Here’s What NOT to Do When You Get a New Card With a Big Sign-Up Bonus (Ever!)
Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full advertising policy: How we make money.
Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Reader Amanda asked:
Are you aware of any ways to extend the window for meeting a minimum spending requirement? I literally missed it by a day.
I’m sorry to hear that Amanda, but unfortunately there is no sure way to get the bank to extend the minimum spending deadline. But you should definitely call and ask!
If you find yourself in a similar situation, call the bank right away, and plead your case. If they say no, ask to speak with a supervisor. Or call back and ask a different representative.
Team member Joseph’s mother got a new cardmember bonus after she missed the deadline by a day. But, this is NOT normal! So don’t expect the same results.
It’s best not to cut it close. I like to complete the spending requirements as soon as possible, just to be safe.
How to Avoid Missing Your Minimum Spending Requirement
Know your travel goals and plan ahead to have big purchases or expenses (computers, quarterly taxes, or insurance premiums) coincide with your credit card applications.
But you shouldn’t make large purchases only to meet your minimum spending requirement. If you have a balance you can’t pay off, the interest will negate any value from the sign-up bonus.
And make sure you do NOT apply for a credit card with minimum spending requirements that are too high for you to meet. As always, do what makes you feel comfortable.
Remember, there are many ways to meet minimum spending requirements. Here’s my post with 40+ ideas! Team member Keith recommends using Plastiq to meet the requirements in a minute flat! Or if you have a lot of work-related expenses, see if your employer will let you put them on your credit card, and then reimburse you.
It’s important to know the deadline for meeting your spending requirement. The clock starts on the day you were approved for the card, NOT the day you activate it!
Be sure to add the approval date to a calendar. Or set a reminder on your phone if you need to.
I recommend taking a screenshot because it’s time-stamped. And you’ll have proof of the offer you applied for in case it changes.
Know the Rules (And Follow Them)
Not all purchases will count towards your minimum spending requirement. Some purchases (like travelers checks, certain gift cards, or prepaid cards) might be treated as a cash advances. And will NOT count towards your minimum spending. 🙁
And DO NOT make large purchases and return them after the bonus posts to your account. If you do, you could have your account frozen, and have the sign-up bonus revoked.
Also, it’s important to remember the credit card’s annual fee will NOT count toward your spending requirements. You don’t want to end up short of that next big bonus!
If you miss the deadline to meet your minimum spending requirement you will usually NOT be able to get an extension. But it won’t hurt to give the bank a call to plead your case.
It’s best to plan ahead. And make sure you can meet a minimum spending requirement before you apply for a card. I suggest not leaving all your spending until the last minute to avoid any issues getting your points.
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! :)
Join the Discussion!