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One of the most effective ways to boost your miles or points account is with the help of a new credit card. Credit cards often come with a sign-up bonus, in return for a minimum spending requirement – usually within 90 days of opening the account. While these bonuses are extremely lucrative, the spending requirements can seem, at times, a bit daunting. It can appear that having to spend $3,000, $4,000, or even $5,000 on a credit card within 3 months is putting these sign-up incentives out of our reach. But the reality is that most of us don’t even realize how much we actually spend in just one month. Below are some of the strategies I follow to ensure I meet these requirements.
Meet Credit Card Bonus Spending Requirement
One thing I always do when I want a specific credit card is to wait for that bonus to increase. Credit card companies do this on an irregular basis to attract new customers. Usually, the bonus will increase, but not the spending requirement. This strategy may not help me meet the spending requirement, but it does help justify the effort of focusing all of my spending on a single card for about a quarter of a year.
Call The Credit Card Issuer
The first thing after being approved for a new credit card account is to immediately call the card issuer and ask for expedited processing and shipping. The typical 90 day (sometimes longer) timeline starts the day you were approved for the card, so the odds are instantly against you, especially if you have to wait 7-10 business days just to receive the card. Chase is really good about expediting cards and they usually arrive just 48 hours later. American Express used to be really good about it, but now claim they cannot expedite a card once approved. This makes absolutely zero sense to me, but ok. Either way, if you can get the card expedited, you’re already ahead of the game and will have a much easier time meeting the requirement.
Pay All Bills With New Card
You should already pay most of your bills with a credit card. Paying all bills by credit card is not realistic simply because there are usually fees involved when doing so. Cell phone providers now even provide incentives to pay your bill by debit card or checking account, which more than negates any potential points or cash back earned. But whichever bills you can still pay by credit card, penalty free, you should pay with your new card. The best way to do this is by automating the payments.
Add The Card To Mobile Wallets Immediately
The next thing to do is to add the card to your “Mobile Wallet” (i.e. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.), as well as to your PayPal, Uber and Lyft accounts. You do not want to wait until you use these services and then realize the card isn’t in it. You’ll be more likely to just use a different card for that transaction than to add it right then and there. This is because when using these types of accounts, or wallets, you’re more than like on the go and really don’t have time to pull out your card and input a bunch of numbers. Simply take 5 minutes after opening that envelope, sit down, and take care of all your digital accounts and wallets.
Offer Friends/Family To “Pick Up The Tab”
This one may seem familiar. That’s because it’s also part of a good strategy to earn some free points on the side. Whenever out and about with friends or family and stopping for a bite to eat or drink, simply offer to pay the bill and the split it later. The Square Cash app is a really good tool to split the bill later; an alternative of course being PayPal or good old fashioned cash. There is no harm in being honest about the intent either; most friends or family members will probably understand and will not mind helping you out in this way, mainly because it really makes no difference to them in the end.
Another really good strategy is to time the credit card application to major life events. Granted, this may not always be possible when waiting for that credit card bonus increase, but when it is possible, that’s golden! If you have a family vacation planned for August or September, you probably have money set aside specifically for that event. That makes it a prime opportunity to sign up for a new card right now, because you’ll have a much easier time to meet the spending requirement. Any type of major event will suffice, such as a wedding, birthday, major holiday or a family reunion. These events are typically not cheap and are amazing opportunities to earn some major points and miles, and with that, help meet credit card bonus spending requirements.
Add Authorized Users
This one is to be carefully thought, and talked, through. But adding a spouse, for instance, as an authorized user on a card is a surefire way to increase spending on it. When it comes to siblings, parents, or extended family members or even friends, just make sure to have a plan and talk things through with them. Money can be a crucial factor for conflict in the even tightest of relationships and no sign-up bonus in the world is large enough to justify an argument with a friend or relative. One tool to facilitate a little peace of mind is to add a spending limit to authorized users.
If all else fails, and you still find yourself short just a week before the deadline, consider purchasing gift cards at retailers you frequent. Amazon is usually a safe bet for me. One great tool to purchase gift cards on the fly is the United MileagePlus X app, which let’s you purchase gift cards at dozens of retailers and earn United MileagePlus miles while doing so. You should be using the app already, as it allows you to easily double – or even triple dip on points and miles on a single transaction.
Credit card spending requirements are not that hard to meet as they may seem – even without special strategies. Our bills and everyday spending are usually more than enough to do the job. But when it comes to sign-up bonuses, it’s better to be safe that sorry. The last thing you want is to be $20 short of 70,000 miles. Keep in mind that transactions need to have posted in order to count. Credit card transactions are usually in “pending” status for several business days before clearing. Plan to not count on the last 3 or 4 days before the deadline, as transactions placed within that timeframe are a hit or miss to count towards the spending requirement.
What helps you meet credit card bonus spending requirements?