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)

  • Chris says:

    Is this for a single payment or all payments made before 31at August?

  • Mark2 says:

    2.25% seems like too much to me.
    I have been using Monese as described on HfP https://monese.com/ . Please tell me If I have got anything wrong (I am assuming that largish amounts are involved).
    Monese is a pre-loaded debit card which can be loaded at PayPoint (Coop) and Post Office(both of which take Amex). You can load up to £500 per day at Post Office and £250 at Paypoint; some Coop stores also have a Post Office counter.
    Loading in this way is subject to a 2% charge unless you have a Premium plan which costs £14.95 per month, but you can change plans when you have done the business. If you enter the code MARKW642 you should get £10 towards it (and I may get something).
    You then have the amount loaded in an account and can use the debit card and/or bank transfers to make payments plus the other Monese features.

    • Genghis says:

      There’s the £4.95 plan which gives £800 a month free. Better than paying 2% = £16 on the free card and works out at 0.62%. Using BAPP = avios at 0.41ppa

      • Mark2 says:

        Very true if you are looking at small amounts. Our dog is having an MRI scan which will cost close to £2000 (pay and claim back from PetPlan).
        Also IMHO the Monese card is cooler than my heavy metal Platinum as it is almost blank.

        • N says:

          For clarity – you can top up Monese at a Post Office with an Amex? What’s the process? You have over your monese card and say I’d like to top this up and then put your amex in the machine?

          • Mark2 says:

            yup
            there is a post office symbol on the back

          • Prune says:

            Does the transaction come up as a purchase in the post office on the Amex statement rather than cash?

          • Mark2 says:

            Yes it comes up as PO or Coop. I suggest random amounts.

          • Tilly71 says:

            I know someone who got shut down very quickly by Monese for regular large top ups. Over 1k stuck until released 2 months later.

  • SClimited says:

    I tried the code but it said “Code “H4PSUMMER2019″ not found”.

    • Rob says:

      Lower case? No-one else has said it doesn’t work.

      • Rob says:

        And it only works on desktop, not mobile. Apologies for any confusion.

        (EDIT: this might not be the full fix, leave it with us)

  • BFT01 says:

    Billhop is too expensive and I don’t think that it is worth it.
    HMRC made us sign up to pay our VAT by direct debit last year, no idea why though.
    PAYE and Corporation Tax I can still pay using the Curve card

  • BJ says:

    It would be great if you could also work some magic on AMEX25OOF too please.

    • Axel says:

      What is the benefit of the code BJ?

      Thought the friendly gov Glasgow based bank was enough to keep the points game moving?

      • 3742 says:

        That looks like the Amazon code for part pay by MR.

        What type of business do you transact with the above bank?

  • Jonathan says:

    Although it’s a very slow way of earning, the Tesco bank DEBIT card is potentially an option, 1 point per £8 per transaction, but there’s no fees, and Tesco club card scheme is one the fastest ways of earning both Virgin air miles and BAEC Avios.

    • Rooster says:

      Why bother vs curve?

    • Aliks says:

      I reckon I spend about £6000 a year at Tesco, so that would earn the princely sum of 750 points or 1800 Avios. But that would cut into any spending bonus earned on Amex or IHG cards.

      Much better to use IHG / Curve in some combination.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Tesco spend is 1 per pound though so the best earning you’ll get.

        Personally I get 4% off gift cards via work discount site so feels like buying Clubcard points not to use that.

  • the greek says:

    Don’t do it and save 30k other than that don’t see how you can pay by bank transfer and earn anything

  • Crafty says:

    Revolut.

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