Just a few weeks ago, you got a new credit card. Your main focus was hitting the $2,000, $3,000, $4,000 or higher minimum spend and receive the sign-up bonus. As soon as the points hit your account, you could book the vacation you had already planned. Seems like a distant memory, right? But, wait, you still need to hit that minimum spend while staying at home and/or practicing proper social distancing. Today, we explore ideas how to hit the spend without leaving your house!
Confirm Minimum Spend
Even without travel restrictions in place, the first rule of any minimum spend requirement is messaging or chatting the issuing bank and confirming the deadline for hitting your minimum spend. While the relevant time period (typically 1-3 months) begins the day of approval, you also typically have more than the allotted time period to hit your minimum spend. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred requires a $4,000 spend in 3 months, yet Chase typically allows 100 days or more. You should contact the bank to confirm the time period and get this answer in writing.
Prepay Monthly/Annual Expenses
Once you know the deadline for your minimum spend, the focus switches to spending the money. PSA: It is NOT advisable to spend money you would not normally spend in order to hit a minimum spend requirement (MSR). First, look at your typical monthly spending and your bills. If available, pay your cellphone, cable/internet, electric/gas, car/home/rental insurance, and any monthly subscription services with your credit card. Second, if you have the resources to do so, you can prepay these bills to knock out large portions of the MSR. Third, use this card for groceries, gas, food delivery services, takeout, etc.
Pay Expenses for Family/Friends
We all have that one friend or family member that prefers to use cash. Now is the time to reach out to them and ask if you can pay any bills or large expenses on your credit card! Obviously, you should only do this if you trust this person. Also, it is advisable to collect the cash BEFORE making any charges on your credit card.
While not the best practice when hitting a MSR, you can buy gift cards to your favorite retailers (Walmart, Target, Amazon, travel companies, Dunkin’, Starbucks, Chipotle, etc.) for future use. This allows you to spend money NOW that you would spend LATER. Two things to remember about gift cards: 1) do NOT plan to hit an Amex minimum spend requirement (MSR) by buying gift cards; and, 2) only buy gift cards if you have no other way to hit the MSR and you know you’ll spend this money at a particular merchant anyway. Again, it is never advisable to spend money you wouldn’t normally spend just to hit a MSR. The sign-up bonus is not worth accumulating debt!
Bill Payment Service
Bill payment services, such as Plastiq, allow you to use your credit card to pay bills that normally do not allow payment via credit card. Plastiq allows you to pay student loans, rent, car payments, mortgage payments (Mastercard only), any many others with a credit card. Plastiq has a 2.5% charge, but regularly runs specials that bring the fee down to as low as 1.0%. Visa and Mastercard have few restrictions on Plastiq (Visa typically does not allow mortgage payments). Amex, however, only allows payments for
- Residential Rent
- Club Fees & Memberships
If you’ve never used Plastiq, sign up with our referral code: 607438. You receive $500 of fee-free payments!
While no one wants to stress about a minimum spend requirement right now, many of us signed up for credit cards just before “social distancing” became a part of our vocabulary and before we were stuck in our homes. We can’t undo the past, but we CAN hit a minimum spend from our homes! Come join our Facebook group for more tips and to ask any questions!
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