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

May 18, 2020
3 min read
Discount on bills only with debit? There may be a workaround
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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 info@thepointsguy.com; 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 image by NurPhoto via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees