Earn Miles for Your Utility Payments at Zero Cost

Two weeks ago I wrote about Plastiq and their limited-time offer to charge just 1.99% when you pay bills through their service with a credit card.

This discounted fee applies to paying bills via MasterCard and American Express — Visa remains their usual 2.5% which is cheaper than competing services, like Paypal.

You can thus make payments you’d normally use a check or online billpay for using your credit card, and use those payments to meet minimum spend for a credit card bonus or just earn miles.

What I really love is that this service makes sense even when there’s no bonus to earn, if you’re using a card like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

They’ve Launched a New Promotion of 0% Fees For Recurring Utilities Payments

Plastiq’s new promotion is no fee to pay your utilities with a MasterCard when you schedule 6 or more payments up front.

That means you can pay US water, electric, waste (garbage/sewage), and gas/propane with no credit card processing fees.

You can use this for as many utility payments as you want, as long as you make them recurring with at least 6 payments. Note though that if you set up the six payments and don’t actually make all six they can come back and charge their regular processing fees.

Now, you have to schedule ahead six payments or more. And that can be complicated for something like electricity where your bill probably fluctuates month-to-month. However,

  • You can pay your monthly average, or overpay
  • You can still top off any amount owed with payment using your regular method
  • Or if you’ve overpaid slightly carry that over to a future month

Eligility: The promotion applies only to users who registered via a blog referral. If you alrady registered you’ll have this automatically on your account. If you registered before they started running promos two weeks ago, and want to have your account coded for the special offers, email them at support -at- plastiq.com.

When you shouldn’t take advantage of this: Many utility providers take credit card payments on their websites now. For those, I’d continue using your utility company’s website. That way you can make payment in the exact amount due.

Note that I receive $5 if you sign up whether you use the service or not.

There Are Benefits Even In Addition to Miles

Paying bills via credit card is an easy way for folks outside the US to pay US vendors.

It can be convenient to pay a bill by credit card close to the due date, but at the beginning of a credit card billing cycle (and thus have nearly 60 days to actually pay).

Personally I miss the old Diners Club ‘two billing cycles to pay’ because a decade ago the extra float each month was nice.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. There are reports on Flyertalk that many folks are experiencing delays as long as a couple of weeks between when their card is charged and when the recipient is paid.

  2. Is the discount only for the 6 prescheduled transactions or is it ongoing (as long as you did the 6 transactions)?

  3. Hi everyone,

    Wanted to answer a couple questions that you had:

    1. Will these code as cash advances for Citi branded cards?

    For the vast majority of payments, these are not coded as cash advances. The instances that are are if you’re paying specific Canadian merchants with a Visa card. If you are doing this, please email support@plastiq.com to determine if it will fall under this

    2. Is the discount only for the 6 prescheduled transactions or is it ongoing (as long as you did the 6 transactions)?

    It’ll be only for the recurring utility payments that you have scheduled while the promotion is running.

    If you have any other questions or issues, please email support@plastiq.com or chat us when you log-in to the app!

    Best,
    Rebecca

  4. Tried using Plastiq to pay my rent which goes to a major property management corporation. The next day I get an email from Plastiq saying I must send them an invoice in 48 hours or the transaction will be cancelled.

    This is my rent and it can’t be late so I instructed them to cancel the transaction.

    Plastiq said they would, but it will take up to 5 business days for that to happen. They have no phone support. Only email.

    I would avoid this service like the plaque for sending anything of importance.

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