23+ hacks to meet your credit card's minimum spend 2019 | finder.com
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25 tricks and hacks to meet your credit card’s minimum spending requirement

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Get your signup bonus more quickly with these tips.

There’s nothing like staring at a massive signup bonus and knowing it could be yours soon. The catch? You must spend a certain amount of money to claim it.

Some cards are tough to crack, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (you have to spend $4,000 in the first 3 months). Others offer an easier path, like the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card (you only have to spend $1,000).

Whatever the spending requirement, you’ll need reach it within a specified amount of time. Otherwise, your signup bonus is gone forever.

Our pick for a generous signup bonus

U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Travel Rewards® Card

  • Earn 25,000 enrollment FlexPoints worth $375 on airfare, hotel stays, car rentals and more. Just spend $2,000 in eligible net purchases on your card within the first four months of account opening.
  • 2x FlexPoints at gas stations, grocery stores or airlines – whichever you spend the most on each monthly billing cycle, and at most cell phone service providers.
  • 2x FlexPoints for your charitable donations
  • No foreign transaction fees*
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers an excellent 60,000-point signup bonus. But to get it, you have to spend $4,000 within the first three months.

You don’t want to spend money unnecessarily just to hit the minimum spending requirements. That might erase the value of your rewards altogether. Instead, deploy your card intelligently and spend mostly on the must-haves. That way, you’ll breeze by your spending requirement without shelling out extra dough.

Ready to hit that big payday? Here are 25 super-effective hacks to hit your minimum spending requirement.

Pay for the essentials

You’ll find that you can use your card to buy things you’d spend money on regardless. As much as you can, make those purchases with your new card.

1. Use your card all the time.

Now that you have a new card, start using it for everything. Whatever you’re buying — your morning latte, movie tickets or your next book for nighttime reading — charge it to your credit card. Of course, use your card for everyday purchases like gas and groceries.

You may even get bonus points or miles for certain types of spending. For example, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express gives you an eye-popping 6% cash back on groceries from US supermarkets. That’s a sweet bonus as you’re working toward your minimum spending requirement.

Image of the chase webpage showing more bonuses you can get with giftcard

2. Buy gift cards for your regular shopping.

Feel like you’re constantly making trips to a certain store? Consider using your credit card to buy gift cards for that location. You’ll get closer to your minimum spending requirement, and you can use the gift cards for purchases you’d make anyway.

For example, if you spend $100 a week at Target, you’ll spend over $1,000 within three months. You can use your credit card to buy a $1,000 Target gift card, then use the gift card for your shopping.

If you’re worried about carrying a gift card with a large amount of money on it, buy multiple gift cards with smaller dollar amounts. You may even be able to send your gift card to your email address or mobile phone.

butterfly print giftcard 1

Image of the Chase webpage on Step two how to pay with giftcard

Use this strategy at other locations you frequent, such as supermarkets and gas stations. A big plus: You don’t have to pay convenience fees for these gift cards, unlike with a Visa or American Express gift card.

How to avoid inadvertent cash advances

Some card providers classify gift card purchases as cash advances. You want to avoid cash advances as much as you can, because they’re typically very expensive.

To get around this, ask your credit card provider to set your cash advance limit to $0. Once you do this, any transaction coded as a cash advance will be declined.

3. Pay your bills.

Many utility, car insurance and health insurance companies allow credit card payments. And it’s virtually certain that you can use a card for your cable and phone bills. If you’ve been paying through your bank account, see if you can use your credit card instead.

4. Prepay your bills.

Most people don’t know this, but you can actually prepay some of your bills. Confirm whether your service providers allow prepayments. If they do, they probably limit how much you can prepay (though that limit will likely be high).

If you’re lucky, you may even get rewarded for paying early. Some providers — especially health insurance and car insurance companies — offer discounts if you buy coverage a few months at a time.

5. Use bill pay services.

You often can’t pay your mortgage, car loan or rent with a credit card. But other services can pay bills on your behalf, accepting payment via credit card.

TIO (formerly ChargeSmart) and Plastiq are two bill pay services you can try. For rent, look into RadPad, RentMoola and RentShare.

To use a credit card, you’ll typically have to pay a service fee of 2% or 3%. That said, this method could help you rack up spending quickly.

Screenshot of Radpad page on how to find a pad

After you load funds with a credit card, RadPad sends a check to your landlord.

Tax hacks

One unchanging fact of life is paying taxes to Uncle Sam. So why not time your credit card applications to coincide with tax season? That way, you can knock out your tax bill and quickly reach your card’s spending requirement.

6. Use a credit card processor to pay your taxes.

If you’re paying federal taxes, use one of the processors listed by the IRS that takes credit cards. If you’re paying state or property taxes, check out the service Official Payments.

