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Earning Miles on Mortgage and Rent Payments

A few readers have asked me about earning miles on mortgage and rent payments. These are the biggest expenses most of us have, yet there isn’t a straight forward way to earn miles on them. 

While you won’t be able to whip out your shiny mile-earning credit card without paying fees, there are a couple of ways to take care of these expenses at minimal cost.

Rent house calculator

Money Order. The Sunstrust Skymiles Debit card lets you earn 1 mile per $1 on both PIN and signature-based transactions, which is perfect for this method. You can simply go to “the world’s largest retailer,” buy a money-order with your Skymiles Debit card, and pay just $0.70 in fees. This is by far the cheapest way to earn miles on your mortgage and rent. Here is a list of other mile-earning debit cards you can use.

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of opening a new checking account with Suntrust, there are few other ways. 

Bluebird + Gift Cards. This method involves a few extra steps, but it earns the most miles per $1. I use this for my student loans payments, but you can do this for virtually any expense.

Step 1: Get an Amex Bluebird Card. The card is free online or you can buy one at your local Walmart store for a fee. Bluebird has no account maintenance fees.

Step 2: Buy a Simon Mall or other PIN-enabled Gift Card using a mile earning credit card. These can be purchased at CVS, 7-11, and select retailers. They carry a fee of $2.95-4.95 per card and can be purchased in increments of up to $500. I recommend buying these in $500 increments to maximize the value for the fee you’re paying. You should also try to use a card that pays out a category bonus at the merchant you purchase these from.

Step 3 Load your Vanilla balance onto your Bluebird at online. This is a quick process and your funds are available immediately. Bluebird allows you to load up to $1,000 per day, up to $5,000 per month.

Step 4: Make a payment. Login to your Bluebird account, head over to Bill Pay and send a payment to your student loan company.

Extra credit! If you want to earn even more points cheaply, use your mile-earning debit card to purchase a money order and pay off the balance accrued on your mile-earning credit card! This can be done for all of your credit card payments. Rather than paying your balance from your checking account every month and getting no miles, this extra step lets you double up on points!

Do you know of any other ways to earn miles on your mortgage and rent payments? Please share below!

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Ariana Arghandewal

7 Comments

  1. Hey Ariana, I think I’m going to have to look at this again! Ive looked at paying our mortgage and somehow capturing the payment with some type so rewards account. My bread and butter is American Express, earn tons of miles and then transfer to the airline to redeem for tickets. If I were to pay my mortgage using AMEX (which you can’t) I would earn over 24,000 rewards points.

    Since you can’t pay your mortgage with a credit card you have to get creative. I’ll see what I can do with what you said above. I did talk to someone else who said they had done money orders, but I guess it all depends on who services your mortgage. Also looked into sending PayPal payments which you can then go through AMEX as the payment source, but I am not sure about that yet. Had a rep with AMEX tell me to look into using PayPal.

    Good stuff!

    • @ ThePointsGuide, if you come up with any other methods, I’d love to read about it! If you’re really after Membership Rewards points, try the second method with an Amex Gold but purchase the reload cards at a grocery store. If the MoneyCenter at “the world’s largest retailer” has your bank listed in their billing directory, you can earn miles by using your debit card to pay your mortgage. Check out my most recent post “Alaska Airlines Debit Card Earns Miles on PIN Transactions” for more. Let me know if you end up doing this and it works.

  2. Word of caution- I did this with Netspend a few months ago, and they shut me down. Unless you want to do it one time only, I’d avoid this method.

    • @Greek2me, you’re right.If anyone plans to use this method, it might be very short lived. Did you regularly use the card before your account was closed? My theory is if they can’t profit from your card usage ($1-2 per transaction), they will shut you down.

  3. Yapstone and many others provide an online rental payments service via credit cards. Caveat being, payees must have enrolled in the service (doesn’t seem overly cumbersome). Western Union and ChargeSmart allow one to pay mortgage online via ccard. I must admit, I’ve not tried either. Would love to hear from those who have.

    • The only problem is most of these services charge a fee of about 3%. I’ve only used WilliamPaid and several times they failed to process payments, resulting in late fees. I couldn’t find any info about Yapstone’s fee structure though.

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