Pay taxes via credit card, 2022 edition

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Update: This is a reminder that Q2 2022 estimated payments are due June 15, 2022.

You might not like paying taxes, but when you pay taxes via credit card can be quite rewarding. The key is to earn credit card rewards that more than offset tax payment fees. For example, if you’ve signed up recently for a card that requires large spend to get a big welcome bonus, paying taxes via credit card can be the solution.

Here’s everything you need to know about paying taxes with credit cards…

Pay taxes via credit card

Important due dates

2022 Tax Year Due Dates

  • April 18, 2022: 1st quarter 2022 estimated taxes due.
    (Payable online from 03/01/22 – 05/15/22)
  • June 15, 2022: 2nd quarter 2022 estimated taxes due.
    (Payable online from 05/15/22 – 07/15/22)
  • September 15, 2022: 3rd quarter 2022 estimated taxes due.
    (Payable online from 07/15/22 – 10/15/22)
  • January 16, 2023: 4th quarter 2022 estimated taxes due.
    (Payable online from 10/15/22 – ?)
  • April 17, 2023: End of year taxes due.

Deals

Current Deals

Future Deals

  • Discover It will offer 5% back on PayPal (and restaurants) on up to $1,500 spend, July – September 2022.  Both ACI Payments and PayUSATax allow payments via PayPal.

Pay taxes via credit card: Key Info

Here is key information you’ll need to know about paying taxes with credit or debit cards:

Credit card fee 1.87% to 1.98%

The IRS maintains a list of companies that accept credit and debit cards towards tax payments. You can find the current information by clicking here. Currently there are three separate payment processing companies on the list. At the time of this writing, debit card fees range from $2.20 to $2.55 per transaction and credit card fees range from 1.87% to 1.98%. Alternatively, you can pay taxes via the Plastiq Bill Pay service, but that will cost you more: 2.85%.

Additional Info Direct from the IRS

The IRS page that lists options for paying by credit or debit card also lists the following “Additional Information”:

  • No part of the card service fee goes to IRS.
  • You don’t need to send in a voucher if you pay by card.
  • Card processing fees are tax deductible for business taxes.
  • You must contact the card processor to cancel a card payment.
  • IRS will refund any overpayment unless you owe a debt on your account.
    [Editor’s caution: In recent years the IRS has been very slow to do so]
  • Your card statement will list your payment as “United States Treasury Tax Payment” and your fee as “Tax Payment Convenience Fee” or something similar.
  • Federal tax lien releases can take up to 30 days after we receive full payment; liens may remain for other individuals who haven’t fully paid their portion.
  • When you pay while filing your taxes through online software, different card fees apply.

Two payment limit per processor

The IRS maintains a table of frequency limits for paying taxes via credit or debit card (found here). In general, they say you can make up to two payments per tax period per type of tax payment. For example, you can make 2 payments every quarter to your quarterly estimated taxes, and you can make 2 payments every year to your annual taxes. Important: In my experience, these limits are enforced per payment processing company. That means that you can really make up to 6 payments per tax period per type of tax payment (or more if you make Plastiq bill payments as well). An IRS advisor I spoke with several years ago did not think that there would be any problem with making more than 2 payments by using different processors. Since then, I have made more than 2 payments per tax period many times and never had any issues. That is, of course, just my own personal experience. I can’t guarantee that your outcome would be the same.

Twice as many potential payments when filing jointly

If you file jointly with a partner, you can make payments in each person’s name, separately.  These payments will still apply to the one overall tax return, but not always automatically.  According to reader reports, in some cases the IRS matches these payments to the combined return automatically.  In other cases, people have reported the need to call the IRS to ask them to combine the payments.  I recommend calling shortly after filing your annual taxes to ensure that the IRS has correctly applied both sets of payments to the same return.

Obviously if you are filing separately, you can each make your own payments without any issues.

No cash advance fees

I’m often asked whether credit card companies charge cash advance fees when paying taxes by credit card. The answer is no. All three official IRS payment processors agree (via their FAQ pages) that the payment is treated as a purchase not a cash advance. You can find FAQ info here, here, and here.

