When HMRC stopped accepting personal credit cards for tax payments in January last year, it was a blow for many HFP readers who used the Inland Revenue to rack up a substantial number of miles and points.
Even a relatively small business like Head for Points has a chunky liability when you factor in our VAT payments, PAYE and my own personal tax and national insurance – over 70p of every £1 HFP receives goes to the Government.
There are still a few ways to earn miles and points when paying your 31st July self-assessment tax bill or August VAT bill. One of these is Billhop.
We have covered Billhop a couple of times and a lot of readers have used it.
Basically, Billhop pays your bills for you – directly into the bank account of the recipient – and charges your credit or charge card. The transaction goes through as a purchase. You earn miles and points and it counts towards spend bonuses such as the British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher.
It is an easy way of running up credit and charge card spending by paying your day-to-day bills or at this time of year paying your tax or VAT bill via your Amex card. This gives you a head start on triggering a sign-up bonus or your next British Airways American Express 241 voucher.
Registration with Billhop is free – see here – so you have nothing to lose by signing up and seeing how it works.
Too good to be true?
If this sounds too good to be true, there is a catch – the service is not free. There is a 2.95% charge on every payment you make, i.e. if you pay a bill of £100, you will pay £102.95 in total.
This is an expensive way of earning miles or points. It IS something that you will find useful if you are struggling to hit the ‘£3000 spend in 90 days for 10000 bonus points’ target on a new American Express Gold card for example, or need to pump up your spending towards your next 241 voucher.
This HFP article explains in step-by-step detail how to set up a Billhop account.
The company was founded in Stockholm in 2012 – where it has proven very popular with the frequent flyer community – and launched in the UK in 2016. The company is fully regulated in Sweden (which, under EU passporting rules, means they are regulated here as well) and, in any event, your money is fully protected because all payments are handled by an established bank. Billhop never has access to your funds, apart for the fee.
Exclusive reader offer for Mastercard and Visa transactions
Billhop is currently offering our readers a lower charge of just 2.25% when using a Mastercard or Visa when making a payment.
This special offer is for new and existing customers and runs until 31st August 2019.
This would work best if you were looking to hit the spend target on, say, the IHG Rewards Club Premium Mastercard which gives you a free night voucher for spending £10,000.
You need to use the code h4psummer2019 in order to benefit from the lower charge. Existing customers can enter the promo code under ‘Settings’ whilst new customers can enter the same promo code during the registration process under the ‘How did you find out about Billhop’ section.
The code only works on desktop. You cannot use it on the mobile app.
Unfortunately, there is no reader discount on American Express transactions due to the higher charges imposed on Billhop by Amex. If you are looking to make very large payments, however, you can often negotiate a deal if you contact them directly.
Amex also insists that Billhop payments are to ‘proper’ organisations. You cannot send Billhop a bill to pay an individual for, say, cleaning or piano lessons via Amex. It is totally acceptable to us Amex to pay HMRC, your council tax, a car dealership etc. There are no restrictions on who can be paid by Visa or Mastercard as long as an invoice is supplied.
If you have your own business, note that Billhop also works with companies – in fact, they see this as their core market – who can use the service to help with their working capital requirements.
If you are self employed, Billhop is even better value as their fee is obviously tax deductible.
Even if you don’t want to pay your tax bill this month, it is worth signing up so that you don’t forget about it and to receive news of special offers and other promotions.
The Billhop homepage is here if you want to sign up. You need to move quickly if you want to pay your 31st July tax bill!
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – January 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our January 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these:
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review
Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history. By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.