One of the great things about Travel Hacking is the ability to earn a large sign up bonus of points or miles when you apply for a new travel credit card. The question of how to meet credit card minimum spending requirements comes up a lot from people new to the hobby. The credit card companies give you the bonus points/miles once you meet the requirement to spend a specific amount of money on the new card.
The minimum spending requirements vary but typically range from $2,000-$5,000. This money must be spent within the 90 Day Period which starts on the day you’re approved for your new credit card. On rare occasions, the minimum spend may be as little as just one purchase. An example is the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard from Barclays Bank.
Keep Track of Dates
Keep a record of the date of approval. Mark your calendar on the date that falls about 80 Days after your approval date. This is your reminder to complete your minimum spending on time. This way you will be sure to get that last spending done to earn your sign up bonus. Note that sometimes, it can take a week to ten days until you receive your shiny new credit card. The minimum spending clock starts ticking the date you are approved for the card.
Meeting the Minimum Spend
Some people do enough regular spending on a monthly basis to easily meet the minimum spending for even the $5,000 requirement. If you are not one of those people, here are some tips to help you out. Do not overspend in order to be involved with this hobby. Practice careful spending that maximizes the points earned without overspending.
Big Ticket Purchases
The very best tip I can give you is to time your credit card application to right before you know you have a big ticket item on which to spend. I do this with almost all of my credit card applications.
Now, look at all of your regular monthly household bills. Can you pay some or all of these bills with a credit card? If so, use your new credit card.
Many utility, cell phone and cable companies will let you pay by credit card. The same is often the case for car payments and all types of insurance. If you pay your Income Taxes quarterly, you may be able to pay by credit card.
How about monthly rent and or mortgage payments? Be careful though, because there are usually fees associated with using a credit card. The only time I recommend paying a fee is if you are trying to meet a minimum spend. If the total fee is significantly less than the value of the sign up bonus, go for it.
Bill Pay Services
There is a bill pay service called Plastiq. This service pays just about any type of bill on your behalf but charges a 2.5% fee. If it’s the only way you can meet a minimum spending requirement to get that large points/miles sign up bonus, it may pay for you to use Plastiq. Always do the math to figure out if it’s worth it to you.
A great way to meet your minimum spend is to prepay for things you will be buying anyway a few months down the road. Buy gift cards for your grocery store or other retailers, restaurants and gas stations. Only do this if you know you’ll use the gift cards in the near future.
Do you work for a company that reimburses you for expenses you pay out of pocket? Do you happen to travel for your work? If so, make sure you can purchase travel up front and be reimbursed by your company. This is a perfect opportunity to use your new credit card to meet your minimum spend.
Let’s not forget that some preschools, private elementary and high schools as well as colleges may offer an option to pay tuition with a credit card without a fee. You need only ask to find out. This not only could cover minimum spending requirements, but could earn you a lot of additional points and miles.
Other People’s Purchases
Another neat way to make that minimum spend is to offer to pay another person’s expenses. Then, have that person reimburse you by check, cash or an app like Venmo. Perhaps a family member is about to buy a piece of furniture and doesn’t like to use credit cards.
Can you make a mortgage or rent payment for a friend or family member? Look for opportunities to pay for restaurant meals of others when you are eating out with a large group of people. You pick up the full tab with your credit card and have the rest of the group give you cash, check or use Venmo to reimburse you on the spot.
It goes without saying that once you get into this hobby, you’ll start to notice opportunities to use your credit cards every time you make purchases in order to maximize your points. I rarely use cash these days because every point counts. So there you have it. How to meet credit card minimum spending requirements.
Scroll down below and share any of your creative ways to meet minimum spending requirements with me. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas.