Reader Request: How do you complete large minimum spending for credit card sign-up bonuses?

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Million Mile Secrets reader Ji commented on my recent App-o-Rama where I earned 300,000 Miles and Points +2 free nights at any Hyatt hotel with 6 credit cards.

my goodness…how in the world do you make a min spend of nearly $14k in three months?

Many credit cards require you to complete a certain amount of minimum spending before you get the sign-on bonus.  Some folks will have no problem since they will have lots of reimbursable business expenses which they can charge to their personal credit cards, while others will find it hard to meet high minimum spending requirements.

It is important to NOT spend more money than you otherwise would just to get the sign-up bonus.  Interest rates on credit cards are very high and you usually will never come out ahead by paying interest on credit cards.

You should also apply for credit cards for  which you can comfortably complete the minimum spending.  And consider adding in a few cards which do not require a minimum spend to your applications.

As always, do what is most comfortable for YOU and works best for YOU.   You shouldn’t apply for 6 credit cards just because I do (or your other favorite blogger does!)

Emily and I are not big spenders and we love saving money.  So how did we spend the $14,000 within 3 months?

1.   Amazon Payments.  You can send up to $1,000 per month to another person without any fee by using Amazon payments.  This adds up to $3,000 to $4,000 over a 3 month period.

For example, if you receive a card on May 15th, which requires you to spend $5,000 within 3 months, you can use Amazon payments on May 15, June 15, July 15, and August 15 to complete $4,000 worth of spending.

2.   William Paid for rent or ChargeSmart for Mortgage.   We use WilliamPaid to pay our rent & gladly pay the 3% fee on our ~$1,000 rent ($30) to help meet the spending required to get a 40,000 or 50,000 point bonus.  WilliamPaid sends a check to your landlord on your behalf and works even if your landlord is NOT registered with William Paid.  This helps us meet another $3,000 spending over 3 months.

If you have a mortgage, you can use ChargeSmart to pay your mortgage for a fee.  I wouldn’t recommend using ChargeSmart or William Paid regularly to earn miles and points, though it could be worth it in limited instances.  But do the math for your specific situation!

3.   Regular living expenses (gas, groceries, insurance, etc.)   I wish it wasn’t so, but we spend at least $1,000 on gas, groceries, toll, netflix, gifts, insurance, meals, etc. per month.  This adds up to another $3,000 over 3 months for us.

You can even buy grocery store or gift cards to other shops and restaurants if you know you’ll use them later on and can pay off your credit card bill.  We recently bought a $500 super market gift card which we’ll use over the next month.

You can put virtually any expense on a credit card, and even if you have to pay a 3% fee to do so, it could be totally worth it to get the sign-up bonus on a credit card.

However, it may not be worth it to pay a fee to earn miles outside of the sign-up bonus (i.e everyday spending), unless you’ve done the math for your specific situation!

Check out the 40+ ways to complete your minimum spending to see just what you can charge to a credit card.

4.   Student Loans.   Emily and I have lots of them, and sometimes we make a payment using ChargeSmart and pay the ~3% fee if we need to come up with extra spending to get the sign-up bonus on a credit card. 5.   Pay Divvy and Venmo.   Pay Divvy and Venmo (1st $500 is fee-free) let you send money to others for a fee (~3%).  I wouldn’t use this regularly to earn miles and points for everyday spending, but gladly pay the fee to transfer money if I was in danger of missing out on a credit card sign-up bonus.

I’d initially transfer a small amount, just to make sure that the transaction isn’t coded as a cash advance (with high fees) instead of as a purchase.

In my experience, American Express doesn’t like seeing too much Pay Divvy, Venmo, and Amazon Payments activity on your account and could initiate a financial account review because of these payments.  I also wouldn’t transfer money back-and-forth between 2 people.

6.   Kiva Loans.   Frequent Miler has a great post on how you can lend money via Kiva and complete your minimum spending requirement.  And you usually get your money back in a few months, so this is a great way to meet a minimum spending requirement and help others, if you can pay off your credit card bill when it comes due.    Of course, there’s a risk of not getting your money back if the lender defaults on the loan, but that is very, very low with Kiva. 7.   Taxes.  You can pay property tax and personal or business income taxes using a credit card.  PayUSAtax charges 1.89% convenience fee, but that could be worth it to get the sign-up bonus on your credit cards. Bottom Line:  You don’t actually have to spend a lot of money to complete the minimum spending on credit cards.   Deals will come and go, so don’t apply for more credit cards than you can comfortably meet the minimum spending for!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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