Do NOT Make These 4 Mistakes With Minimum Spending Requirements!

Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Do NOT Make These 4 Mistakes With Minimum Spending Requirements!

Million Mile SecretsDo NOT Make These 4 Mistakes With Minimum Spending Requirements!Million Mile Secrets Team

Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Million Mile Secrets reader Joe commented:

Well, don’t mess up like I did.  I received a 70,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards point bonus offer from Chase Ink Plus for spending $5,000 in 3 months.  I spent a little over $5,000, but didn’t realize the annual fee does NOT count toward the minimum spending so I am just under it.

Now, I am outside of the 3 months so I may not receive the bonus points or be able to spend a little more to get them.  I have talked to Chase and they are considering my situation, but it will be a week or more before I hear from them.

Do NOT Make These 4 Mistakes With Minimum Spending Requirements
Don’t Make These 4 Mistakes and Say “Bye Bye” to Your Sign-Up Bonus

Sorry to hear that, Joe.  Hope Chase can help out.

Have you made the same mistake?  Here’s how to avoid minimum spending mistakes.

4 Mistakes With Minimum Spending Requirements

1.   Adding in the Annual Fee

As Joe realized, paying the annual fee does NOT count towards meeting the minimum spending requirements on credit cards.

So with Joe’s Chase Ink Plus, he had to spend $5,000 in purchases.

Do NOT Make These 4 Mistakes With Minimum Spending Requirements
The Annual Fee Doesn’t Count Towards the Minimum Spending Requirement on Credit Cards So Joe Should Not Include it In His Spending

2.   Forgetting About Returns

Some folks spend the exact amount requirement and return items.

However, returned items usually count against your minimum spending requirements.  So you should spend a bit more than the minimum required.  Emily and I usually spend $500 over so we have a little cushion.

Do NOT Make These 4 Mistakes With Minimum Spending Requirements
If She Says “No,” Returning the Ring Does NOT Count Towards Your Spending

3.   Not Making a Plan

You should have a plan to meet all the spending before you apply for many cards at once.  You’ll lose out on big sign-up bonuses if you can’t meet the spending requirement.

Here are some ways to meet your minimum spending:

Do NOT Make These 4 Mistakes With Minimum Spending Requirements
Gift Cards Could Be Part of Your Plan to Meet Your Minimum Spending Requirements

4.   Not Knowing When You Have to Complete Your Spending

If you don’t know the actual end date to complete your spending, you could miss out on getting your sign-up bonus.

The minimum spending clock starts on your approval date NOT your activation date.  So if you’re approved on January 5 and have 3 months to complete your spending, your completion date is April 5.

Do NOT Make These 4 Mistakes With Minimum Spending Requirements
Your Minimum Spending Clock Starts the Day You’re Approved

Bottom Line

There are 4 common mistakes that folks make when meeting credit card minimum spending requirements:

  • Thinking the annual fee counts
  • Returned items don’t count
  • Not having a plan
  • Not knowing when the minimum spending clock begins

By avoiding these mistakes, you can meet the spending to get your sign-up bonuses.

Thanks for sharing your story, Joe.  Your experience will help prevent other readers from making the same mistakes.

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 36,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

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! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!


by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Do you know if transferring a balance from another credit card to the new one will count toward the minimum spending requirement? In my case, I have about $2500 I could transfer over once approved, but would only be interested in doing so if it counted toward the $3000 minimum required spend of the new card. Thanks!

Great tips! I know when I started hacking a few cards simultaneously I really had to keep track of my spending and almost missed a $400 Barclay Arrival travel credit. This was the genesis for our idea to track min spending with a web or app solution. I’m curious about other features newbie travel hackers would be interested in?


Whatever you do, don’t buy the Visa GiftCards to get your points. These cards are a fraud waiting to happen. I purchased a $500 Visa Gift Card from Ralphs to get 5X Ultimate Rewards points on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in rotating categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and and as soon as I activated it, I made a purchase and the very next day I noticed fraudulent activity when I went to check my balance. I still had $451 on the card when the fraudulent activity of $1.12 (that was pending) was noticed. I called customer service and they told me they had to cancel the card. I said ok, but little did I know it was going to be a very long process to get my money back. They make you fax in your information including the receipt of the gift card and then you have to wait exactly 7-10 days before you can move to the next step. I called daily to see if my fax had simply been received, but they said I had to wait 7-10 business days for them to tell me that because faxes are handled in the order received. I called the 7th day and nothing. It wasn’t until the 10th business day that they processed my fax only to tell me that the next step is when the Dispute center verifies that the fraudulent activity was indeed fraudulent. Even if the pending transaction never went through, the Dispute center handles cases in the order in which it’s received. Since all their cards are not safe, that means the waiting list for your case to be handled is long.

I’m currently on day 2 of 30-60 business days (that means weekends and holidays don’t count) before my case gets heard. I don’t have hope that my case will be handled before 59 business days, so whatever you do, don’t buy Visa or MasterCard Gift Cards!

Lenny, This is what I did. First, I called a Chase customer service rep and they gave me the party line. So, I asked if someone else could consider giving me a little more time. They took my request and told me I would receive a written reply within 7 days. I did and it was a turn down. However, before I received the written “No”, I used the online message capability to tell Chase what happened and that I felt it was unfair to lose all of the bonus sine i was only around $75 short within the 3 months due to the annual fee. I received a reply the next day that explained the offer and that I did not meet the requirements. I replied that I was very disappointed and asked who I could appeal the decision to. I received a reply that said it had been elevated and I would receive a reply within 24 hours. After 2 days I sent another message asking if a decision had been made. I received a reply that day indicating that I would be given 10 days more to complete the spending and to let them know when I had done so and they would manually add the points to my account. I did the spending within a day and let them know by replying to the message. The bonus was added to my account within a day. As Lea indicated, I was pleasant and respectful during the whole process. By persistent, I mean don’t just take “no” for an answer without requesting a higher lever review. Become the squeaky wheel, but do not be abusive. Brad told me in his advice that as a last resort, I could tell them to cancel my card if they are unwilling to give me the bonus. I didn’t have to resort to that. I hope this helps you. Good luck!

My mistake was forgetting that I had used my card for a cash advance (at a casino – go figure.) At the end of the three months I just looked at the bottom line – forgetting my cash advance. Cash advances are clearly marked as not being qualified – just don’t forget if you’ve taken one out.

Load more