Danny Guo | 郭亚东

How to Get iCloud+ for Free

 ·  344 words  ·  ~2 minutes to read

For the past couple of years, I’ve subscribed to Apple’s cheapest iCloud+ plan (with 50 GB of storage) for free. It started unintentionally. I got the Apple Card and changed my iCloud+ billing to it, but I didn’t use the card for any other purchases. A few months later, I noticed that I hadn’t seen any Apple Card payments from my bank account, so I checked my Apple Card statement. I realized that Apple Card forgives small balances, and the cheapest iCloud+ plan is only $0.99 per month.

My latest statement shows the “Credit adjustment” at the end of the month that brought my balance to $0. I even got $0.03 in cash back, so technically, Apple is paying me $0.36 per year to have iCloud+.

Apple Card statement

I make a hobby out of taking advantage of credit card rewards, so the concept of small balance forgiveness wasn’t new to me. I’ve seen it before with Capital One and Discover cards, and Doctor of Credit has a list of data points. I never intentionally made a small purchase with the goal of having it forgiven, since that’s not worth the time. But I need iCloud+ anyway, and since it’s a subscription, I’m not spending any time on it.

A caveat is that the adjustment only happens in months where I don’t use my Apple Card for anything else. But that is typical for me because I optimize for rewards, and Apple Card doesn’t give great rewards for me. It gives 3% back at Apple and at certain merchants with Apple Pay. It also gives 2% back with Apple Pay in general. Instead:

  1. I would put Apple purchases on my Citi Rewards+ card for an extra two years of extended warranty for free.
  2. My U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card gives me effectively 4.5% back on all mobile wallet purchases (3x points with a 50% bonus when redeemed through Real-Time Rewards).
  3. There are multiple cards that give 2% back on all purchases, with no Apple Pay requirement. Such as the PayPal Cashback Mastercard, the SoFi Credit Card, and the Citi Double Cash.

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