If you’re anything like us, you’re always looking for a way to earn more points and miles so you can take more trips at a fraction of the cost.

One of the biggest concerns we hear from people who are exploring how to maximize credit card spending for travel is that they can’t pay rent, student loans or home improvement contractors with a credit card.

Well, that’s where Plastiq comes into play.

Let’s take a look at how Plastiq can help you earn more points so you can start traveling more often (and better).

Plastiq can help you earn more points so you can start traveling more (and better)

What is Plastiq?

Plastiq at its simplest is a bill pay service that allows individuals and businesses to use a credit card to pay vendors that otherwise wouldn’t accept a credit card payment. If you’re a business owner, you can even use Plastiq to accept credit card payments from customers without incurring a merchant fee.

How Plastiq Works

Although earning points on bills is fun, it would be pointless if it were a major hassle. Fortunately, Plastiq makes things easy so you can get on with your life. To get started, you’ll want to create a free account and add a credit card. Easy enough.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to add recipient information for the vendor you’re trying to pay using a credit card:

  • Recipient name
  • Recipient address (or ACH info)
  • Recipient phone number or email
  • Payment amount

After you’ve entered the necessary info, you can choose to set up a one-time payment or repeat payments. Remember to review your payment info before submitting—always double-check to ensure the right amount gets sent to the right person or company.

Payments generally take a week or so to be delivered, but they can sometimes take longer. I prefer to give myself a little buffer to prevent late payments.

Processing Fees With Plastiq

Plastiq’s standard credit card processing fee is 2.85%. This fee will be shown separately when you review your payment so you know exactly how much extra you’re charged for using a credit card with the service.

Occasionally, Plastiq runs promotions that either allow fee-free or reduced-fee payments. Take advantage of these opportunities.

What Bills Can You Pay With Plastiq?

You can pay almost any business, institution or person in the U.S. or Canada via Plastiq. Some of the most common payments people made with Plastiq include:

  • Rent
  • Student loans/tuition
  • Utilities
  • Insurance
  • Taxes
  • Mortgage
  • Contractors
  • Condo fees
  • Car payments
  • Club fees

Now, here’s where it gets tricky. The payment processing network your bank uses can limit what type of payments you can make. This can be a real pain if you’re unaware of the restrictions, so let’s look at each network’s restrictions.

You can pay almost any business, institution or person in the U.S. or Canada via Plastiq.

American Express

Unless your mortgage is with a less common bank, it’s unlikely you will be able to use an American Express card to pay your mortgage. Additionally, you can’t pay student loans or car payments via Plastiq with an Amex card.

If you live in an apartment, you should be fine to use your Amex to pay rent. Additionally, paying taxes, utilities, tuition, etc. has worked just fine.

Visa

Until recently, you couldn’t use a Visa card on various payments. However, Plastiq has announced that you can now use a Visa to pay residential rent, HOA fees, commercial rent, utilities and tuition. At this time, you’re still unable to pay for a mortgage in many cases.

Previously, Visa cards had issues with Plastiq payments posting as a cash advance instead of a purchase. Since the change, we haven’t tested this, but you can avoid the risk by lowering your cash advance limit.

If you do this and try to make a payment that exceeds the cash advance limit, Plastiq will notify you before the payment is processed and the payment won’t go through.

Double-check with your Visa card issuer whether credit card payments via Plastiq will be treated as a purchase or cash advance.

MasterCard and Discover

When it comes to payments with Plastiq, Mastercard and Discover are the most cooperative payment networks. You won’t face any of the restrictions or hurdles that you do with Amex and Visa.

When To Use Plastiq

Before you make a payment with Plastiq, consider the standard 2.85% processing fee that you will incur. This fee often outweighs the value of the points you’d earn. However, there are three great ways to make the most of your payments.

Hit A Minimum Spend, Earn A Welcome Bonus

Hands down, using Plastiq to hit a minimum spend and earn a big welcome bonus is the best choice. Earning 50,000 to 100,000 points for the cost of the 2.85% processing fee can be more than worth it.

When you consider how much money people spend on rent and student loans, it can be quite easy to reach your minimum spend limit in the time allotted by your card issuer (usually three to four months).

Earn Annual Big-Spend Bonus

Several cards offer annual big-spend bonuses that provide bumps in hotel elite status, bonus qualifying miles—useful if you’re a road warrior—and even just bonus miles. However, the two spend bonuses that we find most interesting are the Southwest Companion Pass and the British Airways Travel Together Ticket.

We’ve talked a bunch about the Companion Pass in other articles and the 10xTravel Insiders Facebook group, but let’s review it quickly for those who are new.

If you earn 125,000 Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year, you’ll earn the Companion Pass for the remainder of that year and the following calendar year.

With the Southwest Companion Pass, you can book both cash fares and award tickets for the price of one. All you have to do is pay the taxes and fees for both passengers.

So, how does Plastiq help?

Well, every Rapid Rewards point you earn on any of the Chase Southwest credit cards counts toward the 125,000 points you need to qualify for the perk. Being able to pay rent can go a long way to help you earn the pass.

Make sure you read our complete guide to the Companion Pass to see how it works.

If you hold the British Airways Signature Visa card, you can earn a Travel Together Ticket after spending $30,000 in a calendar year with the card. This allows you to fly two-for-one on a British Airways flight for two years. Of course, you’ll have to pay the taxes and fees for both passengers, and they’re quite steep, so you’ll want to think through this one before jumping into it.

southwest companion pass

Fee-Free or Reduced-Fee Payment Promotions

If you don’t have a minimum spend to hit, fee-free or reduced-fee payment promotions are our favorite time to use Plastiq. When Plastiq runs fee-free payment promotions, you won’t have to worry about fees outweighing the value of the points you’d earn. If you want to earn Ultimate Rewards points, go ahead and use one of your Chase cards. If you want to earn Membership Rewards points, use an Amex.

Bottom Line

If you want an easy way to reach minimum spending or earn an annual big-spend bonus, Plastiq can come through for you. While it won’t make sense to use Plastiq in other circumstances—unless the processing fee is waived or reduced—it can still play an important role in your points-earning adventure.