Earn Miles (Or Make Money) For Rent & Mortgage Payments

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Plastiq is a good way to pay bills with a credit card that you otherwise couldn’t. This lets you earn miles and points while paying your rent, mortgage, insurance, electric bill, property taxes, or a variety of other bills for which the provider doesn’t accept credit cards.

I’ve been using the Plastiq service on and off for the past year or so and have had a really good experience overall. There are fees involved, of course, so you need to make a conscious decision as to whether to use Plastiq based on your own personal value of the miles and points you’ll be earning.

That said, Plastiq has an offer out now that could make the decision to pay your rent or mortgage a little easier depending on your situation.

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The offer

Plastiq is currently sending out offers where if you schedule at least six months of recurring rent or mortgage payments with a Mastercard, they’ll waive the service fee for the first two months. That’s basically the same as getting a 33% discount.

Plastiq normally charges a 2.5% service fee. Therefore with this offer you would essentially be paying a 1.66% service fee over the next six months.

The key is that you need to schedule the first payment by March 31, 2017.

And according to comments over at Doctor of Credit, it might only be offered to those who have not previously made any rent / mortgage payments with Plastiq. That would probably explain why I wasn’t targeted.

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Good deal?

Whenever you use Plastiq, you’re basically making a conscious decision to buy miles. That’s because you could have paid the bill using a traditional method — like mailing a check — for almost free. (Ignoring the cost of the stamp, and the value of your time while you try to locate your checkbook. Maybe the latter is just me.)

So whether this is a good deal or not depends entirely on how you value the rewards that you are earning.

In this case, the miles or points you earn need to be worth more than 1.66 cents each. If you have the Citi® Double Cash Card, for example, which offers 1% cash back on every purchase, and then an additional 1% cash back when you pay for those purchases, that could be a good choice for a promo like this.

A mortgage example

Let’s say my mortgage is $2000. If I pay it through Plastiq using this offer, I’ll pay $33.32 in fees each month, and then get $40 of rewards on the Citi® Double Cash Card once I pay my bill. Each month I’ll make $6.68.

That’s arbitrage.

You might also have a mileage earning Mastercard that you prefer to use. I have the Aviator card that earns one American AAdvantage mile per dollar spent. If I was using that card with this deal, I’d be buying American miles at 1.66 cents. That’s right around what I think they are worth — and I have plenty of them – so I’d probably pass. But your valuation may be different.

Using Ben’s valuations, here’s the cost of using some of the popular travel Mastercards:

CardReturn on everyday spendValue of rewardsNet cost of $2k payment
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®2x points1.05¢ / $42.70($9.37)
Citi® Double Cash Card1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay1.00¢ / $40.00($6.68)
Citi Prestige® Card1x points1.70¢ / $34($0.68)
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card1x points1.70¢ / $34($0.68)
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®1x miles1.50¢ / $30$3.32
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®1x miles1.50¢ / $30$3.32

So you can see how this could be a very good deal in some cases, and not as much in others.

Of course you might also choose to use Plastiq when you need to meet a minimum spend on a credit card to earn the signup bonus. That’s actually a really good use of the service, as it can justify paying the full 2.5% service fee if you really need the spend.

My Plastiq experiences

I’ve been using Plastiq on and off for the past year or so to pay our mortgage and various other bills that I couldn’t otherwise pay with a credit card. I’ve found their service to work as advertised. Their chat-based customer service is really good, with friendly representatives who seem to genuinely care about fixing issues and making their customers happy.

It’s true that it can take several days for payments to arrive, but they are pretty clear about that on the website. They’ve also been working to speed that up with certain payees.

Overall, I’ve been impressed.

Bottom line

Plastiq can be a really good option for paying bills with a credit card that you otherwise could not.

They have a nice promotion running currently that allows you to essentially pay six months of rent or mortgage payments at a cost of 1.66%. Depending on how you value your points, that might be a good deal.

Anyone else paying rent/mortgage through Plastiq?

(Tip of the hat to Frequent Miler and Doctor of Credit)

Regarding Comments: The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  1. Oh try product changing to the Citi AT&T access more credit card, yu get 3x points/ $ on these payments. Massive points haul potential using the AT&T card and use those points even better if have the citi prestige card

  2. I use it and have found them to be great to get Delta MQM’s through Amex Delta reserve card. I value status with Delta more than the 2.5% fee.

  3. Anyone have experience using Plastiq for rent with a management company in the NYC area? I typically have to log into a payment portal online to pay. How would I pay directly using Plastiq?

  4. Travis,

    First of all, thank you for your article. But I have to say my experience with Plastiq recently has been very different than yours. I’ve used Plastiq since last summer and all for the first three or so months. I was very satisfied. Recently, though, things have turned south in a big way. First, I signed up for a reduced Plastiq fee incentive in September which offered a 1.75% fee (versus 2.0% when I signed up) for 6 months of scheduled mortgage payments. I just happened to review my account this morning and saw that the reduced fee was never applied. So I’ve been overcharged for this so-called incentive promotion. Second, for some inexplicable reason and without me changing anything in my account settings, the transaction coding for my mortgage payments switched from “real estate, mortgage, rent” (can’t remember the exact coding term off the top of my head) to a utilities coding when posted to my credit card. As a result, the bonus points I should have received for these mortgage payments were not received. There are currently numerous posters on FlyerTalk having the exact same problems.

    I”m will be contacting Plastiq tomorrow regarding my overcharges and will probably give Plastiq one more chance next month to handle my mortgage payment correctly. If they fail, I’m done with Plastiq and would not recommend using them until they straighten out their fee billing and transaction coding problems.

