Tips for meeting minimum spending requirements

In the past we have offered a few tips on how to meet minimum spending requirements to get sign up bonuses on new credit cards. We thought we would briefly summarize some of them here:

1- Pay as many expenses as you can with your new credit cards. If the merchant takes credit cards, I use them, even if it’s a $1.50 charge. Think gas, food, dry cleaning, entertainment, everything.

2- Put monthly recurring bills on autopay with your credit card. Cable, cell phone, land lines, and internet services, among others, can all be paid with credit cards at no additional charge.

3- Pay your car insurance with a credit card. Most major providers take them.

4- If you’re out with friends and you’re splitting a dinner tab and someone is paying in cash, gladly take their cash and pick up their dinner share with your credit card. It all adds up.

5- Donate to charity. This is a wonderful way to help others and earn miles by doing it. Most charities nowadays will be happy to take donations via credit cards.

6- Buy holiday and birthday presents in advance. Take stock of the presents you need to buy for the next 3-6 months, and buy them now. You’ll be able to shop around and get good deals since you’re shopping so early on and not picking up a desperate last minute gift (guilty!).

7- Overpay your cable, phone or insurance bills, and call the company and request a refund check. I’ve done this several times. If you can float the cash for a few days, it this strategy could get you the added miles you need to meet an award before next month’s cycle.

8- Buy gift cards and use them over time. If you need to hit a minimum spending bonus and have no time left, consider buying some Amex, Visa or Mastercard gift cards for a small fee, and use those to pay daily expenses later on.

9- Buy free-after-rebate items. For instance, has many free after rebate items that you can buy with your credit card, then submit for a rebate check to recuperate your money.

10- Use Amazon Payments to build up your spending by sending money to a relative or person you trust with a credit card. You can refer to this prior post for additional details.

11- Buy an expensive, fully-refundable airplane ticket that will help you meet the spending now, and then after you’ve spent the amount of money equal to the cost of the ticket on additional daily purchases with your credit card, cancel it and take the refund. This will require you to float your cash for a while, so make sure you have extra money available to pay the credit card bill in the meantime.

12- Use Amex’s BlueBird card to pay bills that normally you couldn’t pay with a credit card because of high fees, such as student loans, your mortgage, etc.


13- Use MyVanilla debit cards a couple of times (this should not be abused) as described in this article.


The list could go on and on, but these are the ones we use more frequently on our day to day activities when trying to meet minimum spending. Some of them are more aggressive than others and it all depends what level of work and spending you can stomach. Certainly not all the items on the list above are for everyone.

If you have any other tips to meet minimum spending we would love for you to share them with our readers on the comments section below.

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One Response to Tips for meeting minimum spending requirements

  1. Jerry Mandel says:

    AMEX gift cheques (NOT gift cards) $2.50 per $100 +$6.95 handling. $1,000 max per 14 days. See the AMEX website.

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