Unlimited payments via Plastiq

If you’re willing to incur higher fees, you can make an unlimited number of tax payments via the Plastiq bill pay service. Plastiq usually charges 2.85% to pay bills (including taxes) via credit card, but they occasionally offer lower fees via short term promotions. For details, please see: Plastiq Bill Payment Service.

To pay taxes via Plastiq, use Plastiq’s tax payment screen: plastiq.com/us-taxes.

Are tax payment fees deductible?

Fees are no longer deductible for personal taxes: Tax preparation fees used to be deductible when itemizing deductions for personal tax returns, but that is no longer the case.

Card processing fees are tax deductible for business taxes: This can substantially reduce your net cost of using payment services.

Tax payment history (how to see your info online)

Once you’ve made payments through online processors, Plastiq, or other means, you may want to see proof that the IRS received the amount you sent. You can view past payments by signing up here: irs.gov/payments/view-your-tax-account.

Reporting estimated payments

Estimated payments should be reported when filing your annual taxes. In my experience, if you make a mistake and forget to report some of these payments, the IRS will eventually catch the error and refund the difference.

How to pay end of year taxes

Tell your tax preparer or tax software that you’ll pay via check. Then, browse to the appropriate tax payment site (e.g. Pay1040.com, OfficialPayments.com, PayUSAtax.com, or Plastiq.com/us-taxes) to pay your taxes. There is no need to mail in the 1040V payment voucher.

What happens if you over-pay your taxes?

Overpayments will be refunded: The IRS will refund any overpayment unless you owe a debt on your account.  Update/Caution: In recent years the IRS has been very slow to refund overpayments.

How to request a refund if it doesn’t come automatically

Schedule an appointment with the Taxpayer Assistance Center by calling 844-545-5640.  When you finally speak to an agent, explain that you overpaid and would like a refund rather than applying the extra to next year’s taxes.  Hat Tip: Rapid Travel Chai via personal communication.

Do you need to mail in payment vouchers?

No. No payment voucher is required. You don’t need to send in a voucher if you pay by card.

Pay with Paypal

Both ACI Payments and PayUSATax allow payments via PayPal.  Sometimes cards like the Discover It, Discover It Student, and Chase Freedom offer 5% rewards for Paypal purchases (up to $1500 combined spend per quarter).  Tax payments during these times should count!

NOTE: There is a weird issue with selecting to pay with PayPal on the PayUSATax website. When clicking the PayPal button, a screen flashes up and disappears.  Here is a work-around that has worked for some people, but not all: Put in valid credit card information first (for any credit card) and then press the PayPal button.  When doing it this way, I got the PayPal screen to successfully load.

Pay with Samsung Pay & Google Pay

Some tax payment websites support mobile wallet payments such as Samsung Pay or Google Pay. The US Bank Altitude Reserve card earns 3X for mobile wallet payments, so it should be a great match. However, readers have reported that Samsung Pay and Google Pay are only supported through Visa Checkout and that this does not trigger the Altitude’s 3X rewards.

Top 5 reasons to pay federal taxes with a credit card or gift card

1. Profit w/ a 3% Cash Back card

A number of credit cards earn cash rewards greater than 2%. Some even earn 3% cash back:

  • The new/updated Paypal Mastercard will earn 3% cash back on all PayPal purchases.  Details here.  This approach will work only with the services that allow payment through PayPal.
  • The Paceline card earns 3% cash back for all spend on weeks in which you meet the app’s exercise goals.
  • The Discover It Miles card earns 3% for the first year of card membership (you earn 1.5% and then at the end of the year all cash back earned is doubled).

Since you’ll earn 3% cash back on both the base tax payment and the processing fees with the above cards, your profit will be slightly more than 1% of your tax payment.

Example:

  • $10,000 tax payment + 1.96% fee = $10,196
  • Cash back earned at 3% = $305.88
  • Profit = $305.88 – $196 = $109.88 (1.1% of $10K)

For more examples of cards that earn better than 2% rewards, see: Best Rewards for Everyday Spend.

2. Meet minimum spend requirements

If you recently signed up for new credit cards, chances are good that you have to spend thousands of dollars in order to earn the associated signup bonuses. Paying taxes is a cheap and easy way to accomplish that.

