Meeting minimum spending requirements to earn lucrative sign-up bonuses can sometimes be difficult.
Spending $3,000 to $4,000 over a three month period can be tricky for the everyday person, so we’ve compiled some helpful tips and tricks for ways to meet these hefty minimum spend requirements.
Earning credit card sign-up bonuses is the fastest way to earn a large number of points, but sometimes you can’t charge high-priced items to your card in order to complete your minimum spend.
For example, you generally can’t pay your rent using a credit card (if you can, take advantage). Many companies or landlords won’t accept credit cards, or if they do, they will charge a 2-3% fee to recoup merchant charges. It’s typically never worth paying more money to earn points and miles.
And, as important as it is to have a sound earning strategy once you have the cards, earning sign-up bonuses are important.
Below are ways to meet minimum spend requirements. Many other sites have lists that include 40 to 50 items – this one won’t be like that. For the most part, we’re going to stay away from things that tack on a 3% fee.
Best ways to meet minimum spend requirements
There are two general strategies to learn before diving into tips and tricks.
First, it goes without saying, don’t use your debit card and don’t use cash.
We cover this in our Beginner’s Guide, but every single purchase you make should be with your credit card (unless there is a fee, of course). If your credit limit isn’t high enough to get you through the entire month, you can always pay off your credit card twice during a billing period.
Second, it’s smart to coordinate applying for credit cards with upcoming major purchases. I always take into account things like car insurance payments or future travel plans when I’m considering applying for a credit card with a high minimum spend requirement.
Bottom line: Putting your everyday spend on your credit card is the most important thing.
1. Automatic Bills
This goes along with putting all of your purchases on your credit card, but make sure all of your automatic payments are switched over to your new card. Things like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, cell phone, cable, internet, gym membership, and utilities will add up. This is a great way to meet minimum spend requirements without having to buy anything new.
2. Major Purchases
If you have a major purchase coming up, go ahead and buy it early. You’re planning on getting a new mattress? Try to buy it a few months ahead of when you were planning to do it. Maybe you’ve been thinking about buying an exercise bike, go ahead and do it.
3. Buy gifts ahead of time
Most people will buy gifts throughout the course of the year. Whether it be for graduations, holidays, birthdays, or weddings, you are probably going to spend money throughout the year on gifts. Not only will buying gifts early make your life easier down the road, but it’s also a great way to meet minimum spend goals.
4. Buy gift cards for regular shopping
Another great way to meet minimum spend requirements is to purchase gift cards. Before reading any further, read the following line: only purchase gift cards if you are already planning to shop at these stores. This doesn’t make it okay to go on a shopping spree. We’re talking about gift cards for places like grocery stores – you’re paying in advance for shopping you can’t avoid.
It’s also important to note that some credit cards won’t count gift card purchases toward minimum spend requirements. American Express has been stingy with this recently.
I always use my car insurance payment as a way to meet minimum spend requirements. I pay six months at a time not only because it’s cheaper, but because I use it to reach spending goals for sign-up bonuses. Since car insurance isn’t cheap, this always takes a dent out of my minimum spend requirements.
6. Pay for Dinner
You will need some friends who understand what you’re trying to do to help with this one. If you go out to dinner or drinks, offer to pick up the tab and have everyone Venmo you what they owe for the meal. While this could be a minor inconvenience to them, you can always return the favor when they have a minimum spend they’re trying to meet.
7. Car maintenance
Car maintenance is another way to meet minimum spend requirements for a big sign-up bonus. Whether it’s getting your oil changed (which is 3-4 times/year), new tires, or just general maintenance, there’s no reason some of that can’t be done during the period for your minimum spend.
I did run into an issue with this one when trying to pay my mechanic with an American Express card, which I found out he didn’t take. So, before you get new tires a couple of months early, make sure you can pay with whatever credit card you’re trying to use.
8. Home projects
If you don’t own a home, this won’t help much. If you do own a home, you know how expensive home projects can be. Small purchases like new light fixtures, furniture, or maybe a backyard update can all be great ways to meet minimum spend.
9. Vet bills
If you have a little furry friend, you’re most likely taking him or her to the vet for at least an annual check-up. While this isn’t always a ton of money, it’s still better than nothing.
I hesitated putting this on here because it’s generally a pretty dumb idea to use Venmo to meet a minimum spend requirement. When using apps like Venmo, you’re charged a credit card convenience fee usually in the range of 2-3%. This is so Venmo doesn’t lose money off credit card processing fees, but also so people like you and me don’t abuse it just to earn points.
Only use Venmo as an option if you get into a situation where you are a couple hundred dollars short of earning a sign-up bonus. Using it will take away a little bit of value from the sign-up bonus, but it will be much better than losing out on the entire thing.
Earning sign-up bonuses can be rewarding thanks to the massive number of points and miles you can earn all at once, but it can be challenging to meet the minimum spend requirements.
Just remember, use your credit card for everything you spend money on and be strategic with your major purchases. If you can make these purchases right after you open a new card, it will be much easier to meet the minimum spend requirements.