Home > Leveraging Bonus Reward Credit Cards with a Car Purchase

Leveraging Bonus Reward Credit Cards with a Car Purchase

May 25th, 2013 at 07:39 pm

Gee, what a difference a dealership makes...

I headed out this morning to the local Honda dealer. They werenít the lowest Internet price given to me via email among the half dozen dealerships Iíd contacted, and I WAS prepared to drive 45 minutes out of my way to one of two other dealerships that had more or less tied for lowest price.

But the spread in prices among the 6 dealers I'd contacted was really not as big as you might think for such a big purchase ($437), so I figured Iíd try the local dealer first. I was already armed with Kellyís Blue Book and Edmundís ideas of a ďfairĒ price, and so I only needed to get the dealer to agree to come down about $200.

He began by explaining that their ďInternet priceĒ was a non-negotiable, no-haggle price and the lowest they could go. After I ignored that statement and explained that I needed him to come down $200 more (to be in line with the KBB price), he agreed without any fuss. (Maybe I could have gotten more off, who knows.)

I got the window visors I wanted and $1,000 for my 14-year-old Honda so the total cost to me was $19,970 (including the window visors, sales tax, registration fees and my trade-in) for a 2013 HF sedan (auto transmission, cruise control, remote entry, radio/phone controls on the steering wheel, CD player, low tire pressure sensor) which gets 41 mpg highway (This is approaching hybrid mileage without the hybrid price tag.) The total price was exactly the price KBB indicated was a "fair" price.

Plus, I had applied for THREE new rewards credit cards last weekend, hoping Iíd have them in time to use for partial payment of the car. (Taking a tip from Monkey Mama, I think, I made sure to apply for all 3 at the same time to avoid being turned down because one credit card company interpreted the other recent card acquisitions as evidence I'm desperate for money or something.)

I got one of the new cards yesterday, an Amex Blue Cash Every Day card, and that was really the only reason I went out car shopping today instead of next week. By using it for the deposit, I was able to earn an immediate $100 cash back from Amex in that single transaction, and if I get one of the other two cards in the mail by next Thursday, I can earn at least another $100 back by charging another $1,000. (The max they would let you charge is $2,000.) The dealer said Iíd have to pay for the rest of the car with a cashierís check, but thatís ok.

The other 2 cards Iím waiting for are the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card (get $100 back after spending $500 in 3 months) and the Chase Sapphire Preferred card (get $400 back after spending $3,000 in 3 months). Now I never thought I could spend $3,000 in 3 months with the Chase card, but if I charged the $1,000 for the car next week, Iíd only have $2,000 more to spend in 3 months, and there was a time once before, I believe, where I was able to hit a $2,000 spending target in 3 months while being unemployed. Now that Iíll be working, starting next week, I should be able to spend more money on things like gas, definitely. Weíll make it work. I can always buy a ton of food. Hey, and I forgot! I can charge my new car insurance on the card!

The question is, will I get the card in time to use it Thursday? I applied for it online last Sunday and instead of an immediate approval like I always get with new cards, I got an email saying it would take some time and they'd let me know in 30 days by mail if I was approved. Maybe they had a problem with my self-employment income? Not sure.

But then when I was looking at my other Chase accounts online, I noticed the Chase Sapphire Preferred was listed there with a $12,000 limit! But I still don't have the card. Rep said it takes 5 to 10 business days and by Wednesday afternoon, and given the holiday, only 7 business days will have passed. I suppose I could delay the car pick-up one more day, til Friday, but if I didn't get the card in the mail Thursday afternoon, I'll just have to pay using the other credit card I was approved for, assuming I also get that one in the mail by then. If I wind up not using the Sapphire Preferred card for the partial car payment, I would probably just cancel it becus that's a pretty tough spend target without the car payment and there's a $95 fee after the first year. So might as well not hang onto it.

I could have taken the new car home today, but Iím delaying it til next week on account of those credit cards rewards, plus I want to see how much I can get the insurance quotes I got down by raising the deductible from $500. And I also have to wait to get a cashierís check too.

