You have several thousands of dollars to spend in just three short months!
Well, don’t fear, this article is all about learning the best ways to meet your minimum spending requirements so that you can get your bonus points and miles as soon as possible!
Here are a few of the best ways to generate credit card spending without breaking the bank:
This method is all about reallocating spending you already have. Just about everyone has to pay for groceries, eating out, cell phone bills, utilities, rent/mortgage, a big purchase, insurance and even taxes. If you don’t have any of those expenses, congratulations… you need to tell me your secrets!!!
This is the best type of spending to use for meeting your minimum spend because it’s money you were going to spend anyway! All you’re doing is shifting spending from cash, a debit card, or an old credit card onto your new one! This method can be a slow one, but if you’re careful with shifting your spending you can gradually and easily meet your requirements on most cards. This is also something to keep in mind if you have a large purchase or expense coming up because that down payment on the new car you were going to buy or kitchen remodel you were planning on doing can easily knockout one or two spending requirements in one shot! There are also ways of using your credit card for expenses that traditionally do not allow you to use credit cards such as mortgages, rent, utilities and taxes. In addition, if you shifted over from using cash or a debit card for your expenses, you get the added bonus of earning miles or points on your purchases! For most cards, this means you’ll get at least 1% of all your purchases back in rewards or cash back. Don’t throw away free money!
However, if there’s one thing I DO NOT want my readers doing, it’s spending tons of money they wouldn't have otherwise spent just to get bonus points. Travel hacking is an incredibly fun and exciting hobby, but it is absolutely not worth it if you’re going to be paying super high interest rates on unpaid credit card balances and going into debt. In fact, before anyone even begins this hobby, feel free to contact us for free advice about managing debt, understanding and improving your credit. We’re here to help!
The Power of Prepaying
Prepaying expenses is the practice of paying for expenses before you actually need to pay them. For example, if you have a $1,000 rent payment you could prepay 2 months in advance and generate $2,000 of early spending on your credit card and get your bonus sooner. The same goes for other recurring expenses. Some people even like to buy gift cards for restaurants they know they will be visiting in the future or even pay their cell phone bill a few months in advance.
Here’s my only caveat: ONLY prepay expenses if you can afford to float the costs until the time comes when you would normally pay the expenses. The key to being a successful travel hacker is to make sure you ALWAYS PAY OFF YOUR CREDIT CARD BALANCES so you pay no interest and minimize any debt along the way. Earning points and flying for free is fun, but sky-high credit card interest will cancel out the benefits!
Be disciplined and be diligent and you’ll be in the air and on your way in no time!
This is a smart and easy way to score a few hundred or even thousands of dollars in spending and points. The idea here is to “borrow” the spending of friends and family members. Popular examples include picking up an expensive tab at a group meal and having everyone pay you cash instead, asking a kind and generous parent to let you pay for their roof repair, or paying for a friend’s flight (and then later teach them how to travel hack too)!
Personally, I live a pretty frugal life, so I can appreciate the struggle of creating spending out of thin air. Fortunately, I have been able to borrow thousands of dollars in bills from friends and family. Sometimes I even give them a kickback of a few bucks for helping me out! In practice, I have found that lots of people are willing to help you out if you ask nicely, and just remember to spread the love and pay it forward along the way!
Utilizing Utilities & Maximizing Mortgages
This category is for those who have a mortgage payment, rent, utilities, student loans or any other bill or expense that’s traditionally non-payable via credit card. However, there is a way to pay these things with a credit card!
The short version is that there’s a bill pay service called Plastiq which allows you to pay bills using a credit card for a fee (about 2.5%) and they send a check or send a bank transfer to whatever company you’re trying to pay for you. If you’re suspicious and want to know if they’re reputable, then that’s a perfect reaction! Always be careful and skeptical about giving out your credit card info, but the good news is that Plastiq is indeed reputable and they have thousands of users (and I’m one of them)!
While the 2.5% standard fee isn’t worth it for most people to use Plastiq’s service all the time, it is a nice backup to have if you need to shift some spending from expenses you already have like rent or a loan.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Plastiq has a referral program. If people sign up using your referral link and meet the requirements, you both get what Plastiq calls their fee-free dollars (FFDs). FFDs are exactly what they sound like – money (dollars) that you can use for payments that don’t get charged the 2.5% fee. If you can get a nice amount of referrals, this can be a great backup plan if you have a large spending requirement or want to meet your spending requirements for different cards over time.
Here’s my referral link, but feel free to share your own with your friends!
Banking on Bank Bonuses
One of my favorite ways by far to meet credit card minimum spending requirements is to open up a new bank account with a bank that has a bonus promotion going on where they give you a few hundred dollars (some as high as $500!) for opening up a new account.
without the charge being considered a cash advance by your credit card company.
I have been able to this multiple times over the years and in total, I have generated over $5,000 worth of spending while earning over $2,000 in new bank account bonuses!
What makes this method so awesome is that you get the best of both worlds: You meet your credit card minimum spending requirements to get your sign-up bonus AND you get the added bonus of earning a few hundred dollars from your bank account bonus!
Here are a few things to watch out for:
Cash Advance Fees - always lower your cash advance limit to the minimum before trying this
Early Account Closure Fees - many banks require you to keep it open at least 3 - 6 months
Opening/Closing too many Bank Accounts - many banks can know how many bank accounts you've opened or closed recently (Chex report), so don't abuse it or you could get denied!
Special Requirements to Activate Bonus - these include setting up direct deposit, recurring monthly transfers, high minimum account balances for a certain length of time, and/or making a certain number of debit card purchases (message us for tips)
Monthly Account Maintenance Fees - you should always look up how to get these waived
Bank Account Bonuses are Taxed - It's not a huge amount, but still something to be aware of
Targeted Offers - you can only get certain offers if you were sent a special email or received a special invitation in the mail with a coupon code (so don't be too quick to throw these away!)
Another little-known trick you can pay your taxes you own with a credit card! The IRS website even has a section for this and charges about a 2% fee. Like Plastiq, this is not a great option if you’re just looking to earn a few extra credit card points and miles, but if you need to meet a minimum spend, the rewards you get will outweigh what you lose in fees. This can be a great option to consider if you own your own business.
What Are Yours ???
Please let us know if you have some awesome tips or tricks of your own you'd like to share!
How To Meet Credit Card
Minimum Spending Requirements