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I just got the iPad mini 6 for free — here’s how

iPad mini 6 in pink
(Image credit: Apple)

I just ordered the iPad mini 6 (2021) (in pink, obviously) and didn’t have to spend a dime. Well, not at the time of purchase anyway.

No, I’m not financing my adorably-compact new tablet with monthly Apple Card payments. That’s usually my preferred payment method, since Apple offers 0% APR in addition to 3% back on each installment. Instead, I decided to check my other credit card rewards before checking out, and man, am I glad I did.

I’m no Points Guy, but I’m meticulous when it comes to managing my credit card rewards. If I’m going to spend money, I want it to come with perks beyond the immediate purchase. In my experience Chase Ultimate Rewards offers some of the most straightforward — yet diverse — ways to redeem points. 

I typically plan my points usage based on travel. I haven't done much of that in the last year and a half, though, so I hadn't explored my Ultimate Rewards profile in a while. When I logged into my account last week, it greeted me with a prompt to buy the products announced at the recent Apple event.

The Chase Ultimate Rewards interface has a built-in Apple Store, making it convenient for the bank’s customers who are also Apple users to upgrade their devices. The online rewards system actually claims to be an Apple Authorized Retailer, but it has the latest iPhone 13 series, the iPad 9 and iPad mini 6 all available for sale.

The best iPhone deals and best iPad deals might offer discounts that help you score Apple tech for less than normal value. Unfortunately, if you’re shopping with credit card rewards, you're usually subject to coughing over the equivalent of full price. But if you’re keen on buying the newest launches, you probably won’t find significant price cuts elsewhere, anyway.

That's why I traded in some of my credit card point stash for the iPad mini 6. All colors cost the same (though pink is the best choice, clearly) but the points varied depending on storage to reflect the price gap between the 64GB and 256GB offerings.

Then, just because I had plenty of points to spare, I added an Apple Pencil to my cart. The Chase Ultimate Rewards version of the Apple Store also sells Apple accessories, like the company's iPad-compatible stylus. In fact, the iPad mini 6 being the first iPad mini to support the second-generation Apple Pencil is one of the reasons I want the new tablet. 

I'm not writing this to brag about my spending, nor to tell you how you should use your credit card points. I just figure people have accumulated points and need a reminder to check their balance, and what that balance can get them. I hadn't checked my points bank in a couple months, and because I did just before I considered buying the iPad mini 6, I got it for free. Maybe you can, too.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at kate.kozuch@futurenet.com.