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Help! Which Card to Apply For Before Making a $22,000 Purchase?

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Help! Which Card to Apply For Before Making a $22,000 Purchase?

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Million Mile Secrets reader Div commented:

I have an opportunity to pay a relative’s $22,000 medical bill with a credit card and get reimbursed.  I want to apply for a new card before making this purchase so I can earn a new cardmember sign-up bonus.  I already have have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardBarclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®, and a few other airline and hotel co-branded cards.  Also, I’m NOT impacted by Chase’s “5/24” rule.  Which card would you recommend?

Reader Div is thinking wisely.  Miles & points enthusiasts know that applying for a new card before making a large purchase is an easy way to meet minimum spending requirements and unlock a lucrative new cardmember bonus!  This is the fast track to Big Travel with Small Money!

Planning Your Credit Card Application Strategy Around Large Upcoming Purchases Can Help You Earn Valuable New Cardmember Sign-Up Bonuses!

The minimum spending requirements for most personal rewards cards is usually less than $5,000 in purchases within 3 months of account opening.  With an upcoming $22,000 purchase, this means Div could actually consider applying for multiple cards to earn more than 1 sign-up bonus.

Based on Div’s situation, there are 2 card recommendations that come to mind.  But there are also some things to consider before making a large purchase.

Use Large Purchases to Quickly Meet Minimum Spending Requirements and Earn Valuable Sign-Up Bonuses

We like to remind folks of a few beginner credit card tips when applying for a new card.

First, only apply for a rewards card if you plan to pay your balance in full each month.  Carrying a balance means you’ll pay interest and fees, which can easily offset the value of any sign-up bonuses and rewards you might earn.  It sounds like reader Div will be getting reimbursed from a family member for a large purchase.  As long as the money is set aside for the purchase, applying for a new card is a really easy way to unlock a sign-up bonus and earn valuable rewards.

The other thing to consider is the credit limit you’ll get when you sign-up for a new card.  The amount of credit an issuer extends to you on a new card will depend on a few factors, including your credit history.  It’s important to keep in mind, that reader Div might NOT get a $22,000 credit limit with a new card.  So if possible, I’d recommend using multiple cards to make the large purchase.  This way you won’t max out the credit limit with any 1 card.

Now for the fun part!  Here are my card recommendations for reader Div based on the cards already in his wallet.

1.   Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Apply here:   Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Read our full review of the Capital One Venture Card

The Capital One Venture card is extremely popular with readers because the rewards you earn are really easy to redeem.  Simply make a travel purchase with your card.  Then, log into your account to use miles to offset the purchase.

Capital One Venture miles are worth 1 cent each and you never have to worry about searching for available award seats or hotel nights!  These miles are useful for covering travel purchases you can’t pay for with other credit card rewards, including cruises and sightseeing excursions!

The Capital One Venture Card Is Worth Considering Because the Miles You Earn Can Offset Travel Purchases You Can’t Book With Other Rewards, Like Cruises!

Plus, when you sign-up for the Capital One Venture card, you’ll earn 50,000 Venture miles (worth $500 in travel) after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

In addition to the valuable sign-up bonus, you’ll get:

  • Venture miles per $1 you spend on all purchases
  • Statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • NO foreign transaction fees

And the card’s $95 annual fee is waived the first year.

This was one of the first cards I got when I started in the miles & points hobby.  And it came with an enormous credit limit of more than $50,000!  I can’t guarantee reader Div or others will receive the same limit.  But it’s worth mentioning because this would be ideal for a large purchase!

2.   Chase Freedom Unlimited

Apply here:  Chase Freedom Unlimited

Read our full review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

Reader Div already has the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which is the top card we recommend to beginners.  It earns flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which you can transfer to fantastic airline and hotel partners like United Airlines and Hyatt.

To boost his Chase Ultimate Rewards points balance, reader Div could apply for the no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited card.  When you sign-up for this card, you’ll earn $150 (15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points) after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

With the Freedom Unlimited, you earn unlimited 1.5% back (1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1) on ALL purchases.  Meanwhile, Sapphire Preferred cardholders only earn 1 point per $1 on purchases that are not in the travel and dining category.  So paying a large medical bill with the Freedom Unlimited will earn reader Div more points than he’d earn with the Sapphire Preferred.

