Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Earn Avios paying your tax bill with Billhop via American Express or Visa / Mastercard

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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 freesee 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.

What else?

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? – September 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our September 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here.

The following offers will end soon:

  • 2,000 Virgin Points on Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard (ends 15th October)
  • 30,000 Virgin Points on Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard (ends 15th October)
  • 10,000 Avios on British Airways American Express (ends 2nd November)
  • 40,000 Avios on British Airways American Express Premium Plus (ends 2nd November)
  • 60,000 points on The Platinum Card from American Express (ends 2nd November)
  • 30,000 points on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (ends 9th November)

Here are the top current deals:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 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 offers.

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

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 card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending:

Barclaycard Select Cashback Credit Card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (100)

  • Mike says:

    Billhop used to be great in the days of 6 mth AMEX churning and also it was possible at the time to use Billhop to pay into a private bank account (one of your own !). So a £2000 spend for 30,000 MR Amex Plat bonus used to cost £59 in Billhop fees and same detail for £2000 spend for 20,000 MR Amex Gold bonus

    • Obi says:

      Lol this is so typical HfP speak.

      It was good when we could exploit a loophole and piled in.
      It is not good now that they closed the loophole that could have lost them their license.

  • NigelthePensioner says:

    Looks like there is a huge market for small business and family accountants in London!!!

    • Andrew says:

      There might be a market…

      But if you want good value you’ll probably use one in the countryside.

  • Noel Andrews says:

    curve works great for me with no fees and good for £50k a year I think, just split transactions across multiple days for the £5k/day limit and £15k/mth

    Easily done

    Not useful if you’re way above £50k payments but hey first world problems right 🙂

    • Oh! Matron! says:

      This is good to know. The perfect property has come on the market (for me), and whilst I wasn’t looking, it’s just too good to pass up. Whilst I have the deposit, I don’t have the stamp duty, etc.

      I was looking at a money transfer credit card (as I’ll be able to pay it off quickly), such as a Virgin Money card, but this is perfect, as I was also looking at dumping the Amex plat for a Gold, therefore having a

  • Luthar says:

    Anyone live / lived in Hong Kong that knows of a similar service to Billhop I can use? Sign up bonuses require some hefty spend over here.

  • Squared circle says:

    Or use curve?

  • Paul says:

    Is Curve and Tesco debut card good free alternative options?

    • Rooster says:

      Curve yes not worth it for Tesco debit card

      • The Urbanite says:

        The Tesco Debit card is a valuable tool in a points’ collector’s arsenal if used correctly.

  • RussellH says:

    I have already paid my July tax bill, using Billhop. This is really far too late to be of any use for this months payments, I would have thought. Even paying by faster payment, I would not have left it until today, and even for an existing customer, it still takes a few days by Billhop.
    And I only use Billhop to help meet a spending target – in this case the £10K before the end of the year on Hilton Visa to maintain Hilton Gold status and free breakfasts.

    • Rooster says:

      Have you not heard of Curve seeing as it works with visa!

      • RussellH says:

        Yes, certainly heard of Curve – not possible not to on this site.

        But: 1. Far too many reports of it failing to work / people suddenly getting charged cash advance fees etc / this credit card or that one not working anymore.

        2. It does not work with a PC. I do not have an android / iOS phone, and really do not want one [Google and Apple are both firms I try to avoid having anything to do with – and so is Microsoft, but that is even harder]. Decent ones are expensive pieces of kit and I still have plenty of old handsets for making the very occasional phone call or sending / receiving SMS.

  • Sofiane says:

    Probably a stupid question, but can billhop work for rent ? Looking for a way to do 4000 in three months for the platinum bonus …

    • Rob says:

      If you pay Foxtons / Knight Frank etc direct, you’re probably OK. If you pay Mr Landlord direct …. probably not possible. This is due to the Amex block on using Billhop to pay into private accounts.

    • Sofiane says:

      Took a gander at their website, and it is actually possible. Could be something to think about for renters like me in london with not that much expense but who want to accumulate some points for a price !

      • Elliot says:

        At that price you’re paying 2.95p an Avios which is terrible value. Unless you can redeem at a higher level than that, it would be far cheaper just to pay for the flight out of your own pocket. Otherwise it’s costing you more to use your Avios.

        • Sofiane says:

          Indeed. Only would use it for the sign up bonuses i guess (don’t think i can hit 4000 in three months…)

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Buy some gift cards for somewhere you shop on a regular basis.

            I usually do M&S and Waitrose for the weekly shops.

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