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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: socaso on July 01, 2014, 12:40:02 PM

Title: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: socaso on July 01, 2014, 12:40:02 PM
We are trying to accumulate miles to take a trip next year and we have some minimum spends to reach on a couple of points cards. I've done the math very carefully and we can meet the minimum with bills and expenses that I know accept credit cards but we'd get there even faster if we could charge our rent and daycare bills. I've done some searching around the internet and I know about things like Vanilla and Bluebird but I kind of balk and paying fee to pay my bills so I thought I'd see if anyone on this forum had any clever hacks before I throw in the towel on the idea.

And fear not, gentle reader, we have no debt, pay all our expenses in cash every month and have no plans to buy a house in the next year or two.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: peaceandprosperity on July 01, 2014, 12:55:34 PM
I have the same question. I got a little carried away and signed up for three different points and miles cards at the same time. The total spend i need to do in 3 months is a bit beyond my needs. But if i can roll the bills in there, all would be well. The total potential for gain over those 3 months is 1500 dollars in cash and travel points though. So it's worth it for me to find a solution to be sure i qualify. With utility bills and the like, you pay a 3% premium. But the way i am looking at it, i only pay that for 3 months. So it's a small amount compared to what i would gain. And my utility companies do offer an option. I just have to remember to switch it back to a bank draw after 3 months time. I am also using it for cell phone bills and of course gas and groceries. I hope to make it but the nicest thing would be if i could pay for mortgage on it for 3 months. Then i'd pretty much be set. I am also looking for a used car. under 10k. If i could figure out a way to put the car on a credit card (to be paid off in cash of course immediately) then i'd also have no worries. But i haven't worked that out either. Appreciate the OP and looking forward to others ideas.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: daveydinner on July 01, 2014, 01:14:35 PM
You could have a friend sell you a few grand worth of stuff via Paypal (using your credit card), then sell it back to them!
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Frugal Father on July 01, 2014, 01:20:08 PM
I have the same question. I got a little carried away and signed up for three different points and miles cards at the same time. The total spend i need to do in 3 months is a bit beyond my needs. But if i can roll the bills in there, all would be well. The total potential for gain over those 3 months is 1500 dollars in cash and travel points though. So it's worth it for me to find a solution to be sure i qualify. With utility bills and the like, you pay a 3% premium. But the way i am looking at it, i only pay that for 3 months. So it's a small amount compared to what i would gain. And my utility companies do offer an option. I just have to remember to switch it back to a bank draw after 3 months time. I am also using it for cell phone bills and of course gas and groceries. I hope to make it but the nicest thing would be if i could pay for mortgage on it for 3 months. Then i'd pretty much be set. I am also looking for a used car. under 10k. If i could figure out a way to put the car on a credit card (to be paid off in cash of course immediately) then i'd also have no worries. But i haven't worked that out either. Appreciate the OP and looking forward to others ideas.
Check with the dealership. When we bought our used car, when we went to the counter to pay, we asked if we could pay by CC without an additional fee and they said yes (although you could tell they thought we were crazy for putting it on a CC), so we charged it through, reaped the rewards, and paid it off.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on July 01, 2014, 06:21:03 PM
Quote
I've done some searching around the internet and I know about things like Vanilla and Bluebird but I kind of balk and paying fee to pay my bills

You can fee-free manufacture 2k spending/mo/person by sending 1k from a CC through Amazon payments, and fee free load 1k onto Amex Serve online (200/day max for 5 days, 1k/mo max), as long as your card isn't an Amex but a Visa or Mastercard.

I wouldn't mix the cards between accounts, and I wouldn't send A->B->A on Amazon, but add in a third party if you're doing more than one card (A->B is fine if you're just doing one card).

Then of course you can pay a little to manufacture spending, but given the quote above it seems like you don't want to do that.  But if you have two cards you're working, you can "spend" 2k on one of them fee free w/ Amazon (1k) and Serve (1k), and 2k on the other doing the same thing, under your spouse's name.

MilesDividendMD is an expert on MS, so hopefully he'll chime in here as well.

Here's a recent post on his site related to the topic:
http://www.milesdividendmd.com/addition-by-subtraction/

And the category on his site on MS that has all his manufactured spending posts:
http://www.milesdividendmd.com/category/manufactured-spend/

I just signed up for a ton of cards, and right now I have to spend $37,000 in the next three to six months (for about half of it I have three months, the other half I have six months).  We spend just under 1k per month "naturally."  So I'm diving into this stuff.  :D
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: peaceandprosperity on July 01, 2014, 08:17:39 PM
Just finished my Amex Serve App. Been meaning to do that anyway to help my spouse with some of the fixed budget items. Great idea. I am not sure i understand the Amazon payments idea. Have to think about that some more.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: jpdcpajd on July 01, 2014, 08:27:40 PM
You can still buy 40+ stocks on Loyal3 up to $50 each transaction each month

Also my utilities allow me to pay via Western Union for $2.50 so I pay 6 months plus to make it worth while
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on July 01, 2014, 09:45:22 PM
Just finished my Amex Serve App. Been meaning to do that anyway to help my spouse with some of the fixed budget items. Great idea. I am not sure i understand the Amazon payments idea. Have to think about that some more.

Amazon payments is the easiest one.  If you just have one card you're working, you send $1000 through Amazon Payments (it's like Amazon's version of PayPal) fee free from one spouse to the other.  The spouse that received it withdraws it to their attached bank account, and uses that bank account to pay the credit card.  $1k/mo with no fee and about 30 seconds of work.

If you and the spouse each have a card you want to manufacture spending on, you need a trusted third party (parent, child, sibling, whatever).

In this scenario spouses are persons A and B, and truster person is person C: You send it from person A to B (using card #1), B withdraws the 1k to their bank, then sends a new 1k (using card #2) to person C.  Person C sends the 1k (not using a card, just the amount they received) back to person A, who withdraws it.

Is that clearer?  :)
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on July 01, 2014, 09:46:06 PM
You can still buy 40+ stocks on Loyal3 up to $50 each transaction each month

Also my utilities allow me to pay via Western Union for $2.50 so I pay 6 months plus to make it worth while

I'd consider that if it was more automated.. logging on to purchase individual stocks one at a time sounds time intensive.  I may have to at some point though.  For now I'm okay paying a few bucks to do the Visa Gift card -> money order route.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: jpdcpajd on July 01, 2014, 09:52:27 PM
You can still buy 40+ stocks on Loyal3 up to $50 each transaction each month

Also my utilities allow me to pay via Western Union for $2.50 so I pay 6 months plus to make it worth while

I'd consider that if it was more automated.. logging on to purchase individual stocks one at a time sounds time intensive.  I may have to at some point though.  For now I'm okay paying a few bucks to do the Visa Gift card -> money order route.

Loyal3 is completely automated.  I have it set up to charge day after my cc statement date to defer a little.
Title: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 01, 2014, 10:05:21 PM
Quote
I've done some searching around the internet and I know about things like Vanilla and Bluebird but I kind of balk and paying fee to pay my bills

You can fee-free manufacture 2k spending/mo/person by sending 1k from a CC through Amazon payments, and fee free load 1k onto Amex Serve online (200/day max for 5 days, 1k/mo max), as long as your card isn't an Amex but a Visa or Mastercard.

I wouldn't mix the cards between accounts, and I wouldn't send A->B->A on Amazon, but add in a third party if you're doing more than one card (A->B is fine if you're just doing one card).

Then of course you can pay a little to manufacture spending, but given the quote above it seems like you don't want to do that.  But if you have two cards you're working, you can "spend" 2k on one of them fee free w/ Amazon (1k) and Serve (1k), and 2k on the other doing the same thing, under your spouse's name.

MilesDividendMD is an expert on MS, so hopefully he'll chime in here as well.

Here's a recent post on his site related to the topic:
http://www.milesdividendmd.com/addition-by-subtraction/

And the category on his site on MS that has all his manufactured spending posts:
http://www.milesdividendmd.com/category/manufactured-spend/

I just signed up for a ton of cards, and right now I have to spend $37,000 in the next three to six months (for about half of it I have three months, the other half I have six months).  We spend just under 1k per month "naturally."  So I'm diving into this stuff.  :D

Thanks arebelspy. That's very exciting to hear that you've put together such an ambitious churn. You will not regret it.

In terms of paying bills, rent and childcare are very difficult to do without going the Bluebird/Serve route. With Bluebird you can actually write paper checks from your Bluebird account so there is literally no bill you cannot pay by this method.

For bills such as student loans, mortgage payments, and car payments, you can often pay the bills through evolvemoney.com, using Visa gift cards with a PIN as a debit card. But this method does not get around the issue of paying fees for this approach.

In terms of the paying fee issue, it is actually not so much of an issue. The reason that I say this is that with an appropriately chosen cashback card you can often offset your fees for all of your other credit card spending.

My personal go to card for this purpose is the "old" American Express blue Cash preferred card which gives you five percent cashback at drug stores, grocery stores, and gas stations after your first $6500 of spend.

So let's say I buy $3000 worth of Visa gift cards at Rite Aid, and each $500 gift card costs five dollars in fees. I will end up owing $30 in fees for the "right" to put all of my spending on credit cards. If instead of spending $3000 on my other credit cards I spend $2000 on my other credit cards and $1000 on my cashback card, I actually get $50 cashback. In other words I run up $2000 in credit card spend in order to hit bonuses, and end up making $20 on top of it!

I've written about this approach (and others such as using fuel points… Very lucrative) here:

http://www.milesdividendmd.com/dont-pay-do-play/

If you choose to go this route, the best bluebird type account out there right now is the ISIS Serve account. With this single card you can store $8000 of manufactured spending a month. It's also quite hasslefree if you can find somewhere to buy Green dot moneypaks with a credit card. (I buy mine at Rite Aid.)

I wrote about the ISIS serve account first here:

http://www.milesdividendmd.com/better-than-sliced-bread/

And also in the post that Arabelspy linked above.

Finally, I would echo that Amazon payments is an absolute no-brainer.

My article with references on that approach can be found here:

http://www.milesdividendmd.com/low-hanging-fruit/

Hope that helps.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: brooklynguy on July 01, 2014, 10:35:30 PM
Rebs - I guess you got tired of waiting for some enterprising mustachian to launch a credit card churner-for-hire business? :)

Doc - do you not have trouble finding retailers that will accept credit card payments for "cash equivalent" type products in your neck of the woods?  I know NYC is often thought of as something of a manufactured spending desert, but I would have thought national chains like Rite Aid would have nation-wide policies on this stuff.  I'm currently on a buying spree of purchasing Paypal cash cards at Duane Reade stores in Manhattan, but I can't find any local supermarkets or drugstores that will accept credit card payments for other cash-like gift cards.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 01, 2014, 10:46:32 PM
Rebs - I guess you got tired of waiting for some enterprising mustachian to launch a credit card churner-for-hire business? :)

Doc - do you not have trouble finding retailers that will accept credit card payments for "cash equivalent" type products in your neck of the woods?  I know NYC is often thought of as something of a manufactured spending desert, but I would have thought national chains like Rite Aid would have nation-wide policies on this stuff.  I'm currently on a buying spree of purchasing Paypal cash cards at Duane Reade stores in Manhattan, but I can't find any local supermarkets or drugstores that will accept credit card payments for other cash-like gift cards.

Brooklyn,

Although we were locked out of the vanilla reloads opportunity here in Portland, as we have no CVS stores, Rite Aid has been a pretty consistent source of Visa gift cards, green dot money packs, and PayPal my cash cards purchased with credit cards.

I know that the miles professor has reported success buying PayPal products in New York City. But as you mentioned manufactured spending opportunities are often fleeting, and region specific.

Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on July 01, 2014, 10:59:19 PM
Rebs - I guess you got tired of waiting for some enterprising mustachian to launch a credit card churner-for-hire business? :)

Indeed.  One person did PM me about it, but we didn't get very far.  I'm more than happy to pay someone for it, but it appears it doesn't make sense to do it for someone else, just yourself?  IDK, that's one of two reasons I can think of (security being the other one) that I can think of.

Although we were locked out of the vanilla reloads opportunity here in Portland, as we have no CVS stores, Rite Aid has been a pretty consistent source of Visa gift cards, green dot money packs, and PayPal my cash cards purchased with credit cards.

I know that the miles professor has reported success buying PayPal products in New York City. But as you mentioned manufactured spending opportunities are often fleeting, and region specific.

I've just been buying Visa Gift Cards with a PIN through GiftCardMall via TopCashBack.com - IDK yet that it will work (haven't received my first order yet, but just placed a few days ago), but a friend recommended it.

No visiting Rite Aid/CVS necessary.

Is there an advantage to going to RA/CVS and getting Pay Pal products over Visa Gift Cards with a PIN?  I'm not sure what green dot money packs are - will probably google it in a few. :)
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on July 01, 2014, 11:14:51 PM
You can still buy 40+ stocks on Loyal3 up to $50 each transaction each month

Also my utilities allow me to pay via Western Union for $2.50 so I pay 6 months plus to make it worth while

I'd consider that if it was more automated.. logging on to purchase individual stocks one at a time sounds time intensive.  I may have to at some point though.  For now I'm okay paying a few bucks to do the Visa Gift card -> money order route.

Loyal3 is completely automated.  I have it set up to charge day after my cc statement date to defer a little.

