Best Cards to Use for Cosmetic Procedures
Cosmetic procedures have gained popularity in recent times. Americans spent more than $14.6 billion on them in 2021. A report by The Aesthetic Society found that surgical procedures increased by 54% and non-surgical procedures increased by 44% in 2021 compared to the previous year.
So if you look in the mirror and think, “Hmmm, maybe it’s time for some professional help,” you’re not alone.
For my part, I am with you. I recently invested in a minor cosmetic treatment which was very expensive. To minimize expenses, I used one of my credit cards. Here’s how I did it, and some extra card tricks you can use to get what you want done for the lowest possible cost.
Choose a procedure
I am obsessed with my skin. I want it to be bright, bouncy, just enjoyable in every way. Not wanting to go under the knife, I researched the non-surgical options offered by cosmetic surgery centers and medical spa websites. I landed on Ultherapy, which uses ultrasound energy to rebuild collagen and firm the skin. It’s done in just one appointment, there’s almost no downtime, and plenty of research backs up its rejuvenation claims.
I was sold, but it was time to find the best place and the best price. I have made countless calls and read reviews. Eventually I settled on an office that specialized in processing, had great reviews, and offered a low quote compared to most. Still, at $2,250, it was a commitment.
Know what you want and how much it will cost
What you want to do depends on your vision as well as your budget. This requires communicating with an excellent supplier.
Jaimie DeRosa, MD, plastic and reconstructive surgeon with offices in Boston and Palm Beach advises talking openly, whether with a medical spa practitioner or plastic surgeon, to determine what’s best for your desires as well as your needs. your wallet is essential.
“Be honest,” DeRosa says. “Say, ‘I think laxity in my face, but I have a budget.’ A caring practitioner will walk you through, explaining that you’ll have limited return on investment for something less expensive like a facial, but you might be better off saving up for something that really gets you to your goal. You could spend thousands of dollars on fillers and not get the results you want.
Once you’ve made your choice, research the price for your region. According to the Aesthetic Society report, here are the most common procedures. The average costs come from True Selfa general public cosmetics information site:
Main non-surgical procedures
- Neurotoxins (Botox) – $550
- Dermal fillers – $1,200
- Skin treatment (Chemical peels: $375, Hydrofacial $175)
- Hair Removal (Laser – $875)
- Skin treatment (Fraxel Lasers $1,575, Fraxel Repair $3,125)
- Skin tightening (Ultherapy $2,625)
- Liposuction $6,500
- Breast augmentation $6,575
- Abdominoplasty (Abdominoplasty) $8,350
- Mastopexy (breast lift) $8,050
- Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) $4,650
- Breast implant removal/replacement $5,075
If these numbers seem daunting to you, you might be tempted to hunt for the lowest prices. Be careful.
“Medicine in general is not a place to save money,” says Darren Smith, a board-certified plastic surgeon based in New York City. “The bottom line is, if it’s a stretch, you shouldn’t do it. Nobody needs plastic surgery. Don’t do it unless it brings you joy, and that also means being at comfortable with the cost.
Above all, be exceptionally wary of cosmetic surgery centers that operate in different countries and offer elective procedures much cheaper than in the United States. The standard of care may not be as high. “It may be more expensive to see a reputable, board-certified doctor here, but it will be much more expensive to get it fixed if things go wrong,” Smith says.
How I chose the credit card I used
I knew I would charge the fee to get the rewards, but I didn’t know which one to use. I currently have two credit cards: my Chase United℠ Explorer card and my Capital One Venture Rewards credit card. Both are travel credit cards with rewards expressed in miles.
To determine the best card, I considered the following:
- Awards. I would have gone straight to the card with the highest rewards rate, but both cards offered 2X miles for this purchase. For that, it was a wash.
- Miles. I had already accumulated a good number of miles on my Explorer card, so I didn’t need more. However, I wanted to increase my rewards balance on my Capital One card.
