Author Topic: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?  (Read 46825 times)

milesdividendmd

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Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #50 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.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2014, 11:38:28 PM by milesdividendmd »

milesdividendmd

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #51 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.




pdxvandal

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #52 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?

arebelspy

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #53 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.
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labrat

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #54 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 :)

milesdividendmd

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #55 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!





arebelspy

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #56 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..
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

milesdividendmd

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #57 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



Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #58 on: July 06, 2014, 11:13:02 PM »
Following...

GermanMom

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #59 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?

arebelspy

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #60 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.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

arebelspy

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #61 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.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

AndThen

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #62 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.


milesdividendmd

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #63 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!

beltim

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #64 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?

milesdividendmd

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #65 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.

biffwhipster

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #66 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.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2014, 04:04:56 PM by biffwhipster »

daverobev

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #67 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.

beltim

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #68 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

milesdividendmd

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #69 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.

AndThen

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #70 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?

milesdividendmd

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #71 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...

AndThen

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #72 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...

milesdividendmd

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #73 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.)

Will

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #74 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.

milesdividendmd

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #75 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?

biffwhipster

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #76 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.

AndThen

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #77 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?

Hvillian

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #78 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?

brooklynguy

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #79 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.

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #80 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.  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.

milesdividendmd

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #81 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!

milesdividendmd

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #82 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.

Hvillian

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #83 on: July 30, 2014, 08:20:46 PM »
Thanks guys.  I'll check out award wallet.

arebelspy

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #84 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?

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #85 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.

Will

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #86 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?

milesdividendmd

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #87 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.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #88 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

The REDbird is a prepaid card you can buy in certain states (https://amex.serve.com/prepaidredcard/?ref=sr_shorturl_prepaidredcard#store-locator) It looks like this:

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...

arebelspy

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #89 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?
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milesdividendmd

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #90 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.

arebelspy

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #91 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).
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milesdividendmd

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #92 on: October 31, 2014, 12:13:32 PM »
There is always room for a spousal card if you want to diversify!

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #93 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.

arebelspy

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #94 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.

;)
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milesdividendmd

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #95 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.

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #96 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.

milesdividendmd

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #97 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.

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #98 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%.

AndThen

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Re: Does anyone have a clever hack for paying bills with a credit card?
« Reply #99 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?