Gas and electricity is a substantial monthly outlay for most people, but it is rare that you find a way of putting the cost of gas and electricity onto an American Express card.
This is unfortunate, as it would make a major dint into the spend you need to trigger a sign-up bonus or your annual British Airways American Express 2-4-1 companion voucher.
I came across something interesting over the weekend, however.
We have used Bulb for a couple of years for our gas and electricity.
You have probably heard of them. Founded in 2015, it has now has 1.6 million customers.
What is interesting about Bulb is that it only has one tariff. There are no special deals, limited offers etc. There are no fixed rate tariffs. They don’t rip off established customers (ie mainly the elderly who don’t realise they are on uncompetitive tariffs) to subsidise loss-leading deals. There is only one price, and everyone pays it. The price is linked to wholesale energy pricing, meaning that you benefit if prices drop and lose out if prices rise.
The reason I use it is simplicity. Since we signed up, I have literally not spent 30 seconds thinking about my gas and electricity costs. I know that Bulb is close to the cheapest (it will always be undercut by someone, somewhere with a limited time deal if you are willing to shop around every few months) and I can get on with my life. That’s fine by me.
If you are concerned about your environmental impact, 100% of Bulb’s electricity is renewable and their gas supply is 100% carbon neutral.
Using American Express with Bulb
Bulb prefers that you pay by monthly direct debit to keep costs down, although there are other payment options available such as on receipt of a bill. Most customers are billed online although paper copies are available on request.
However, you CAN top up your online account at any time.
This can be done using an American Express card.
On your ‘Payments & Statements’ page on their website, you will see:
If you click the ‘Top up’ box, you get taken to the payments processor Stripe:
…. and you can see American Express as a payment option. It works fine – I’ve tried it.
Doing a top-up does NOT mean that your next Direct Debit payment is not taken. As with all energy companies, Bulb tries to charge you a flat monthly figure throughout the year even though your usage is higher in Winter. This means you build up a balance during the Summer and it unwinds during the Winter. Making a top up payment simply increases this balance.
(EDIT: comments below suggest that the solution is to reduce your direct debit to the £5 minimum. I could not go this low but it may be possible if I top up more and create a bigger buffer – I will investigate.)
When you input your next meter reading, however, it uses your usage and the balance of your account to work out what your future direct debit payments will be.
Your money should be safe if you do a top up. Whilst a lot of small energy companies have gone bust in recent years, Ofgem has a system in place to ensure whoever takes over your account honours outstanding credit balances. If this failed – which seems unlikely – you would still have protection via your payment card.
PS. Bulb has a £50 refer a friend sign-up bonus if you sign up for electricity and gas or £25 for one fuel. My refer a friend link is here.
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.