There is a catch: Payment processors charge fees for credit card payments — for example, Pay1040.com charges a 1.87% fee. So consider using this method only if your card has a valuable signup bonus or you don’t owe much in taxes.

Screenshot of IRS webpage on how to pay your taxes with credit card

7. Pay your taxes in advance.

You can get a jump on your tax bill by paying taxes in advance. If you overpay, you’ll get a refund from the government after you file your tax return.

8. Pay quarterly taxes.

Most people pay their taxes once a year. But did you know that most sole proprietors — such as freelancers and consultants — pay taxes quarterly? These taxpayers have regular tax bills they can leverage to hit credit card spending requirements more quickly.

Why do sole proprietors pay taxes quarterly?

Not all sole proprietors pay quarterly taxes, but many do. You’re required to pay quarterly if you expect to owe $1,000 or more when you file your taxes.

Why does the government set this requirement? Because Uncle Sam wants to get paid year-round. If you’re an employee, taxes are withheld from each paycheck. But that doesn’t happen if you’re a sole proprietor.

If you’re an employee, you may be able to score this deal. First, form a sole proprietorship. Then ask your employer if they can pay you as a consultant or freelancer.

Get help from others

You don’t have to reach your spending requirement solo. In fact, you might be surprised how easy the process can be if you enlist your friends and family.

9. Add an authorized user.

If you regularly give money to your spouse or kids, consider adding them as authorized users to your credit card account. Their spending may count toward your minimum spending requirement. As an added sweetener, you might earn points, miles or cash back from their spending.

Ask your card provider for the scoop on adding authorized users. You may have to pay fees when adding new cards, so consider whether the cost is worth the rewards you’ll get. Finally, remember that you’re ultimately responsible for the debt accumulated by your authorized users.

10. Add your friends as authorized users.

It’s unusual to add your friends as authorized users, but you can do so if you need extra help hitting your spending requirement. Your buddies can spend on your card account and pay you back later.

11. Pay for dinner.

The next time that dinner check arrives, pay for the meal and ask your friends to pay you back. They can send you money using any one of the excellent payment apps out there, like Venmo, Circle and Google Wallet.

Google wallet screenshot showing how the webpage shows on the computer and the cellphone

Google Wallet is one of the best payment apps for domestic money transfers.

12. Buy things for your friends.

Ask your friends if they’re looking to make large purchases. Then buy the items and have your friends pay you back.

You can also try paying for your friends’ weekly expenses, such as their grocery bills. This might come with more hassle, though, as the purchases will be smaller, and you’ll probably need to be there in person.

Spend for the future

Certain expenses will come around sooner or later. Instead of waiting to spend money until you have to, spend while you’re trying to collect your signup bonus.

13. Book your holiday trip.

If you plan on taking a trip this (or next) year, consider charging it to your credit card. You can score some great deals if you book early, and you can usually cancel plans if you change your mind.

Some cards will give you bonus points or miles for travel spending. For example, the Amex Platinum Card offers 5x points when you book flights directly with airlines or through American Express Travel.

Is there a best time to buy and save on airfare?

According to a study by CheapAir.com, it’s best to buy a domestic flight 54 days out. The optimal timing varies for international flights — for example, 120 days out for Europe, 160 days for Asia and 70 days to Latin America.

14. Buy gifts in advance.

Birthdays and holidays come around like clockwork. That’s a good thing, because it means you can get a jump on your gift shopping. Plus you can avoid the holiday-season retail rush.

15. Maintain your car.

If you’ve put off maintenance on your car, it could be a good time to get an inspection. You can also perform necessary repairs that you’d have to do later anyway.

16. Update your home.

Have you been waiting for the “right time” to renovate your home? Consider getting the job done by charging a few purchases to your card — now’s a great time to change the carpets or replace old appliances.

Manufactured spending

Manufactured spending is a secret strategy in the travel-hacking community. In general, it involves buying things that you can easily liquidate to pay off your credit card.

Manufactured-spending strategies change all the time — especially when businesses and card providers make rules to circumvent them. Before using a method you see here, do some research to see if it’s still valid.

17. Buy money orders with your credit card.

If your supermarket allows it, you can use your credit card to buy a money order. Afterward, deposit the money order into your bank account and pay off your credit card bill.

Most supermarkets don’t allow this due to the potential for fraud — though some smaller ones will. Further, your card provider may classify money orders as cash advances, so first confirm that you won’t be hit with the fees associated with them.

18. Buy and resell items.

Consider using your credit card to buy merchandise — preferably at a discount — and then resell it.

