7 Simple Ways to Meet Minimum Spending on a Credit Card Without Breaking a Sweat

I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).

Key links:

There’s no quicker and easier way to earn a large amount of miles quickly than with a new credit card.

It’s not super complicated and you probably have access to more spending that you can put on a credit card than you think — so it’s far less daunting to meet credit card minimum spending requirements than you think in order to earn a signup bonus, two of my current favorite bonuses are:

  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers 50,000 points — which transfer to a variety of airlines and hotels — after $4000 in spending within 3 months.

  • Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card offers 80,000 points after $5000 spend within 3 months and earns triple points on the first $150,000 spend on travel, telecommunications, shipping and advertising on social-media and search engines. It even comes with protection for your cell phone if you buy it using the card.

You may be trying to stretch spend though for the initial bonus of up to 100,000 points from the The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN — that requires $10,000 spend within 3 months for the first 50,000 points and an additional $15,000 spend within the same 3 months for the next 50,000 points. (It wa
s a limited-time offer through August 8, 2018. Offer expired.)

Between the signup bonuses and all the points earned from spending — and spending category bonuses — a plurality of miles are awarded by banks, no longer from flying.

With the points from Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card you could transfer 80,000 to Korean Air and book a roundtrip business class award to Europe on Air France or KLM. You could transfer Chase Sapphire Preferred to British Airways and book short haul flights in Europe or Asia starting at 4500 points on BA, Iberia, Finnair, Cathay Pacific, JAL or Malaysia Airlines. You could transfer to Singapore Airlines for Suites awards from Europe to Asia or book US domestic first class on United for just 20,000 miles each way.

To earn upfront bonuses you have to meet minimum spending requirements with most of the more lucrative cards. And that can limit the cards you can get.

When I started with miles and points there were no minimum spending requirements. A dozen years ago we started to see $250 (Chase) and $750 (Citibank) minimum spend requirements. Since then the amount of spending required has gone up. There are three reasons for this.

  1. Getting you used to using a card, and even using it exclusively, is a way to get you in the habit of pulling out that card and keeping it top of wallet.

  2. It focuses the card on higher spend customers. More expensive cards need people who spend a lot on them in order to be profitable.

  3. And it serves as a barrier to some people that would just sign up for the bonus and move on to the next bonus.

However it’s really not hard to meet minimum spend requirements for signup bonuses. And you don’t need to do complex things, either.

  • You probably spend more than you think. So focus on the card you’re trying to meet minimum spend with. When adding up spend over a number of months the amounts start to sound big (“I don’t spend $4000!”) but when you break it down over time more people spend $1333 a month than realize it, especially adding up across different card products.

  • Make sure you pay all your bills with a credit card, including your utilities. Break out of path dependency, if there’s anything you pay by check, via billpay, or ACH you should check to see whether it’s possible to pay by credit card.

  • Only get one card at a time. If that’s all the spend you can handle. Know how much you can easily spend, spread that out over new cards, and wait to get your next card until you are sure you have the available spending capacity.

  • Plastiq for rent or car payments or mortgage but that’s MasterCard only. Once your biggest bills can go on a credit card it’s much easier to meet spend requirements.

    They charge 2.5% to charge your credit card (purchase) and mail a check for your bills. They also run promotions with lower fees.

  • Prepay your bills. Since you have a specific period of time — from card approval (date the account is created) to the deadline for earning the bonus — you may want to pull future bills into the present. Spending from month four, five or six can be paid in month three if you need to in order to meet a spending requirement and you have the cash flow to do it.

  • Pay quarterly taxes or end of year taxes due. Some people even overpay their taxes (make a quarterly payment) and get a refund later. Pay1040 charges 1.87% and PayUSATax charges 1.98%.

  • Reimbursable business expenses. Some people are required to use company credit cards or purchasing cards, but even there are you required to do it for all business spend? And how firm is the requirement?

    If you can use personal credit cards, and your company is stable (can reimburse you) and expeditious (will do so quickly enough) then you may want to put as many work expenses on a personal card as possible. That could be air, hotel, ground transportation and meals but perhaps you can even put business purchases — equipment, advertising, computers — on your card? See what precedents there are with other employees, what your boss will support, and what policies are in place.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. Prepaying is my go to strategy – can easily put $500-$1,000 each if needed on cable bill, wireless and Amazon. There is also prepaying power bill, water bill and natural gas if needed! All of these are no extra charge for credit cards except for power, which is only $2!

  2. I stick with the lower minimum spend cards until I know I have a big purchase coming up, i.e medical bills. I got 3 new cards right now, AS card (1K spend), Delta Gold (3K spend), and BofA Premium Rewards (3K spend). Not a problem since my dog, yes my dog, is having a total hip replacement. Also had a bunch of airfare to purchase with Delta for the upcoming months. 7K spend knocked out in a month!

  3. Buy gift cards at businesses you know you’ll go to for sure – (e.g. grocery, gas stations, target, etc.), buy things that you’ll consume that won’t spoil (wine, whiskey!), and if it’s the 11th hour and you’re still thousands short of spending requirements, you can book $3000 fully-refundable ticket 11-months out!

  4. I get a new card every year when my car insurance is due. It is a quick 1 payment to get most bonuses.

  5. Another pump ccs with no useful advice. Item 1 isn’t even a way to meet spend. A couple others are only if you have a real business. Another is only for mastercard so mostly another blogger trying to get cc signups.

    For the vast majority of people $10k spend in 3 months is unrealistic. And for many even 5k is tough since getting mortgages paid by cc isn’t easy.

  6. Rich…So for an average person 1k a month should be a snap if not you should not be in hobby. Throw in a few prepayments or car insurance and 5K is not that hard.

    Cool thing about advice is you can take it or leave it…but whining is never dignified

  7. If I get a Business card is it possible to transfer the miles earned to a personal
    miles account with AA etc or do the miles have to accumulate in the Business name
    until they reach an amount that can be used ? Alternatively do I add my personal
    AA number when I apply for the card and the miles will then automatically
    appear in my AA account ?

  8. @Larry: LOL

    “Cool thing about advice is you can take it or leave it…but whining is never dignified”

    Love that one. I’m gonna steal that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *