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Which Credit Cards Allow You to Pay Bills With Rewards?

Sept. 24, 2014
Credit Card Basics, Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
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  • Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
  • Citi Premier Card
  • Sallie Mae MasterCard

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Using your credit card rewards to score a free vacation or a few gift cards is always fun, but what if you’d prefer to use them for something practical? It turns out that there are some credit cards that allow you to pay your monthly bills with points you’ve racked up on your day-to-day spending.

Interested? Take a look at the details below!

Citi allows customers to use ThankYou points to pay bills

As of May 2014, customers that have both a Citi checking account and a Citi credit card that earns ThankYou points can use their rewards to pay monthly bills. This includes virtually any bill that you would normally pay online from your Citi checking account.

All you have to do is log in to your checking account as you normally would and click on the “Pay Bills” tab. Then you’ll be prompted to choose a payee; after doing so, you can select the “ThankYou Rewards Account” as the way to fund the payment. Once you’ve typed in the dollar amount of the payment, the site will automatically tell you how many ThankYou points will be used to complete the transaction.

You can move forward with paying your bill just in ThankYou points, or use a combination of cash and points. Then, simply confirm your payment and you’re all set.

Our favorite Citi cards that earn ThankYou points

If you’re a Citi checking customer and like the idea of using your credit card rewards to pay your bills, you’re in luck. The Nerds have a couple of suggestions:

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

With the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, you’ll earn 2 ThankYou points for every dollar spent on dining and entertainment and 1 ThankYou point for every dollar spent on all other purchases. This card’s annual fee is $0.

Of course, you can use your ThankYou points for bill payments, but there’s also the option to redeem for merchandise, gift cards, travel, charitable contributions or cash. The Nerds think you’ll probably get the best value per point when you cash them in for bill payments or gift cards, but it’s nice to know you have choices.

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is a great choice if you like to dine out and have a good time, but don’t do a whole lot of traveling. If you’re looking for a card that earns ThankYou points and is a little more friendly to globetrotters, the Citi Premier Card is probably a better fit.

Citi Premier Card

The Citi Premier Card rewards you handsomely for your on-the-go lifestyle. With it, you’ll earn 3 ThankYou points for every dollar spent on dining and entertainment, 2 ThankYou points for every dollar spent on airfare and hotels, and 1 ThankYou point for every dollar spent on all other purchases. It does charge an annual fee of $95. But it also provides a hefty signup bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. (This offer is no longer valid on our site).

The Nerds recommend this card for those with a case of wanderlust because it charges no foreign transaction fee and comes chip-enabled. Plus, you’ll earn extra points on airline and hotel purchases.

As with the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, you have several options in terms of how to redeem your ThankYou points. But as of August 2014, there’s an additional perk to consider: transferring your points to a participating frequent flyer program at a 1:1 ratio. If you’re a serious traveler, this is a pretty exciting option to consider.

Another possibility: Sallie Mae MasterCard

By now you might be thinking that Citi credit cards are the only ones that allow you to pay bills with your rewards. But this isn’t the case; if you have a hefty Sallie Mae student loan balance that you’d like to start chipping away at, the Sallie Mae MasterCard might be a good choice.

With this card, you’ll earn:

  • 5% back on up to $250 spent per month at gas stations
  • 5% back on up to $250 spent per month at the grocery store
  • 5% back on up to $750 spent per month at bookstores (Amazon counts as a bookstore!)
  • 1% back on all other purchases

What’s more, the Sallie Mae MasterCard charges an annual fee of $0 and will provide you with a small signup bonus: $25 Cash Back Bonus - after first purchase, made within 90 days of account opening.

When it comes time to redeem those rewards, you can choose from the following options: a statement credit, cash back into your Upromise account, or as cash to pay off your Sallie Mae student loan. Remember, every little bit helps!

Paying bills image via Shutterstock