So I can set up, say, 10 stocks to charge $50/day, and it'll automatically, every day, charge me that $500 x 30 days in a month = 15k.  Then at the end of the month go on and sell them?  And it's a one time login at the beginning of the month to turn it on, and one time at the end of the month to sell/turn it off?

EDIT: Oh, is it $50/stock/month?  That's quite a bit worse.  So you can do, say 40 stocks @ 50 each = 2000/mo?  Does it still work the way I described above?  Minus the turning it off thing, 2k is small enough that you'd just leave it on, maybe just change the CC it's using every 2-3 months.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: jpdcpajd on July 01, 2014, 11:20:58 PM
You can still buy 40+ stocks on Loyal3 up to $50 each transaction each month

Also my utilities allow me to pay via Western Union for $2.50 so I pay 6 months plus to make it worth while

I'd consider that if it was more automated.. logging on to purchase individual stocks one at a time sounds time intensive.  I may have to at some point though.  For now I'm okay paying a few bucks to do the Visa Gift card -> money order route.

Loyal3 is completely automated.  I have it set up to charge day after my cc statement date to defer a little.
x

So I can set up, say, 10 stocks to charge $50/day, and it'll automatically, every day, charge me that $500 x 30 days in a month = 15k.  Then at the end of the month go on and sell them?  And it's a one time login at the beginning of the month to turn it on, and one time at the end of the month to sell/turn it off?

EDIT: Oh, is it $50/stock/month?  That's quite a bit worse.  So you can do, say 40 stocks @ 50 each = 2000/mo?  Does it still work the way I described above?  Minus the turning it off thing, 2k is small enough that you'd just leave it on, maybe just change the CC it's using every 2-3 months.

Honestly because of the churners that got tossed off i haven't tried too much more than once a month.  but I have bought more that $50 on cc for an individual stock in a month.  but you can only setup 1 automatic monthly plan per stock which gets me around 2k per month.  like I said I do go on and do manual trades some times at $50 a pop but because the monthly plan is setup it is two clicks thru.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: FrugalZony on July 01, 2014, 11:24:10 PM
If you get groceries at Safeway/Vons, they currently have a promo, where you buy a prepaid MasterCard $100 and they give you a $10 coupon for your groceries.
You loose the activation fee, but you still get $10 worth of groceries, so net $6
In some states they are true $10 coupons in some states they are $10 off $25, not quite as good, but if you coupon,
they are easy to get to threshold wise

Last Christmas they had a deal where they waved the fees and gave your $$ off when you bought one, it was like $90 for a $100 card, no brainer, and I churned a few of those.
One store even gave you $20 in free groceries when you bought one. I did that deal several times,
each time paying with the previous MasterCard...paid more than for itself ;) plus all my holiday groceries and several get togethers at our house

It's a bit more cumbersome than some of your bulk buys and it will only get you $100 in spend on your CC, but then as an added bonus you get free groceries and the opportunity to roll these into new cards and get more free groceries


Another thing people mentioned was to prepay those utilities that let you pay with a card, as in your next couple of months worth of electricity or phone bill etc.

Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 01, 2014, 11:40:29 PM

Rebs - I guess you got tired of waiting for some enterprising mustachian to launch a credit card churner-for-hire business? :)

Indeed.  One person did PM me about it, but we didn't get very far.  I'm more than happy to pay someone for it, but it appears it doesn't make sense to do it for someone else, just yourself?  IDK, that's one of two reasons I can think of (security being the other one) that I can think of.

Although we were locked out of the vanilla reloads opportunity here in Portland, as we have no CVS stores, Rite Aid has been a pretty consistent source of Visa gift cards, green dot money packs, and PayPal my cash cards purchased with credit cards.

I know that the miles professor has reported success buying PayPal products in New York City. But as you mentioned manufactured spending opportunities are often fleeting, and region specific.

I've just been buying Visa Gift Cards with a PIN through GiftCardMall via TopCashBack.com - IDK yet that it will work (haven't received my first order yet, but just placed a few days ago), but a friend recommended it.

No visiting Rite Aid/CVS necessary.

Is there an advantage to going to RA/CVS and getting Pay Pal products over Visa Gift Cards with a PIN?  I'm not sure what green dot money packs are - will probably google it in a few. :)

There's nothing wrong with gift card mall via top cashback. I've used that method myself.

The only negatives are the long lag time between purchase and receiving the cards, The hassle of dealing with shipping when cards get lost, and excessive amount of time it takes top cashback to post your rebate.

For me, it's just easier to stop off at the drugstore on the way home and buy a bunch of cards.

Green dot moneypaks are essentially the same thing as the old vanilla reloads. You buy them in $500 increments for a $4.95 purchase fee and can load them directly onto your Serve account via computer.

The PayPal my cash cards are nice because you can load up your PayPal account and then use the PayPal debit card to load your PayPal balance onto your serve account for 1% cashback.

I use loyal3 as well with automatic stock purchases for both me and my wife's account each month. But their user interface is intentionally clunky in order to dissuade Churners. There are easier ways to manufacture spend.

Incidentally The latest intelligence says that you should purchase your loyal3 Stocks in batches of 10 or so to avoid getting shut down. See here:

http://yourpfpro.com/racking-miles-points-loyal3/


Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on July 01, 2014, 11:52:25 PM
Green dot moneypaks are essentially the same thing as the old vanilla reloads. You buy them in $500 increments for a $4.95 purchase fee and can load them directly onto your Serve account via computer.

The biggest problem is I'm going to have so much frikkin money in my Serve account.  I mean, yeah, I can pay my mortgage and bills out of it and stuff, but that totals like 1k/mo.  Does Serve shut people down for withdrawing big chunks to their bank account?  I feel like I'm going to get 20 grand stuck in Serve or something.

The PayPal my cash cards are nice because you can load up your PayPal account and then use the PayPal debit card to load your PayPal balance onto your serve account for 1% cashback.

That's a neat trick.  I'm not really looking to regularly MS month after month, just trying to hit signup bonuses.. I don't plan to MS after I've hit them all, except for new ones, so I'm okay with quick and dirty.

Incidentally The latest intelligence says that you should purchase your loyal3 Stocks in batches of 10 or so to avoid getting shut down. See here:
http://yourpfpro.com/racking-miles-points-loyal3/

Wow, the cancelling it right away, getting the 450 fee back (especially after 200 of it was already credited back) was ridiculous.  Wonder how long that'll last until they shut it down (at the very least only refund you 250 if you've already got the 200).
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 01, 2014, 11:55:36 PM
I routinely withdraw big chunks of money to my bank account from bluebird/serve. No issues yet.

And don't forget, you can always just write checks to your Credit card companies for the gift cards you purchased.


Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 01, 2014, 11:57:17 PM
And the canceling the Aadvantage card angle crosses my own personal line of comfort, for what it's worth. (To each his own.)


Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on July 02, 2014, 12:06:39 AM
I routinely withdraw big chunks of money to my bank account from bluebird/serve. No issues yet.

And don't forget, you can always just write checks to your Credit card companies for the gift cards you purchased.

Good call, thanks.

And the canceling the Aadvantage card angle crosses my own personal line of comfort, for what it's worth. (To each his own.)

Yeah, I wouldn't do it either, but I have to tip my hat to the guy for the cleverness of it.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Rube on July 02, 2014, 06:20:30 AM

Check with the dealership. When we bought our used car, when we went to the counter to pay, we asked if we could pay by CC without an additional fee and they said yes (although you could tell they thought we were crazy for putting it on a CC), so we charged it through, reaped the rewards, and paid it off.
[/quote]

My in-laws did this and were met with resistance at first. Obviously this not appealing to the dealer because they have to pay the transaction fee on a large amount. My guess is that it gets subtracted from the salesperson's commission. So they said they don't accept credit cards. Obviously they accelt credit cards as payment in the service department. So my FIL called the credit card company who told the dealer they'd better take the card as part of their agreement. DONE!
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: brooklynguy on July 02, 2014, 07:10:51 AM
Indeed.  One person did PM me about it, but we didn't get very far.  I'm more than happy to pay someone for it, but it appears it doesn't make sense to do it for someone else, just yourself?  IDK, that's one of two reasons I can think of (security being the other one) that I can think of.

Yes, besides the security issues, I think a major hurdle is that doing this on someone else's behalf takes away most of the reasons to do it.  It would have to be a low margin business for it to make sense for both parties, and to make it up in volume would require herculean organizational efforts (it's difficult enough to keep track of a single person's churning).  As the Good Doctor points out in his blog, part of what turns it from an intolerable chore into a fun hobby is that it stimulates many of the brain's same pleasure centers as shopping and gambling, and I suspect these effects would be lost if you were doing it on someone else's behalf.

Is there an advantage to going to RA/CVS and getting Pay Pal products over Visa Gift Cards with a PIN?  I'm not sure what green dot money packs are - will probably google it in a few. :)

The principal advantage is being able to take advantage of category-specific rewards.  I'm currently using a Wells Fargo card that offers 5% cash back at pharmacies and supermarkets for the first six months.  That's an immediate 5.26% return net of gift card fees when you use the PayPal debit card trick (4.25% return w/out it).  Depending on how quickly you can liquidate the gift cards and not keep your cash tied up in them, that's an insanely high return on an annualized basis.  And there is no cap and I have a high credit limit on the card, so we're talking real money.

I routinely withdraw big chunks of money to my bank account from bluebird/serve. No issues yet.

And don't forget, you can always just write checks to your Credit card companies for the gift cards you purchased.

I'm not following this.  How does writing checks come into the picture and how does it help?
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: shadowmoss on July 02, 2014, 07:29:38 AM
I am not understanding the problem.  I do understand if you pay rent to an individual landlord they might not take credit cards.  However, I pay all my bills online and use my credit card for everything.  My lot rent goes to a corporation, so I pay it with a credit card as well.  All gas and utilities and cell and internet and groceries and basically everything else is a no brainer.  What is the problem that has such intricate solutions?  I haven't written a check in years, and don't carry cash for even small purchases.  That is more that I can't carry cash, it burns a hole in my pocket.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: peaceandprosperity on July 02, 2014, 07:35:49 AM
Amazon payments is the easiest one.  If you just have one card you're working, you send $1000 through Amazon Payments (it's like Amazon's version of PayPal) fee free from one spouse to the other.  The spouse that received it withdraws it to their attached bank account, and uses that bank account to pay the credit card.  $1k/mo with no fee and about 30 seconds of work.

Question - For Amazon payments to the spouse, do you just send it to their email address then?

If you and the spouse each have a card you want to manufacture spending on, you need a trusted third party (parent, child, sibling, whatever).

We have three new cards we are working right now, so it sounds like i can use Amazon for 3K of that spend over the next 90 days. And look at Bluebird and Paypal, gift cards and other options for the rest. I think I am getting that you are loaning money from your credit card to your bank account (an account that is accepted more readily for many kinds of payments) and paying it right back or paying bills with it out of checking/bank accounts.



Is that clearer?  :)


Yes and thank you for spelling it out. MilesDividend has also provided some great links and I will be thoroughly reading through those. I love life hacks!
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on July 02, 2014, 08:44:10 AM
Indeed.  One person did PM me about it, but we didn't get very far.  I'm more than happy to pay someone for it, but it appears it doesn't make sense to do it for someone else, just yourself?  IDK, that's one of two reasons I can think of (security being the other one) that I can think of.

Yes, besides the security issues, I think a major hurdle is that doing this on someone else's behalf takes away most of the reasons to do it.  It would have to be a low margin business for it to make sense for both parties, and to make it up in volume would require herculean organizational efforts (it's difficult enough to keep track of a single person's churning).  As the Good Doctor points out in his blog, part of what turns it from an intolerable chore into a fun hobby is that it stimulates many of the brain's same pleasure centers as shopping and gambling, and I suspect these effects would be lost if you were doing it on someone else's behalf.

Right, I don't think it's worth it for just the standard churning/MS stuff at a few percent, but I think it would be at the signup bonus level.  E.g. Me paying you 5% of the amount you churn does nothing for me unless there's huge bonuses (that you have already all tapped out yourself).

Is there an advantage to going to RA/CVS and getting Pay Pal products over Visa Gift Cards with a PIN?  I'm not sure what green dot money packs are - will probably google it in a few. :)

The principal advantage is being able to take advantage of category-specific rewards.  I'm currently using a Wells Fargo card that offers 5% cash back at pharmacies and supermarkets for the first six months.  That's an immediate 5.26% return net of gift card fees when you use the PayPal debit card trick (4.25% return w/out it).  Depending on how quickly you can liquidate the gift cards and not keep your cash tied up in them, that's an insanely high return on an annualized basis.  And there is no cap and I have a high credit limit on the card, so we're talking real money.

Ah.  Sure.  I'm not doing any MS to gain 4-5% here and there, but for the big signup bonuses.  So for that I'm just looking to churn with as little effort as possible, even if I net less money due to not getting 5% cash back because of the individual category bonuses for the quarter or whatever.

I routinely withdraw big chunks of money to my bank account from bluebird/serve. No issues yet.

And don't forget, you can always just write checks to your Credit card companies for the gift cards you purchased.

I'm not following this.  How does writing checks come into the picture and how does it help?

