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It’s Electric! How I Earned 180,985 Points Purchasing a ~$60,000 Tesla With a Credit Card!

It’s Electric! How I Earned 180,985 Points Purchasing a ~$60,000 Tesla With a Credit Card!

KeithIt’s Electric! How I Earned 180,985 Points Purchasing a ~$60,000 Tesla With a Credit Card!Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Keith:   Last week, I made the largest purchase of my life – a brand new Tesla Model 3.  As a miles & points fanatic, I obviously spent hours thinking of ways to earn the most points for my purchase.

Technically, Tesla wouldn’t accept a credit card payment.  But there was an easy workaround that got me the car and more than 180,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points!  These points should get me $5,000+ worth of travel.  So buying a Tesla basically paid for my next vacation (or two!).

Purchasing a Tesla Model 3 With a Credit Card Was Surprisingly Easy and Definitely Worth the Effort Because of the Number of Valuable Points I Earned!

My wife and I plan to share the car because it’s the only vehicle we own.  So we didn’t mind splurging on a reliable electric vehicle that should save us in the long-term with no fuel expense.  And we were in desperate need of a new vehicle because my wife’s 2006 SUV was falling apart.

Here’s how I purchased a Tesla with a credit card and earned a ton of valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points!

Using Plastiq to Pay for a Tesla

Link:   How to Use Plastiq to Pay Bills That Don’t Accept Cards

The trick to using a credit card to pay bills (like a car purchase) that don’t normally accept cards is Plastiq.  This convenient service allows you to pay nearly any bill with a Visa, MasterCard or AMEX credit card for a flat 2.5% fee.  

I’ve used Plastiq many times to pay rent and other bills because it’s an easy way to meet minimum spending requirements on a new card and unlock lucrative sign-up bonuses on top credit cards!  You can check out our step-by-step guide to using Plastiq to pay bills with a credit card.

Note:   Plastiq recently announced changes to how certain personal Visa cards and issuers treat Plastiq purchases.  You can read more about the important changes here.  Certain cards code Plastiq purchases as a cash advance, so you do NOT want to use such cards when paying through Plastiq.

I put a refundable deposit down for the Tesla Model 3 in March 2016 when reservations were first available.  Actually, I put a deposit down for 2 cars.  And I recently sold the second one on eBay for a healthy profit.  My eBay side hustle helps me continue to qualify for small business credit cards!

We were notified last month that our reservation was ready to customize.

It Was a Long Wait (Nearly 2.5 Years!), but We Finally Took Delivery of Our Tesla Model 3 Last Week! And Earned a Ton of Valuable Chase Points by Making This Purchase!

After selecting our preferences for the vehicle, we owed $58,857.  This amount included the taxes & fees, which really add up in California.  Thankfully, I’ll get $10,000+ back because of various tax incentives offered to folks who buy an electric vehicle.

Thanks to Plastiq, I Was Able to Pay the Remaining Balance for Our Tesla Purchase

At first, I was unsure if the purchase would go through on my card because I only had a ~$37,000 credit limit.  But I used a Visa Signature card, which allows you to spend above your credit limit.  Unfortunately, there’s no way to check how much you can spend above your limit, but this is a great feature that I didn’t know about before.  In my case, I was able to make a purchase that was ~$23,000 above the limit on my card.

The fee to use Plastiq for my car payment was ~$1,471.  Paying this fee was a no-brainer because…

Plastiq Payments Earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards Points With the Ink Business Preferred!

From experience, I know that using the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card for payments through Plastiq earns 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points!  This means my ~$60,000 purchase earned me more than 180,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points!  I plan to use the car for business travel, so I didn’t have any reservations about using a small business credit card for the purchase.

Plastiq Payments Earn 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards Points With the Ink Business Preferred!

Note:   While Plastiq purchases have earned 3X points in the past, there’s no guarantee this will happen in the future.  So I’d only recommend this strategy if you’re comfortable not earning every last bonus point.  For example, if I only earned 1 point per $1 with the Tesla purchase, I still would have used Plastiq.  Because I get a lot of value from Chase Ultimate Rewards points!  Some points are better than none at all!