Below are some of the most valuable current welcome bonuses for consumer cards.  If you’re interested in business cards, please click here to see the best business card offers.

Click on a card for details; Press “Next” to see more offers:

Card Offer
The Platinum Card® from American Express
150K Points
150K after $6K spend in 6 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)

$695 Annual Fee

Info about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Alternate offer: Resy Offer: 125K after $6K spend + 10x dining for 6 months on up to $25K spend

Recent better offer: 125K after $6K in the first 6 months + 15x when you Shop Small in the US and at restaurants worldwide on up to $25K in eligible purchases in the first 6 months [Expired 1/20/22]

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
5 Free Nights up to 50K points each
5 Free Night Certificates each valid for a night up to 50K points after $5K in purchases in the first 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details).

See Also: Are you eligible for a new Marriott card?

Recent better offer: This matches the best offer we've ever seen on this card.

The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley
100K points
100K after $6K spend in first 6 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)

$695 Annual Fee

Info about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Recent better offer: 100K points + 10x when you Shop Small in the US & at restaurants worldwide [Expired 1/20/22]

American Express® Gold Card
90K points
90K after $4K spend in first 6 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)

$250 Annual Fee

Citi Premier Card
80K points
80K points after $4K spend in the first 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

Recent better offer: None. This matches the best offer we've ever seen.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
75K Miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles after $4K spend in 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

Recent better offer: 100K: 50K after $3K in the first 3 months + 20K after $20K in the first 6 months [Expired 7/19/21]

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
75K Miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles after $4K spend in 3 months

$395 Annual Fee

Recent better offer: Expired 3/14/22: 100K after $10K spend in 6 months + $200 credit for vacation rental spend in first year

The Aeroplan® Card
50K Reward Certificate + 10x Travel & Dining
One 50K Reward Certificate after $3K spend in 3 months + 10x travel and dining for the first 6 months up to 51,000 points. Note that reward certificate never expires as long as your card remains open and can be topped off with points to redeem for a single ticket.

$95 Annual Fee

Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Card
75K Points
Earn 75K bonus points after $5K spend in 3 months

$69 Annual Fee

This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details).

Recent better offer: Expired 12/9/21: 100K (50K after $2K spend in 3 months plus 50K after a total of $12K spend in 12 months)

Chase Iberia Visa Signature® Card
100K Avios
Get 100K Avios after $5K spend in first 3 months. Also get 5x on purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, and LEVEL for first 18 months (then 3x) and 3x on hotels booked directly with the hotel for first 12 months (then 2x)
(Offer Expires 7/4/2022)

$95 Annual Fee

Chase Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Card
100K Avios
Get 100K Avios after $5K spend in first 3 months. Also get 5x on purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, and LEVEL for first 18 months (then 3x) and 3x on hotels booked directly with the hotel for first 12 months (then 2x)
(Offer Expires 7/4/2022)

$95 Annual Fee

Chase British Airways Visa Signature® Card
100K Avios
Get 100K Avios after $5K spend in first 3 months. Also get 5x on purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, and LEVEL for first 18 months (then 3x) and 3x on hotels booked directly with the hotel for first 12 months (then 2x)
(Offer Expires 7/4/2022)

$95 Annual Fee

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
75K Points
Earn 75K bonus points after $5K spend in 3 months

$149 Annual Fee

This card is known to be subject to Chase's 5/24 rule.

Recent better offer: Expired 12/9/21: 100K (50K after $2K spend in 3 months plus 50K after a total of $12K spend in 12 months)

Chase Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
75K Points
Earn 75K bonus points after $5K spend in 3 months

$99 Annual Fee

This card is known to be subject to Chase's 5/24 rule.

Recent better offer: Expired 12/9/21: 100K (50K after $2K spend in 3 months plus 50K after a total of $12K spend in 12 months)

UBS Visa Infinite
Up to 100K points (call to apply)
50K after $10K spend in 3 months + 50K after paying 2nd year annual fee

No Annual Fee First Year, Then $495

Chase United℠ Explorer Card
Up to 70K Miles
Up to 70K miles: 60K after $3K spend in 3 months + 10K more after $6K total purchases in the first 6 months.