Bluebird lets you write checks (actual physical checks). Serve does not (but you can through the online billpay).  But it helps with my question of getting money stuck in the Serve account - I was worried about loading up all this money into it and not having enough legit bills to pay with it, and if trying to withdraw it all would get me shut down, and totally blanked on the idea that you can send money from Serve to the CCs themselves.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on July 02, 2014, 08:47:23 AM
Amazon payments is the easiest one.  If you just have one card you're working, you send $1000 through Amazon Payments (it's like Amazon's version of PayPal) fee free from one spouse to the other.  The spouse that received it withdraws it to their attached bank account, and uses that bank account to pay the credit card.  $1k/mo with no fee and about 30 seconds of work.

Question - For Amazon payments to the spouse, do you just send it to their email address then?

Correct.  If they don't have an account, Amazon will ask them to create one (it'll send them an email notifying them they've received money.)

If you and the spouse each have a card you want to manufacture spending on, you need a trusted third party (parent, child, sibling, whatever).

We have three new cards we are working right now, so it sounds like i can use Amazon for 3K of that spend over the next 90 days.

Maybe.  I'm not sure if the name on the card has to match that third account, so right now the wife and I are just doing 2, and then sending back the 1k from the 3rd party without using a 3rd card, as described above.

And look at Bluebird and Paypal, gift cards and other options for the rest. I think I am getting that you are loaning money from your credit card to your bank account (an account that is accepted more readily for many kinds of payments) and paying it right back or paying bills with it out of checking/bank accounts.

Sure, that's one way to look at it.

Is that clearer?  :)
Yes and thank you for spelling it out. MilesDividend has also provided some great links and I will be thoroughly reading through those. I love life hacks!

Yeah, I know a lot of the blogs can get confusing (I know because I get confused all the time reading them) because they don't spell things out step by step, but assume you already know what you're doing, and just "update" you with the latest tip or trick or wrinkle that makes no sense if you haven't done it before.  So hopefully the above was clear enough.  :)
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Paul der Krake on July 02, 2014, 08:55:07 AM
Yeah, I know a lot of the blogs can get confusing (I know because I get confused all the time reading them) because they don't spell things out step by step, but assume you already know what you're doing, and just "update" you with the latest tip or trick or wrinkle that makes no sense if you haven't done it before.  So hopefully the above was clear enough.  :)
You don't say. I just spent half of my morning reading milesdividendmd's posts and navigating around other blogs, and it's still not super-clear to me what all the steps are.

I'm excited to try all these new tricks and hopefully reduce my Christmas airfare to Europe, though.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on July 02, 2014, 09:10:16 AM
You don't say. I just spent half of my morning reading milesdividendmd's posts and navigating around other blogs, and it's still not super-clear to me what all the steps are.

Yeah, and MDMD is one of the more clear ones.  Some of them are so opaque I have no idea what they're saying.

If I can "spend" 37k in the next 3-6 months though, the wife and I will have around 530k miles combined for a real cost of ~$650 USD (most of that being CC annual fees that aren't waived the first year, a little of it being estimates on what the MS will cost me).

That's probably worth 5-10k in travel, depending on how it's redeemed.  So something like 90% off my travel costs.. or, in other words, for the price of less than one round trip ticket to Europe, I can get about 10 round trip tickets to Europe, or more during the off peak season.

I mentioned this in another thread, but let me add it again here:
Brad at Richmond Savers does free (literally free) coaching on travel hacking.  He emails you, will chat with you on the phone, etc.  He recorded three 5 minute each screencasts of his computer the other day to show me how he might look for flights out of Vegas to various cities based on a question I asked.

He has nothing to sell, all he asks is if you sign up for a CC to use his referral code (but he doesn't push them).

By far the most amazing resource, and a very friendly and awesome guy to boot.  http://www.richmondsavers.com/

He doesn't really do the manufactured spending stuff so much, but if you want to know the best way to earn points and redeem them, talk to him!

It came to my mind because I was mentioning how many points I'll have, and what they're approximately worth (5-10k USD), and it reminded me that he showed me a trick to fly to Seattle (where I'm from, and where all my family lives) by going through British Airways points (to Alaska Airlines, but they also work with American and United or US Airways, I forget which), which let you book based on Distance "zones," so I can book for 15k miles round trip instead of a more typical 25k miles (if I didn't go through BA, but went directly to Alaska, it'd cost 25k).  Little tricks like booking through British Airways instead of Alaska to make the flight 40% off in terms of mileage is huge.  That'd be like if I used all my miles to just go to Seattle and back to get 35 flights instead of 21, or 14 extra for free!  Ridiculous.

Can you tell I'm excited about all this stuff?  ;)

I'm excited to try all these new tricks and hopefully reduce my Christmas airfare to Europe, though.

You should be able to get to Europe basically free, and without having to do much MS at all (at least should be able to do all free MS, like Amazon Payments).  Email Brad about what you're trying to do.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: brooklynguy on July 02, 2014, 09:15:34 AM
Bluebird lets you write checks (actual physical checks). Serve does not (but you can through the online billpay).  But it helps with my question of getting money stuck in the Serve account - I was worried about loading up all this money into it and not having enough legit bills to pay with it, and if trying to withdraw it all would get me shut down, and totally blanked on the idea that you can send money from Serve to the CCs themselves.

Got it.  Thanks.  But how are you planning on getting so much money into your Serve account in the first place?  If you have been buying Visa gift cards and not green dot (or equivalent) cards, I'm not sure there's a way to get that money into your Serve account.  Maybe you can load them as a debit transaction, but each card will be a new debit card and Amex does not make it easy to constantly switch (plus there's a $1000 monthly limit on debit loads ($1500 if you have Serve w/ Isis).
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Thedudeabides on July 02, 2014, 09:22:20 AM
I love using BA points to book on Alaska. In the spring, I booked a flight to Hawaii using BA points on Alaska and it was 12,500 Avios each way :D
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on July 02, 2014, 09:25:20 AM
But how are you planning on getting so much money into your Serve account in the first place?  If you have been buying Visa gift cards and not green dot (or equivalent) cards, I'm not sure there's a way to get that money into your Serve account.  Maybe you can load them as a debit transaction, but each card will be a new debit card and Amex does not make it easy to constantly switch (plus there's a $1000 monthly limit on debit loads ($1500 if you have Serve w/ Isis).

So if I load 1k/mo credit card, 1k/mo visa gift card as a debit card (or paypal, either way), $5k/mo with stuff like moneypaks (limit just went up from 1k/day to 2500/day, but overall monthly limit stayed at 5k).  Now imagine I do that with both mine and my wife's account, so we're shoving 14k/mo into serve.  Can't you see how I was worried about getting money stuck in there?
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 02, 2014, 09:38:04 AM

Bluebird lets you write checks (actual physical checks). Serve does not (but you can through the online billpay).  But it helps with my question of getting money stuck in the Serve account - I was worried about loading up all this money into it and not having enough legit bills to pay with it, and if trying to withdraw it all would get me shut down, and totally blanked on the idea that you can send money from Serve to the CCs themselves.

Got it.  Thanks.  But how are you planning on getting so much money into your Serve account in the first place?  If you have been buying Visa gift cards and not green dot (or equivalent) cards, I'm not sure there's a way to get that money into your Serve account.  Maybe you can load them as a debit transaction, but each card will be a new debit card and Amex does not make it easy to constantly switch (plus there's a $1000 monthly limit on debit loads ($1500 if you have Serve w/ Isis).

You can load visa gift cards with a PIN on to your Bluebird/serve account at Walmart. A new exception to this technique, is that you cannot use "vanilla" brand visa products for this maneuver anymore.

Using an ISIS serve account you can also load $1500 a month online by credit card, and $1500 a month online by debit card onto your account.


Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: brooklynguy on July 02, 2014, 09:40:30 AM
So if I load 1k/mo credit card, 1k/mo visa gift card as a debit card (or paypal, either way), $5k/mo with stuff like moneypaks (limit just went up from 1k/day to 2500/day, but overall monthly limit stayed at 5k).  Now imagine I do that with both mine and my wife's account, so we're shoving 14k/mo into serve.  Can't you see how I was worried about getting money stuck in there?
Yep.  Just thought you may have been under the false impression that you could get there solely through combination of Visa gift cards + Serve.  As far as I know, liquidating Visa gift cards through Serve is a hassle at best (and impossible at worst).  Personally I use evolvemoney to liquidate Visa gift cards, and fill my Serve capacity with direct credit card loads and Paypal debit.  MDMD's relatively recent post on using Serve in conjunction with Paypal was a very good one.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on July 02, 2014, 09:45:45 AM
You can load visa gift cards with a PIN on to your Bluebird/serve account at Walmart. A new exception to this technique, is that you cannot use "vanilla" brand visa products for this maneuver anymore.

Does that count as loading "cash" basically?  It's not counted as the debt card load limit, right?

So if I load 1k/mo credit card, 1k/mo visa gift card as a debit card (or paypal, either way), $5k/mo with stuff like moneypaks (limit just went up from 1k/day to 2500/day, but overall monthly limit stayed at 5k).  Now imagine I do that with both mine and my wife's account, so we're shoving 14k/mo into serve.  Can't you see how I was worried about getting money stuck in there?
Yep.  Just thought you may have been under the false impression that you could get there solely through combination of Visa gift cards + Serve.  As far as I know, liquidating Visa gift cards through Serve is a hassle at best (and impossible at worst).  Personally I use evolvemoney to liquidate Visa gift cards, and fill my Serve capacity with direct credit card loads and Paypal debit.  MDMD's relatively recent post on using Serve in conjunction with Paypal was a very good one.

Thanks for the info.  I don't really know what I'm doing, trying to figure it out as I go.  I'll have to check out that blog post.  I've never done anything with evolve money, or PayPal.  All I've done is very basic: Amazon Payments and loading serve 1k/mo with a CC.  Just ordered my first Visa Gift cards, so trying to figure out what to do with them (load to Serve and/or buy money orders, it seems).  :)
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: brooklynguy on July 02, 2014, 10:03:10 AM
Thanks for the info.  I don't really know what I'm doing, trying to figure it out as I go.  I'll have to check out that blog post.  I've never done anything with evolve money, or PayPal.  All I've done is very basic: Amazon Payments and loading serve 1k/mo with a CC.  Just ordered my first Visa Gift cards, so trying to figure out what to do with them (load to Serve and/or buy money orders, it seems).  :)

I was in the same boat myself less than a year ago.  Same goes for MDMD himself, I believe, and now he's a bona fide expert.  You'll probably find that as you get deeper into it, you'll quickly become an expert yourself.  It's quite addictive.  I was also only in it for the big sign-up bonuses at first, but now that I'm realizing I can pull five figures out of this without much effort (tax free!), I'm going after the higher-hanging fruit too.

MDMD, thanks for the info about loading Visa cards onto Serve at Walmart.  I wasn't aware of that, but I tend to tune out the Walmart tricks because we don't have any in NYC.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 02, 2014, 10:10:20 AM

You can load visa gift cards with a PIN on to your Bluebird/serve account at Walmart. A new exception to this technique, is that you cannot use "vanilla" brand visa products for this maneuver anymore.

Does that count as loading "cash" basically?  It's not counted as the debt card load limit, right?

So if I load 1k/mo credit card, 1k/mo visa gift card as a debit card (or paypal, either way), $5k/mo with stuff like moneypaks (limit just went up from 1k/day to 2500/day, but overall monthly limit stayed at 5k).  Now imagine I do that with both mine and my wife's account, so we're shoving 14k/mo into serve.  Can't you see how I was worried about getting money stuck in there?
Yep.  Just thought you may have been under the false impression that you could get there solely through combination of Visa gift cards + Serve.  As far as I know, liquidating Visa gift cards through Serve is a hassle at best (and impossible at worst).  Personally I use evolvemoney to liquidate Visa gift cards, and fill my Serve capacity with direct credit card loads and Paypal debit.  MDMD's relatively recent post on using Serve in conjunction with Paypal was a very good one.

Thanks for the info.  I don't really know what I'm doing, trying to figure it out as I go.  I'll have to check out that blog post.  I've never done anything with evolve money, or PayPal.  All I've done is very basic: Amazon Payments and loading serve 1k/mo with a CC.  Just ordered my first Visa Gift cards, so trying to figure out what to do with them (load to Serve and/or buy money orders, it seems).  :)

Debit loading at Walmart counts as "Cash."

In other words, with a single Isis serve account, you can load $5000 via debit card at Walmart, $1500 via direct online debit card loading, and $1500 via direct online credit card loading.

So there is the potential to load a total capacity of $8000 a month, per ISIS serve card.

In terms of the risks of manufactured spending,  putting aside unforced errors, like losing gift cards, the main risk is one of illiquidity. If an account gets frozen, your money does not disappear, it simply becomes inaccessible for a month or two.

It is for this reason that I recommend not manufacturing spending with any money that you cannot afford to be without for a couple of months.

My own "rule" is that I do not manufacture spending with  more money than I make in a month. This means my emergency fund will more than cover any account freeze.


Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on July 02, 2014, 10:16:45 AM
Debit loading at Walmart counts as "Cash."

That's what I thought, thanks. So I'll probably load the Visa Gift Cards from GiftCardMall to Serve, rather than do the money order stuff.

In other words, with a single Isis serve account, you can load $5000 via debit card at Walmart, $1500 via direct online debit card loading, and $1500 via direct online credit card loading.

So there is the potential to load a total capacity of $8000 a month, per ISIS serve card.

I only have a regular serve account, because I don't have a phone that supports the ISIS case (iPhone 4S on Sprint).  Can you get the ISIS card without the phone case?

