How to Meet Visa & MasterCard Minimum Spending Requirements for $0

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Update:   You can NO longer fund a new Citigold checking account with a credit card. Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. 

Did you know it’s possible to fund new accounts (and not incur a cash advance fee) at some banks with certain credit cards?

It’s a great way to meet minimum spending requirements and earn lots of miles and points.  And right now, Citi has terrific bonuses for folks who open a new account (and these can be funded with a MasterCard or Visa!).

You can earn 50,000 American Airlines miles or Citi ThankYou points when you open a new Citigold checking account.  But there are conditions & restrictions, and you’ll have to do a bit of legwork!

How To Meet Visa MasterCard Minimum Spending Requirements For 0
Now’s a Great Time to Open a New Account, Meet Minimum Spending Requirements, and Earn Miles & Points

I’ll show you how to sign-up, and explain if it’s worth it!

What’s the Deal?

Until December 31, 2015, you’ll earn 50,000 American Airlines miles or 50,000 Citi ThankYou points when you open a new Citigold checking account and complete certain requirements.

You can initially fund this account (up to $100,000!) with some credit cards without it posting as a cash advance (check Doctor of Credit’s list here).  So this could perfect for folks with big minimum spending requirements to meet!

How To Meet Visa MasterCard Minimum Spending Requirements For 0
Meet Minimum Spending Requirements for Free by Funding a New Citigold Checking Account

It’s not enough just to open and initially fund the account.  Depending on the offer, you’ll have to take certain actions to unlock the bonus.

These offers are for new Citi checking account holders only.  If you’ve had a Citi checking account in the past, you may NOT get the bonus.

Citigold 50,000 American Airlines Miles Offer

To apply for the 50,000 American Airlines miles Citigold checking offer, visit this link and use promotion code 42ERCWNQU6.

Or call 800-374-9500 to apply.  Because these offers are technically targeted for folks who are Citi ThankYou cardholders, it’s a good idea to call 1st to confirm you’re eligible anyway.

How To Meet Visa MasterCard Minimum Spending Requirements For 0
It’s Best to Verify You’re Eligible for the Offer by Calling to Apply

Funding the account with a credit card can NOT be done online.  Select “Other Funding Source” and “Credit Card” and you’ll be given a link to a PDF file.  You’ll have to print it out and fax it in with your credit card details, (or just call to apply instead!).

In order to receive the bonus miles, you’ll have to:

  • Make at least $1,000 in debit card transactions in the 1st 60 days of opening your account, AND
  • Make at least 1 bill payment for 2 or more consecutive calendar months within 60 days of account opening
How To Meet Visa MasterCard Minimum Spending Requirements For 0
To Earn the Bonus, Pay 2 Bills and Make $1,000 in Debit Purchases in the 1st 60 Days of Opening Your Account
Note:  If you rent, consider using your debit card to pay rent 2 months in a row using RadPad.  It’s easy and free to use a debit card!

The $30 monthly fee on the account is waived for the 1st 2 months.  After that, you can cancel or downgrade the account with no penalty (but be sure your American Airlines miles have posted to your account FIRST!).

Note:   Folks with large deposits or investments with Citi may have the $30 monthly fee waived.

Citigold 50,000 Citi ThankYou Points Offer

This offer is for the same type of account (Citigold checking) as the American Airlines offer, but the bonus is 50,000 Citi ThankYou points and the terms are slightly different.

BIG NOTE!  The Citi ThankYou bonus points you earn from opening this account can NOT be transferred to airline and hotel partners!
How To Meet Visa MasterCard Minimum Spending Requirements For 0
You Can NOT Transfer Citi ThankYou Points From This Offer to Airline and Hotel Partners Like Virgin Atlantic or Singapore Airlines

However, you can redeem them for paid travel through the Citi Travel Center.  And if you’re a Citi Prestige cardholder, your points are worth 1.6 cents each toward paid American Airlines (or their codeshare partners) flights!

Note:   If you redeem your Citi ThankYou points for American Airlines tickets, be aware that any redemption worth $600 or more could result in Citi issuing a 1099 tax form.

Citi says:

The value of rewards from redeemed points may be reported to the IRS as miscellaneous income on Form 1099–MISC in the year redeemed, if the value of the rewards is $600 or greater or the value of the rewards plus other taxable miscellaneous income awards received from Citibank, N.A., is in the aggregate $600 or greater for a calendar year, as required by applicable law.

The $30 monthly fee is also waived for the 1st 2 months (further if you meet the criteria mentioned here).  And the procedure for funding your account with a credit card is the same.

To earn the bonus, you’ll have to make at least 1 bill payment for 2 or more consecutive calendar months within 60 days of account opening (like the American Airlines offer).  There is no debit transaction requirement.

Note:   Bill payments for either offer must be made to a non-Citi account (i.e. NOT your Citi Prestige or Citi ThankYou Premier bill!).

Are You Sure Funding the Account With a Credit Card Is Safe?

This is an excellent way to meet minimum spending requirements and earn miles and points – as long as the credit card funding transaction does NOT post as a cash advance!

You can check this thread for data points on which cards do and do not post as a cash advance.  In general, Bank of America, Barclays, and most Citi cards will usually NOT post as a cash advance.

But other banks (generally) WILL.

How To Meet Visa MasterCard Minimum Spending Requirements For 0
Folks Have Mixed Reports on Which Banks Will Charge a Cash Advance for Funding a Your New Account With a Credit Card

The best way to ensure your transaction won’t post as a cash advance (which will NOT count toward minimum spending or earn miles and points) is to contact your card issuer and have them set your cash advance limit to zero.  Just call the number on the back of your card.

That way, if the bank tries to process the funding of your new Citi account as a cash advance, the transaction will be declined.  If that’s the case, you’ll have 1 more attempt to fund the account with a credit card before you’ll have to choose another funding method.

Note:   You can initially fund your account up to $100,000 with this method, but remember you can’t exceed your card’s credit limit!  And unfortunately you can NOT split the funding transaction by using more than 1 credit card.

These cards might be good choices for funding this account:

I haven’t tried any of these myself, so be sure to set your cash advance limit to zero before you try to fund your account with these cards!

Bottom Line

You can meet minimum spending requirements and earn miles and points for free by funding a Citigold checking account with a credit card.

Not all credit cards work (some are processed as a cash advance) but to avoid this, set your cash advance limit to zero before using your card to fund an account.

And for a limited time, new account holders can earn 50,000 American Airlines miles or Citi ThankYou points when they open an account and meet certain criteria.  But note these Citi ThankYou points can NOT be transferred to airlines and hotels.

It’s best to call to confirm you’re eligible to apply as it’s technically a targeted offer for Citi ThankYou cardholders.

Please share your experiences in the comments if you’ve successfully funded a Citigold account with a Visa or MasterCard!

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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