Here’s a pro tip: Buy items through shopping portals like Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Shopping or United’s MileagePlus Shopping. This way, you can earn points on top of scooping up inventory.

southwest rapid rewards screenshot

Buy merchandise through Rapid Rewards Shopping and earn points for flights.

19. Open a bank account.

Some banks will let you use your credit card to make deposits into a new account. With this method, first make sure your bank allows deposits by credit card. Then make sure your card provider doesn’t classify your funding as a cash advance.

20. Gift card churning.

Gift card churning involves buying gift cards and then reselling them at a break-even price — or even a loss. You can buy and sell gift cards on platforms like Gift Card Granny, Cardpool and eBay.

21. Payment-app cycling.

If you need a little boost ahead of your minimum-spend deadline, try payment-app cycling. Just use your credit card to send money through an app like Venmo — then have your recipient send the money back to you. Most card providers code Venmo transfers as purchases, not cash advances.

Credit card transfers often come with fees. (On Venmo, for example, using a credit card costs 3% of the amount sent). That said, it’s best to use this strategy sparingly.

RIP: The Target REDcard hack

REDcard apply now screenshot

The Target REDcard™ Credit Card hack was an incredibly effective strategy back in the day. It involved getting a REDcard debit card, loading funds with a credit card and then using the debit card for everyday expenses. Many travel hackers turned the method into a manufactured spending strategy — they’d load their debit cards and quickly withdraw the money to their bank accounts.

Eventually, Target barred customers from loading REDcards with credit cards. When travel hackers started loading REDcards with Visa Gift Cards, Target eventually changed the rules to only allow cash loads.

Rest in peace, Target REDcard hack. It was great knowing you.

Other powerful hacks

While at the end of our list, these hacks are just as good as anything else you can try.

22. Peer-to-peer lending.

To reach your minimum spending requirement, you don’t have to spend money — you can lend it.

That’s where peer-to-peer (P2P) lending comes in. You’ll make loans to other people and be repaid with interest. It’s essentially a way to park and even get a return on your extra money. Just make sure that you won’t need the money for a while.

For P2P lending platforms, try Upstart, LendingClub or Prosper. If you’re OK with not earning a return on your money, consider microlending platforms like Kiva.

kiva webpage screenshot

23. Donate to charity.

Making charitable donations is a great way to get closer to your minimum spend. If you already donate every year, you now have a reason to do it earlier. And if you’re not a regular giver, you can become one now. As an added benefit, most charitable gifts are tax-deductible.

24. Buy general-use gift cards.

Visa or American Express gift cards are great choices because you can use them anywhere. Just remember that they have activation fees, and only buy them if your card provider doesn’t classify such purchases as cash advances.

25. Pay for business expenses.

You might use a company credit card for work-related expenses. If so, ask your employer if you can use your own credit card for those purchases and get reimbursed later.