In terms of the risks of manufactured spending,  putting aside unforced errors, like losing gift cards, the main risk is one of illiquidity. If an account gets frozen, your money does not disappear, it simply becomes inaccessible for a month or two.

It is for this reason that I recommend not manufacturing spending with any money that you cannot afford to be without for a couple of months.

My own "rule" is that I do not manufacture spending with  more money than I make in a month. This means my emergency fund will more than cover any account freeze.

Good advice.  I'm not worried about liquidity personally, but that's definitely something people who have low cash flow should note (you don't want to be stuck paying CC interest).
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Brian Fellows on July 02, 2014, 10:41:07 AM
I feel like I need to ask as a PSA:

Arebelspy, do you NEED all of those miles in the near future?  The conventional wisdom is to burn and churn.  Looks like you're doing a crazy amount of churning obviously, which is good.  But the problem is that miles/points get devalued so often (ALL FOUR (three now) of the major US airlines devalued massively within the last 1.5 years) that it's a bad idea to earn a TON of points if you don't have a plan for using them in the near term future (say, less than three years if you're not being conservative).

Especially in your case, where you're spending money you wouldn't, it just seems insanely risky to me.  I've got nowhere near the miles you're talking about accruing right now, but I've still got more than I'll be able to use in the next three years.  Since some of the credit cards are harder to get if you've had them before, and in some case you can only get the signup bonus once in a lifetime now, you might want to spread your earning out over a larger amount of time.

It's basically like having a ton of money in a savings account - it'll lose spending power due to inflation.  Except with miles/points instead of controlled inflation, you're leaving your assets in the hands of corporations that can play with the value of the points at their whim.  All it takes is AA removing a sweet spot award routing or United charging more mileage to fly on a partner's plane than theirs and suddenly you need more miles to do what you wanted to do.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on July 02, 2014, 10:58:38 AM
I understand that, but does it hurt to have the miles, even if they do get devalued somewhat?

In other words, if I was going to spend $600 on travel in the next six months, and instead I spend $600 earning 500k+ miles, and use 60k miles of travel in the next six months, I've spent the same amount that I would otherwise, but now have an extra 450k miles available.  If they get devalued to half, I still have hundreds of thousands of miles for free.

I hear the "it'd suck if it gets devalued," but in my mind there's no downside to having them anyways.  If I'm going to travel a bunch in three years, I can use whatever's left, even if some has been devalued, and earn more then as well, with whatever travel hacking methods are available at that time.  Will it have hurt me to have those old miles that I'm earning today?

Also, I guess Amex points and Chase UR points could get devalued, but I haven't heard of it happening - so keeping the points in those systems and only transferring them once you need them seems like a good idea, but it's still good to rack them up, no?

This is a genuine question, I'm not trying to defend myself - like I said, I have no idea what I'm doing.  That's just my line of thinking on it - why not rack them up, even if they do get somewhat devalued?  Doesn't that make sense?
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: TrMama on July 02, 2014, 11:13:30 AM
Bumping so I can find this later.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: brooklynguy on July 02, 2014, 11:16:58 AM
Rebs, everything you just said makes sense and is the same approach I take, except that I try VERY hard to avoid sunk costs (like unwaived annual fees) for any rewards that I don't have a definite plan to use in the near future.  The risks of the approach are basically what Brian alluded to:  the sunk costs spent and the "political capital" used up with the card issuers (meaning your churning activity today (when you have no definite plan for the rewards) may prevent you from earning optimal awards in the future (when you actually need them)).  But for me, there's a tension between this and the knowledge that when I FIRE in a few years, it will be MUCH harder to successfully apply for new cards (and continue racking up the rewards) when I don't have permanent employment.  I've discussed this with the Mad Fientist and his approach was also to rack up as much as he can before FIRE.  It sounds like you are doing the right thing by focusing on the most flexible (and least likely to be devalued) rewards like Amex and Chase UR.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on July 02, 2014, 11:20:39 AM
Rebs, everything you just said makes sense and is the same approach I take, except that I try VERY hard to avoid sunk costs (like unwaived annual fees) for any rewards that I don't have a definite plan to use in the near future.  The risks of the approach are basically what Brian alluded to:  the sunk costs spent and the "political capital" used up with the card issuers (meaning your churning activity today (when you have no definite plan for the rewards) may prevent you from earning optimal awards in the future (when you actually need them)).  But for me, there's a tension between this and the knowledge that when I FIRE in a few years, it will be MUCH harder to successfully apply for new cards (and continue racking up the rewards) when I don't have permanent employment.  I've discussed this with the Mad Fientist and his approach was also to rack up as much as he can before FIRE.  It sounds like you are doing the right thing by focusing on the most flexible (and least likely to be devalued) rewards like Amex and Chase UR.

Thanks, appreciate the confirmation.  You are correct on using up the offers now, rather than later, when you can (theoretically) earn more in "real" points after a devaluation (by real I mean rather than nominal, talking in an inflation sense), but I also am not sure about getting them in the future.

I'm not as worried about getting accepted for the cards (I'll have lots of rental income after FIRE, so I think we'll be able to get approved), I just think the opportunities for MS will be a lot less, since we'll be overseas a lot, so no opportunity to go to WalMart/CVS/whatever.

I do think I'll start to use a little more now in the next year or two than I had been planning though because of this conversation.  Not too much, but some.

Thanks for the thoughts BG & BF.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Brian Fellows on July 02, 2014, 11:26:48 AM
No everything you said is correct.  Diminishing returns is the only thing I'd worry about - some credit cards you can apply for, meet the spend, get the bonus, cancel, and then a year later reapply for that same card, get the bonus, and repeat.

With Chase cards, you can't do that (though I've heard their policy just recently changed so you could), except in the case where they can consider it a new product (IE - in the past there was a Mastercard version of the Sapphire Preferred, and if you'd had that one, you could cance and apply for the Visa version and it was a "new product").  I believe AMEX just changed their cards so you can only get one signup bonus in your lifetime per card, as opposed to the 1.5 or 2 years (I don't remember which) that they used to be.

So the tradeoff is that it'll be harder to get the signup bonuses on the cards, and that's a massive part of how most people get points.  That won't affect manufactured spend so much, but that's risky in itself as credit card companies have been known to change their policies or even cancel accounts if the activity is too obvious/abuses a policy.  Usually you'll see them close up a loophole more often than outright cancelling accounts, but, like Paypal, they can pretty much say at any point that your account is closed because you're abusing a system.

There's definitely no problem with just having a ton of miles points like you're talking about.  And I agree with you on AMEX Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards - they're not likely to "devalue" themselves.  The points/miles they can be transferred to can always devalue.  I won't transfer points out of those accounts until I know I need them, because they provide a safe floor for me.  So right now when most of my hotel and airline accounts are higher than I'll be able to use, I'll always default to earning Ultimate Rewards points before AAdvantage Miles or Starpoints unless I'm getting waaaay more miles/points than I would Ultimate Rewards bux.

Pre-post-edit: That's a great point about not being able to get cards as easily if you FIRE or drastically lower your income at some point, but I'm still going to post this as an affirmation of what we're all talking about. 

There's also the worry that someone, somewhere is going to decide to start taxing miles/points or at least signup bonuses specifically, so if you're tinfoil hat worried about that (it's honestly a legit fear in my opinion), then stockpiling while you can is a great hedge.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: brooklynguy on July 02, 2014, 11:42:46 AM
I do think I'll start to use a little more now in the next year or two than I had been planning though because of this conversation.  Not too much, but some.

Thanks for the thoughts BG & BF.

My pleasure.  I'm still grateful for when you persuaded me to stop paying down my mortgage.  I'm happy to be able to reciprocate (in a small way) and cause you to change your behavior on the basis of advice received on an internet forum :) 
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: iamlindoro on July 02, 2014, 11:52:44 AM
Very very timely thread.  I just did my first App-O-Rama this week and have to do ~$20K of credit card spending in the next 90 days.  I figure since I have a $10K Estimated tax bill in September, I can always use that as an "out," even if I ended up paying the 1.88% credit card fee to use the card directly.  It seems that using the Card -> MoneyPak/MyCash -> Serve -> bill Pay route should easily allow me to cover the rest in that time.

Like you, ARS, I'll be sitting on ~350K miles across a few providers at that point for a total cost of about $799.  The goal is to be able to cobble together four round trip tickets to Europe for next summer.  The Citi AAdvantage card should help take care of two of those, and hopefully the Amex miles + US Airways merge miles will help me cover the other two.

Very interesting stuff.  I admit to being a little nervous about the MS-- I don't think I'll move more than a few thousand around at a time.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: cbgg on July 02, 2014, 12:04:53 PM
... I am also looking for a used car. under 10k. If i could figure out a way to put the car on a credit card (to be paid off in cash of course immediately) then i'd also have no worries. But i haven't worked that out either. Appreciate the OP and looking forward to others ideas.

I bought a used car from a dealership last year and they allowed me to put up to $5000 of the cost on my CC.  My card isn't too fancy, but with 1% cash back its a nice little $50 bonus for money I was spending anyway.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Frugal Father on July 02, 2014, 12:54:14 PM
I just signed up for a ton of cards, and right now I have to spend $37,000 in the next three to six months (for about half of it I have three months, the other half I have six months).  We spend just under 1k per month "naturally."  So I'm diving into this stuff.  :D
Holy cow. So over $30k of MS? Make sure you update us and let us know how successful your venture was after you get through the 6 months. It would be awesome to hear how you pull it off.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Worsted Skeins on July 02, 2014, 12:56:03 PM
This is one of the most interesting threads I have read on this board!  Thank you for the posts and links.
Title: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 02, 2014, 11:30:46 PM
I am not understanding the problem.  I do understand if you pay rent to an individual landlord they might not take credit cards.  However, I pay all my bills online and use my credit card for everything.  My lot rent goes to a corporation, so I pay it with a credit card as well.  All gas and utilities and cell and internet and groceries and basically everything else is a no brainer.  What is the problem that has such intricate solutions?  I haven't written a check in years, and don't carry cash for even small purchases.  That is more that I can't carry cash, it burns a hole in my pocket.

There are really two primary reasons to manufacture spend.

The first reason is to successfully get all of your spending on to your credit cards. For most people, their largest expenses are mortgage/rent, car payments, student loans, taxes. In general these cannot be paid with credit card. If you can put all of your expenses on credit card already, there is no need to manufacture spend for this reason.

The second reason, which is particularly germane to Mustachians, is to artificially inflate your meager spending levels. If you only spend 1-$2000 a month by credit card, it will be hard for you to hit big credit card bonuses like the $10,000 spending requirement within three months for the current citi Aadvantage American Airlines credit card 100,000 mile bonus. Manufactured spending allows you to buy thousands of dollars worth of "nothing,"at minimal expense to you.

Secondary reasons to pursue this hobby include that it is fun and lucrative, and a very Mustachian skill set.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 02, 2014, 11:48:02 PM

I understand that, but does it hurt to have the miles, even if they do get devalued somewhat?

In other words, if I was going to spend $600 on travel in the next six months, and instead I spend $600 earning 500k+ miles, and use 60k miles of travel in the next six months, I've spent the same amount that I would otherwise, but now have an extra 450k miles available.  If they get devalued to half, I still have hundreds of thousands of miles for free.

I hear the "it'd suck if it gets devalued," but in my mind there's no downside to having them anyways.  If I'm going to travel a bunch in three years, I can use whatever's left, even if some has been devalued, and earn more then as well, with whatever travel hacking methods are available at that time.  Will it have hurt me to have those old miles that I'm earning today?

Also, I guess Amex points and Chase UR points could get devalued, but I haven't heard of it happening - so keeping the points in those systems and only transferring them once you need them seems like a good idea, but it's still good to rack them up, no?

This is a genuine question, I'm not trying to defend myself - like I said, I have no idea what I'm doing.  That's just my line of thinking on it - why not rack them up, even if they do get somewhat devalued?  Doesn't that make sense?

There are 2 schools of thought on this issue. There are the "Earn and burners," and the opportunistic hoarders. "

This tension was well covered in this recent post from frequentmiler.

http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2014/06/27/opportunistic-hoarding-vs-earning-and-burning/

I tend to side with you on this one ARS. As long as your miles don't expire, more miles will always equal more opportunities to save money.

And there are constantly new credit card opportunities and manufactured spending opportunities popping up.

Over the course of the year that I have played the miles game I've accumulated greater than 30 credit cards personally, and have no where near exhausted you all of the options.

Needless to say,I have saved a ton of money on travel expenses.

In other words I'm a miles hoarder.

There... I said it.



Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: pdxvandal on July 02, 2014, 11:53:18 PM
Interesting stuff.

I've been playing a lesser airline credit-card game. For example, I signed up for a Southwest credit card a year ago to rack up miles/free tickets. Then I canceled six months later. Last month, I signed up for another Southwest one with the same promotion as I know my wife, kid and I are going to Arizona in March.

My credit score likely is taking a hit, but I was in the low 800s, so mid to high 700s I'm OK with. I've also used a US Bank credit card (another free airline ticket) and an Alaska Airlines credit card, which I've had for 10-plus years.

Anyone else do this?
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on July 03, 2014, 12:05:10 AM
There are 2 schools of thought on this issue. There are the "Earn and burners," and the opportunistic hoarders. "

This tension was well covered in this recent post from frequentmiler.

http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2014/06/27/opportunistic-hoarding-vs-earning-and-burning/

I tend to side with you on this one ARS. As long as your miles don't expire, more miles will always equal more opportunities to save money.