  5. I’ve justified using plastiq for some monthly bills as a way to buy either SPG points or AA miles at a slight discount. Assuming no promotions from either plastiq or SPG/AA, using the AMEX SPG card, $7000 in annual spend with plastiq would net $175 in fees. But I would also earn 7000 SPG points. To purchase 7000 SPG points, it would cost $245. And if I transferred SPG points to AA I’d get 7000 miles. But to buy 7000 miles, it would cost $206.50. This will probably depend on how much you plan on spending and what promos plastiq/SPG/AA runs.

  6. @Dave – same issue here. I log into a management portal, and from there the allow me to pay with a bank account. Been trying to find/think of a way to send a payment with plastiq but I don’t think they will accept it. Anyone have any info?

  7. @Dave @Robb–I have a property management portal I log into to pay my rent through ACH transfers, but they also take paper checks (most do–not everyone is tech savvy). I simply emailed the manager and asked them for the mailing address if paying by paper check. Then I just entered that address into Plastiq and the check was mailed directly to them. I’ve had no issues.

  8. Use them to pay mortgage on my rental property and car loan. It is exactly like how Travis described – buying miles/points. Most of the time I use the SPG card to generate SPG points, to be converted to airline miles. Lately though, I used Amex card since the payment gets 2x multiplier on Plastiq promo. The customer service support is good. The rub with Plastiq is sometimes their transmittal takes a bit long, and that might create anxiety of not having payments post quickly. There is also 1 isolated instance where they sent paper check when on previous months they just transmit electronically.

  9. Dave / Robb : Basically, if you can figure out how to send a check, you should be able to use Plastiq basically as Greg describes.

  10. Fredrick: Definitely a bummer to hear that. Hopefully you can get some resolution with Plastiq. I’ve found their support team to be very helpful.

    As far as I can remember, the only time I’ve had an issue using Plastiq was when my mortgage company rejected a payment and sent it back to Plastiq because they don’t accept payments during the first five days of the month — as ridiculous as that sounds, it’s true. Not at all Plastiq’s fault, but it did create some hassle for them and me which we eventually got resolved.

  11. I’ve used it for some bills recently. First with my Amex Platinum and now with my Citi Aadvantage, which will work for minimum spend (though don’t really need it).

    At 2.5% it is expensive but if I chose to use it for all my non-credit card payments, it would bet me a couple thousand StarPoints per month, which aren’t so bad.

    I do think it’s a no-brained to at least use the Double Cash card for certain promotions.

    I did just make my mortgage payment today to test it out and I hadn’t seen this mortgage offer yet. Hopefully this doesn’t disqualify me from this promo.

  12. I have been using for about 6 moths since Tiffany wrote about it. I have 3 rental houses with mortgage payments. Originally using Amex i was charged 2.5%, but now as I use so often they had dropped to 2% on Amex. Because the rentals are an investment I can write off the 2% fee as well, so makes worthwhile.

    I also pay my office rent and as many bills as I can through Plastiq if the vendor doesn’t accept cards directly.

    I had no problem getting the $15,000 spend on AMEX Platinum business last fell.Now using Blue for Business up to the $50,000 and then switch back to SPG.

    Also here I can write of the service fee as office expense, so lowers net cost by about 1/2.

  13. I’ve been using Plastiq to pay my rent, to meet minimum spend on new CC’s, without a problem on Plastiq’s end. And their customer service was very helpful when my building’s new property owner gave us all the wrong mailing information, and my Plastiq payment consequently went astray. Plastiq canceled the payment, refunded my CC, and let me re-issue the payment to the corrected address — all solved within a day or so.

  14. For me the value of Plastiq is not a $6 arbitrage, but an easy way to meet min spend on a new card each month. As such, a 6 month commitment to paying with a single card is of little value to me.

  15. I have used plastiq a number of times. Typically I will use them to meet min spend quicker by making a rent payment. I recently paid my rent with my amex business card because I get 2 MR points for every dollar spent and plastiq had an offer where they lowered the fee to 2% for amex so I saw value in doing that. I’d like to make a rent payment with my chase reserve card but I remember hearing people were at risk for cash advances with visa cards unless the merchant had signed up with plastiq. Any truth to that?

  16. Bill — There has been a small issue with cash advances, but Plastiq is now displaying a warning if you try to set up a Visa payment with an entity where they don’t have an agreement. That happened to me once, and they told me that they usually can get agreements setup very fast such that the next time you try to pay them, it’ll probably be in place.

    Another strategy you might employ — which is sort of a good idea anyway I think — is to set your cash advance limit to the minimum. For a lot of Visa cards it’s $100. That way the payment should fail if it tries to go through as a cash advance. Another layer of safety is always good.

  17. Can you use this to pay other people? I.E. the babysitter or maid? In this case, can plastiq mail the check to me, and then I hand over the check to the babysitter?

  18. I realize that this may be a very stupid question. So if I use Plastiq to pay my mortgage and my Citi Premier card, lets say $2000 like the example, while I will incur a service charge, in a year I will have collected 240,000 Citi Points?

    Thanks.

  19. Nice post. I’ve used both Plastique and a competitor, Tio for mortgage payments on my rental properties. The only problem with Plastique (or maybe the loan service company) was that Plastique said the payment was confirmed but then 2 days later they emailed me and needed my mortgage billing statement. I emailed this and they paid a few days later. I see no reason why the service fee would not be considered a business expense although I am not an accountant or a tax adviser. I calculated the cost per point with the discount at essentially 1 cent per mile/CC point. Without the discount it is 2.4 cents per point. This is a good way to earn points with the discount. At the regular 2.5% service fee it is less ideal unless you are doing this to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a big point tier. Also consider this if you are trying to meet the $40,000 annual spend on a card like the Citi Executive World MC which would earn a bonus of 10,000 EQM’s. Thanks again.

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