Tips on how to meet minimum spending (repost)

Since we have not written about this topic in a while, we thought it would be a good idea to post a refresher about things you can do to meet minimum spending. Many readers have been asking this question due to the new Citi AAdvantage MasterCard 100,000 AAdvantage miles offer, which requires quite a bit of spending at $10,000 within 3 months, but if you do the following, you should have no problem meeting that amount.


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. Be sure to find out first if the transaction will register as a purchase or a cash advance, which usually don’t count towards spending and carry heavy interest rates.

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. But be careful when you purchase Vanilla Reload cards, as there are scams going around and you could be in for a headache, so exercise some common sense when purchasing.


If you follow the free travel community, you probably know there are many other creative ways to meet minimum spending, so this list is not all inclusive. These are, however, the most common and proven ways to do it. Some of them are more aggressive than others and it all depends what level of work and spending you feel comfortable with.

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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6 Responses to Tips on how to meet minimum spending (repost)

  1. Raymond Thomas says:

    This is probably the most worthless blog post I’ve seen in a long time.

  2. Jerry Mandel says:

    Item 7-Asking for a refund check is sleazy. Yes, prepay cable, electricity, water, gas, cell phone, etc. but you will get your minimum spending back by not having monthly payments for a bunch of months.

    • travelguys says:

      Jerry, I’ve never actually done this, at least intentionally, that I can recall. I do remember having double paid insurance at some point by mistake and in that case it’s worked out for the best because I’ve earned points and also gotten my money back. Just because I’ve made a mistake and overpaid doesn’t mean I’m going to let the insurance company, utility, etc. float my money for months, even if I can float it myself. We just want everyone to know of all the possibilities out there and let everyone make their own decisions on what they’re willing or unwilling to do. Thanks for chiming in!

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