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Many avid miles and points collectors eventually find their way to the gift card aisle of various stores in order to increase the amount of money they spend on their rewards earning credit cards (to earn more points) without really spending more per month. The gift cards purchased are usually liquidated in some way to get the money back out to then pay the credit card bills. This used to be much easier, but is still in play even today. Much of it is outside my own personal threshold (especially in large volumes) and I don’t write about it here as a result, but there are a few things that even I am comfortable with doing.
One thing I do personally feel comfortable with is buying Visa gift cards from various retailers such as office supply stores, grocery stores, gas stations, and even shopping malls with a rewards earning credit card that I am either working toward a minimum spending limit on or, or using to take advantage of an especially lucrative bonus category. I then use those Visa gift cards to pay my own personal bills via the Evolve Money website.
There are over 10,000 bills you can pay on there that work with these Visa gift cards that essentially act as debit cards on that site. Personally I pay some of our utilities and store credit card bills (think
J Crew and Pottery Barn type cards) each month on that site. In my case we aren’t talking thousands and thousands of dollars per month, but we are talking enough to rack up a few thousand extra points per month for very minimal cost and effort. It also makes hitting minimum spending limits much easier.
Some take this method much further than me and pay their mortgages and other big ticket items monthly on that site. This typically required making multiple payments toward the same bill each month since gift cards amounts usually tap out at $200 or $500 (or occasionally $1,000).
Over the last couple months Evolve Money has been lowering the thresholds on what you can push through their system monthly and today I was alerted to a change kicking in September 1st that will allow only one payment per biller account per month. They site changes in their risk and regulatory compliance policies as the reason, and promise to announce changes to improve the bill paying experience soon. No, no more changes, please.
Since I’m small potatoes at this I don’t have more than one payment per biller per month anyway, but I know that many of you do so just be aware of this new change in terms that kicks in very soon. Best solution for now is just to buy large enough gift cards when possible to pay bills and then if there is a reminder pay it the old fashioned way by sending a check from BlueBird…or from your actual checking account. Of course that strategy is not necessarily good with mortgage payments as many banks will not process multiple automatically into one monthly payment but instead treat them as direct payments of principle.
Are you using Evolve Money? Will this change impact your monthly earning strategy?