Take the Pain Out of Visiting the Dentist: An Expensive Dental Bill Helped Earn a 100,000-Point AMEX Starwood Bonus!

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One of the most difficult hurdles to earning big welcome bonuses with many of the best credit cards for travel is having to meet a card’s minimum spending requirements.  I’d be willing to bet most of y’all, like me, don’t regularly spend thousands on credit cards each month.  So earning a welcome offer often takes a bit of planning!

One part of my credit card strategy is to plan credit card applications around big purchases or expenses.  And I recently helped my sister employ this tactic to earn a big welcome bonus of her own!

Visiting the Dentist Might Be a Little Less Painful If You Know You’re Earning Travel Rewards to Use Toward Your Next Vacation!

A few weeks ago she called to let me know she’d been targeted for a 100,000-point welcome offer after spending $5,000 within 3 months for upgrading her Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express card to the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card.  I explained to her that it was a great deal, but pointed out that the minimum spending requirement was pretty hefty.

I asked her, “Hey, can you think of any big bills you have coming up?  Do you plan on making any expensive purchases over the holidays?”

She thought for a second and then said, “Well, Alex (her boyfriend) is having some dental work done next week.  Maybe I could call the dentist to see if they accept credit cards.”

I told her to do it!  If she knew she could take a big chunk out of the minimum spending requirement, then upgrading her card would absolutely make sense!

She called me back to let me know that the dentist would, in fact, accept a credit card payment.  And she confirmed with them that they didn’t charge an extra fee for paying with a card.

It’s always important to ask whether there’s a fee for using a credit card, as sometimes the fee a merchant charges will negate any rewards you earn.

The fact that it was an upgrade offer and that her credit card number wouldn’t change was also convenient because she didn’t have to wait for her new card to arrive in the mail.  Once she accepted the upgrade offer online she could continue to use her current card to work towards meeting the upgrade offer’s minimum spending requirements.

It’s important to note, some banks will expedite delivery of a new card, while it can take over a week to receive a new card from other banks.  So if you have a big purchase coming up and want to apply for a new credit card, I’d always recommend applying at least 3 weeks before you plan on making the purchase.

Have you ever planned a credit card application around a big purchase or expense?  Please share your strategy for meeting minimum spending requirements in the comments below!

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Meghan Hunter is an editor for Million Mile Secrets. She covers points, miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels and general travel. Her work has also appeared in The Points Guy.

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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