And there are constantly new credit card opportunities and manufactured spending opportunities popping up.

Over the course of the year that I have played the miles game I've accumulated greater than 30 credit cards personally, and have no where near exhausted you all of the options.

Needless to say,I have saved a ton of money on travel expenses.

In other words I'm a miles hoarder.

There... I said it.

Thanks for the input, and the links.  Glad to know my thoughts weren't too far off from the experts.  Sometimes you just get lucky.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: labrat on July 05, 2014, 09:16:33 AM
This is one of the most interesting threads I have read on this board!  Thank you for the posts and links.
Ditto!! Many thanks :)
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 06, 2014, 06:48:08 PM

Interesting stuff.

I've been playing a lesser airline credit-card game. For example, I signed up for a Southwest credit card a year ago to rack up miles/free tickets. Then I canceled six months later. Last month, I signed up for another Southwest one with the same promotion as I know my wife, kid and I are going to Arizona in March.

My credit score likely is taking a hit, but I was in the low 800s, so mid to high 700s I'm OK with. I've also used a US Bank credit card (another free airline ticket) and an Alaska Airlines credit card, which I've had for 10-plus years.

Anyone else do this?

Pdx vandal,

Southwest has a remarkable benefit called the companion pass which would be well worth your effort as opposed to your current approach. I wrote about it here, and currently have 2, (one for me and one for my wife.)

http://www.milesdividendmd.com/blue-ribbon-prize/

As to the credit score issue, while each hard check of your credit score does cost a temporary 5-7 point ding on your credit score, this is usually a short lived effect.

A more important factor in your credit score is your credit utilization ratio. So if you switch your yearly fee card to a fee free card instead of canceling it and losing your credit line, your credit score should not go down and may go up. (Mine has stayed a level 750-790 despite a whopping 24 CC apps a year!).

See here

http://www.milesdividendmd.com/whats-the-score/

Hope that helps.

PS

PDX MUSTACHIANS OF THE WORLD UNITE!




Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on July 06, 2014, 09:55:28 PM
Southwest has a remarkable benefit called the companion pass which would be well worth your effort as opposed to your current approach. I wrote about it here, and currently have 2, (one for me and one for my wife.)

http://www.milesdividendmd.com/blue-ribbon-prize/

This is not currently available, is it?  (I mean, the cards with the big bonuses that let you hit it.)

I wanted to sign up for this a week or so ago but thought it wasn't active right now..
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 06, 2014, 10:09:17 PM

Southwest has a remarkable benefit called the companion pass which would be well worth your effort as opposed to your current approach. I wrote about it here, and currently have 2, (one for me and one for my wife.)

http://www.milesdividendmd.com/blue-ribbon-prize/

This is not currently available, is it?  (I mean, the cards with the big bonuses that let you hit it.)

I wanted to sign up for this a week or so ago but thought it wasn't active right now..

ARS,

It is!

For referral links I always check here first if not available on Richmondsavers.com or one of my other friends' sites.

http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/best-credit-card-sign-up-offers/

Frequent miler does a great job of keeping his links (affiliate and non-affiliate ) up to date.

If you need to wait a bit because of your recent churn,  don't sweat it. There should be another round of 50k offers this winter, and if you hit your 110K after New Years, your companion pass will be good through the end of 2016.

AZ


Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Simple Abundant Living on July 06, 2014, 11:13:02 PM
Following...
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: GermanMom on July 07, 2014, 07:43:28 AM
Just finished my Amex Serve App. Been meaning to do that anyway to help my spouse with some of the fixed budget items. Great idea. I am not sure i understand the Amazon payments idea. Have to think about that some more.

Amazon payments is the easiest one.  If you just have one card you're working, you send $1000 through Amazon Payments (it's like Amazon's version of PayPal) fee free from one spouse to the other.  The spouse that received it withdraws it to their attached bank account, and uses that bank account to pay the credit card.  $1k/mo with no fee and about 30 seconds of work.

If you and the spouse each have a card you want to manufacture spending on, you need a trusted third party (parent, child, sibling, whatever).

In this scenario spouses are persons A and B, and truster person is person C: You send it from person A to B (using card #1), B withdraws the 1k to their bank, then sends a new 1k (using card #2) to person C.  Person C sends the 1k (not using a card, just the amount they received) back to person A, who withdraws it.

Is that clearer?  :)

This might be a great way to have my mom get money to me from Germany without paying all the bank fees of an international wire. Has anyone ever tried this?
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on July 07, 2014, 09:34:36 AM
This might be a great way to have my mom get money to me from Germany without paying all the bank fees of an international wire. Has anyone ever tried this?

I don't see why that wouldn't work (it's like a fee free - to a limit - paypal).  They may not do international though, so she might need a US bank account.  Can't hurt to check it out.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on July 07, 2014, 09:55:07 AM

Southwest has a remarkable benefit called the companion pass which would be well worth your effort as opposed to your current approach. I wrote about it here, and currently have 2, (one for me and one for my wife.)

http://www.milesdividendmd.com/blue-ribbon-prize/

This is not currently available, is it?  (I mean, the cards with the big bonuses that let you hit it.)

I wanted to sign up for this a week or so ago but thought it wasn't active right now..

ARS,

It is!

For referral links I always check here first if not available on Richmondsavers.com or one of my other friends' sites.

http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/best-credit-card-sign-up-offers/

Frequent miler does a great job of keeping his links (affiliate and non-affiliate ) up to date.

If you need to wait a bit because of your recent churn,  don't sweat it. There should be another round of 50k offers this winter, and if you hit your 110K after New Years, your companion pass will be good through the end of 2016.

AZ

Ohhhh, darn.  I recently thought it wasn't, so I signed up for some alternate cards.  I was aware of the sign up early in the year thing, but we're planning most our plane travel in 2014-2015 (not as much in 2016, as we'll be RVing then), so we wanted it for the second half of this year and all of next year.

Hmmm..  It's only another 10k to churn (only 4k for the signup bonuses, but you need to get 110k miles and only get 100 from the signup bonuses, so you need 10k spending)...

SouthWest is the main carrier out of Vegas, so it'd be quite useful.  Maybe I'll wait til December. Tough call.

Well thanks for the info either way.  :)
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: AndThen on July 28, 2014, 01:20:40 PM
I've had this thread bookmarked for a while. I understand how all this works and even signed up for the AMEX serve card after reading this and MD's blog.

However, the one thing holding me back...is mint. Right now, my mint.com is setup exactly how I like it. My transactions are neat and simple. Everything is perfect. However, if I start buying money packs and visa gift cards, how do you make it not jack up the mint.com records?

Also another question. When logging into my serve account, the check writing part doesn't seem very clear. Am I able to write myself checks? I see that you can send money to people but I just am not sure if that includes myself. I was going to test it with say $5 and see if I successfully and able to receive and deposit the check. I guess it would just be easier to link my bank account. Just curious, though, as that would be nice to pay my rent that way.

Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 28, 2014, 02:32:10 PM
Manufactured spending definitely messes up the effort free accounting of mint.   If you are motivated you can manually reclassify manufactured spending transactions within  mint.

You can write a rent check from serve using the pay bills function. I find it's easier to simply withdraw money to my checking account and auto paying from the checking account. Bluebird has paper checks, but not serve.

Writing yourself a check should be no problem , but withdrawing money electronically to your bank account is much easier.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: beltim on July 28, 2014, 03:33:59 PM
Miles:
What's your go-to card to use at Rite Aide when you're not meeting minimum spend?
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 28, 2014, 03:46:46 PM
Beltim,

I'm almost always meeting new spending requirements.

But for a dedicated manufactured spender, it's tough to beat the card mentioned in this post. (The old blue cash card) I end up of using this to offset gift card activation fees because 5% cashback is tough to beat.

http://freequentflyerbook.com/blog/2014/1/3/5-cash-back-is-back-for-now

Also Here is a great resource for finding the best category bonuses for many different types of retailers.

http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2012/11/09/best-category-bonuses/

(I also used the Wells Fargo rewards card for six months!)

Enjoy.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: biffwhipster on July 28, 2014, 03:59:29 PM
Amazon payments is the easiest one.  If you just have one card you're working, you send $1000 through Amazon Payments (it's like Amazon's version of PayPal) fee free from one spouse to the other.  The spouse that received it withdraws it to their attached bank account, and uses that bank account to pay the credit card.  $1k/mo with no fee and about 30 seconds of work.

If you and the spouse each have a card you want to manufacture spending on, you need a trusted third party (parent, child, sibling, whatever).

In this scenario spouses are persons A and B, and truster person is person C: You send it from person A to B (using card #1), B withdraws the 1k to their bank, then sends a new 1k (using card #2) to person C.  Person C sends the 1k (not using a card, just the amount they received) back to person A, who withdraws it.

Do I have to worry about the legality of this? I would love to do if it is safe.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: daverobev on July 28, 2014, 05:45:35 PM

This might be a great way to have my mom get money to me from Germany without paying all the bank fees of an international wire. Has anyone ever tried this?

Try CurrencyFair. For EUR to USD you'd just pay one wire fee, and the exchange rate is VERY good.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: beltim on July 28, 2014, 05:47:00 PM
Miles,

Thanks for the response. I'm not interested in manufacturing spend, I was just wondering if there were a good multi-point per dollar card for drug stores. Thanks for the links
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 28, 2014, 06:13:38 PM

Amazon payments is the easiest one.  If you just have one card you're working, you send $1000 through Amazon Payments (it's like Amazon's version of PayPal) fee free from one spouse to the other.  The spouse that received it withdraws it to their attached bank account, and uses that bank account to pay the credit card.  $1k/mo with no fee and about 30 seconds of work.

If you and the spouse each have a card you want to manufacture spending on, you need a trusted third party (parent, child, sibling, whatever).

In this scenario spouses are persons A and B, and truster person is person C: You send it from person A to B (using card #1), B withdraws the 1k to their bank, then sends a new 1k (using card #2) to person C.  Person C sends the 1k (not using a card, just the amount they received) back to person A, who withdraws it.

Do I have to worry about the legality of this? I would love to do if it is safe.

The short answer is "no."  There is nothing illegal about any of it.

But you really shouldn't take my word for it, or the word of anyone else on the Internet for that fact. The easiest way to figure out whether or not it's permissible under the contract, is to read the Amazon payments contract and to see if The action in question goes against any of the terms of the contract.

I feel quite comfortable seeing that it is not illegal. I'm also comfortable saying that it is not unethical. But ethics  are very personal things, so you'll really have to decide that one for yourself.

Here's my post on Amazon payments if you're interested in the details. It links to some useful how-to posts as well.

http://www.milesdividendmd.com/low-hanging-fruit/

Enjoy.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: AndThen on July 28, 2014, 09:17:03 PM
Thanks, MD.

Another question. What's a good strategy for picking which cards to churn? Just visit http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/best-credit-card-sign-up-offers/ and go down the list? I'm not going for any specific types of miles. I'm just looking at getting a pool of them so I can travel to my hearts content. Just pick 6 random cards and go to town?
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 28, 2014, 09:44:26 PM

Thanks, MD.

Another question. What's a good strategy for picking which cards to churn? Just visit http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/best-credit-card-sign-up-offers/ and go down the list? I'm not going for any specific types of miles. I'm just looking at getting a pool of them so I can travel to my hearts content. Just pick 6 random cards and go to town?

Some general rules:

You can only apply for one personal card and one business card from a bank at a time.

You can apply for 6 to 8 cards per churn.

Always pick the best cards available at the time you apply.

Focus on collecting the most valuable points first.  Right now I would rank them in order of value as starpoints>amex membership rewards>chase ultimate rewards>American Aadvantage miles>united miles...

A good 6 card churn now would be

Chase sapphire preferred 40k ultimate rewards
Chase ink bold. 70k ultimate rewards (limited time )
Citi executive Aadvantage 75 k miles (425$ fee not waived - 200$ statement question.
Citi Hilton Honors reserve. (2 free weekend nights.
Amex Starwood preferred. 25k spg points.
Barclays US air 40k after first purchase. 89$ fee not waived. (Backdoor to American miles due to merger. Soon to disappear.

So many cards. So little time...
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: AndThen on July 28, 2014, 09:49:13 PM
Thanks again, MD. How often do you apply for your 6-8 cards and get accepted for all of them? I read your blog post on having to call the company and charm them up sometimes. Is that normal? Or is there a good chance that I'll be accepted for all 6-8? Assuming excellent credit, yada, yada...
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 28, 2014, 09:52:59 PM
I usually get 5-6/6 approved. But I always have to make reconsideration calls. Its part of the game.

But then it's fun and my hourly wage for the miles game is about the same as my hourly wage as a cardiologist. (though obviously I "work" far fewer hours with my hobby.)
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Will on July 29, 2014, 12:08:15 AM
Has anyone loaded a Serve card using a Chase credit card?  Serve says "Cash advance fees for credit card loads may apply; please check with your credit card issuer for details."  I've been thinking about getting the AARP credit card from Chase because they have an offer of $100 back after spending $500 in the first 3 months.  This makes me not so sure the Serve idea would work:

Quote
To qualify and receive your bonus, you must make Purchases totaling $500 or more during the first 3 months from account opening. (“Purchases” do not include balance transfers, cash advances, cash-like charges such as travelers checks, foreign currency, and money orders, any checks that access your account, overdraft advances, interest, unauthorized or fraudulent charges, or fees of any kind, including an annual fee, if applicable.)

