Credit card sign-up bonuses are by far the easiest way to earn points and miles, but some cards having minimum spending requirements of $3,000 and up. If you’re working on more than one sign-up bonus, the spending requirements can really add up! Here are 7 ways to meet credit card minimum spend requirements without spending too much of your own money.
1. Ask your friends and family if you can charge their purchases on your card
When I got started with credit card sign-up bonuses, I met my first few spending requirements by buying things that my parents were going to buy for themselves anyway. My dad likes to work on cars so he buys some expensive car parts. My mom likes to buy gadgets so I gladly put my card down when she wanted to buy a Roomba.
If you’re out with friends, always volunteer to pay and have them Venmo you. This is particularly lucrative if you volunteer to plan a trip for a group of friends. If you can book the hotel, activities, and even airfare, you’ll be well on your way to hitting your spending requirement.
2. Resell, resell, resell
You can also resell gift cards on websites like Raise. I’ve talked about stacking deals with Amex Offers to buy stuff for yourself, but you can also use certain Amex Offers to buy and sell gift cards. The Amex Offer makes it possible to break even and even profit a little. Last month I spent $350 on Saks Fifth Avenue gift cards that I unloaded on Raise. After getting $75 back as a statement credit from Amex, I was able to make $15.
3. Manufactured spending by buying gift cards
The gist of manufactured spending is buying cash equivalents like Visa or Amex gift cards and finding ways to liquidate them to get your money back and pay off the charge for the gift card on your credit card. The most common method of this is buying Visa gift cards and using them to buy a money order and then depositing the money order in your own bank account. There are small fees associated with manufactured spending. You’ll pay a fee to buy the gift card and to buy the money order.
You can also buy Amex gift cards from American Express online and add them to your Venmo account. You then transfer funds to someone trustworthy who can write you a check for the same amount. Venmo only allows you to add several cards to your account every few months, and there are limits on how much money you can send per week. You also need to liquidate slowly and never have the recipient repay you with Venmo. People with newer accounts who send a high volume of funds from Amex gift cards quickly tend to get shut down. I’ve been starting to give this a try but I’m taking it very slow since I use Venmo so often that getting suspended would be a major inconvenience. My friends have no idea I’m into all this stuff and they’d be very confused if I told them I was banned from Venmo…
You can read more about the various methods of manufactured spending here.
4. Buy store gift cards to use at a later date
If you don’t want to deal with the fees of cash equivalent gift cards, you can buy credit cards to stores for no fee. Say you have a spending requirement to meet in September but you know you’ll be doing a lot of Christmas shopping in November. Buy gift cards to stores where you anticipate doing your Christmas shopping. You’re still spending your own money, but it allows you to knock out your spending requirement without buying something you wouldn’t have bought otherwise.
5. Pay bills ahead of time
Along the same lines, you know you’ll have a cable bill due every month so why not prepay it now when you’re looking for things to charge? Your future self will actually thank you when you get to enjoy several bill-free months. Again, you aren’t saving any money, but rather paying ahead of time to serve a purpose.
6. Fund a bank account with a credit card
I love bank account bonuses. I love them even more when you can fund the bank account with a credit card! You’re really killing two birds with one stone here since you’ll get a bonus from the bank account AND from the credit card. Just make sure to set your cash advance limit to as low as possible so the charge will be rejected should it code as a cash advance.
7. Pay your rent and other bills with Plastiq
Plastiq allows you to pay all sorts of bills with a credit card for a 2.5% fee. If your rent is high, you can knock out a spending requirement in one fell swoop. Sometimes it’s easier to pay the fee to prevent yourself from buying things just to hit the spending requirement.
You can get pretty creative when trying to hit the minimum spending requirement for a credit card sign-up bonus. These are the main methods I use when hitting spending requirements. Manufactured spending and reselling can get complicated to track so I prefer to buy stuff for my parents and have them pay me back.
What methods do you use to meet your minimum spending requirements?