No Annual Fee First Year, Then $95

Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard
70K miles + 100XP points
70K miles + 40XP after $2K in the first 90 days + 60XP points upon approval

$89 Annual Fee

Info about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Alternate offer: Going through the steps to make a dummy booking at the Air France website may result in an offer that also includes a $100 statement credit.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature
60K miles + $100 statement credit + Companion Fare
60K miles + $100 statement credit + Companion Fare ($99 + taxes) after $3K spend in 3 months

$75 Annual Fee

Info about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Recent better offer: Up to 67K miles: 42K miles + Companion Fare ($99 + taxes) after $2K spend in 3 months + 25K miles after $8K total purchases in first 6 months [Expired during 2021]

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
60K points
60K after $4K spend in 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

A similar offer with the first year annual fee waived may be found in-branch. YMMV.

Recent better offer: 100K after $4K in purchases in the first 3 months

American Express® Green Card
50K Points + up to $150 back
50K after $2K spend in first 6 months plus 20% back as a statement credit on restaurant purchases worldwide for the first 12 months up to $150 back. Terms apply. See Rates & Fees

$150 Annual Fee

Chase IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card
140K points
140K points $3K spend in 3 months
(Offer Expires 6/29/2022)

$99 Annual Fee

This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details).

Recent better offer: 125K + free night certificate [Expired 3/22]

U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card
50K points
50K after $4.5K spend in 90 days

$400 Annual Fee

Chase Freedom Flex
20K points + 5X gas + 15 months 0% APR
Earn 20,000 points (worth $200 cash back) after spending $500 in the first 3 months + 5x Ultimate Rewards points (worth 5% cash back) on gas purchases for 1st year (on up to $6K in purchases). 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.74% - 24.49%.

No Annual Fee

Be sure to select the card you want after clicking through. This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details). Even though this card is marketed as a cash back card, it actually earns Ultimate Rewards points which are redeemable for 1 cent each, or can be combined with other Ultimate Rewards-earning cards to get even more value. This product is available to you if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.

Info about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Recent better offer: 20K points + 5x grocery stores for the first year on up to $12K in qualifying purchases

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Credit Card from American Express
100K Miles
100K Miles after $5K spend in 3 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)
(Offer Expires 8/24/2022)

$550 Annual Fee

Info about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Recent better offer: 80K miles + 20K MQMs after $5K spend in the first 3 months + up to $200 statement credit for purchases at select US furnishings stores in first 3 months. [Expired 5/5/21]

Barclays JetBlue Plus Mastercard
50K Miles
50K miles after $1K spend and payment of the annual fee in 90 days

$99 Annual Fee

Info about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Alternate offer: You could get a bonus 5K miles for using an employee code. Details here.

Recent better offer: Expired 2/4/21: 100K after $6K spend

U.S. BANK ALTITUDE® CONNECT VISA SIGNATURE® CARD
50K points
50K after $2K spend in 120 days

No Annual Fee First Year, Then $95

Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card
45K points
Up to 45K: 30K after $3K spend plus 1 extra point per dollar for non-bonused spend, up to $15K spend in 6 months.

$95 Annual Fee

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
75K points
75K points after $3K in the first 3 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)

$450 Annual Fee

Recent better offer: 100K + 1 free night award after $5K spend in 3 months [Expired 5/18/22]

Chase Freedom Unlimited
Extra 1.5x everywhere + 15 months 0% APR
Earn an extra 1.5x everywhere on up to $20K in purchases for the first 12 months. 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.74% - 24.49%.

No Annual Fee

This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details). Even though this card is marketed as a cash back card, it actually earns Ultimate Rewards points which are redeemable for 1 cent each, or can be combined with other Ultimate Rewards-earning cards to get even more value. This product is available to you if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
20K miles
Earn a bonus of 20K after $500 spend in 3 months from account opening

No Annual Fee

Alternate offer: Some people are targeted for a 40K offer. See this post for more detail.

