What if you could get banknote aback for advantageous your mortgage? Because you pay for some of your better annual expenditures out of your coffer account, you don’t acquire annihilation for all that spending, clashing the rewards you ability acquire for acclaim agenda purchases.
But a new and accepted tactic allows you to acquire banknote aback or credibility by advantageous for annual costs that generally aren’t accustomed with your acclaim card, or that ability acquire a ample “convenience” fee if they are, such as hire or mortgage payments, academy tuition, auto loans, health-care expenses, insurance, aliment fees, or annual bills. You get about the restrictions and fees by advantageous those bills with reloadable prepaid cards, which accept agnate appearance to blockage accounts, including analysis autograph and online bill pay.
The ambush to accepting the rewards, which prepaid cards don’t offer, is to put money assimilate the prepaid agenda with a acclaim agenda that does. The key footfall is that you buy a reload agenda at a pharmacy or accessibility abundance on your acclaim card, thereby earning the rewards. This reload agenda can’t be acclimated to accomplish purchases – you aloof use it to add money to a prepaid card. (This added footfall of affairs a reload agenda is the alone way of accepting money assimilate a reloadable prepaid card, while still accepting the rewards). You afresh pay your bills with that prepaid card.
But you accept to abbreviate the fees about incurred by prepaid cards to accomplish this a advantageous exercise. Here’s how to annual the points, while abstention the fees:
1. If you don’t accept a acceptable rewards card, accessible one with a acceptable rewards structure. Look for a agenda advantageous 2 percent banknote aback (or aing to it) on all purchases and that additionally comes with a big upfront bonus. These bonuses, generally 25,000 to 50,000 points, crave a assertive bulk of spending, say $3,000 aural the aboriginal three months. See our adviser to rewards cards, if you don’t already accept a acceptable one.
2. Second, accessible a prepaid agenda account. Take a attending at the Bluebird from American Express, which was the top-rated aces out of 26 prepaid cards we rated in July.
3. Next, use your rewards acclaim agenda to buy a reload card. The Vanilla Agenda on the Vanilla Reload Network can be acclimated in affiliation with the top-rated Bluebird. You can acquisition the Vanilla at 7-11, drugstores such as CVS/Walgreens and dollar abundance chains. See a account of retailers affairs them.
The Vanilla is the agenda of best for this tactic because it alone accuse a $3.95 fee for every $500 you put on the card. By comparison, the Green Dot reload agenda accuse $4.95. That antecedent fee may assume like a nuisance, but it’s added than fabricated up for by the rewards you earn.
For instance, putting $1,000 on the Vanilla agenda will amount you $8. But, Brian Kelly, architect of thePointsGuy.com, a armpit alms admonition on maximizing biking rewards, says $1,000 account of Vanilla accuse application the American Express Starwood Preferred Card, is agnate to at atomic $25 in Starwood points. Those credibility can be acclimated for airline tickets or auberge stays worldwide. And accumulated with the Starwood card’s advantageous 30,000 point sign-up action you’ll acquire alike more.
4. Use the reload agenda to add money to your prepaid card, and absorb it down. Back prepaid cards, such as the Bluebird, action like blockage accounts, abounding action chargeless checks and online bill pay. The Bluebird’s online bill pay will alike acquiesce you to access your landlord’s address, for instance, and accept cardboard checks anon mailed to him.
5. Reload and alpha afresh from the beginning. There’s a $1,000 circadian absolute on application Vanilla agenda to ample Bluebird accounts, and a annual absolute of $5,000, per person. So a brace could, theoretically, allegation $120,000 a year this way in total. If you accept a ample mortgage (or two), or a baby business, afresh this tactic could acquire you some huge benefits. To up your rewards, you can alike pay off your rewards acclaim agenda bill with Bluebird.
But of course, there are inconveniences to this strategy, and agnate to added rewards schemes that accept appear forth over the years, this apparently won’t aftermost forever. Here are some caveats:
– Chris Fichera
Consumer Reports has no accord with any advertisers or sponsors on this website. Copyright © 2007-2013 Consumers Union of U.S.
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