I start the new job Tuesday, and had already arranged to work only Tuesday and Wednesday of the first week so I could wrap up loose ends. So Iíll have Thursday and Friday off next week and can pick up the car and take care of that. They said theyíd remove the kayak rack off the old car. At first, I was going to have them install it on the new car, but he wasnít sure it would fit and then I started thinking Iíd probably not want to scratch up the new car with a kayak or even just installing the rack, so for now, Iíll take it home with me and keep it off. But then that means I canít ever go kayaking unless I go with someone else who has a truck or rack themselves.


Iím pretty well satisfied with the car purchase and was amazed how different this experience was from the Ford dealer. The sales rep was super laid back and very easy to deal with, not pushy/aggressive in the least.

14 Responses to “Leveraging Bonus Reward Credit Cards with a Car Purchase”

  1. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Yay! Sounds like a good deal all around.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Glad you feel much better with this transaction. Did you get your $500 back from the other dealership? We love our Honda's and you know they run so well, too.

  3. PatientSaver Says:

    I still have not received the $500 deposit back from the Ford dealer, however, the credit card company (Chase) had no problem flagging the charge and will let me dispute it if they don't refund the money. They said refunds take longer to process, like 10 days, so I'm content to wait into next week. As of today, it's only been 5 business days.

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    Sounds like the deposit is in the works either way! Nice.

  5. snafu Says:

    Sounds like you're much happier with this both the Honda dealership and the deal. If you get verification of approval from Sapphire and/or Travel, armed with account numbers, expiry date and security/ID number [if that is their practice], you should be able to complete the transaction without the physical card.

    While I don't know where your new car ranks on the preferred theft list, I can see the value of having police, appropriate agency or DIY etch VIN on window for long term protection. I wonder if It might be a premium reduction point for auto insurance. We've always had Roadside assistance and Auto rental included as a line item on policies.

    You didn't mention the 'bells and whistles,' will you truly miss those or perhaps just not mentioned.

  6. LuckyRobin Says:

    So, wait, did you actually take the other car back to Ford and they accepted it and gave you back your old car? I don't remember you mentioning that part at all. Just that you were going to try. Maybe I missed it, but didn't see it in skimming back over the entries.

  7. PNW Mom Says:


  8. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    LR - I think PS had not picked up the Ford yet from the dealer - just had put the deposit down.

  9. PatientSaver Says:

    Yes, that's right Frugal Texan. I only put the $500 deposit on the Ford, never took possession of it.

    The only bells and whistles that really appealed to me were the heated leather seats in the Ford, but after 14 years of driving the same old car, there were a few "standard" options in the Honda that will be new to me and that I'll know I'll enjoy, like the remote entry and audio/phone controls on the steering wheel. And, years ago, I used to have an Accord with cruise control so it will be super nice to have that back.

    Thanks, Snafu, for the reminder about using credit card numbers without the actual card in hand. If needed, I can call the credit card issuer and check on that, although I know you always have to "activate" the card before you can use it.

  10. CB in the City Says:

    Don't forget you can use your credit card for your new work clothes, too! I don't think you'll have any problem spending $2,000, all things considered.

    I know you'll be super busy and tired when you start your new job but please keep checking in and letting us know how it's going.

  11. creditcardfree Says:

    I would not cancel the Chase Sapphire card until the three months pass, just in case something would come up that would allow you to meet the spending limit.

  12. My English Castle Says:

    New car, new job, new clothes! What a great new adventure.

  13. scfr Says:

    Good job leveraging the cc rewards. I checked my old blog entry from when we bought our last car (early 2010) and we were able to put $5K on our cc. I wonder if car dealers in general have cut back on the amount you can put on your card or if it just varies by dealer .....

  14. Kristina Says:

    When I did the credit card bonus thing a few years ago I purchased gift cards at the places I usually shopped to get to the minimum amount spent needed. I bought Target, grocery and gas cards and then used them for the next few months as I needed to purchase things.

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