Citi Custom Cash Card
20K Points
20K points after $750 spend in the first 3 months

No Annual Fee

Recent better offer: None

Citi Rewards+ Card
20K points
20K points after $1.5K spend in 3 months

No Annual Fee

Korean Air SKYPASS Visa issued by US Bank
30K miles
30K miles after $3K spend in 90 days

$95 Annual Fee

Info about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Recent better offer: 40K after $2.5K spend targeted (last reported 2/26/2016)

30K: 15K after first purchase + 15K after $2k spend in 90 days

25K: 15K after first purchase, 10K after $2K spend in first 3 months (expired 1/18)

Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card
Up to $250 in reward nights
Get two reward nights worth $125 each when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Excludes taxes and fees. If your reward night costs less than $125, you won't get the difference.

No Annual Fee

Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card issued by Barclays
32K points
32K points after $1K spend in first 90 days

No Annual Fee

Info about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Recent better offer: Up to 75K points + 4x everywhere: 50K after $1K spend in 90 days + 25K after $2K total spend in 180 days. 2 additional points per dollar for all spend until December 31, 2021 (for a total of 4 points per dollar on everyday purchases) [Expired 9/21]

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
$350 back
$350 cash back as a statement credit after $3K in the first 6 months. Terms Apply. (Rates & Fees)

$95 Annual Fee

Info about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Recent better offer: Up to $350: 10% cash back on purchases at U.S. Restaurants in the first 6 months, up to $200 back. Plus, earn $150 back after $1K spend in 3 months. (Expired 5/3/17)

Capital One Quicksilver
$200 Cash Back
One time bonus: $200 after $500 spend in 3 months from account opening

No Annual Fee

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
$200 Cash Back
One time bonus: $200 after $500 spend in 3 months from account opening

No Annual Fee

U.S. Bank Cash+®
$200 Cash Back
$200 after $1000 spend in 120 days

No Annual Fee

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card
10K miles + $50
Earn 10K AA miles + $50 statement credit after $500 spend in 3 months

No Annual Fee

The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
15K Points
15K after $1K spend in 3 months. Terms apply.

$95 Annual Fee

Info about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Alternate offer: Some people click through and find that they are targeted for an offer of 30K points after $2K spend in 3 months.

Recent better offer: 30K after $2K in first 3 months

Discover it® for Students
$50 + First Year Double + $20/year
Get $50 after first purchase. All cashback earned in first 12 months will be doubled including 5% earned in rotating categories. Plus, get $20 cash back each school year your GPA is 3.0 or higher for up to the next 5 years.

No Annual Fee

Delta SkyMiles® Blue Credit Card from American Express
Discover it Miles - Double Miles your first year
$100 + First Year Double
Get $100 after first purchase. All "miles" earned in first 12 months will be doubled. This makes this a 3% cash back card for the first year.

No Annual Fee

Verizon Visa Card
$100 in Verizon credit
Up to $100 in credit applied over 24 monthly wireless bills

No Annual Fee

Chase Slate Edge
$100 Cash Back
Earn $100 statement credit after $500 in purchases in first 6 months. 0% Intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers. A variable APR of 15.24% - 23.99% on balance transfers and purchases after the introductory period ends.

No Annual Fee

This card is subject to Chase's 5/24 rule (click here for details). Even though this card is marketed as a cash back card, it actually earns Ultimate Rewards points which are redeemable for 1 cent each, or can be combined with other Ultimate Rewards-earning cards to get even more value. This product is available to you if you do not have this card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for this card in the past 24 months.

Allegiant World Mastercard® Credit Card
15K miles
15K after $1K in first 90 days

$59 Annual Fee

Info about this card has been collected independently by Frequent Miler. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Alternate offer: You may be targeted for an offer including a $100 statement credit during a dummy booking.

BBVA
ClearPoints Credit Card
$100 statement credit
$100 statement credit after $1.5K in first 90 days. Note: This card is not available online without an invitation code. You may need to first open a checking account and then apply by phone or apply in-branch.

No Annual Fee

Discover it®
$50 + First Year Double
Get $50 after first purchase. All cashback earned in first 12 months will be doubled including 5% earned in rotating categories.

