Selling My Soul For Apple iPhone Pay And Discover

In late October, I purchased my first Apple iPhone to take advantage of the Discover Apple Pay promotion. I have been a long time Android user. When I explained my rationale to my friends why I purchased the iPhone 6s for the potential to earn $4000 back from Discover, my friend immediately retorted that I sold my soul. To turn down the potential for $4000 to me is borderline crazy. I have two Discover cards and both were registered to have double cash back.

Losing It

When emails were rolling in about Discover declining gift card purchases, I knew mine were at risk and I had not received the emails yet. Then a few days ago I started to receive them:

We’re writing to let you know that your Apple Pay purchase on October xx, 2015 for $1,024.75 at ABC 123 xxxxxxxxxxx included a gift card. The gift card portion of your purchase does not qualify for the 10% Cashback Bonus®  promotion.

I made sure they were random values, but the purchases were high enough for them to flag and want to see receipts. At that point, I was back to the drawing board.

The Evolution

For one thing, some people may see manufactured spending to beyond them in their ethics. To me, I see it as coloring in between the lines. However, the Apple Pay with Discover promotion gave me thoughts that could compromise my integrity.

Apple iPhone

I thought long and hard about the possibility of how I could maximize this promotion, but I was not going to let Apple Pay and Discover change my values. My integrity is worth more than $4000. There was one idea that I thought of executing, but a better deal came up. In this light, because there might be people executing on the idea I won’t write about it publicly until after everyone is paid out from Discover.

If we were to depict my feelings on it, I would say it was like a square. Then the thoughts and ideas I had kept evolving and landed as a circle.




A couple of ideas that surfaced and did not execute because they were non negotiable are:

  • Buying product to refund
  • Doctoring receipts

I never advocate buying anything just to return, whether it is for points or cash in this instance.




While I applaud Discover to give us the opportunity to contest their findings, I did not want to doctor any receipts. I do not want to make up any receipts or fudge any products. That idea feels so shady and is just wrong. While I will not do it, I can see other people doing it because why not? It’s easy and the charges went through.

Almost Gave Up

I was ready to resign to the fact that I was not going to be able to complete the $20,000 spend. Then a promotion came up and caused the wheels to turn and I was ready. And then a different promotion came in and having made friends in store I will meet the spend this weekend. The first promotion that caused the wheels to turn would have required some real spend, multiple steps, and a decent amount of work.

We still have the rest of the month of December. To maximize, my best advice is to be on the look out for deals and just resell on Amazon because that’s what I am doing.

8 comments… add one
  • This is a Saturday Night Live script of Jack Handey-style deep thoughts.
    There’s ethics, and there’s rationalization, and only when the topic is antonyms do they belong in the same sentence. But if this your manifesto of ethical behavior, then you’re morally required to go forth and sin no more. No manufactured spending at all. Burn your Serve card. Close every credit account you opened with a fib about annual income. All the returned purchases you made in the days of the Mint may take decades to pay off, but maybe you’ll feel better when you’re done.
    Anyway, since when does Discover get to declare you guilty without proof? If your purchases were made with Level I or Level II POS security, it’s nearly impossible to find out what you bought without access to the merchants’ daily journal. Discover is asking for receipts because they don’t know what you bought, and the company is too unethical to spend the time to find out.

    • That’s right, Discover has no idea what is being purchased and is taking a shot in the dark. But I won’t fake a receipt. No need to unnecessarily get caught in a web of deceit

  • At what point does reselling become a business?
    How will you deal with taxes etc?

    • I have already incorporated the blog and plan to put the reselling into the business. As for the taxes, I am currently using a cash accounting method, and plan to send all the documentation to my accountant to handle the taxes.

  • Any chance you will enlighten us after you’ve completed your spend. Would love some advice.

    • I plan to release this information after every one is paid out, which is looks to be around February given how the current pay outs have been.

  • Why is reselling more morally neutral than returning? If you resell at cost, another person is paying for your points. If you return and the company sells at cost… Same deal.

    There’s a difference if your return would end up in the trash obviously, but otherwise what’s the difference in end result?

    P. S. I don’t resell or return, too much time investment.

    P.P.S. Even if you resell at a loss, it’d take a large loss to make it morally righteous, and then you’d just not do it.

    • The goal of reselling is not selling at cost, but to economically profit. The difference here? I’m putting in an effort providing a service to sell merchandise for people who are looking for convenience and speed of a product, and if I can get it to them cheaper than they normally could like buying from me potentially could be sales tax free.


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