7 Easy Ways to Meet Starwood AMEX Minimum Spending
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For a limited-time, you can earn up to 35,000 Starwood points after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements on the AMEX Starwood cards, when you apply by April 5, 2017.
But to earn the full sign-up bonus, you’ll have to spend a total of $5,000 on purchases on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express. Or a total of $8,000 on purchases with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.
Let’s take a look at 7 easy ways to meet the minimum spending requirement on the AMEX Starwood cards.
How to Meet American Express Minimum Spending Requirements
1. Monthly Bills
You can usually pay most monthly bills like your cell phone, cable, internet, and auto insurance with a credit card. If you’re already using auto-pay for these bills with a different card, you could switch to your new AMEX Starwood personal or small business card.
And you may even be able to prepay some of your monthly bills!
By paying more than the monthly amount due, you’ll earn credit towards the minimum spending requirement. And you might not have to pay that bill again for a month or two.
Million Mile Secrets team member Meghan has done this in the past with her Verizon cell phone bill.
That said, I wouldn’t recommend this if you can’t pay off your credit card bill on time. Because the interest you accrue will likely negate any rewards you earn.
2. Travel Expenses
Planning a Spring Break trip or a summer getaway? Pay for your airfare and hotels with your new AMEX Starwood card to help meet the minimum spending requirements.
3. Rent, Mortgage Payments, and HOA Dues
You can use online bill payment services to pay your rent, mortgage payments, or HOA dues. But they’ll almost always charge you a fee.
For example, Plastiq usually charges a flat 2.5% fee to pay loans, rent, mortgage, utilities, or other bills. But they occasionally have promotions with reduced fees.
Or you could use a similar service called ChargeSmart. You can make mortgage or loan payments using your AMEX Starwood card. The fee you’ll pay depends on the payment amount, the card you use, and who you’re paying.
And I wrote about the return of RadPad’s rent payment service, that you can use to pay your rent using a debit or credit card. They charge a 2.99% fee for credit card payments.
Whichever bill payment service you choose, you’ll want to do the math to see if paying fees on credit card purchases makes sense.
For example, if you use Plastiq to make $5,000 worth of rent payments, you’ll pay $125 in fees ($5,000 X 2.5%). But you’ll earn 40,000 Starwood points with the personal AMEX Starwood card (35,000 point sign-up bonus + 5,000 points for minimum spending). Which is worth 50,000 airline miles!
Because when you transfer Starwood points to partner airlines, you’ll get a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer.
50,000 airline miles is enough for 2 round-trip coach tickets within the US on Starwood’s partner airlines like American Airlines and Delta. That’s certainly worth paying a $100 fee!
4. Big Purchases
Lots of folks plan weddings during the spring and summer months, so if you’re planning your big day, consider putting some of the expenses on your new AMEX Starwood personal or small business card to help meet the minimum spending requirements.
You could REALLY rack up bonus points (up to 5X Starwood points!) if you’re having a wedding at a Marriott or Starwood hotel! 😉
Or maybe you need to buy a new computer for school or work? Or a camera to capture travel moments on your adventures.
When you use your AMEX Starwood card, you’ll also get extended warranty and purchase protection. That can be a valuable benefit for making large purchases.
5. Pay Tuition or Student Loans
Many colleges and private schools will let you pay tuition and housing costs with a credit card. But they usually charge a fee, so do the math to decide whether paying the fee is worth it.
Million Mile Secrets team member Harlan uses Plastiq to pay his student loan bills and loves earning the extra miles & points.
And it’s also worth checking with your loan provider to see if they allow credit card payments!
6. Pay Taxes
Take the sting out of owing taxes by meeting the minimum spending requirements on your new AMEX Starwood card. 😉
You can use an approved 3rd-party payment processor to pay your taxes online with a credit card. But they charge 1.87% to ~2.25% of your bill. But it may be worth it, if it means you mean lots of Starwood points!
7. Reimbursable Business Expenses
If your employer allows you to put business expenses on a personal card and get reimbursed later, this could be a great way to help meet your AMEX Starwood card’s minimum spending requirement.
Business travel expenses can add up quick!
That said, some companies require you to use their business credit card for company expenses. So check your employer’s reimbursement policy to see if you can use one of your own cards.
With the personal AMEX Starwood card, you’ll earn 25,000 Starwood points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. And 10,000 more Starwood points for spending another $2,000 on purchases within the first 6 months. For a total of $5,000.
And for the AMEX Starwood small business card, you’ll earn 25,000 Starwood points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. And 10,000 more Starwood points for spending another $3,000 on purchases within the first 6 months. Or $8,000 in total spending!
That’s a significant minimum spending requirement, but there are a few easy ways to meet it. Like using your card to pay taxes, rent and mortgage, or monthly bills.
Do you have more tips for meeting minimum spending requirements?
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! :)