10 Ways To Meet Credit Card Bonus Spending Requirements
How can I spend a few thousands of dollars with a credit card in three months? That is the question people ask themselves when they try to meet credit card minimum spending requirements in order to get credit card bonus points. Although occasionally banks give bonus points after the customer makes his first purchase with the new card and/or pays annual fee, most of the time banks require to spend a few thousands of dollars within the first few months of card membership in order to get the bonus. For example, if you spend $4,000 with your new Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve within the first 3 months of card membership you will get bonus points worth at least $625 and $750 respectively. If you spend $3,000 with Citi AAdvantage Travel Rewards Credit Card within the first 3 months of card membership you will get bonus 60,000 AAdvantages miles which is enough for a round-trip to Europe. If you spend $2,000 with your Chase Hyatt Credit Card within the first 3 months of card membership you will get 40,000 Hyatt points which you can use for 8 free nights at Hyatt Category 1 hotels. All these and many other offers sound tempting until one realizes that spending so much money with a credit card in such a short time can be challenging. Fortunately, there are multiple and simple ways of how to spend thousands of dollars in a few month on things that you spend money anyway.
- NEVER pay cash and NEVER use debit cards for your purchases. Make all of your regular purchases at grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, online retailers, restaurants and other places only with a new credit card. Also pay all of your monthly bills, whenever possible, with a new credit card. Do you have money automatically deducted from your checking account or from an old credit card for something like cell phone or internet bill? Ask your provider to stop charging checking account or old credit card and instead give your new credit card’s number. Most people spend at least a few hundreds of dollars monthly on their basic necessities that can be charged on a credit card. So if you do all of that spending with a new credit card that alone will help you spend at least $1,000 in three months.
- Buy grocery store gift cards and pay with them for your food later. We all have our favorite grocery stores where we shop at least once every week and where we spend a few hundreds of dollars or more every month. So why not to buy that store’s gift cards worth one or a few thousands of dollars, meet your credit card’s spending requirement and then for the next few months or a year pay for your groceries with those gift cards?
- Buy gas station gift cards and fill up your tank with them later. We also have our favorite gas stations where we regularly purchase gas and most of those stations sell their gift cards, too. Buy gift cards worth a few hundred or a thousand of dollars and then pay with them for your gas for the next few months or a year.
- Pay (and prepay) your cell phone, cable and internet bills. If you pay around $150 for your cell phone, cable and internet monthly, that’s around $450 for three months. So by just paying those bills with your new credit card you will get significantly closer to receiving bonus points. But if you use your new card to prepay those bills for a few months (which many providers allow) you will get those credit card bonus points even sooner.
- Pay for public transportation in advance. If you often use public transportation, consider prepaying for your travel in advance with a new credit card. For example, you can load a few hundreds of dollars on your public transportation card (or purchase a few separate cards and load each of them separately if there is a limit on how much you can load on one card). If you regularly buy monthly passes, check if there is an option to purchase passes for a few months in advance.
- Apply for a new credit card before a big purchase. If your car will soon need new tires or other major repairs don’t use your old credit card or don’t pay cash for it. Instead apply for a new credit card with a nice bonus offer and then charge these expenses on your new card. Do the same if you plan to change furniture, windows, or roof on your house or plan to have any other significant house-related expenses (only make sure that your contractor accepts credit card as a payment method). If you plan an expensive wedding or will be spending a lot of money on Christmas gifts consider applying for a new credit card before making these purchases, too.
- Pay auto and home insurance premiums for a full year. A lot of people pay their auto and home insurance premiums monthly instead of paying the full premium at the beginning of the year. If you choose to pay the full year’s premium at the beginning of the year you will not only save money (many insurance companies offer discounts for customers who pay the full premium upfront) but also will be able to meet credit card spending requirement easier. If you cannot afford the full year’s premium consider prepaying premium for a few months.
- Pay medical bills with a new credit card. You can pay your medical insurance deductibles, copayments and many other medical bills with a credit card. So if you know that in the near future you will pay a few hundreds or thousands of dollars in medical bills, apply for a new credit card first and then pay those bills with your new credit card.
- Donate to your church and charities. Most people donate to their church and charities at least a few hundreds of dollars each year and some donate even more. A lot of churches and most charities today are able to take donations via credit cards. So instead of making smaller donations with cash or checks, make one larger donation with your new credit card. If your church does not accept credit card donations, instead of donating money you could ask what your church needs, then buy it with your new credit card and donate to the church.
- Pay your mortgage, rent, car loan, tax, tuition and utility bills with a credit card. Although some utility companies and colleges start accepting credit card payments (sometimes for an extra fee), it is usually impossible to directly pay mortgage, rent, car loan, or tax bills with a credit card. However services like Plastiq, Official Payments, and others allow you to pay those bills with a credit card (for an extra fee, of course). You will let Plastiq or a similar company know which bill you want to pay, they will charge your credit card and send the money to your mortgage company, utility provider, etc. All this comes with a service fee which is usually around 2.5% of the bill’s amount (promotional fees can sometimes be lower). Although service fee is the main reason why this kind of spending is not the best way of meeting credit card spending requirements, in some cases it still makes sense to use it. Let’s say you have to spend $3,000 in three months in order to get points worth $500. You already spent $2,000 but do not have where to spend the remaining $1,000 except for your mortgage. If you use your credit card to make mortgage payment through Plastiq you will be charged $25 service fee (2.5% of $1,000). So when you get the bonus points worth $500, these points essentially will be worth $475 because you spent an extra $25 while trying to get those points. Although $475 is less than $500, it is still better to get $475 than nothing so in some cases it makes sense using your new credit card for this kind of spending.
NOTE: Pay off your credit card’s balance in full each month. If you don’t pay off the balance in full each month (and pay only minimum payments) you will be charged interest. Interest will reduce or eliminate the value of your points or even worse – you will spend more on interest than your points are worth. You can avoid that by paying off credit card’s balance in full each month.