and clarity at Costco then the deal I would have gotten with the local jeweler— even with a genuine employee… Read more »
Dan
Guest

I would echo the comments about BlueNile being a reputable dealer. One piece of advise I would give is to buy the rock from BlueNile and then go to a local jeweler for the setting and the rest of the ring. The price for the stone is 80-90% of the ring, so you can save online, but still get the service of a local jeweler for cleaning and all that.

That’s the route I went 3 years ago and I couldn’t be happier.

nelumbo
Guest

Thanks for all the comments above. I am about to buy an engagement ring. The only concern that I have with Costco is the sole ring size, which is way much larger than my girlfriend’s. It may take extra time and money for the resizing. I hope there’s some cheap and easy way to work around it.

Damian
Guest

Hi, I stumbled across this post through a Google search, and really appreciate your feedback. I am also in the process of shopping for a $10-12K engagement ring from Blue Nile, and was wondering if you’re able to provide an updated analysis of how I can get the best cash back/rewards for my large purchase?