Unlike most TD, RBC, CIBC and MBNA cards which only require $1,000 spend to get the welcome bonuses, Amex cards do take a bit of work (Amex Plat needs $3,000 while business gold needs $5,000). In addition, Amex, being Amex cards, not all places that take credit cards accept them.
Let me share with you some of my tricks to hit the spend that much sooner.
PAYTM – for Mastercards
Paytm allows you to pay certain bills using Mastercard. They do not accept Visa and there is a 3% fee for Amex cards – making Plastiq (explained below) a better alternative.
The most common ones are Hydro and Property taxes, although there are many others.
It’s a pretty neat app, they have a point systems that allows you to get cashback for gift cards from Esso, Uber, Amazon, Just Eat to name a few. But the main reason people use it is so you can use mastercard to pay bills you otherwise can’t.
To get started, download the app on Android or IOS and create an account.
Please consider using my PayTM refer code:
PAYTM Utility bill Manufactured Spending
I don’t like to discuss manufactured spending too much because if it becomes common knowledge, it inevitably gets shut down. However, I thought I would share this trick I’ve used a couple times.
I would use Paytm with the MBNA Alaska Mastercard to pay my Toronto Hydro bill with an amount over $1,000, then contract them and say I was paying my credit card bill off and accidentally paid the wrong biller. Just please don’t abuse it and do this on a monthly basis!
They will send you a cheque back for the overpaid amount (2-3 weeks processing time) and another 25,000 Alaska miles is churned in a single day!
PLASTIQ – for Amex cards
Plastiq allows you to use American Express cards on almost any payment, be it mortgage, CRA bills or even rent (what happens is they courier a cheque to the landlord at any address).
The CRA options is very useful for contractors, small business owners or people that have to pay personal tax installments.
Even the CRA endorses Plastiq!
Plastiq does charge a 2.5% fee, but this is completely worth it especially to hit the minimum spend of a Amex card that you would otherwise have trouble with.
In addition, recall that the Amex Business Gold allows you to designate Plastiq as a “preferred supplier” and earn 2 MR for $1. This makes this a very effective solution to hit the Gold business minimum spend of $5,000 and earn another 2000-3000 MR in the process.
Even without welcome bonuses, I think its borderline worth it to pay bills via Plastiq in the Amex business gold. Let’s say you have $12,500 of taxes to be paid to the CRA – if you use Plastiq you will pay $312.5 in fees.
This nets you 25,625 Aeroplan miles, which is enough for you to travel to any one or two cities in North America (eg. Toronto → LA → Vancouver → Toronto). You might pay at most another $100-$150 in airport and surcharge fees but you definitely will need to pay way more for revenue tickets for the same flights – especially during peak travel periods. There are no blackout dates or extra peak charges with Aeroplan.
To use this service just visit their website and create an account. If you use my Referral link or referral code of 904627 you will get 500 “fee free dollars”, saving you $12.5 in fees.
In the next series of the guide I will teach you how to use miles on flights that will blow your mind!