I now earn Skymiles paying utility bills. Do you? What is next?

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All it takes is a spark. A tiny one. Those of us who have the sickness are like a bonfire just waiting for a match to strike. I hope as you read the blog I make you think now and then;

“Wait, what? I can do what and get how many points?”

I blogged a few weeks back (and Sunday as well) about how great the OPEN program is from AMEX. If you do not have, say, the DELTA Reserve Business card, part of OPEN from AMEX, you are just missing out on a bunch of points. Please go back and reread THIS post.

My latest “spark” came from Greg the “Frequent Miler” who I spoke with at the Ann Arbor DO. He said, you could be making many more points each year on NORMAL every day things. (that is all it took – fire was started). For those like me, we tend to go all-in, over the top, if a little is good then a bunch is better (but this can get me in trouble at times)!

So here is what I have done round trip now. I have my Officemax $100 gift cards (two of them)that with OPEN discount cost me just $90 each. I purchased a $200 visa card for only $6.95 in fees. I then paid my electricity bill online with the visa gift card and incurred a $2.95 fee. So you see the math. $9.90 is my all in expense. So net I made $10.10 and earned 200 SKYMILES and helped knock off $200 of my $60,000 spend goal for my Reserve card for the year to get the 30,000 MQM’s from the card (you can get 40,000 total first year btw with new card bonus deal).

For those who say this is just too much work and effort – GROW UP! Seriouly, please GET this! It may seem small, but my yearly bill for just electricity is $1500. Would you not like to be paid $75 per year and earn 1500 Skymiles each year just by paying your electric bill? Is it not worth checking if this is possible with your gas, electric, etc. company in your area?

My SPG 30,000 point Business AMEX is also part of OPEN, so I can use that card also if I want as a second source. I also found my “perfect rental” was charged a lower price than quoted due to the 10% Hertz automatic discount from OPEN (who knew – not me – but I do now)!

More and more I see the need to hold TWO Delta Reserve cards, both the personal and the business and to utilize both real and “fake” spend to reach the goal of $120,000 total on both  to get 60,000 MQM’s toward retaining Platinum status each and every year!

SPARK? – René


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  1. Rene, you should also mention that some office max stores (like mine) do not let you use office max gift cards to purchase other gift cards / credit cards. You should check with your local store before going all in.

  2. @Grant – yes I cover that in the “re-read this post” post where you should test first. Mine is just great about it! Plus, I have two of them nearby! Yeah me! 😉 Rene

  3. 200 skymiles is worth 2 dollars, give or take. You spent 9 dollars to get them. Why is that worth it?

  4. @James – re-read the post. I am getting PAID over $10 & the 200 Skymiles & I am knocking down spend to get my bonus MQM’s ( and 30k RDM’s as well) – Rene

  5. @Rick – Oh I know I have a ton to learn. I also have other goals. My goals are DELTA DELTA DELTA MQM’s MQM’s.. oh you get the idea. And, playing this “with in reason” I will not get shut down as some do on the NS deals. 😉 Rene

  6. Could you do a similar thing by purchasing the gift cards using Chase and earning 5X in ultimate rewards? I get you are not going to receive the 10% open discount but is it a viable option?

  7. @Lori – Since FM is on a cruise ship right now, and HE is the master at this, I will let other readers chime in if they can. My GUESS, is yes but YMMV. The factors would be will UR let you buy OM gift cards. Maybe, maybe not and still earn the 5x. You can always test small and see. – Rene

  8. Why don’t you just pay the bill with your skymiles credit card and eat the $2.95 fee, which earns skymiles anyway? Saves time, which I value at more than $10 of going to Office Max l, which I would not ordinarily do. And that $10.10 visa is only a net gain to you if you spend the entire remaining amount.

  9. @Ted – many reasons. One, many utilities, like mine, DO NOT take AMEX. Thus, this works around that. Plus, if I do it your way, I lose money. I like making money AND points. To each his own. Thanks for reading the blog! – Rene

  10. I used my Visas/Mastercards to buy myself gift cards (living in IL, Ameren allows such a thing). I think Visa/Mastercard gift cards would’ve worked too. In that way I only paid for the face value of the gift card; no extra fees were imposed for using Visa/Mastercard (in comparison to using them directly on Ameren to pay for the bill). You could consider that if your utilities company sells gift cards.

  11. Why not just skip the gift cards & just overpay your bill with your AmEx Open? In theory, if you paid $200 or $250 online, you’d still get the 10% discount, right?

    I also wonder if one could just use their SunTrust Delta debit card to pay an electric bill while still getting miles, albeit non-MQM.

  12. Can you buy the Office Max gift cards at $250? Since that’s the amount needed to get the 10% OPEN credit. And then are Visa gift cards available at $250? Otherwise there’s $50 on each side you have to account for.

  13. Any luck with Shopping Portals to earn cashback/pts on the initial Office Max cards? I noticed in previous post you were going to report back on this. Thanks!

  14. @Devon. As you say you must buy at LEAST $250. So, now that I have tested with a $300 order, for me, I will bump it up to $400 each order and go for 2 – $200 cards each round. Last time I spent a few bucks more of cost to buy 1 – $200 and 1 – $100 just for my test! – Rene

  15. @Devon. I have done just ONE round trip so far. Will do many more this time. Will be sure to report back. FM also said he will add the results to his logs on his blog! – Rene

  16. Rene, OPEN has changed TC that discount now only applies to the purchase on officemax.com, not in the retail store. They have sent out the notice with the monthly statement. See the current TC. officemax.com only sells office max gift card, not visa card.

    Get discount based on your total purchase as follows: 5% discount if a purchase is $250 or less and 10% discount if a purchase is more than $250. Valid only for purchases made online at officemax.com, officemaxsolutions.com or telephone orders. Discounts not available for purchases made at retail locations. Visit officemax.com/opensavings for OfficeMax terms and conditions.

  17. @Allen – yes, that is correct. as posted, you 1st buy OfficeMax gift cards FREE S&H no extra charge. Then, you go into you local store, buy the VISA gift cards. – Rene
    (thus again – if you missed the 1st post, be sure to GO BACK and read it!)

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