- Upcoming trips. I prefer United Airlines for domestic flights, but have planned international travel ahead. My Venture card offers greater flexibility.
- Credit limit. I have a much larger line of credit on my Venture Rewards card than on United Explorer, and I never want to use more than one line of credit than necessary.
Considering all of these factors, my Venture Rewards card came out on top for this particular purchase, so that’s what I used. Because I get 2X the miles with this card, the $2,250 charge added 4,500 miles to my rewards bank.
Capital One miles, when redeemed for travel, are one cent per mile. This meant that I had earned the equivalent of $45 for the trade. Therefore, the net cost of what I had done was $2,205. A nice little discount!
How to get an even better deal with a credit card
There are other ways to reduce the cost of cosmetic procedures with credit cards:
Find the best rewards for health-related purchases
A few credit cards offer rewards for medical expenses which may include cosmetic procedures. Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards, for example, offers 3% for $1 on “health,” which includes “health and beauty spas” as well as doctors, dentists, and other healthcare providers.
AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard offers 2% cash back on eligible medical expenses (unspecified cosmetics), but you’d probably be better off in the long run with a flat 2% cash back card such as the Citi® Double Cash Card .
CareCredit, although not a traditional credit card, offers deferred interest financing for cosmetic procedures. If you’re looking to spend a lot of money, say, on cosmetic surgery, you might want to look into personal loans and payment plans.
Use the spend to score a sign-up bonus
If you open a new card that offers a sign-up bonus and meet the minimum spend with the procedure you want, you can significantly reduce the price. For example, maybe you want to get filler, and the cost would be $1,200. The Bank of America® Personalized Cash Rewards Card offers a $200 online cash rewards bonus after making at least $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. Pay with the card and it would result in a $200 discount on the price!
Getting someone more important done? If you have a side business and need a dedicated business card, the Ink Business Unlimited® credit card offers $750 cash back after you charge $7,500 in the first three months of account opening . This abdominoplasty, which costs $8,350, would then be reduced to $7,600.
Use a 0% APR card for large purchases
Another option is a credit card offering 0% APR for a specific period of time. If you really want to have a procedure but don’t have all the money now and don’t want to wait and save, these deals can work well.
Some, like the Capital One Quicksilver card, even offer a sign-up bonus. This card offers 15 months of interest-free billing, plus a $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases within three months of account opening. So if you wanted Ultherapy to cost $2,625 and loaded it onto this card, that would be $2,425. Send fixed payments of $175 and you would have paid off in less than 15 months, with no additional interest.
In fact, DeRosa thinks it’s a good idea for patients who will put it to good use. “Cards with 0% APR can be great,” she says. “We don’t want anyone to overdo themselves, though. They should spend within their means.
Implement a debt repayment strategy
The cost of the procedure was quite high. I certainly didn’t want any additional fees. However, this is what would have happened if I had partially paid:
- Minimum payments. If I billed $2,250 and only made the minimum payments, it would take me 17 years and $3,832 in interest to get out of debt. Certainly not acceptable.
- Fixed payments. If I were to make fixed monthly payments of $250, it would take me 11 months and $255 in interest before I was debt free. Better, but still bad.
The last thing I wanted to do was raise the price with interest, so neither scenario was attractive. Instead, I made sure I had the cash available to pay the full fee.
In order to clear the debt before the interest was added, I could have waited for the bill to arrive and then paid it all off when it was due. But since a credit reporting company like FICO and VantageScore can calculate a score before I had a chance to delete it, I didn’t want to take that risk. After a few days, I dug into my checking account and cleared the debt.
Keep your credit looking good
With careful research and a strategic plan, it is possible to achieve your aesthetic dreams without hurting your results. If you plan to use a credit card to pay, review your budget so you know you can make payments on time and pay them back quickly.
It’s easy to bite off more than you can chew when you’re eager to complete this procedure. If you’re using a 0% APR credit card, plan to pay off the balance before the actual rate kicks in.
As you can see, plastic can really cut the price of beauty.