Revise and extend: uses for Evolve Money

Last Friday I was wrapping up the week and shot off a quip:

"Evolve Money is live with prepaid phone refills, but you're probably better off using a card that bonuses cell phone or telecom service."

This felt true to me at the time. After all, the US Bank Flexperks Travel Rewards card (the Olympics bonus is back!) earns double Flexpoints on cell phone services (but not cable or internet), worth up to 4% cash back in paid airfare redemptions, and the Chase Ink cards give 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on all telecom expenses.

Those are good deals, but I was wrong to suggest that they're self-evidently better than the discount you'd realize by paying for your phone, internet, and television service using Visa or MasterCard gift cards through Evolve. Specifically, the Ink deal at Staples seems straightforwardly more lucrative than paying for your telecom service directly — especially if you're paying a service that charges sales tax depending on your credit card's billing address (like AT&T's GoPhone, my own cell phone service) but doesn't when paying from an external account like Evolve.

Anyway, I didn't want my somewhat ignorant quip to stay out there as my official opinion. Do the math for yourself, make good decisions, and save yourself some money!