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I want to accrue flight miles/points from everyday purchases. I'm looking at the "Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card". It states "Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day." I pay about $2,000 on rent for my apartment. I verified that my apartment supports paying with credit card. If I were to pay for a month's worth of rent with this card, does that mean I will accrue 4,000 miles? That's enough miles to cover more than half the country (United States).

This must be too good to be true. I'm new to credit card rewards programs, so I'm likely overlooking something.

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    I verified that my apartment supports paying with credit card. Ask them if they add a "convenience fee" (which typically is 3-4%, thus effectively a $60-80 rent increase).
    – RonJohn
    Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 19:02
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    Another related topic is that usually upgrades (from economy to business, business to first) are more beneficial in terms of money saved compared to buying flights outright. Airlines offer mileage bargains to select destinations but generally you do not save money on buying regular flights with miles.
    – AKdemy
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 6:54
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    I know someone who used to buy boxes of dollar coins from the mint using a card that paid a cash back reward. Eventually the mint stopped allowing it. So yeah, this can work but the landlord would essentially be paying for your miles through processing fees so don't be surprised if/when they change the policy.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 17:17
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    @JimmyJames Ah, the glory days of manufactured spending.
    – ceejayoz
    Commented Mar 7, 2023 at 12:36
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    A "mile" in credit card speak does not actually mean a mile of distance on a plane. It's just another word for "point", which is worth whatever arbitrary value the airline and bank give to it. For example, a same day flight with Southwest from NYC to LA costs 30,000 miles today; there's clearly not 30,000 miles between NYC and LA. In my research, miles/points are almost never worth more than getting plain cashback and using it to pay for your tickets yourself.
    – user19035
    Commented Mar 7, 2023 at 12:43

3 Answers 3

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If I were to pay for a month's worth of rent with this card, does that mean I will accrue 4,000 miles?

It sounds like it, yes.

That's enough miles to cover more than half the country (United States).

Redemption rates vary, but it is certainly not the case that one mile of points can be redeemed for one mile of travel. Usually you earn one reward mile per mile flown, so obviously they can't redeem at that same rate - if they did, you'd be getting two tickets for the price of one.

Usually redemption is more like a factor of 10: 10 times as many rewards miles must be cashed in than the length of the trip. For example, DC to LA on Southwest ranges from 25,000 to 50,000 points/miles. Details will vary by program and airline.

Remember, rewards are paid for out of fees that the card provider charges to the bank. These vary, but after subtracting what the bank keeps for itself, roughly 1% is available for "rewards". This is why "1% cash back" is very common. On your $2000 rent payment, that's $20 per month or $240 per year. That could possibly earn you a plane ticket one a year, but certainly not every month.

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    On the other hand, this does mean you may want to consider putting all your largest purchases on a card which earns points with the same airline. Which is another part of what this promotion is intended to encourage you to do. ... And of course this assumes your landlord accepts payment by credit card; they may not. (One of my credit cards tried to promote '"credit card checks" by offering a 10% rebate on the first five. I promptly used them for rent, pocketed the rebate, and told them never to send me any more because I distrusted their security. Hey, free money...)
    – keshlam
    Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 16:12
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    @keshlam: I find it baffling that a credit card company wants people to write paper checks. I write less than one check a year. Are they really trying to make money on that?
    – Kevin
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 2:14
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    The idea was to let people charge transactions that the seller didn't take credit cards for. They wouldn't get the fee from the seller, but they hoped that people already carrying a balance would run it up higher, paying more in interest... and those who didn't would find this convenient enough to be a reason to stay with the same card rather than hunting for a better offer. I have no idea whether this concept fizzled or is still offered; I decided I didn't trust it and turned it off, just as I turned off my debit card.
    – keshlam
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 4:11
  • @Kevin: "Credit card checks" normally count as a cash advance. Wouldn't surprise me if this immediately destroyed the "no interest if you don't carry a balance" grace period (especially if used after the promotion ends).
    – Brian
    Commented Mar 6, 2023 at 16:45
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If there's no added fee to pay by card, then this is a no brainer. If there is a fee, you'll have to do the math. Often, they charge a convenience fee that will then outweigh the card rewards.

You can also consider other cards. You don't have to get a travel card. There are lots of reward cards, and some just give a cash rebate directly to your statement. Of course, any rewards aren't worth a nickel if you carry a balance on the card, and end up paying those usurious interest rates.


Footnote: To repeat the other answer, "miles" are not a one-to-one miles to travel when you redeem them for a flight. They are simply points. As such, expect 10K to 50K award miles needed to get a free trip.

Second Footnote: In my experience, companies that sell large expense items are sometimes willing to discount if you pay in cash or check, instead of card. I bargained 3% off $11K for HVAC appliances and install last year, for example. If your landlord doesn't charge to use a card, call and ask for a discount to pay by ACH, check, or cash. Bargain for 3%, bring up their "savings in merchant fees". That will outweigh any card rewards program, by a lot.

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Whenever you use a credit card, the merchant pays 2% to 4% to the credit card system as merchant fees*. The amount depends on their contract with their bank, but it often varies by reward card type. For better reward cards, the merchant pays more.

This must be too good to be true. I'm new to credit card rewards programs, so I'm likely overlooking something.

Those miles aren't coming out of thin air; the merchant (read: landlord) pays for them.

The bank is turning around and buying those miles from the airline. And here's a gotcha - "miles" are not the same thing as "an airline gift card". You may find the rates at which miles are redeemed are not that advantageous compared to cash.


Whether to accept credit cards and this arguably-usurious fee structure is a personal decision made by each merchant. It's a complex question, as it depends on particular facts relating to their business and customers. Note that taking cash or checks isn't "free" either - there are internal business costs to any payment method.

There are also costs TO YOU. I had a landlord who wanted me to pay by credit card, but to do that I needed to use their "online system" and to do that I needed to sign their TOS, which included an arbitration clause.



* depending on the arrangement, they are not necessarily a pure percentage. They may have per-transaction fees, batch fees, oh they've got all sorts of fees for many merchant systems. In most fee arrangements, Few but Large transactions (furniture store) have a better effective rate than Many but Small transactions (pizza place).

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