Are Some Plastiq Rent And Mortgage Payments Really Coding As Travel?!

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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.

plastiq changes referral program

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.

plastiq1x

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.

plastiq3x

That’s incredible.

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.

plastiq

 Bottom line

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)

Comments

  1. I paid a mortgage a few months ago on BoA Travel Rewards (2.625% if Platinum Honors) and was able to redeem BoA points off the payment. Didn’t think much of it at the time, since I regularly have travel expenses to apply points on, but it falls in the good to know category.

  2. I also saw Out and Out’s post and tried it for myself. My rent payment did code as travel and I received 3x. Even if I just used the Chase UR points for cash back, it more than pays for the 2.5% fee that Plastiq charges.

  3. Travis — I think the bolded part about getting a six percent return if you value chase rewards points at 2 cents per point is definitely confusing, even though when you refer to using chase points at 1.5 cents you mention the 2.5 percent fee. I had to look at both example several times to figure out what you could possibly mean by saying you were getting a 6 percent return. I think you’re getting a 3.5 percent return.

  4. Larry — you are exactly right. I had the gross return, not the net after the Plastiq fee. I corrected it to 3.5% as you suggest. Thanks!

  5. Actually, I guess technically (assuming you get the 3x on both the mortgage payment and the plastiq fee) you’re getting around 3.561 percent return.

    Assume a $3,000 mortgage payment. The plastiq fee is $75. If you get 3x on the entire $3075, you get 9225 points, which at 2 cents of value are worth $184.50. You paid $3,075 to get $3,000 in value, so your net is $109.50 of value. Not bad.

    An interesting question though – what if instead of buying extra points through plastiq, one was to put the extra 2.5 percent toward a principal payment every month. It would be interesting to know how that would compare financially. Though, that would depend on a lot of factors, like what you are doing with the cash you save by using points instead of cash. Are you investing it in a retirement account or buying extra travel you wouldn’t otherwise have bought, etc.

  6. I tried it and the mortgage payment didn’t code as travel. Single points. No tripling. Without that tripling of points it isn’t worth the plastiq fee.

  7. I got triple points on my chase ink preferred card as well this month on 3 different plastiq transactions (2 mortgage payments and a utility payment). I’m waiting to see if this happens with some other bills I have set to pay this month.

  8. So do we get 3x on utility payments too? I spend about $120 on electricity and $100 per month on my water bill. This wouls be awesome if it codes utils as travel with 3x points.

  9. I mean, these numbers are all predicated on assuming 2 cpm from UR, which this website doesn’t,but still profit to be had at 1.7 still I suppose

  10. I doubt this will last long. Now that all the bloggers are blabbing about it its only a matter of time before they shut it down.

  11. I tthink I will wait a bit, I am sure the CC will slap you with a cash advance fee soon.

    too late I think.

  12. I LOVE this blog, but man, this is pretty sensitive stuff to be posting. I would suggest moving it out of the OMAAT timeline so at least a bit harder to find.

  13. It didn’t work on my $10 test (just got the single point), so I didn’t try it with my whole mortgage.

  14. The person who said that it would be gone soon is right – I just received a whole stack of notices from Chase, and part of their changes included that bill payment services could be coded as a cash advance, at a rate that is now ~25.74% across several cards, not the much lower purchase APR.

  15. Hmm, i did it with an HOA payment on 5/6 and it coded as travel on CSP.

    Wow Bill, that’s crazy. Did it say when that is going into effect?

  16. I tried it on a $2000 mortgage transaction and got 3x points. I then tried it on two $20,000+ mortgage transactions and also got 3x points. This was all within the last two weeks.

  17. It was coded as “Travel” when I used my Chase Ink Preferred. I have been using Plastiq and my mortgage payment went thru in 5 days (even though they indicated 7 days). There is huge bonus from Plastiq lately to use for your minimum spend requirements by using it to pay for your mortgage. You can get $500 FFD (as May 25, 2017). I have been using it as last resort to meet the min spend. Appreciate if readers also using my link please.

    Referral code 648844
    Link: https://try.plastiq.com/648844

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