First hand knowledge from anyone trying this with Chase would surely be appreciated.  I don't suppose if there was a cash advance fee that it would amount to much anyway, but if I could avoid it, I would prefer it.  I just don't really have a whole lot of expenses to put on a card to try to spend $500 in 3 months.  I'm just not much of a spender.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 29, 2014, 12:38:44 AM

Has anyone loaded a Serve card using a Chase credit card?  Serve says "Cash advance fees for credit card loads may apply; please check with your credit card issuer for details."  I've been thinking about getting the AARP credit card from Chase because they have an offer of $100 back after spending $500 in the first 3 months.  This makes me not so sure the Serve idea would work:

Quote
To qualify and receive your bonus, you must make Purchases totaling $500 or more during the first 3 months from account opening. (“Purchases” do not include balance transfers, cash advances, cash-like charges such as travelers checks, foreign currency, and money orders, any checks that access your account, overdraft advances, interest, unauthorized or fraudulent charges, or fees of any kind, including an annual fee, if applicable.)

First hand knowledge from anyone trying this with Chase would surely be appreciated.  I don't suppose if there was a cash advance fee that it would amount to much anyway, but if I could avoid it, I would prefer it.  I just don't really have a whole lot of expenses to put on a card to try to spend $500 in 3 months.  I'm just not much of a spender.

I have. Using a chase SWA card.

Both by buying moneypaks, and by direct loading them onto my wife's ISIS serve account.

Miles posted, bonus met, no cash advance fee.

YMMV and all that, but...

It is always wise to set your cash advance fee to zero on your credit card when you activate it. This basically precludes you from ever being stuck with a cash advance fee.

Incidentally one of the interesting behavioral pleasures of the miles game that I have found, is that as a cheapskate it allows me to partake in the all too human pleasure of buying.

Of course, what I am buying is "nothing!"

Actually it is profitable so perhaps I am buying in the negative?
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: biffwhipster on July 29, 2014, 10:55:08 AM

Amazon payments is the easiest one.  If you just have one card you're working, you send $1000 through Amazon Payments (it's like Amazon's version of PayPal) fee free from one spouse to the other.  The spouse that received it withdraws it to their attached bank account, and uses that bank account to pay the credit card.  $1k/mo with no fee and about 30 seconds of work.

If you and the spouse each have a card you want to manufacture spending on, you need a trusted third party (parent, child, sibling, whatever).

In this scenario spouses are persons A and B, and truster person is person C: You send it from person A to B (using card #1), B withdraws the 1k to their bank, then sends a new 1k (using card #2) to person C.  Person C sends the 1k (not using a card, just the amount they received) back to person A, who withdraws it.

Do I have to worry about the legality of this? I would love to do if it is safe.

The short answer is "no."  There is nothing illegal about any of it.

But you really shouldn't take my word for it, or the word of anyone else on the Internet for that fact. The easiest way to figure out whether or not it's permissible under the contract, is to read the Amazon payments contract and to see if The action in question goes against any of the terms of the contract.

I feel quite comfortable seeing that it is not illegal. I'm also comfortable saying that it is not unethical. But ethics  are very personal things, so you'll really have to decide that one for yourself.

Here's my post on Amazon payments if you're interested in the details. It links to some useful how-to posts as well.

http://www.milesdividendmd.com/low-hanging-fruit/

Enjoy.

Thanks for the clarification. I will check out your post.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: AndThen on July 30, 2014, 08:31:27 AM
MD, on your blog post: http://www.milesdividendmd.com/better-than-sliced-bread/ , you talk about how the ISIS serve basically grows the limits to how much you can "spend" per day from 5k to 8k. I can't find that information on any of the isis websites. server.com/isis or paywiththis.com

Where do you see the limits for the isis? Do you have another blog post I may have missed that spells out all the details? I still am not sure how to load a debit card with a credit card. Unless a visa gift card counts as a debit card?
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Hvillian on July 30, 2014, 02:32:31 PM
Focus on collecting the most valuable points first.  Right now I would rank them in order of value as starpoints>amex membership rewards>chase ultimate rewards>American Aadvantage miles>united miles...

A good 6 card churn now would be

Chase sapphire preferred 40k ultimate rewards
Chase ink bold. 70k ultimate rewards (limited time )
Citi executive Aadvantage 75 k miles (425$ fee not waived - 200$ statement question.
Citi Hilton Honors reserve. (2 free weekend nights.
Amex Starwood preferred. 25k spg points.
Barclays US air 40k after first purchase. 89$ fee not waived. (Backdoor to American miles due to merger. Soon to disappear.

So many cards. So little time...

You guys have inspired me to take the plunge.  Approved for Chase sapphire preferred today, and I already have the Chase Freedom card that I haven't been using with 5% points on certain things each quarter.  I am looking at the Starwood Amex as well.

How do you guys track the awards, requirements, expirations, etc?   Fancy spreadsheet, online, or something else?
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: brooklynguy on July 30, 2014, 02:42:33 PM
How do you guys track the awards, requirements, expirations, etc?   Fancy spreadsheet, online, or something else?

Awardwallet.com is an award-tracking app (like Mint.com for awards), but personally I don't use it.  I print out the terms and conditions of each application after I apply, note the date I applied and highlight the minimum spending threshold and any other requirements, put it in a folder, and routinely move to a different folder once I've satisfied the requirements.  I use a spreadsheet to track annual fee dates.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: blackomen on July 30, 2014, 02:49:42 PM
It's possible if you're willing to pay (the equivalent of) 1 - 1.5% in convenience fees.  The "convenience fee" is the fee incurred in the purchase of a prepaid debit card.

Go to Ralphs or Krogers and buy their US Bank issued debit cards that can load up to $500 each for $6.95 with the card you want to earn points on.  (6.95/500 = 1.39% convenience fee.)

(WARNING: Do not buy the VISA cards issued by Vanilla or OneVanilla!!  They take more hoops to jump through before you can transfer the money from them in the next step.)

You'll also need a Bluebird account (http://www.bluebird.com).  If not, you need to sign up for one AND have a Bluebird debit card.

Go to Walmart, head to their Money Center, and fill your Bluebird account with the debit card you purchased at Ralphs.  If they have a machine, use that as some employees may not understand that you can load your Bluebird account this way.

Then log in to your Bluebird account and use it to pay your bill.  If it's something like a Mortgage payment, telephone bill, utility, student loan, etc. then they're most likely listed in their database.  Even if your payee is not listed (i.e. your landlord or maybe a friend you owe money to), you can use Bluebird to mail that person a check or even preauthorize and write a check to pay that person.

If your card only earns 1% cashback, then I won't bother with the above.  Ditto for 1 mile per $1 unless you just need a few thousand miles before you can buy the plane ticket you want.  Even at 2% cashback, I'd be too lazy to go through all this trouble.  But if you're trying to meet a minimum spend, it's an invaluable tactic.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 30, 2014, 04:13:41 PM
MD, on your blog post: http://www.milesdividendmd.com/better-than-sliced-bread/ , you talk about how the ISIS serve basically grows the limits to how much you can "spend" per day from 5k to 8k. I can't find that information on any of the isis websites. server.com/isis or paywiththis.com

Where do you see the limits for the isis? Do you have another blog post I may have missed that spells out all the details? I still am not sure how to load a debit card with a credit card. Unless a visa gift card counts as a debit card?

Going from Bluebird to ISIS, you increase you MS from 5K to 7K a month because of 1K of direct credit card loading and 1K of Direct debit card loading in addition to 5K of moneypak/walmart reloads.

Going from Serve to ISIS Serve gets you to 8K because you can load 1500/month by credit card and debit card instead of just 1K.

I can confirm this from personal experience.

Here's a secondary reference:

http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2014/04/23/serve-takes-the-lead-over-bluebird/

Enjoy!
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on July 30, 2014, 04:18:07 PM
How do you guys track the awards, requirements, expirations, etc?   Fancy spreadsheet, online, or something else?

Awardwallet.com is an award-tracking app (like Mint.com for awards), but personally I don't use it.  I print out the terms and conditions of each application after I apply, note the date I applied and highlight the minimum spending threshold and any other requirements, put it in a folder, and routinely move to a different folder once I've satisfied the requirements.  I use a spreadsheet to track annual fee dates.

+1 award wallet.  It's a useful and free app. 

More than anything a smart phone is very useful in this hobby for keeping track of balances/spending requirements progress, miles across multiple accounts etc.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Hvillian on July 30, 2014, 08:20:46 PM
Thanks guys.  I'll check out award wallet.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on August 05, 2014, 11:54:34 PM
How do you guys track the awards, requirements, expirations, etc?   Fancy spreadsheet, online, or something else?

Awardwallet.com is an award-tracking app (like Mint.com for awards), but personally I don't use it.  I print out the terms and conditions of each application after I apply, note the date I applied and highlight the minimum spending threshold and any other requirements, put it in a folder, and routinely move to a different folder once I've satisfied the requirements.  I use a spreadsheet to track annual fee dates.

+1 award wallet.  It's a useful and free app. 

More than anything a smart phone is very useful in this hobby for keeping track of balances/spending requirements progress, miles across multiple accounts etc.

Interesting.  I don't use my smart phone for any of it (don't have a phone that can do ISIS, track via excel on my computer, award wallet via website on computer, not via an app, etc.).

What mobile (smartphone) apps do you find useful for travel hacking, aside from what I just mentioned?

Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on August 06, 2014, 12:04:01 AM

How do you guys track the awards, requirements, expirations, etc?   Fancy spreadsheet, online, or something else?

Awardwallet.com is an award-tracking app (like Mint.com for awards), but personally I don't use it.  I print out the terms and conditions of each application after I apply, note the date I applied and highlight the minimum spending threshold and any other requirements, put it in a folder, and routinely move to a different folder once I've satisfied the requirements.  I use a spreadsheet to track annual fee dates.

+1 award wallet.  It's a useful and free app. 

More than anything a smart phone is very useful in this hobby for keeping track of balances/spending requirements progress, miles across multiple accounts etc.

Interesting.  I don't use my smart phone for any of it (don't have a phone that can do ISIS, track via excel on my computer, award wallet via website on computer, not via an app, etc.).

What mobile (smartphone) apps do you find useful for travel hacking, aside from what I just mentioned?

ARS

A number of them.

For tracking credit card spending the apps from: Amex, citi, Chase, Barclays etc...

For tracking mileage: AwardWallet, American Airlines, united airlines etc

The serve, Isis, or bluebird app to track the balance on my prepaid card.

For keeping track of itineraries: Tripit. (So great, You just email your flight confirmations and hotel reservations, car rental confirmations etc and it organizes your travel itinerary onto your Phone.)

The notepad for keeping track of which cards are approved.

Mint, for making sure that there are no unexpected fees.

Paypal, for checking balance.

The miles game would be much more difficult without my smart phone that's for sure.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Will on October 09, 2014, 11:52:45 PM


YMMV and all that, but...

It is always wise to set your cash advance fee to zero on your credit card when you activate it. This basically precludes you from ever being stuck with a cash advance fee.


How does one do this?
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on October 10, 2014, 12:27:01 AM
Will,

Just call up the credit card company. I usually do this at the same time I activate my new cards.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Mother Fussbudget on October 31, 2014, 11:33:43 AM
I think Frequent Miler has got this figured out - and the answer is the REDbird special pre-paid Target card available in only some Target stores (not in my area... but... his readers have this figured out also... more later)  See more on:
 http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2014/10/11/redcard-changes-everything/comment-page-2/#comment-651500 (http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2014/10/11/redcard-changes-everything/comment-page-2/#comment-651500)

The REDbird is a prepaid card you can buy in certain states (https://amex.serve.com/prepaidredcard/?ref=sr_shorturl_prepaidredcard#store-locator (https://amex.serve.com/prepaidredcard/?ref=sr_shorturl_prepaidredcard#store-locator)) It looks like this:
(http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Target_Prepaid_REDcard.jpg)
The confusing part - Target has DIFFERET cards also called "REDcard" available in all 50 states. 

It's like WalMart's BlueBird card, BUT if you can get one of these prepaid REDbird cards, you can LOAD IT FROM CREDIT CARDS at any Target checkout, or the ATM-like kiosk in all stores.  So if they don't offer it in your area, pick one up while travelling, load it there, take it home, and continue to load it at your local Target store! 

I was trying to use my Chase Ink Business card to buy $500 Visa gift cards, to earn the 5x points at Staples/Office Depot/Office Max, but none of the office supply stores in my area offer gift cards for more than $200.  But grocery stores offer $500 Mastercards, so that's what I'm using for now.  The plan is to transfer these gift cards to the REDbird card, and use the REDbird's (American Express) "Bill-Pay" feature to pay the rent/mortgage.  I didn't get the card in time for this month, but next month this is what I'm doing.

Will update on my results...
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on October 31, 2014, 11:37:43 AM
How is loading to redbird different or easier than loading from serve?  Is it completely free to load a credit card?  What are the monthly limits?
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on October 31, 2014, 12:07:23 PM
You can load it directly with a credit card at target for no fees up yo 5K a month.

I still like ISIS serve better because I never have to go to target/Walmart etc. but redcard is an exciting development.

