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I’ve been using Plastiq for well over a year now to occasionally pay our mortgage, insurance, property taxes and other bills that I otherwise couldn’t pay with a credit card. That has helped me meet the initial spending requirements on a few credit cards, and thus earn the big signup bonus. That has real value to me, and for me, justifies the service fee. They also sometimes have promotions during which the fee to make certain payments may be less than the value of the points you’ll receive.
Well, Plastiq just keeps getting better and better lately. As I reported a few days ago, they recently revamped their referral program such that we’ll earn 1000 fee-free dollars instead of 400, so long as we refer someone who makes at least $500 in bill payments. To me, that’s a fantastic change that seems like a WIN-WIN for them and us.
And now it turns out that at least some rent and mortgage payments are being coded as travel purchases. That’s incredible.
Some Plastiq rent and mortgage payments coding as travel
I’ve been making our mortgage payments on and off using Plastiq. In particular, I’ve been using the service when I need to meet the minimum spend on a new credit card in order to receive the bonus.
Well, back in January, I was working to meet the minimum spend on my wife’s Chase Sapphire Reserve card. I paid our mortgage through Plastiq, and it posted pretty much as you would expect. I earned 1 point for each dollar spent, which is typical for spend in a non-bonus category.
But then in early April I again made a mortgage payment with Plastiq. This time it posted a little differently. As you can see, I earned 3 points per dollar as though it was a travel purchase.
How significant is this?
First, I’m not sure if this works on any card other than the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The data points out there are rather mixed. It might also work on payments other than rent and mortgage. It probably all comes down to the merchant category code (MCC), which is what the credit card uses to classify the charge.
I value Ultimate Rewards points at about 2 cents each. And Plastiq’s fee is generally 2.5%. That means I’m getting a net 3.5% return on paying my mortgage, which is obviously a sizable bill.
But maybe you don’t value Ultimate Rewards so highly.
Even if you use them for travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal, you’ll get 1.5 cents per point. That translates to a 4.5% return, or 2% after you net out the 2.5% service fee for using Plastiq. That’s still great, and essentially free points compared to mailing a check.
The crazy thing is that you could actually redeem your Ultimate Rewards for cashback at a rate of 1 cent per point.
Even if you did that — which I don’t recommend because there are better uses — you’d still net an 0.5% return. In other words, it seems like pretty much everyone who has the Chase Sapphire Reserve card should be using it to pay their rent or mortgage through Plastiq right now.
Rent and mortgage payments seem to be posting as travel and earning the associated bonuses, at least in some cases.
I’ve personally verified that my mortgage payment has earned 3x points when I paid it with my Chase Sapphire Reserve through Plastiq, which is awesome. I have no idea how long this will last, but it is definitely a change I like.
Have you received triple points for paying your rent or mortgage through Plastiq?
(Tip of the hat to Out and Out)