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A reader, Chad, recently wrote in asking:
Any tips or resources for earning points from mortgage payments? Thanks for the help
That's a great question - a mortgage (or rent) payment is most people's largest monthly expense. Wouldn't it be great to earn miles and points from this payment? Well there is a way, but with a catch. Let me explain the two ways I know how to make mortgage payments while earning miles and points.
First and easiest is a payment service that charges your credit card whatever amount you specify and then sends (either electronically or by mail) your mortgage company the payment. Plastiq is what I have been using for the past two years to pay my mortgage for points.
But Plastiq is not free - they charge a fee to do this. Depending on the type of card you use, the fee will be no more than 2.5%. They also periodically have special offers. I got in on an offer last year where if you scheduled six or more mortgage payments, the fee was only 1.75%.
But does it make sense with the fee? That depends on how much the points and miles are costing you. It has been making sense for me to use my Citi AT&T Access More card (no longer available) which earns 3X Citi Thank You points on 'online' purchases. My mortgage payments to Plastiq have been coding as 'online' purchases to earn 3X.
$2000 payment with a 1.75% Plastiq fee = $35 fee
I have been earning 6105 Citi Thank You Points with each $2000 payment:
($2000 + $35 = $2035) x 3X = 6105
Therefore my cost per point is 0.57C / point - so just over half of one cent.
So is that good? There is no exact science in determining how much points are worth but each major travel blogger values miles and points slightly different, most would agree this is a very good buy. The Point Guy is currently valuing Citi Thank You Points at 1.6¢. I'm acquiring them for 1/3 their value.
If you are new to Plastiq and would like to try it out, if you use this link with my referral code #300187, you will get $500 fee free dollars after you pay $500 worth of bills.
The second way to earns miles and points by paying your mortgage is a little more complicated but can be essentially free (or you can even make a few dollars). Here's how it works:
- Purchase visa gift cards with your miles/points earning credit card at a supermarket that you earns you free fuel
- Purchase money orders using the visa debit gift cards
- Send money orders to mortgage company as your payment or deposit into bank account and use bank account's bill pay feature
There are some minor fees involved - $5.95 is typically the fee for a $500 visa gift card and money orders cost a little also (70¢ at Walmart) but the amount of free fuel you receive more than covers these costs. If interested in this method, check out this post for a step by step guide.
While a little bit of hassle, I've successfully used both methods to earn miles and points for my mortgage payment. Do you know of any other easier ways? I'd love to hear them.
Have a question you would like to get answered? email at TJ @ theartoftravelhacking.com