So there is a way to pay my bills that don't accept AMEX or bills that I even normally stroke a check for via my AMEX PRG?
Well, using your BCE or any credit card.
Serve or Bluebird (both from Amex, you can only have one) allow you to load them via credit card (directly with serve, via more complex methods with Bluebird) and then they are full bill-pay systems that will send payment to anyone for free. Bluebird has much higher limits, but is more difficult to load. So this is the way to get rewards when paying bills that don't take credit card payments.
Hmmm. Got yahh! Do you use either of these? I think Bluebird is more beneficial due to the fact that Serve has a $250 limit if I'm correct. Does bluebird have any fees associated with loading the card or paying bills?
I use BB (really for manufactured spend rather than bill pay). There are no fees for paying bills, but for loading the card, depending what is available to you, does cost.
1) Less hassle, but not always possible. Loading via Vanilla Reload. This costs $3.95 for up to $500. With a 1% card this is hardly worth it giving the extra effort, but when Freedom/Discover covers drug stores it is, and really anything giving 2% (Chase Amazon for example) or more is fine. You then take the card and load online. However, you may not find a store that allows you to buy VR with a credit card.
2) Buy a Visa/MC gift card at a supermarket with the BCE. A $500 will cost $4.95 or $5.95, but you are getting $15 back on your card, so this is OK. You then take the card to Walmart and load it onto your bluebird for free. So trips to two stores are needed.
So, Serve, despite the low limit, might be less hassle! Bluebird makes more sense with a 5x card (Citi TY) or a BCP. (For manufactured spend, you don't want the cap,
so no BCP!)
Got yahh. Are there any fees associated with the gift card? I remember seeing $3.95. Would that offset the 500 MR points?
VR is $3.95, Gift Cards are usually $4.95 or $5.95. So buying it with a 3x BCE makes it ok. So a $500 gift card gives you $15, so even $5.95 gives you a profit. But consider the value of your time as well, as compared with sending in a check!
And for those super-compliant, Amex T&C excludes extra points on cash equivalent gift card purchases. But if you buy at a supermarket (ideally along with some actual groceries) it will be fine.