The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Reader Div Can Earn Valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards Points With the No-Annual-Fee Chase Freedom Unlimited Card and Use Them For Trips to Fun Destinations Like Seattle!

Bottom Line

Reader Div can pay a family member’s $22,000 medical bill with a credit card and get reimbursed.  This is a great opportunity to apply for a new card (or multiple cards) because the purchase will be an easy way to knockout minimum spending requirements.

Div already has fantastic rewards credit cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.  So I recommend the Capital One Venture card because this card earns miles you can use to offset travel purchases typically not covered by other cards.  And the card has a valuable sign-up bonus worth $500 in travel!

Or the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which earns 1.5% back (1.5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1).  Reader Div can move these points to his Sapphire Preferred account and transfer them directly to Chase’s airline and hotel partners.

Which card would you recommend to reader Div?

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.

More Info

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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I collect miles, typically on AA & BA, and I use them to fly Business Class, to Europe and elsewhere outside the US. If a BC ticket costs 150,000 AA miles/BA Avios, and on BA I get two tickets with their Companion Voucher, my take is that the $1500 I could get with cash back cards is dwarfed by the $5,000 or more I save on buying BC seats. The way I look at it then would be that I get a BC seat for $1500.

If she qualifies for a business card, why not the Amex Business Platinum? Minimum spend is $25k in 3 months to get 100k MR bonus. I’m sure Div can easily charge an extra $3k to meet requirements. I’d argue that 125k MR points gives you much MORE flexibility in redemptions, plus the Platinum benefits catapult you to elite status and bonused redemptions. Unless you’d rather limit yourself to Chase UR points.

Great thinking! Unfortunately, paying a medical bill for a family member likely wouldn’t count as a business purchase. So you risk not earning the card’s bonus. I’d 100% agree that the AMEX Business Platinum welcome bonus is extremely valuable!

Hmm, I guess I haven’t heard of that limitation of what qualifies as a “business purchase.” I do know that businesses do have a lot of leeway on what qualifies as a business expense. Medical payments can qualify as non-cash compensation (or loan) to employees, etc., which is truthful in many cases. I know I charged hubby’s dental implant expenses to one of our business cards (and earned the spend bonus), just as an example. But do share if you’ve heard of some purchases as being denied as ineligible for earning a card bonus.

We just got spouse the plat biz Amex, large expenses of around 70 k coming up

Going to spend around 30k on his biz plat (he’s already got 200k Amex points) and maybe do 30 on the BA to get companion pass and balance on my chase sapphire pref to spread points out. Like the flexibility of Amex points but also think cp is a good deal

I would be going for the Southwest Companion Pass! Get two Southwest cards and then put the rest on the Chase Freedom.

I like that idea! I’ve had the Companion Pass for the past 4 years, but try to time it so that I earn it earlier in the year. This way I can get it for nearly 2 full years.

Well, alright, I suppose if you just really value UR way more than anything else (since just the regular not-signup-bonus spend would be crazy amounts of UR on a 22k spend), which… I do, UR are awesome, but maybe not *that* much.

Because reader Div already has the Chase Sapphire Preferred, adding the Freedom Unlimited would make a terrific combo.

Not sure why you’d recommend something with only a 3k minimum spend, but I’m *really* not sure why you’d recommend something with only a $500 minimum spend. They’re both great cards, both reasonably to recommend in general, but if someone were putting 20k+ on a card at once, it’d be silly not to put that on a card whose minimum spend you’d never ever get otherwise without crazy amounts of manufactured spending, like the British Air card or something. (That’s the one I remember, but I think there are a couple others like that, too, with tiered spending requirements that get into the 20k+ range.)

Part of the card selection strategy definitely depends on your travel goals. Personally, I’d rather have flexible points and the ability to transfer them to different travel partners vs. locking myself into one specific type of airline mile. This would all change though if I knew I had an upcoming trip I could book using British Airways Avios points.

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