How to Make a Big Purchase with a Credit Card and Get Points

First, you should make sure your expense can’t actually be paid with a credit card. Many companies don’t advertise a credit card payment option because they would have to pay transaction fees, but most of them do accept credit cards. If you haven’t already asked, do so now.

 

How to Make a Big Purchase with a Credit Card and Get Points

Some merchants and rental companies will accept a credit card payment but will charge you an additional fee for it, in which case it’s really up to you to decide if it’s worth it. If they want to charge you a 1.5% fee and you’ll pay with your Citi Double Cash earning 2% cashback, obviously you’re coming out ahead. If they want to charge you a 3% fee and you’re having a hard time meeting your minimum spend, maybe it might make sense to say yes for the convenience. Do the math, look at your other options and make a decision.

Some merchants will accept a credit card payment with no fees, but in that case you should ask for a cash discount. They will usually be happy to oblige as a cash payment will result in less fees for them, and depending on how significant the cash discount is it might make more sense to forego credit card rewards. Again: do the math, look at your other options and make a decision.

If the company for sure doesn’t accept credit card payments (e.g. a contractor or an individual landlord) then start looking into third parties: Plastiq, Evolve Money, ChargeSmart or RadPad(specializing in rent) are just a few examples of services that can pay almost any bills using a credit card. They will charge you a fee (varies by service, type of card used, payee… usually somewhere between 2.5% and 3%) but again it might make sense if you’re having a hard time meeting your minimum spend.

 

Earning Credit Card Rewards

If these fees are too high for you then you’re out of luck and no, you won’t be able to earn credit card rewards from your upcoming cash expense. What you’re trying to do is simply to turn credit card spend into cash and while there are ways to do this, your upcoming cash expense then becomes irrelevant because cash is fungible and you could just as well use that cash to pay off your credit card bill. You do not need to have cash expenses to do this nor do you have to limit yourself to expenses you have planned. This is called manufactured spending and is somewhat related to churning but this is out of the scope of this post.

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