Do you need to figure out how to meet the minimum spending requirement for your credit card bonus?
Just about every attractive credit card bonus offer requires that you spend a minimum amount on purchases within the first several months of account opening.
We’ve gathered a set of go-to ways to meet the minimum spend requirements. When you’re applying for several credit cards at a time for the sign-up bonus, you could be looking at around $6K, $10K or more that you need to spend within a few months. Use the information below to formulate a strategy before taking advantage of the offers on our Credit Card Bonuses Page.
Best Ways To Meet Card Bonus Minimum Spending
For most people applying for just one credit card with a bonus offer, everyday spending will probably be enough. With multiple card applications or if you’re applying for a card with a very high minimum spending requirement, below are some of the best options for meeting the spending criteria.
Fund Checking Accounts With A Credit Card
This is when you fund towards the opening deposit when signing up with new bank Checking accounts. Many people are using this option when taking advantage of the bank bonuses available with new Checking and Savings accounts.
See which banks allow credit card funding here. See all the current Bank Bonuses here. Many popular banks allow $500 to $1,000 of credit card funding towards the opening deposit. For example, both Chase Bank and TD Bank have great sign-up bonuses and allow credit card funding.
Gift cards are one of my favorite ways of meeting credit card minimum spending requirements outside of regular everyday spending. It’s just like buying money that you can spend later on at your leisure. Gift Cards don’t expire and there are no fees after purchase.
I’d recommend getting gift cards to merchants that you regularly spend money at anyway, such as grocery store, gas or supermarket gift cards. That’s because these merchant-specific gift cards don’t involve any purchase fees. I tend to go for $500 in Whole Foods gift cards because it’s another necessity for me. Definitely check out these sites where you can use gift cards at discounted rates:
For more versatility in being able to spend at any merchant that accepts credit cards, American Express and Visa Gift Cards are my other preferred option. They will both involve Purchase Fees ($3-$7) when purchased online or in a physical store, and Shipping Fees if purchased online. I depend on these gift cards for higher amounts, because I know I can spend them anywhere.
For my last go with credit card applications, I got $3,000 worth of Amex gift cards because promo codes were available to waive the Purchase Fees.
If you shop at Amazon.com often, definitely consider an Amazon Gift Card as well. There are no fees and it will never expire. I went with a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card myself recently; I figured it’d take too long to use up if I went any higher.
Pre-Pay Bills That Accept Credit Cards
It depends on your service provider, but most utility bills can be paid via credit card now. None of my service providers charge extra fees for payment via credit cards, but if you you’re serviced by a smaller provider you should definitely double check.
I pay my electric, cell phone, and internet bills with a credit card. If allowed, you can opt to pay for multiple months in advance to help towards the minimum spending requirement. You’ll be left with a credit balance on your account, which will have charges deducted with each monthly cycle.
Pay Insurance Bills
Most of the time, you can also pay your auto, home and renter’s insurance with a credit card. You can usually pay for an entire year of renter’s insurance, which likely isn’t more than one to two hundred dollars, but every bit adds up.
Auto insurance is often charged every 6 months, so you can choose to pay for the entire year up front to help towards the minimum spend.
If you’re currently financing your home, many times the home insurance is charged towards your mortgage, so see about paying that up front separately if possible.
Pay Bills & Mortgage Through A 3rd Party
There are some 3rd party services out there that will help you pay for various bills using a credit card. Essentially, you’ll be paying the 3rd party service with your credit card and they will send off a check on your behalf to pay for those various bills that don’t typically accept credit card payments directly. Typically the 3rd party service will charge a convenience fee of 2.5% to 3.0%, so you’ll have to take that into account when using this option to meet your minimum spend for credit cards.
One 3rd party service to look into is Plastiq.com. They charge a 2.5% fee for credit cards when you use them to pay for all sorts of things, like rent, college tuition, private schools, and business expenses. They make the 2.5% off of you using your credit card, and they send a check or make a bank transfer for payment on your behalf.
The other popular 3rd party option was Tio, but they have suspended operations as of this update.
Pay Income Taxes
Many of the tax payment service providers listed on the IRS website will accept credit cards as payments. You just have to weigh in the convenience fees that are involved. Typically there’s a 2-3% processing fee involved.
Pay Property Taxes
Depending on which state you live in, this can be a huge chunk towards your minimum spending requirement. Unfortunately, you also have to weigh in the processing fees that usually apply.
Pay Student Loans
It’s usually an option with common lenders, but it’s also commonplace to incur processing fees as well here.
Of course this option depends on the property you’re staying at, but some do allow credit card payments. I would say most didn’t allow credit card payments when I was renting in the past. When it was allowed, there was always an extra processing fee involved.
Hopefully you’re using a rewards credit card to pay when you’re eating out regardless, but this is obviously important if your card earns extra rewards on the Dining category.
If you’re dining out with friends and everyone is chipping in, see how many would like to hand you cash and then you can charge that total on your card.
You can get a tax deduction, earn points and meet spending requirements on your cards, and of course feel good about helping a cause. Cards like the US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card offer extra points on charitable contributions also.
It’s typically recommended to place your business travel expenses on a separate business credit card, but you can also decide to use your personal card as well during the minimum spend period. Just remember to track those expenses for tax time.
Gas & Groceries
Plenty of credit cards will offer extra rewards on these categories anyway. There’s no reason not to pay for these everyday expenses with your credit cards.
So, you’ve made some healthy choices at the grocery store using your rewards credit card. Augment that healthy lifestyle with a gym membership and used your credit card to pay member fees.
Daycare centers usually allow for credit card payments, and this can be $1,000 or more each month towards your minimum spending.
PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash
You can send money to a family member or friend via PayPal, Venmo, or Square Cash using your credit card on file. There will be a fee accessed that’s typically 2.5% to 3%. Have your family/friend write you a check minus that fee.
Again, be cognizant of the fact that transferring money back and forth between the same users could likely be a red flag.
Some smaller local grocery stores will let you buy money orders using a credit card (many times without an extra charge). Then, just go deposit that money order back into your bank account.
If you’re in a big city, you’ll likely have a few highways that charge tolls using a regional toll tag. Aside from reloads, see about prepaying additional dollars to your account.
I’m throwing this in here to give some updated information as to why this isn’t really a good option anymore. You used to be able to buy Vanilla Reload packs with credit cards in order to reload your Prepaid Cards. Retailers have become quite strict on this now, allowing only cash or debit cards to be used for purchasing reload packs.
Please leave a comment below if you have any other great ideas on how others can meet the minimum spending requirements for their credit card bonus. Thanks!