At a minimum, 180,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth $1,800 in cash back.  So I earned a “profit” of ~$329 when taking into account the $1,471 Plastiq fee ($1,800 in cash back – $1,471 Plastiq fee).

But Chase Ultimate Rewards points are even more valuable for travel redemptions!  In the past, my wife and I used Chase Ultimate Rewards points to get 6 Business Class award seats (worth ~$45,000) on a flight home from Australia.  And they helped us save thousands of dollars on our around-the-world honeymoon.

With the 180,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points I earned from the Tesla purchase, I think I’ll get at least $5,000 worth of travel.  For example, I can transfer these points to Hyatt at 1:1 ratio to book free nights at top-rated hotels like the Park Hyatt Maldives.  A free night at this hotel costs 25,000 Hyatt points.  So 180,000 points is more than enough for 7 free nights!

The Maldives Is on My Bucket List! You Can Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Hyatt to Stay Free at the Park Hyatt Maldives!

Paying cash for a sample 7-night stay I looked at in October 2018 would cost more than $6,100!

Using the Points I Earned From Our Tesla Purchase Could Get Me a 7-Night Stay in the Maldives Worth More Than $6,100!

Or I’d consider using the points to visit Australia.  I’m hoping to make it back in November for a birthday trip!  And the points would really come in handy so save money on flights!

For example, I could transfer 160,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines to book a round-trip Business Class award flight.  This same round-trip ticket sells for nearly $7,400!

I Could Use a Portion of the Points I Earned From the Car Purchase to Book a Round-Trip Business Class Award Flight to Australia!

Only Follow This Strategy If You Plan to Pay Off a Large Purchase in Full!

My wife and I had money set aside for the Tesla purchase.  And as soon as the Plastiq charge hit my credit card statement, I paid it off in full.

If you make a large purchase with a rewards credit card, you’ll want to pay it off right away.  Because paying interest & fees by carrying a credit card balance will offset the value of any rewards you earn!  We talk about this in our post: 5 Dangers of Applying for Credit Cards.

That said, if you use credit cards responsibly, making a large purchase to earn tons of points is an easy win!

Ink Business Preferred 80,000-Point Offer

Link:   Apply for the Chase Ink Business Preferred

Link:   Our Review of the Chase Ink Business Preferred

When you open the Chase Ink Business Preferred card, you’ll earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.  I took advantage of this offer when the card first launched and the points from the sign-up bonus got me a Business Class award flight to New Zealand!

The Ink Business Preferred Sign-Up Bonus Is the Largest Available for Any Chase Ultimate Rewards Point Earning Credit Card!

As a cardholder, you’ll also get:

  • 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every $1 you spend on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites, and search engines (up to a maximum of $150,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary year)
  • 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all other purchases
  • Up to $600 in cell phone insurance when you pay your cell phone bill with the card
  • 25% bonus when you redeem points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal
  • Primary auto rental insurance (CDW) when renting for business purposes, plus purchase and extended warranty protection

The card has a $95 annual fee, which is NOT waived the first year.  That said, I think the cell phone insurance perk alone is reason enough to keep paying the annual fee.  For example, I filed a claim when my Apple iPhone screen shattered.  Having coverage with this card helped offset the out-of-pocket cost for the repair.

Keep in mind, the Ink Business Preferred card is impacted by Chase’s tighter application rules.  So it’s unlikely you’ll be approved for this card if you’ve opened 5 or more credit card accounts (from any bank) in the past 24 months (NOT counting Chase business cards and these other business cards).

Bottom Line

My wife and I were ecstatic to buy a brand new Tesla Model 3 to replace her 12+ year old SUV.  I was even more thrilled that I figured out a way to use a credit card to make the ~$60,000 purchase!

