Earning Points on Autopilot – A No Brainer!

I’ve run this post before, but in my mind, this is one of the easiest ways to amass points quickly. All those little charges we make every month really add up, which is why I am such a big proponent of auto-paying bills with a points-earning credit card and then paying off that charge. Without further ado, let’s take look at how you can earn a bunch of points without breaking a sweat!

We use our credit cards every day for, well, everyday purchases. But what about those things that only come around once a month or once and a while? Those things are really helpful to building a larger points balance, getting you closer to your goal.

Recurring payments are a great way to meet the minimum spend on new credit cards (getting you closer to that bonus) and an easy way to mindlessly accrue points.

In my first example, let’s use the Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card, which earns points at the following rates:

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The sweet spot for this card is on internet, cable, and phone service purchases, where you can earn four Marriott points per dollar of spend.

For me, this is a great card for recurring purchases, because I have cable/internet and phone bills, and I pay them on auto-pay without thinking. When you’re still on your family’s phone plan, you can pay the monthly bill and then have your family pay you back, which means even more points!

Between my family phone plan and my cable/internet bill, I probably charge $500 a month to my Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card, which means I’m earning 2,000 Marriott points a month. That might not seem like a lot, but that adds up quickly:  24,000 Marriott points a year on just two recurring payments.

What can you do with 24,000 Marriott points? You could spend almost five nights at a Category 1 hotel in the off-peak season, or one night at a Category 4 hotel. A free night a year? Not too shabby!

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For another example, because not everyone has a business card, let’s use the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Credit Card. This card allows me to go home to visit my family a few times a year. Generally, it costs about 2,500 Amtrak points for an advanced purchase (read:  purchased 3+ months out) one way ticket between New York and Boston. And let’s be totally honest, Amtrak is a (generally) easy way to get between the two cities.

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I have all my other recurring payments set up on this card, which looks something like:

Recurring Payments Amount
Electric Bill $50 – $150, depending on the month
Gym Membership $15
Charitable Donation $20
Spotify $15
WNYC $5

Without breaking a sweat, I’m earning anywhere from 100-200 points a month in purchases I was going to make anyway, so it makes sense to consolidate them onto one card. Just on these recurring payments, I’m earning 1,200-2,400 Amtrak points a year. While this might not seem like a ton of points per month, it basically nets me half of a free trip home every year! And that, my friends, is the Life-Changing Magic of Recurring Payments.

 

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