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Don't forget this Black Friday gift card trick before going to the Apple Store

This holiday season, whether you're buying an iPhone, AirPods, or an iPad directly from Apple, here's why you should swing by an online retailer first.
Written by Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor
iPhone 15 Pro (Blue Titanium) in hand, in front of an Apple Store
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

We're about to do some math -- a lot of it -- but I'll help you make it make sense. Right now, both Best Buy and Amazon are bundling a $15 gift card when you purchase a $100 Apple gift card. Retailers do this virtually every year because even the lightest of market research suggests that people love Apple products, and gift cards make great gifts for the indecisive.

Also: The best Black Friday deals still available

But whether you're buying an Apple product for yourself or for a significant other this holiday season, here's why you should take either one (or both) of the online retailers' gift card deals (and as many as you'll need) before heading to the Apple store.

The premise is simple: By stacking gift cards, you can pay off your Apple product while gaining an extra $15 for every $100 gift card you get from Best Buy and Amazon. So, if you buy two $100 Apple gift cards, you'll get $30 worth of Best Buy and/or Amazon credit to spend. Make sense?

Read the review: iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus: Apple's base models are more 'Pro' than ever

There are rules and limitations to all of this, of course. Best Buy and Amazon only allow you to purchase one gift card in a given timeframe, meaning you can't just check out with ten and call it a day. Instead, I've found two loopholes: 1) Using different emails and 2) Buying a digital version and a physical version with each email. It'll take some effort, but once you've gathered your gift cards, here's how the math works out when you shop at Apple...

If you buy...

You'll need...

And earn...

$999 iPhone 15 Pro

10x $100 Apple Gift Cards

$150 worth of Best Buy/Amazon credit

$599 iPad Air

6x $100 Apple Gift Cards

$90 worth of Best Buy/Amazon credit

$399 Apple Watch Series 9

4x $100 Apple Gift Cards

$60 worth of Best Buy/Amazon credit

Basically, if you play this right, you'll end up paying the same amount that you normally would at the Apple store, while gaining Best Buy credit or Amazon credit to spend on a new case and USB-C charging cable for your iPhone 15, a keyboard cover for your new iPad, or a sweet tech deal this Black Friday.

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