Using the Chase Ink Business Preferred to pay through Plastiq earned me 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  This means I earned more than 180,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points buying the new car!

It was totally worth paying the Plastiq convenience fee because the value of the rewards I earned will get me $5,000 or more worth of travel!

Have you ever made a large purchase with a credit card?  Let me know the strategy you used to earn lots of miles or points!

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Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases–with no limit to the amount you can earn
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Redeem points for travel, cash back, gift cards and more – your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Employee cards at no additional cost
  • $95 Annual Fee

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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So you burned huge chunk of your 3x quota with just 0.5x. Such a waste. I do not see many reasons for bragging.

Author

Hi Mike – I likely won’t reach the $150,000 limit in the 3X bonus category this year. And the points I earned are worth much more than 0.5 cents each to me, so it was an easy win!

Sorry to comment so late, just read this. Really interesting! We unfortunately put our deposit in a week after we got married, on 4/17. We are still waiting for our notification. So questions: I just looked at ebay, how much did you get for your second reservation and do you know what they seem to go for? It might be a small price to pay to get the car sooner. Secondly, I suppose you could get the Ink card and score the 80K bonus if everything goes as planned? Thanks Keith!

Author

Hi Nina – I’ve seen them sell for between $1,500 to $3,000, which includes the $1,000 deposit. So the seller is only making $500 to $2,000. Mine sold in that range.

Yes, I wish my wife’s Ink Business Preferred card would have come before we paid for the car so we could have used this purchase to meet the minimum spending requirement. That would have been awesome!

Thanks Keith! We may think more seriously about buying a reservation. I’m not sure when 4/17/16 will come up but our last communication send end of year and I’ll bet that’s optimistic 🙂

Author

You will not be disappointed! Look forward to hearing what you decide to do. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Still waiting for my Tesla 4WD. I hope this still works when I get it!

Author

Awesome! I was thinking about holding off for the AWD model. It’s such a great car!

While watching a hockey game while on vacation in [state omitted], my rental vehicle was the victim of a hit and run in the parking lot while we were watching the game inside.

I had used my Citi Prestige card to pay for the rental in full (primary coverage for me as a NYC resident who has neither a car nor insurance).

Note Citi, when compared to other issuers, is (or was, at last year) VERY liberal about the types of cars covered. It’s not even close.

The car I was renting? A 2016 Lamborghini rented from a company that specializes in exotics.

Damages came out to $70,000. Citi covered every dime, and the process was seamless.

The KICKER? — Citi asked whether I would like the $70,000 send the check to me or directly to the rental company. Knowing that this company codes as 3x travel, I said “check to me, please!” — proceeded to pay all $70,000 to the rental company on my CSR, and thus ended up with 210,000 UR points. Wow. Hats off, Citi.

Side note:

Now compare Chase for example, which around the same time subjected me to a 4 month interrogation, and required me to re-purchase the item that I was seeking protection benefits for (sunglasses, just purchased, fell off and into water while helping wife off of jetski).

I submitted all required documentation. Chase’s insuance partner grilled me over $360. I was repeatedly asked why I didn’t have a police report. What? If I had called 911 and made Miami PD come to the scene only to find out sunglasses had been accidentally knocked in the water they probably would have arrested me and I would have even helped them put the cuffs on.

In the end, Chase refused to do anything unless I RE-PURCHASED the sunglasses. Fine, fair enough, except as Chase could see (also provided documentation) I purchased the glasses as a gift for her during a 33% off black Friday sale. But it was now several months later, the price was back to its original $360 as opposed to the $240–which Chase could see clearly see I paid from my statements and receipts documenting the item and cost of the transaction.

Long story short Chase gave me an ultimatum: Purchase the glasses again at the current price and we will consider reimbursing you the difference in what you paid. Thanks, Chase.

Are you able to pay taxes using Plastiq / ink preferred for x 3 points ?

Author

Yes, here’s a link to the Plastiq IRS payment page:

https://www.plastiq.com/pay-internal-revenue-service/v73626/

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