Discount on bills only with debit? There may be a workaround

May 18, 2020

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Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Skip, whose creative workaround helped him score a discount on his phone bill while still earning travel rewards:

When I switched my family’s mobile phone service from AT&T to Verizon Wireless, I was slightly annoyed that getting a discount for paperless billing also requires use of a debit card rather than a credit card for automatic payments. I realized that I can purchase Verizon Wireless gift cards on their website using my credit card with no extra fees and free delivery. I can then use those gift cards to pay my monthly bill. Voilà! This trick may work for other services that require debit payment to get the best rate.

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There’s a lot I like about this story, from Skip’s creative workaround to the fact that he didn’t just automatically use his travel rewards card and instead focused on getting the overall best deal, which might have meant saving money instead of earning points. Any time you encounter a merchant that charges an additional fee for paying with a credit card or offers some sort of discount for paying with debit instead, you should always see if you can buy a gift card as a workaround.

While Skip went straight to the Verizon website to buy the gift card, he might have been able to stack another layer of cash back or mileage earning on top of this deal. For example, gift card app Fluz is currently offering 1% cash back on the purchase of Verizon gift cards, in addition to the points you earn from spending on your rewards credit card.

That said, you may want to consider using a credit card directly (even without a discount) because a number of cards offer cell phone protection when you use the card to pay your bill.

For example, the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card comes with insurance against theft or damage for up to $1,000 per claim for you and your employees. There’s a limit of three claims in a 12-month period, with a $100 deductible per claim. The Citi Prestige® Card covers damage and theft up to $1,000 per claim and up to $1,500 per year, with a $50 deductible per claim.

The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Best credit cards for paying your cell phone bill

I love this story and I want to hear more like it! Please email your own award travel success stories to; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. Feel free to also submit your most woeful travel mistakes; due to the volume of submissions, we can’t respond to each story individually.

Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Featured photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

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