Compare credit cards

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual Fee
2x points on travel and dining. 1x points on all other purchases
18.24% to 25.24% variable
$95
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent, then unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
17.24% to 25.99% variable
$0
Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on your purchases
15.24% to 26.24% variable
$0
Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
17.24% to 25.99% variable
$0
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.
N/A
14.24% variable
$0
Enjoy a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first 15 months, then a low ongoing APR of 14.24% variable.
3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit. 1x points on all other purchases
19.24% to 26.24% variable
$450
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%. 2% at US gas stations and select US department stores and 1% on all other purchases
15.24% to 26.24% variable
$0
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%. 3% at US gas stations and select US department stores and 1% on all other purchases
15.24% to 26.24% variable
$95
Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
5% on up to $2,000 each activated quarter on two categories combined (1% after), 2% on one everyday category and 1% on all other purchases
16.24% to 25.74% variable
$0
When you spend $500 on your card within the first 90 days, you’ll receive a $150 cash back bonus.
2x points on gas, groceries and airlines, whichever you spend the most on each month, 2x points on cell phone services and charities and 1x points on all other purchases
16.24% to 26.24% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($49 thereafter)
Earn 25,000 enrollment FlexPoints worth $375 in travel after spending $2,000 in the first 4 months.
2x miles at restaurants, on hotel stays and on purchases from United and 1x miles on all other purchases
18.24% to 25.24% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 40,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. Earn an additional 20,000 miles after spending $8,000 in the first 6 months.
5x points on flights booked directly or flights and hotels booked through American Express Travel. 1x points on all other purchases
None (Charge Card)
$550
Get 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5x points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. Rates & Fees
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
17.99% to 26.99% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
30,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
2x miles at US restaurants and on purchases made directly with Delta and 1x miles on all other purchases
17.99% to 26.99% variable
$0
Earn 10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
17.99% to 26.99% variable
$0
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
12x points on Hilton Portfolio spending, 6x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
17.99% to 26.99% variable
$95
Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
5% back at US office supply stores and on US wireless telephone services on up to $50,000 annually (then 1%). 3% on a chosen category on up to $50,000 annually, then 1% after and on everything else
14.49%, 19.49% or 21.49% variable
$0
Save on interest with a 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months. After that your APR will be 14.49%, 19.49% or 21.49% variable.
2x points on everyday business purchases on up to $50,000 annually, then 1x points
15.49%, 18.49% or 21.49% variable
$0
Earn 2x Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases on up to $50,000 with no category restrictions.
4x points on two categories on up to $150,000 in combined purchases annually, then 1x points after that and on all other purchases
16.49%, 20.49% or 24.49% variable
$295
Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of card membership.
1.5% discount when you pay early, with no cap on what you can earn back
None (Charge Card)
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($250 thereafter)
Get a 1.5% discount when you pay early, with no cap on what you can earn back.
2x points on purchases through Amex Travel and 1x points on all other purchases
None (Charge Card)
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 5,000 Membership Rewards® points after your first purchase on the card within the first year of card membership.
6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels; 4x points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and on US wireless telephone and shipping services; 2x points on all other purchases
17.99% to 26.99% variable
$125
Earn 100,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.
5x points on flights and prepaid hotels through Amex Travel, 1.5x points if you spend $5,000 on a single eligible purchase on up to 1 million additional points per year and 1x points on all other purchases
None (Charge Card)
$595
Earn 50,000 points after spending $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after spending an additional $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 2x miles on every purchase made directly with Delta and earn 1x miles on all other purchases
17.99%, 21.99% or 26.99% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new card within your first 3 months. Plus earn $50 after you make your first Delta purchase in the same timeframe.
2x miles on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
17.99%, 21.99% or 26.99% variable
$195
Earn 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) plus 35,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
2x miles on direct Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
17.99%, 21.99% or 26.99% variable
$450
Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months.
12x points at Hilton hotels, 6x points on select business and travel purchases and 3x points on all other purchases
17.99% to 26.99% variable
$95
Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card membership.
1% cash back to your choice of nonprofits, K-12 schools, colleges and religious organizations
16.24% to 22.24% variable
$0
1% cash back to the nonprofits, K-12 schools, colleges and religious organizations of your choice.
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1.5% for cash back
17.24% variable
$495
Receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1% for cash back
17.24% variable
$195
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare or cash back
17.24% variable
$995
Earn 2% point value when redeemed for airfare or cash back through the Luxury rewards program.
2x miles on all purchases
18.24%, 22.24% or 25.24% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($89 thereafter)
Enjoy 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
3% cash back on up to $10,000 in the first 12 months, then 1.5% on all purchases
15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% variable
$0
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. See Rates and Fees.
N/A
14.24%, 20.24% or 25.24% variable
$0
An 15 months 0% intro APR period on both purchases and balance transfers, plus zero foreign transaction fees, makes this is a strong well-rounded card. See Rates and Fees
15.24% to 26.24% variable
$0
Build your credit with no fees: Apply if you're new to credit or have a fair to good score.
See terms
See terms
The First Access Card is a true Visa® credit card that does not require perfect credit for approval.
1% cash back on all purchases or in categories based on Credit One Bank’s discretion
20.24% to 26.24% variable
$0 to $99
Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases.
Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services such as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV.
20.24% to 26.24% variable
$0 to $99
Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services such as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV.
Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases and double cash back rewards at the NASCAR.com Superstore
20.24% to 26.24% variable
$0 to $99
Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases and double cash back rewards at the NASCAR.com Superstore.
See terms
$0 to $99
The Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card is specifically designed for those with less than perfect credit.
9.99% fixed
$48
This secured card can help you rebuild your credit with an initial deposit of $200 to $1,000.
19.64% variable
$35
A secured Visa® credit card that helps you build your credit quickly.
N/A
14.74% variable
$39
No minimum credit score and no credit history required.
N/A
10.74% variable
$49
Build or rebuild your credit with this secured card.

Compare up to 4 providers

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MikeJune 16, 2018

    I has bought 14k in gift cards from giftcards.com. I carried them on my trip to Florida recently. Used a few of my gift cards.. Used a few to transfer the funds via venmo. After transfer I destroyed the cards and threw them. Venmo has frozen my account and has transferred the money back to the card that I had used.. Is there a way to get that card details back I have lost $3000…. Please help… Don’t have more details.. Will giftcards. Com be of any help

    • Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloJune 16, 2018

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      It would be best if you can clarify your question with giftcards.com. They might ask you for the email you have previously used for their website so they can pull up your account. I’m sure if you can give them the info they need, they might be able to help you with your concern.

      Cheers,
      Joel

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