Apple’s Cyber Monday sale is better for MacBook deals than you might think

MacBook Air Cyber Monday deal
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

It's tempting to overlook Apple when Cyber Monday deals are flying fast and furious, as the tech giant spurns lower prices as an incentive to get you to buy products in the post-Thanksgiving sales rush. But Apple does offer some perks for customers, and depending on what product you're shopping for, those incentives can be just as good — and in some cases, better — than a lower price tag.

As a reminder, Apple's holding its annual Apple Shopping Event right now, and since today (November 28) is the final day, you have just a few more hours to take advantage of the offers. These won't include price cuts on devices, as we mentioned; instead, Apple is giving gift cards, with the monetary value varying based on which products you buy.

That said, the iPhone 14 models aren't among the eligible iPhones that will earn you any gift card. Only older iPhones are eligible for $50 gift cards. So if it's an iPhone you're after, you should look for Cyber Monday phone deals elsewhere.

But MacBooks are a different story. For starters, the gift card values are more generous — buying a new Apple laptop gets you a gift card between $150 and $250, depending on the model you're picking up. In some cases, those gift cards may equal the discounted prices we've seeing from other retailers during Cyber Monday.

Take the MacBook Air, specifically the M2-powered model released by Apple earlier this year. Among the Cyber Monday MacBook deals we're tracking, the best MacBook Air discount we've found is currently at Amazon, which has cut the price on that $1,199 model by $150. However, buy that same machine from Apple, and you can get a $150 gift card in return. In other words, the only difference in savings is whether you get a lower price tag now or more money to spend at Apple later on.

MacBook Air (M2/256GB): Get a $150 gift card at Apple

MacBook Air (M2/256GB): <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Get a $150 gift card at Apple
You won't see a discount on the $1,199 MacBook Air M2 if you buy this laptop directly from Apple. But the company will give you a $150 gift card to use on future Apple purchases if you act by November 28. That matches the discounts we're seeing from retailers for the MacBook Air M2.

Similarly, the 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 gets you a $200 gift card from Apple. We've seen Amazon drop the price on the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro by $150, though at this point, the only model still in stock is the 512GB version. After Amazon's sale, it costs as much as the $1,299 256GB model Apple has available, plus you get that $200 gift card as part of the deal.

MacBook Pro 13" (M2/256GB): $200 gift card @ Apple

MacBook Pro 13" (M2/256GB): <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">$200 gift card @ Apple
Apple isn't dropping the price of any of its laptops for Cyber Monday, but you can save in the form of a gift card. The 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 with 256GB of storage gets you a $200 gift card, though no discount off its $1,299 starting price.

One important note about Apple's gift cards — you can only use them at Apple on future purchases. So if you're looking for a more flexible gift certificate that you can spend anywhere, Apple's offer is certainly less appealing. But if you're fully invested in the Apple ecosystem, those gift cards are going to come in handy sooner rather than later. You can put the credit towards new AirPods, an Apple Watch and more.

So if you were skipping over Apple's holiday shopping event because of the lack of true price cuts, give it another look before the sale shuts down. Our Cyber Monday live blog can also help you track down any last-minute deals.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.