Not Good for Earning Miles: Plastiq Running Into Problems Processing More and More Payments

Plastiq is a great service. It lets you pay bills by charging them to your credit card. This way you have credit card spend and earn miles, and you can also manage cashflow too (pay the bill now, at the beginning of a credit card’s billing cycle, and pay in six weeks or so when the card’s bill is due).

They do charge fees for the service which makes it unlikely most people are going to want to earn just one mile per dollar for the spending. There have been times when Plastiq earned bonus miles with various credit cards. And of course it’s great when you’re looking to generate a lot of spend for big bonuses, or to meet a spending threshold for benefits — like putting $25,000 on a card to waive the spending requirement for elite status with an airline to give one example.

However Plastiq has been running into several problems recently. Perhaps this is predictable.

  • Payments with a Visa to recipients that hadn’t been paid before were getting processed as cash advances on some cards. Plastiq was great about flagging this before the charges actually went through so that people could use a different card.

  • They stopped being able to process mortgage payments with Visa or American Express (and some rent payments too) leave MasterCard as the only option for these big charges.

  • Now they’re telling customers they are unable to process payments using American Express cards entirely. This applies even to previously scheduled payments. They say this is a temporary situation they’re trying to resolve. (HT: Len B.)

    Please note that other card types are supported & can be used to update your payment(s). Future payments may also be impacted, but we will inform you in advance if that is the case.

    We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused and have credited your account with 500 fee-free dollars. Our team is working diligently to resolve this, and we will notify you when payments with American Express are processing again.

I don’t know what’s behind the inability to process American Express payments. I have to think it’s American Express that’s shut them down, though hopefully there’s a process that’ll bring Amex back online (perhaps with new restrictions).

The continued limitations and hurdles placed by payment networks on Plastiq can’t be good for their business. It’s a great idea but straddles so many lines — card companies not wanting to make hitting minimum spend requirements easier, not wanting to process what are effectively cash advances as payments, etc.

I want to see Plastiq succeed because it’s a great tool. And I’m happy still being able to use MasterCard for mortgages because I want to put $40,000 next year on my Citi Executive card (10,000 elite qualifying miles) and $50,000 on my Barclaycard Aviator Silver (10,000 elite qualifying miles, $6000 elite qualifying dollars, and a companion ticket). I have goals, and Plastiq is an easy way to help meet those from my computer screen — no going from one store to another can make it worth the cost.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Not a complete surprise. I tried Plastiq some time ago and found some of their claims misleading and their system problematic. I’ve steered clear since.

  2. I thought the EQMs were 10,000 total, that between two cards you can’t earn 20,000. Did that change?

  3. I have used Plastiq many times for everything from rent to loan payments. One rent check was late (may have been a postal issue) and twice I had a loan carrier claim they did not receive the payment even though plastiq sent me a copy of the check that was deposited. Eventually the loan carrier backed down but twice I had to jump threw hoops with the loan company that claimed the wrong account number was on the check. That was a lie by the loan carrier because I have a copy of the check but plastiq does print it small so the loan carrier computer probably didn’t pick it up correctly. 90% of the time I don’t have any issue with plastiq although it takes awhile for checks to arrive so you need to arrange payments way in advance. Still its a helpful way to meet min spend when you can’t get it with conventional spend and when you have large payments that need to be made to organizations that do not accept credit cards.

  4. @Lucas – the 10k rebate on redemptions is total rather than 10k per car. You can definitely earn 20k total eqm’s across the two cards, I did this year.

  5. my experience is they’ve taken the funds off the credit card when the payment is requested, well before the payment is processed by the recipient, which includes their fee upfront, so where wld the cash flow problem come into play?

  6. If you’re putting $90,000 a year in mortgage payments a year on Plastiq, you must have quite a place!

  7. I put well over $100k on plastiq last year. In general I didn’t have any problems. The only thing that happened was they flagged one of my transactions toward the end of the year (they do this periodically, ask you to show them an invoice), which caused the spend to go into the following year. But luckily I still made my spend for bonus MQM’s which got me gold status. As far as I could tell, all my vendors were paid on time with no issues.

    All that spend was because they had AmEx double points in November and December. I’ve been suspecting they would get rid of that this year so I’m not counting on that. But it’s a good heads up that I might not be able to put ANY spend on AmEx cards through them.

  8. With Plastiq not taking AMEX, does anyone has any thoughts on RadPad? I know they stopped rent payments last year; and are back now, but I wanted to see if anyone else has recently used them. Need to hit minimum spend on a card.

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