I will be detailing all three prepaid offerings in my ongoing "how to" series for the miles game.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on October 31, 2014, 12:12:15 PM
Hmm, that could save me ~$30 each 5k load.  Then again I'm almost done with MS, having hit basically all the minimum spends I needed, and having way more miles than I need now.

Too bad you can only have one (bluebird, serve, or red card).
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on October 31, 2014, 12:13:32 PM
There is always room for a spousal card if you want to diversify!
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: yyc-phil on October 31, 2014, 12:14:53 PM
I would love to hear of ways to do so in Canada. I pay everything on CC except monthly condo fees and mortgage payments for a rental I own.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on October 31, 2014, 12:18:24 PM
There is always room for a spousal card if you want to diversify!

We each have a Serve already.

Probably not looking to diversify spouses at this time.

;)
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on October 31, 2014, 12:46:23 PM

I would love to hear of ways to do so in Canada. I pay everything on CC except monthly condo fees and mortgage payments for a rental I own.

You might check to see if evolve money is available in Canada. That would be a way to pay your condo fee/mortgage with CC.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: FarmerPete on November 03, 2014, 10:41:44 AM
I've been using my Serve account for a month now, and I'm just wondering if there is an easy way to get Serve to my checking account.  I've been doing scheduled transfers of $200 5x a month from my CC.  I just really don't like the idea of sending that $$$ from Serve back to the CC.  I figure it will look better if I run it through another account first.  I don't have any other CC that has that kind of a regular balance on it.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on November 03, 2014, 12:04:51 PM

I've been using my Serve account for a month now, and I'm just wondering if there is an easy way to get Serve to my checking account.  I've been doing scheduled transfers of $200 5x a month from my CC.  I just really don't like the idea of sending that $$$ from Serve back to the CC.  I figure it will look better if I run it through another account first.  I don't have any other CC that has that kind of a regular balance on it.

Yes you can. Once you have linked to your bank account, you go to Settings > withdraw money.

I use this frequently, but my feeling is that this is more suspicious than simply paying your credit card bill from your serve account.

This will, of course, be exhaustively detailed in my current series on manufactured spending.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: daverobev on November 03, 2014, 04:12:35 PM
I would love to hear of ways to do so in Canada. I pay everything on CC except monthly condo fees and mortgage payments for a rental I own.

There's nothing comparable.

Canadian Tire credit cards have an odd 'bill pay' feature where you can pay property tax.

PetroCan have a 'Pivot' reloadable card but IIRC the margins are REALLY tight on it being worthwhile to MS with it.

There is Plastiq but they charge fees. If you have a 2% card you can make a little money with Enbridge (cost is only 1.6%), but sadly it costs 2% to pay the CRA, and I don't know of any cards that give > 2%.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: AndThen on November 04, 2014, 08:03:16 AM
I've been using Serve for a few month's now but have to say I really dislike it. It is a huge pain to switch credit cards. Every time I add one through their website it triggers some kind of security flag and they disable my account. I then have to scan pictures of the card, upload it, and call their hotline to get things normalized. It's pretty annoying having to do this for every single card. Does everyone go through the same crap process?
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: so.mpls on November 04, 2014, 09:00:56 AM
Hi all,

I want to start doing the Amazon payments method; but I want to make sure before I take the plunge - is it still fee free up to 1k?  Looking on their website I can't find anything about receiving money other than the 'For Merchants' section, which lists a 2.9% + $.30 fee.  Does this not apply if you're not actually selling anything?
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on November 04, 2014, 11:05:48 AM
Amazon payments is dead

http://www.milesdividendmd.com/amazonia-lost/
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: brooklynguy on November 04, 2014, 11:12:14 AM
I've been using Serve for a few month's now but have to say I really dislike it. It is a huge pain to switch credit cards. Every time I add one through their website it triggers some kind of security flag and they disable my account. I then have to scan pictures of the card, upload it, and call their hotline to get things normalized. It's pretty annoying having to do this for every single card. Does everyone go through the same crap process?

I agree.  This is why I use Serve only to rack up regular points on my favorite all purpose card (Barclays Arrival) and use other manufactured spending techniques (such as purchasing PayPal cash cards) to hit minimum spend thresholds for earning bonuses on rotating cards.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on November 04, 2014, 01:43:10 PM
I've been using Serve for a few month's now but have to say I really dislike it. It is a huge pain to switch credit cards. Every time I add one through their website it triggers some kind of security flag and they disable my account. I then have to scan pictures of the card, upload it, and call their hotline to get things normalized. It's pretty annoying having to do this for every single card. Does everyone go through the same crap process?

No.  Most the time I add a card it works, but sometimes it gives me an error so I call and they add it over the phone.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: diesel15 on November 05, 2014, 06:35:46 AM
Just throwing an idea out there that some of you may not have considered.  If you sign up for an account at an online fantasy football site, say Draftkings for instance, you can use your credit card to deposit up to $2,000 per day.  You can then turn around and withdraw the money via Paypal.  My guess is that they will shut you down after some time if you don't actually enter any contests but it's free and maybe worth a shot.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on November 05, 2014, 07:27:42 AM
Just throwing an idea out there that some of you may not have considered.  If you sign up for an account at an online fantasy football site, say Draftkings for instance, you can use your credit card to deposit up to $2,000 per day.  You can then turn around and withdraw the money via Paypal.  My guess is that they will shut you down after some time if you don't actually enter any contests but it's free and maybe worth a shot.

I wouldn't trust either of the sites mentioned with thousands of dollars.  :P

But I like your clever thinking.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: FarmerPete on November 05, 2014, 07:46:47 AM

I've been using my Serve account for a month now, and I'm just wondering if there is an easy way to get Serve to my checking account.  I've been doing scheduled transfers of $200 5x a month from my CC.  I just really don't like the idea of sending that $$$ from Serve back to the CC.  I figure it will look better if I run it through another account first.  I don't have any other CC that has that kind of a regular balance on it.

Yes you can. Once you have linked to your bank account, you go to Settings > withdraw money.

I use this frequently, but my feeling is that this is more suspicious than simply paying your credit card bill from your serve account.

This will, of course, be exhaustively detailed in my current series on manufactured spending.

I don't want to detract from your blog post to come, but why would you think it more suspicious?  I've always paid with auto-pay from my bank account, so seeing these random payments come in from an account that you're also getting charges from is a little suspicious.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: brooklynguy on November 05, 2014, 08:10:05 AM
I don't want to detract from your blog post to come, but why would you think it more suspicious?  I've always paid with auto-pay from my bank account, so seeing these random payments come in from an account that you're also getting charges from is a little suspicious.

I think the idea is that consistently funding your Serve account only to withdraw all of the funds to your bank account is suspicious, because you're not really using the Serve account for any purpose.  But I agree that roundtripping the funds back to the card you used to fund the account is even more suspicious.  So if you really have no other bills that you can pay using Serve, then if I were in your shoes I would do bank account withdrawals too.  Keep in mind, though, that you can use Serve to pay almost any bill (but you will get the most benefit out of this by only using it to pay bills that you could not ordinarily pay via credit card), such as utilities, rent, mortgage, etc.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: diesel15 on November 05, 2014, 08:20:46 AM
Just throwing an idea out there that some of you may not have considered.  If you sign up for an account at an online fantasy football site, say Draftkings for instance, you can use your credit card to deposit up to $2,000 per day.  You can then turn around and withdraw the money via Paypal.  My guess is that they will shut you down after some time if you don't actually enter any contests but it's free and maybe worth a shot.

I wouldn't trust either of the sites mentioned with thousands of dollars.  :P

But I like your clever thinking.

I've never had any issue getting money out of Draftkings.  It is absolutely legitimate IMO.  I actually use it as very nice little side hustle if you can call it that.  With that being said, I've never tried the deposit and withdraw strategy so I can't say if it will work or not.  I only withdraw. :P
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: FarmerPete on November 05, 2014, 08:38:08 AM
I don't want to detract from your blog post to come, but why would you think it more suspicious?  I've always paid with auto-pay from my bank account, so seeing these random payments come in from an account that you're also getting charges from is a little suspicious.

I think the idea is that consistently funding your Serve account only to withdraw all of the funds to your bank account is suspicious, because you're not really using the Serve account for any purpose.  But I agree that roundtripping the funds back to the card you used to fund the account is even more suspicious.  So if you really have no other bills that you can pay using Serve, then if I were in your shoes I would do bank account withdrawals too.  Keep in mind, though, that you can use Serve to pay almost any bill (but you will get the most benefit out of this by only using it to pay bills that you could not ordinarily pay via credit card), such as utilities, rent, mortgage, etc.

I have a grand total of 2 bills that can't be paid by credit card (Mortgage and Power/Water/Sewer).  I'd maybe consider mortgage, but since my other bill is so variable, my billpayer account at my bank gets the bills automatically and pays them in full.  I wont get any extra cash back on it, since I'm already getting cash back on the Serve transfer already.  How I spend the money wont get me a dime cash back.  I guess I've been more worried about my CC getting pissed vs Serve.
Title: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on November 05, 2014, 09:41:20 AM

I've been using my Serve account for a month now, and I'm just wondering if there is an easy way to get Serve to my checking account.  I've been doing scheduled transfers of $200 5x a month from my CC.  I just really don't like the idea of sending that $$$ from Serve back to the CC.  I figure it will look better if I run it through another account first.  I don't have any other CC that has that kind of a regular balance on it.

Yes you can. Once you have linked to your bank account, you go to Settings > withdraw money.

I use this frequently, but my feeling is that this is more suspicious than simply paying your credit card bill from your serve account.

This will, of course, be exhaustively detailed in my current series on manufactured spending.

I don't want to detract from your blog post to come, but why would you think it more suspicious?  I've always paid with auto-pay from my bank account, so seeing these random payments come in from an account that you're also getting charges from is a little suspicious.

If we're talking about risk we should probably define what the risk is.

From the standpoint of the credit card company there is virtually no risk. The credit card company receives a check from a third-party check writing company that is often the exact same company that fulfills online banking bill pay from your actual bank.

So the real concern is getting shut down by Serve.

From serve's perspective, if you load your serve account via credit card, debit card, or reload pack, and then pay bills (such as credit card bills) you're using this pseudo-checking product exactly as designed.

If on the other hand you load up your serve account and then immediately liquidate it to your checking account, the question is why would you do this?  You're paying money for reload packs simply to make it deposit into a bank account that you already have?

That being said I use both techniques,and knock on wood,  have had no difficulty thus far.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: AndThen on November 05, 2014, 11:46:38 AM
I've been using Serve for a few month's now but have to say I really dislike it. It is a huge pain to switch credit cards. Every time I add one through their website it triggers some kind of security flag and they disable my account. I then have to scan pictures of the card, upload it, and call their hotline to get things normalized. It's pretty annoying having to do this for every single card. Does everyone go through the same crap process?

No.  Most the time I add a card it works, but sometimes it gives me an error so I call and they add it over the phone.

My account has been disabled literally every single time I have added a card, credit or debit. After 4 different credit cards and 1 debit card, I gave up.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Paul der Krake on November 14, 2014, 07:56:36 PM
After a week of frantic reading on Flyer Talk while the cards of my first ever churn get here, I'm starting to wonder whether I am too late to the party. Amazon payments being dead, Serve reportedly starting to code online CC loads as cash advances, having to evade walmart cashiers when loading gift cards on Serve or buying money orders, hm could this be the beginning of the end?

I really wish I had gotten into this 6 months ago, life seemed to be so much easier back then. Thankfully I only have to spend 5k in 3 months, so if push comes to shove I will just buy prepaid cards and liquidate them with very slow regular spending.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on November 14, 2014, 08:12:09 PM

After a week of frantic reading on Flyer Talk while the cards of my first ever churn get here, I'm starting to wonder whether I am too late to the party. Amazon payments being dead, Serve reportedly starting to code online CC loads as cash advances, having to evade walmart cashiers when loading gift cards on Serve or buying money orders, hm could this be the beginning of the end?

I really wish I had gotten into this 6 months ago, life seemed to be so much easier back then. Thankfully I only have to spend 5k in 3 months, so if push comes to shove I will just buy prepaid cards and liquidate them with very slow regular spending.

This game never dies. It just constantly evolves.

The recently released target redbird can be loaded directly at Target with zero fees!  That's a first!

Whatever you are doing now, will be obsolete in the future. Know that.

But the only thing that happens faster than opportunities expiring, is new opportunities opening up.

Not being pollyannaish. That is my honest take.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on November 14, 2014, 08:30:43 PM
After a week of frantic reading on Flyer Talk while the cards of my first ever churn get here, I'm starting to wonder whether I am too late to the party. Amazon payments being dead, Serve reportedly starting to code online CC loads as cash advances, having to evade walmart cashiers when loading gift cards on Serve or buying money orders, hm could this be the beginning of the end?

I really wish I had gotten into this 6 months ago, life seemed to be so much easier back then. Thankfully I only have to spend 5k in 3 months, so if push comes to shove I will just buy prepaid cards and liquidate them with very slow regular spending.

Six months ago I thought I should have got in two years ago.

There's never a better time than today.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Paul der Krake on November 15, 2014, 07:39:06 AM
Haha yes, I know what you guys mean. Basically I'm at the point where it's all still very theoretical and that doesn't bode well with my engineer personality because I can see so many potential failure points and I start "panicking". It's always been the same for exams, job interviews, etc.