No Annual Fee

Citi Double Cash Card

Recent better offer: None

3. Buy points cheaply

Several credit cards offer up to 1.5 transferable points or miles per dollar. In these cases, a 2% tax payment fee (rounding up a little) means that you can essentially buy miles for 1.3 cents each. Even better, some cards earn 2 transferable points per dollar for all qualifying purchases.  With these 2X everywhere cards you can essentially buy points/miles for 1 cent each.  Either way, if you plan to use your points toward high value awards, this is a cheap way to acquire those points.

2X Example:

  • $10,000 tax payment + 2% fee = $10,200
  • Miles earned at 2X = 20,400
  • Cost per mile = $200 / 20,400 = 0.98 cents per mile (round up to 1 cent per mile)

1.5X Example:

  • $10,000 tax payment + 2% fee = $10,200
  • Miles earned at 1.5X = 15,300
  • Cost per mile = $200 / 15,300 = 1.3 cents per mile

Cards that offer 2X transferable points per dollar:

Note that some cards offering 2x everywhere are not included below because their points are worth much less than airline miles. An example is that most Marriott cards offer 2x everywhere rewards.

  • Citi Double Cash: Earns 2 cents per dollar, uncapped. Cash rewards can be converted to ThankYou points, and when paired with a Citi Premier or Prestige card, those points can be transferred to a selection of airline and hotel programs.
    Card Offer and Details
    Citi Double Cash Card

    Recent better offer: None

    FM Mini Review: 2X rewards for all spend with no annual fee makes this card a winner. Earn 2X everywhere and redeem for the equivalent of 2% cash back or 2X ThankYou points. Pair with the Premier or Prestige card to make points transferrable to airlines.


    Card Type: Mastercard World Elite

    Base

    Earning rate: 2% cash back everywhere (1% cash back for each purchase + 1% when paying your credit card bill for that purchase)

    Noteworthy perks: 1X when you make a purchase + 1X when you pay for those purchases

  • Amex Blue Business Plus: Earns 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar on up to $50K spend per calendar year. Points can be transferred to a large selection of airline programs or to a few hotel programs.
    Card Offer and Details
    The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
    15K points
    15K after $3K spend in 3 months. Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)

    No Annual Fee

    Alternate offer: Some people have been targeted for an offer in their online account for 50K points after $15K in purchases in their first 12 months.

    Recent better offer: 20K after $3K spend in 3 months (Expired 6/21/17)

    FM Mini Review: 2X rewards for all spend (up to $50K per year) with no annual fee makes this card a winner.


    Card Type: Amex Credit Card

    Base

    Earning rate: 2X Membership Rewards points on all purchases, up to $50K spend per calendar year (then 1X thereafter). Terms apply. (Rates & Fees)

  • Capital One Venture, Venture X, or Spark Miles. Capital One offers three cards that earn 2X “Miles” per dollar on all qualifying spend. These “miles” can be transferred to airline miles & hotel points, usually at a 1 to 1 rate. This means that the following cards are capable of earning 2X miles everywhere:
    Card Offer and Details
    Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
    75K Miles
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles after $4K spend in 3 months

    $95 Annual Fee

    Recent better offer: 100K: 50K after $3K in the first 3 months + 20K after $20K in the first 6 months [Expired 7/19/21]

    FM Mini Review: This card earns 2 "miles" per dollar, which are worth exactly 1 cent each toward travel. This makes the return on spend similar to a 2% cash back card (though in this case you must redeem your miles to offset travel in order to get 1 cent per mile). One big advantage over cash back: Capital One allows transfering their "miles" to airline miles & hotel points.


    Card Type: Visa Signature

    Base
    Travel
    Other

    Earning rate: 2X everywhere ⚬ 5X on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel

    Noteworthy perks: Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® ⚬ Redeem miles for travel at value of 1 cent per mile ⚬ Convert "miles" to airline miles & hotel points ⚬ No foreign transaction fees ⚬ 2 complimentary visits per year to Capital One or Plaza Premium Lounges

    Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
    75K Miles
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles after $4K spend in 3 months

    $395 Annual Fee

    Recent better offer: Expired 3/14/22: 100K after $10K spend in 6 months + $200 credit for vacation rental spend in first year

    FM Mini Review: This card offers annual rebates that easily mitigate the fee for those who travel often and could be worth it for the lounge access and travel protections given the cost/benefit ratio. Authorized users are free and also get access to perks like Priority Pass, Capital One Lounges, Plaza Premium lounges, and Hertz President's Circle status. The card earns 2 "miles" per dollar on most purchases just like the Capital One Venture Rewards card, which are worth exactly 1 cent each toward travel. This makes the return on most spend similar to a 2% cash back card (though in this case you must redeem your miles to offset travel in order to get 1 cent per mile). One big advantage over cash back: Capital One allows transfering their "miles" to airline miles & hotel points.


