The easiest way to earn miles and points would be through Credit Card Signup bonus. Most of these offers requires some minimum spend in a short amount of time for the sign up bonus.
You do not want to make unnecessary purchases for the sake of meeting minimum spending, this would certainly defeat the purpose. As a reminder, follow these 4Ss before applying for Credit Cards.
This post will provide you tips to help you meet the minimum spending on Credit Cards without breaking the bank. I would like to divide these techniques in to 3 parts
Basic: Techniques without any additional time and cost
Advanced: Techniques that may involve an additional cost or processing fee
Expert: Techniques that involve some planning, fees and risk
#1: Plan your Credit Card Applications
When you apply for Credit Cards, do a little bit of planning upfront. If you are already working on other Minimum spend requirements, you may want to hold off on new applications if possible.
#2: Make purchases in India
Some Credit Card offers “No Foreign Transaction fees” as one of the benefit. If you end up travelling to India while working on the Minimum spending, use that Credit card for your purchases in India rather than transferring your USD to India. Of course, Credit Cards are not widely accepted in India as USA.
If you are not travelling, but your significant other, you could add your significant other as an Authorized user.
#3: Add Authorized users
You could add your friend/family member as an Authorized user to help you meet the minimum spend requirement. Remember that, you are still responsible for paying the Authorized user charges, so Choose your Authorized users judiciously.
#4: Shift all your spending
Cashback Credit Cards offer immediate returns. It is hard not to use Cash back credit cards, especially when that purchase could earn 5% cashback.
You may consider shifting all the spending from Cashback Cards to the credit card you need to complete minimum spend, unless you feel comfortable meeting the minimum spend requirements without shifting the spend.
#5: Pay your Auto/Renters Insurance with Credit Card
If you do not have a Cash flow problem, you may consider paying your entire Auto/Renters insurance premium with Credit Card rather than paying through monthly auto payment. Paying entire premium in one payment may also save some processing fees.
#6: If you shop at Wholesale stores like Cost Co, Sam’s Club
If you shop at Wholesale stores (Cost Co, Sam’s Club, BJ’s), stores only accept certain credit cards (Cost CO accepts American Express credit cards only, Sam’s Club Accepts Discover or Master Card Credit Card). Cost Co lets you buy Cost Co Cash cards using any Credit Card which can be used in their stores, similarly with Sam’s Club
#7: Buy Gift Cards
If you shop regularly at specific store, you may consider buying the Gift cards for future use. I am not a big fan of this method as this involves tracking your gift cards, but this may be useful to few.
#8: Get Reimbursed
If an opportunity arises within your close friends for any expenses, offer to pay the bill and have them pay you in cash. Also, if you travel for Business, consider using your personal Credit Card for the business expenses and get reimbursed from your Company.
#09: Medical Payments
If you have a Flexible Spending Account(FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) as part of your medical insurance, consider paying with your credit card for your medical expenses and get reimbursed
#10: Update Auto Payments
You might be paying your Cell Phone/Internet/ Cable payments through Auto pay. You may consider updating the Auto pay settings with the credit card you need to meet minimum spend.
#11: Apply for Amex- Serve
Serve is a Reloadable Pre-paid card that has a lot of features. For the purpose of meeting minimum spend, Serve will let you load your account with an American Express Credit Card only ($200/day and $1,000/month). Amex Serve loads with Amex Credit Cards will not earn points, but counts towards minimum spend.
There is no Credit Check to apply for Serve and monthly fee is waived when you use Direct Deposit or add $500 or more during your monthly statement period (excludes money received from another Accountholder)
#12: Buy Visa/Master Card gift cards
Many stores sells Visa/Master Card gift cards, these gift cards usually have a processing fee of about $6-7, but sometimes there are promotions where you could save money and meet the minimum spends.
Some Grocery stores sells $500 Gift Cards
#13: Pay Rent with Credit Card
Paying Rent through these services may also help improve your Credit history
#14: Pay Taxes
If you owe taxes to IRS, you can pay your taxes through any of these providers for a fee.
#15 Pay your Mortgage, Car Payment and Utility Payments with Credit Card
Chargesmart let you pay your Mortgage, Car Payments and Utility payments with a Credit Card for a fee.
These advanced techniques involve additional costs, but the additional cost may well worth the sign up bonus you could earn using these techniques.
These techniques involves some risk and may not work all the time. I would suggest not jumping in to these techniques without due diligence.
With the expert techniques, you can meet much higher minimum spends. I would share these techniques through an email (upon request).
It is not always possible to meet the minimum spend on Credit Cards with the regular spending. I would recommend starting with the basic techniques and proceed to advanced techniques if needed.
Expert techniques will be helpful if you are working on minimum spends for multiple credit cards.
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