Can't wait to get my cards in the mail and ride my bike around town hunting for hacks. This is all I've been thinking about this week.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: iamadummy on November 15, 2014, 09:04:00 AM
Just throwing an idea out there that some of you may not have considered.  If you sign up for an account at an online fantasy football site, say Draftkings for instance, you can use your credit card to deposit up to $2,000 per day.  You can then turn around and withdraw the money via Paypal.  My guess is that they will shut you down after some time if you don't actually enter any contests but it's free and maybe worth a shot.

I wouldn't trust either of the sites mentioned with thousands of dollars.  :P

But I like your clever thinking.

I've never had any issue getting money out of Draftkings.  It is absolutely legitimate IMO.  I actually use it as very nice little side hustle if you can call it that.  With that being said, I've never tried the deposit and withdraw strategy so I can't say if it will work or not.  I only withdraw. :P

I'd be careful with Draftkings. Look at what happened to PS and FT back. 
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: bye-bye Ms. FancyPants on November 16, 2014, 06:09:20 PM

After a week of frantic reading on Flyer Talk while the cards of my first ever churn get here, I'm starting to wonder whether I am too late to the party. Amazon payments being dead, Serve reportedly starting to code online CC loads as cash advances, having to evade walmart cashiers when loading gift cards on Serve or buying money orders, hm could this be the beginning of the end?

I really wish I had gotten into this 6 months ago, life seemed to be so much easier back then. Thankfully I only have to spend 5k in 3 months, so if push comes to shove I will just buy prepaid cards and liquidate them with very slow regular spending.

This game never dies. It just constantly evolves.

The recently released target redbird can be loaded directly at Target with zero fees!  That's a first!

Whatever you are doing now, will be obsolete in the future. Know that.

But the only thing that happens faster than opportunities expiring, is new opportunities opening up.

Not being pollyannaish. That is my honest take.

Ah! Glad to read I'm not the only who feels late to the party .... Even more happy to know the party never ends :)
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: johnny847 on November 16, 2014, 06:44:52 PM
Evolve Money (I think it's been mentioned on this thread before?) is a service you can use to pay your bills, no fees (unless you expedite the payment, but who cares).

They announced that they accept Discover CC's now, and plan on adding Visa and Mastercard CC's as well sometime in the future.
http://millionmilesecrets.com/2014/11/11/evolve-money-now-lets-you-pay-bills-with-a-credit-card/ (http://millionmilesecrets.com/2014/11/11/evolve-money-now-lets-you-pay-bills-with-a-credit-card/)

Currently you can buy those prepaid debit cards at stores for ~1% fee ($5 on $500) and then use those on Evolve Money.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Paul der Krake on November 23, 2014, 11:54:49 AM
Confirmation: this is fun as balls.

The CC companies that don't let you set the cash advance to 0 are no fun, however.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on November 23, 2014, 02:57:22 PM
I've never bothered to set any cash advance limits.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Paul der Krake on November 23, 2014, 03:06:26 PM
 
I've never bothered to set any cash advance limits.
I didn't think there would be a need either, but last month people started reporting their online serve loads posting as advances, although it seems to be mainly limited to visas so far. It could change overnight for mastercards and don't particularly like the idea paying $20 a pop + interest.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: firelight on November 23, 2014, 03:07:15 PM
If we set cash advance to zero, amex serve charges would show up as regular ones?
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: johnny847 on November 23, 2014, 03:18:34 PM
If we set cash advance to zero, amex serve charges would show up as regular ones?
It would either be denied because its coded as a cash advance, or go through as a purchase.

With some Chase cards, it's been reported that Amex Serve loads initially register as a cash advance, but then post as a transaction. In this scenario, lowering the cash advance limit to zero would prohibit the Amex Serve load from going through at all.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Mesmoiselle on November 23, 2014, 04:25:27 PM
Manufactured Spending seems really complicated. I've just gotten into CC churning and think that if I get close to the end but not quite, I could buy a Gift Card or two after 2.5 months of true spending, which is sort of semi manufactured spending. But then someone mentioned that CC cards flag and close accounts that do that? Or is it more like, if you buy $3000 of gift Cards all at once for the $3000 goal spend that there is an issue?
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on November 23, 2014, 04:37:09 PM

Manufactured Spending seems really complicated. I've just gotten into CC churning and think that if I get close to the end but not quite, I could buy a Gift Card or two after 2.5 months of true spending, which is sort of semi manufactured spending. But then someone mentioned that CC cards flag and close accounts that do that? Or is it more like, if you buy $3000 of gift Cards all at once for the $3000 goal spend that there is an issue?

They might if you only purchase from giftcardmall.com or something, but typically they don't, and you can put it down to Christmas spending. Also if you buy them at regular shops they can't tell you purchased gift cards.

It hasn't been a problem for me, even when I've flat out told Chase I'm buying gift cards.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on November 23, 2014, 06:01:16 PM

Confirmation: this is fun as balls.

The CC companies that don't let you set the cash advance to 0 are no fun, however.

Welcome to the madness!
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: bye-bye Ms. FancyPants on November 23, 2014, 06:53:24 PM
Confirmation: this is fun as balls.

The CC companies that don't let you set the cash advance to 0 are no fun, however.

^^LMAO^^ Agreed :)
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Ricky on November 23, 2014, 07:09:49 PM
Is there a list of cards that work with Serve without being treated as a cash advance?
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Will on November 23, 2014, 07:58:56 PM
Is there a list of cards that work with Serve without being treated as a cash advance?

Try this:  http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/manufactured-spending/1199432-serve-another-paypal-amazon-payments-175.html#post23617937
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: NoraLenderbee on December 08, 2014, 09:23:43 PM
I just got my Serve account, planning to use some MS to get some bonuses. My thought was to load serve straight from the CC, and then pay the CC from Serve. But the Serve legal agreement includes this:

Quote
"You agree NOT to transfer funds from your Account to a linked credit or debit card or debit/payroll card; for example, you may not transfer funds from your Account to pay for an outstanding credit card bill."
 

Does this actually mean you can no longer use Serve to pay off a credit card at all?? or just not the same CC that you used to load the Serve account originally?

Thanks for your wisdom.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on December 08, 2014, 09:55:11 PM
That sounds like just not the linked card.

Unlink it before paying it? ;)
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: milesdividendmd on December 08, 2014, 10:01:34 PM
Or pay a different bill with serve (mortgage, rent, student loans...) or just withdraw your serve account balance to your linked bank account, or buy money orders with your serve card.

Lots of options.....
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: NoraLenderbee on December 08, 2014, 10:06:04 PM
Or pay a different bill with serve (mortgage, rent, student loans...) or just withdraw your serve account balance to your linked bank account, or buy money orders with your serve card.

Lots of options.....

. . . and then pay the CC from the bank account? That's even easier than buying gift cards or MOs.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Paul der Krake on December 13, 2014, 10:33:09 AM
It's been a month since I entered the magical world of the miles game. I started very small, only needed to spend 5K for a result of 150,000 miles.

Things I have learned so far:

1) Don't take what people say on flyertalk too seriously. There is so much volume over there that it's really hard to figure out who knows what they're talking about, who's being an idiot funnelling their annual gross income in money orders per month. Do your own research and experiment. I highly suspect that the most successful MSers out there follow the millionaire next door approach of laying low and not bragging (which begs the question, why am I even writing this post?).

2) Regular stores can be a pain in the ass to deal with. I've had a cashier give me a hard time because the back of my card wasn't signed and I didn't have an ID on me. I have had great success in, erm, less savoury parts of town. Cashiers there are less suspicious with the caveat that you can't overplay your hand. I can get away with buying $500 worth at a time but I would look very out of place buying multiple thousands in a neighborhood where a good chunk of people don't even have $1,000 in their names at any given time this year (aside maybe from tax refund time). My white ass sticks out enough already as it is. Obviously if you are to do this, use your best judgement and be safe. I tend to go early in the morning on the weekends when the thugs are still sound asleep.

3) Mixing spend operations with exercise and errands. My SO cooks a lot and inevitably we run out of an item or two. Instead of grabbing my bike and going to the usual grocery store to pick it up, I'll take the scenic route and go to another store in the hood (see paragraph above), adding some extra miles and much needed exercise to my errand. Win-win. I have observed variations in store policies on a regional level as well.

4) These so called "underbanked" products suck. Awful websites, unclear instructions. I can't imagine the life of people who use these products by necessity. I refuse to do business with GreenDot or any other sketchy company that requires me to hand over my SSN. So far so good. Serve is a revolutionary product for those people in the sense that it doesn't suck. Massive kudos to AMEX for having the balls to serve (get it?) that market.

5) Don't be an idiot. Stick to hitting the initial bonus and that's it. Don't load money and withdraw it immediately. Don't argue with people. Stay well within the limits of what would be considered credible with regards to your income. Don't be greedy.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: neo von retorch on January 07, 2015, 07:50:08 AM
Anyone have trouble loading their Serve card from a credit card? Chase Visa - first time no issue, loaded $200. 2 days later and it will not let me add more. The "official" limits are $200 / day and $1000 / month from a credit card, but I seem to be hitting an invisible barrier.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on January 07, 2015, 08:05:18 AM
Anyone have trouble loading their Serve card from a credit card? Chase Visa - first time no issue, loaded $200. 2 days later and it will not let me add more. The "official" limits are $200 / day and $1000 / month from a credit card, but I seem to be hitting an invisible barrier.

What error message are you getting?  Have you called their customer service? They're fairly helpful on CC issues.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: neo von retorch on January 07, 2015, 08:49:02 AM
Quote
We are unable to complete your request at this time, as additional information is needed. Please call Customer Service at 1-800-954-0559. Our hours of operation are 9am - 8pm EST, Monday - Friday.

I have not tried calling yet. I wasn't sure if there was something "wrong" with me trying to load the card this way.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on January 07, 2015, 08:53:06 AM
They'll just verify some info about you and the card, most likely.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: jamaicaspanish on January 07, 2015, 09:43:09 AM
I had to send verification of my:  1.  identity (drivers license);  2. physical ownership of the card (photo of both sides);  3. ownership of linked bank account (copy of statement).

When my Barclay's card was compromised and re-issued, Serve asked me to send a photo of the new card, as well.

Small, but annoying hoops to jump through.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Returnoftheyeti on January 07, 2015, 10:40:48 AM
Target RedBird.  Load $1000 at a time from a credit card, pay bills, withdraw cash. 
I can confirm that this shows as a "normal" charge on my Discover card, which I am using the 0% interest introduction rate right now.

So, here is what I have done.  Added $3000 to my RedBird, funding it with my Discover credit card.  Then, gone into my RedBird Online account, and used the bill pay feature to pay my Balance on my Capital One Card. 

So, now have a 3k balance on a Discover card with 0% in interest, and I have 14 months to pay it off.
I have 3k in cash in a Discover Savings account earning .85% interest compounded daily.
I have the discover card pulling $220 auto pay monthly from the savings account, so its all paid off in 14 months. 
And, I earned $30 cash back by charging $3k on the Discover card.

Its great when they PAY you to do crap like this....
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: NoraLenderbee on January 07, 2015, 03:24:27 PM
Quote
We are unable to complete your request at this time, as additional information is needed. Please call Customer Service at 1-800-954-0559. Our hours of operation are 9am - 8pm EST, Monday - Friday.

I have not tried calling yet. I wasn't sure if there was something "wrong" with me trying to load the card this way.

This happened to me when I tried to register a new card with Serve. I called customer service. They said I needed to provide a scan (photocopy) of some documents. They sent me an email with details and a secure upload link. I uploaded scans of my driver's license and the new CC, front side only. My card was approved about a week later. No sweat! 
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Paul der Krake on January 07, 2015, 03:59:51 PM
Quote
We are unable to complete your request at this time, as additional information is needed. Please call Customer Service at 1-800-954-0559. Our hours of operation are 9am - 8pm EST, Monday - Friday.

I have not tried calling yet. I wasn't sure if there was something "wrong" with me trying to load the card this way.

This happened to me when I tried to register a new card with Serve. I called customer service. They said I needed to provide a scan (photocopy) of some documents. They sent me an email with details and a secure upload link. I uploaded scans of my driver's license and the new CC, front side only. My card was approved about a week later. No sweat!
I was told to call back immediately after uploading so that they could approve it on the spot, and they did. No need to wait.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: arebelspy on January 07, 2015, 04:30:02 PM
I was told to call back immediately after uploading so that they could approve it on the spot, and they did. No need to wait.

+1.  I had to go through this once when setting up the account last summer, and since then haven't had issues. Worth going through.
Title: Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
Post by: Jags4186 on January 07, 2015, 04:44:03 PM
Manufactured Spend is only really worth it for the initial bonuses nowadays.  It's an awful lot of work buy things that give you 1 point per dollar when there are fees involved.  There are some things which are no brianers--I.E. if you have a Chase Ink card...you should buy amazon gift cards from staples and then buy on amazon so you get 5x instead of directly from amazon and getting 1x.  Amex Serve is another no brainer if its not a cash advance.  Other than that though, buying $500 visa gift cards for $505.95 isn't generally a worthwhile endeavor.  Too much hassle IMO. 

If you're going to try and get a lot of points you should try double and triple dipping buying things through shopping portals.  You can usually get at least 10x and sometimes up to 30x points when buying from places like Sears!  Buy some crap, then turn around and sell it on Amazon or Ebay and you can really make a lot of points.

One blog I read called frequent miler, the author describes how he did this to earn 1 million points and make $1000 cash in 1 month!