You’re considering applying for a card and earning miles for your next trip. Most prime credit card bonus offers have a minimum spend requirement - a certain dollar number you have to hit to reach that bonus.
If you don’t normally spend a lot of money on your card, we’ve put together a short list of easy actions you can take to reach the minimum, all without spending extra cash on top of your normal expenditures.
Use your card for normal, everyday spending
This one’s pretty simple. Where you normally spend cash, make purchases on your card.
Put your taxes on a credit card
For a small transaction fee, usually less than 2.0% of the total amount, you can put your taxes onto a credit card. While you’ll pay a bit more, this is also an opportunity to knock out a minimum spend in one fell swoop.
For example, let’s say you apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, with a minimum spend of $4,000 over 3 months to earn the bonus. Pay $4,000 of your tax liability on your new card; you’ll pay a $80 transaction fee and walk away with 54,000 miles including the bonus. One and done, couldn’t be easier!
Switch your bills over to credit
Paying your bills by cash, check or carrier pigeon? Switch electric, cable, water, sewage, etc over to your new card, and you’ll quickly add several hundred dollars to your monthly spend; in many cases, added to what you normally spend, this is enough to meet the minimum requirement. v
Pay your student loans by card
Student loan debt? You can set up monthly billing to pay for your bill using your new card. Depending on your provider, there may be a small transaction or flat fee to utilize this option, but if you have some cash saved and want to make a dent in your balance, a large upfront payment can be a great way to meet the minimum. We recommend Chargesmart for paying student loans.
Front-load big purchases
Do you have large purchases planned this year? It can make sense to buy this stuff in the first three months you hold your new card. Of course, as advocates of Responsible Credit, we don’t advocate for spending outside of your means. Remember that most travel rewards cards include a high interest rate - so if you don’t have cash on hand to pay your monthly bill, don’t buy more stuff.
Spread the Spending Around
Most cards will allow you to add an authorized user to the account. Give a trusted family member or friend a card tied to your account. You’ll be able to easily track their purchases for reimbursement before you have to pay the bill.
Cover Your Car Insurance
Many people pay their car insurance monthly - but did you know you can pay in six month or even yearly installments, and often save money as a result. Front-loading your car insurance with a big, one-time payment might get you to your minimum right off the bat.
Make a loan on Kiva
This is a win-win-win. Make a loan via credit card on Kiva.com to an entrepreneur in the developing world. With a 99% repayment rate, you can be reasonably sure to see your money back within 6 months - and you’ll feel the satisfaction of knowing you made a difference.
Pay your rent on credit
There are several services that let you cover your rent with a credit card. They charge a small transaction fee, but like paying your taxes with a card, this can be a great way to quickly and easily cover your entire minimum spending requirement. Some solid options here include RadPad, RentMoola, and RentShare, all of which charge a ~3% transaction fee.
Buy gift cards for future purchases
Most retailers offer gift cards. If you buy your groceries at Whole Foods, for example, you could purchase $1000 in gift cards within the first three months. This will go a long way to covering your minimum spending requirement, while setting you up to eat deliciously for months to come.
Get reimbursed for business expenses
If you work for a business with a flexible reimbursement policy, funnel your work purchases through your new card. You’ll quickly reach your minimum spending requirement, and at the end of the month can expect a payment from your employer to cover the bill.