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