    Card Type: Visa Infinite

    Base
    Travel
    Other

    Earning rate: 10X on hotels and rental cars booked via Capital One Travel ⚬ 5x on flights booked via Capital One travel. ⚬ 2X everywhere else.

    Noteworthy perks: Up to $300 in statement credits annually for bookings made through Capital One Travel ⚬ 10,000 bonus miles each year starting at first anniversary ⚬ Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® ⚬ Priority Pass Select lounge access ⚬ Plaza Premium lounge access ⚬ Cell phone insurance ⚬ Trip delay / cancellation insurance ⚬ Primary CDW coverage Redeem miles for travel at value of 1 cent per mile ⚬ Convert "miles" to airline miles & hotel points ⚬ No foreign transaction fees

    Capital One Spark Miles for Business
    50K Miles
    Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

    No Annual Fee First Year, Then $95

    Note: Most Capital One Business credit cards (including this one) DO count against Chase's 5/24 Rule

    Recent better offer: Earn up to 200K "miles": 50K after $5K spend in the first 3 months from account opening and an additional 150K after $50K spend in the first 6 months from account opening [Expired 1/27/20 and breifly available in 2021]

    FM Mini Review: This card is similar to the Spark Cash Plus card, but it has the advantage that "miles" earned with this card can be transferred to a large number of airline & hotel programs.


    Card Type: Mastercard

    Base
    Travel

    Earning rate: 2X everywhere ⚬ Earn 5X miles on hotel and rental car
    bookings through Capital One Travel

    Noteworthy perks: Redeem miles for travel at value of 1 cent per mile ⚬ Convert "miles" to airline miles & hotel points ⚬ No foreign transaction fees ⚬ Fee credit for either $85 TSA Pre✓® application fee or $100 Global Entry application fee

Cards that offer 1.5X points or airline miles per dollar:

4. Earn valuable big spend bonuses: elite status, free nights, companion pass, etc.

Many credit cards offer bonuses for meeting high spend thresholds. You can find a comprehensive list here: Best big spend bonuses. Here are a few examples:

  • Amex Delta Reserve or Delta Reserve Business: Spend $30,000, get 15,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (towards elite status). At $60,000, $90,000, and $120,000 you’ll get another 15,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles.
  • Amex Delta Platinum or Delta Platinum Business: Spend $25,000, get 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (towards elite status). At $50,000 spend, get another 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles.
  • Southwest Plus, Southwest Premier, or Southwest Business: With Southwest, when you earn 125,000 points in a calendar year (including points earned from credit card spend) you get a companion pass good for an unlimited number of flights for the rest of that year and all of the next calendar year.
  • Barclaycard JetBlue Plus, or JetBlue Business: Spend $50,000 and get Mosaic status which offers free changes and cancellations; free checked bags; expedited security; early boarding; free drinks; enhanced point earnings; and 15,000 bonus points upon qualifying.

5. Liquidate Visa/MasterCard gift cards cheaply

Visa and MasterCard gift cards are debit cards. As such, they qualify for low flat fees for debit tax payments: $2.20, $2.50, or $2.55 (depending upon the tax processor you use). In other words, your cost to liquidate $500 gift cards will be approximately half a percent. That’s pretty cheap.

If you use $500 Visa/MasterCard gift cards, then you can pay the following amounts:

The biggest problem with this (besides the fact that what works and what doesn’t work keeps changing!) is the IRS imposed 2 payments per processor limit. This means that you can liquidate no more than 6 gift cards per type of tax payment.  In the past, Official Payments allowed more payments via phone.  Recent reports, though, indicate that this is no longer the case.

See also: Best options for buying Visa and MasterCard gift cards.

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