In the past year, since learning that the Chase Ink Business Plus earned 3X for Plastiq payments, I’ve been using that card exclusively and extensively to pay all sorts of bills via the Plastiq bill payment service. I’ve happily earned 3X paying my son’s college tuition, paying contractors, paying employees, paying taxes, etc.
I’m in the extremely fortunate position of having a huge supply of Plastiq Fee Free Dollars (FFDs) thanks to referring readers to Plastiq. As a result, I don’t have to pay fees on any of my payments. But even if I had to pay the standard 2.5%, I would have been happy earning 3X Ultimate Rewards points. After all, that’s equivalent to buying Ultimate Rewards points for only 0.83 cents each. That’s a steal.
But now, 3X is dead.
Next best card?
I’m not aware of any card that continues to earn a bonus multiplier for Plastiq bill payments. So, the next best option would be a card that is great for everyday spend, or which offers a great big spend bonus.
Further, the ideal card is not an Amex card. Amex has imposed a number of restrictions on which types of payments can be accepted by Plastiq:
- For Recipients in the United States, the use of American Express cards is permitted for the following industries: Government, Utilities, Education, Residential Rent and Club Fees and Memberships.
- For Recipients in Canada, the use of American Express cards is permitted for the following industries: Government, Utilities, School, School K-12 and Residential Rent.
The ideal card is also not a consumer Visa card unless it is from Capital One (or Chase if the card has a high credit limit). Plastiq had previously announced a temporary change to the way Visa credit cards are handled:
- Payments using personal Visa cards issued by Chase will be subject to a lower limit of 20% of your credit limit.
- Payments using personal Visa cards from other issuers (other than Capital One) will code as a cash advance. That means you’d incur cash advance fees and wouldn’t earn any credit card rewards.
- The following types of Visa cards are not affected by these changes: Capital One personal Visa cards, Visa business credit cards, Visa corporate, debit and prepaid gift cards.
That leaves us with these non-Amex, non-consumer-Visa best options for everyday spend:
- Discover It Miles (year 1): This is really a 1.5% cash back card despite its name, but at the end of the first year of card membership, they double all cash back earned that year. So, this is effectively a 3% cash back card in year 1.
- Chase Ink Business Unlimited: This one earns 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar for all spend. If you move points from this no-fee card to a premium card, you can then transfer points to various rewards programs (e.g. Hyatt, United, Southwest, etc.) or use the points for up to 1.5 cents per point value with the Sapphire Reserve card. When paying 2.5% for Plastiq, using this card is like buying Ultimate Rewards points for 1.67 cents each. That’s not a great deal, but I’ve included this on the list because it is the best non-Amex “everywhere else” card that I actually own at the moment.
And these are my favorite non-Amex, non-consumer-Visa options for earning big spend bonuses:
- Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card: This is actually a Chase consumer Visa card, but it could work with Plastiq if you have a big enough credit line. Big spend bonus: Earn 2 elite qualifying night credits per $5K in purchases. If you’re chasing Hyatt status, this is a cheap and easy way to “mattress run” your way to status. When you pay the Plastiq fee, you can think of that as paying for Hyatt points plus elite nights. If we conservatively value the Hyatt points at 1 cent each, then paying the 2.5% Plastiq fee is like paying 1.5% for the elite nights plus 1% for the Hyatt points. Each elite night, then, would cost you $37.50.
- AT&T Access More Card: This Mastercard is no longer available to new applicants, but it should still be possible to sign up for the AT&T Access Card and then product change to the Access More Card. The Access More card earns 3X for online purchases (but not for Plastiq), but it also earns 10K bonus points each year in which you spend $10K. In other words, it can make sense to use this card for $10K Plastiq spend each year just to get the 10K bonus.
- Amtrak Guest Rewards World Mastercard: With points worth up to 2.9 cents each, you can approximately break even with Plastiq’s 2.5% fee. Where things get interesting is with this big spend bonus: Ability to transfer up to 25,000 points to hotel partners after $20K calendar year spend. Amtrak points transfer to Choice Privileges 1 to 3, so this means that $20K annual spend can result in 60K Choice points each year.
- Radisson Rewards Business Visa Card: This card earns 5X points for all spend, plus for each $10K annual spend (up to $30K) you get a free night at any Radisson Rewards hotel in the US. If you consider this to work out roughly to two free nights for each $10K spend (50K points plus a free night certificate), then Plastiq’s 2.5% fee is like paying $250 for two nights. Keep in mind that with Radisson properties, this is not necessarily that good of a deal.
- Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard: Big spend bonus: 7,500 bonus points with $15K cardmember year spend + an additional 7,500 points with $25K cardmember year spend; Also: 25 tier point towards elite status per $2,500 spend (max 50 tier points per month). Since this card earns 1.5X for all spend, spending exactly $25K per year results in 37,500 miles + 7,500 + 7,500 = 52,500 miles. In other words, this card earns more than 2 miles per dollar in that scenario. See: Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard Deep Dive: Maximize Earnings and Status.
To some extent, I like all of the above options as long as my Fee Free Dollars last. My favorite option is the Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card (to help me get to Globalist status). But I don’t have that card right now, and I wouldn’t want to start the hunt for elite status until early next year anyway.
Which leads me to the real best use of Plastiq…
Most signup bonus offers require minimum spend. For example, you may have to spend $3,000 within 3 months to get 50,000 points or miles. In situations where your usual spend won’t be enough, I think that Plastiq is a great option.
It’s well worth paying 2.5% in fees in order to secure a bonus worth hundreds of dollars more.
The following “Plastiq-friendly” best offers include all of the best public Mastercard and Discover offers, all Visa business card offers, and all Capital One offers. Chase consumer Visa cards would work too, if you have a high enough credit limit, but they’re not included in this list…
If you’re interested in seeing more than the top 10 offers, simply click “Next” at the bottom of the page, or use the drop down selector at the top to show more than 10 items.
|Card Offer and Details|
In addition to the Amex SPG Lux card (which I’m hoping will become available today), I’m thinking of signing up for the Citi Premier and the CitiBusiness AAdvantage card within the next few days. And, assuming my applications are approved, I’ll use Plastiq with those Citibank cards until I’ve met the minimum spend requirements. Then, I’ll move on to new cards…