If you enjoy traveling and going on free trips, you may be someone who likes travel hacking. One part of travel hacking is hitting those credit card minimum spend requirements, which can be difficult. The old-fashioned way is to spend that money, but not all of us have that money.
Finding unique ways to spend money may take time and effort. Learning to spend money and use it for free travel can be a tool to help you save money. This article will offer various ways to help you meet those credit card minimum spend requirements.
What is the Credit Card Minimum Spend?
With the massive points and miles you can gain from credit card sign-up bonuses, you will need to meet minimum spending if you are not wealthy and have a good bit of money; that is fine. If you do not, you must figure out how to spend that money without debt.
When trying to hit those credit card minimum spends, being creative with your money is first. Those bonuses could be over $1,000, but we would have to pay around $3,000 to $4,000 in 90 days.
For example, the Capital One Venture X card offers 75,000 points if you spend $4,000 in three months. That is $750 if you use it as cash, but if you transfer it to partners, that amount can be closer to $1,000 to $1,350. Some transfer partners' value would be around 1.8 cents per mile.
As you can see, just spending that $4,000 in three months can give you at least $750 worth of value. Not all of us can hit that $4,000 in three months, which is where creative spending comes in to help.
10 Ways to Hit The Credit Card Minimum Spend
Here are several ways you can use to be creative with your spending to hit that credit card minimum spend.
Pay For Friends and Family
One of my favorite ways is to pay for things for my friends and family. It is easy and convenient. You go out to dinner with friends and put everything on your card. Then you have the friends pay for their portion of the meal.
I was doing something for a couple of friends to help a friend pay for a flight using your credit card. It helped them out, and it helped to hit some minimum spending.
If you live in a shared home, you could put all the bills on your card and have the other tenants pay you their portion. You are not paying more on bills, but it looks like it to the credit card companies.
Visa Gift Cards to Cash
Buying a Visa or Mastercard gift card can also hit the minimum spend. There is usually an activation charge of anywhere from $5-10 per card, but it is worth it when earning money through points.
These gift cards can be used to be spent anywhere. They are like credit cards, but only up to the cash value. Many stores are cracking down on the $500 Visa gift card, so it is better to go with a lower amount.
Purchase Store Gift Cards Cards
If you want to do something other than the Visa Gift Cards, you could always choose gift cards from a store you visit often. Early, I mentioned buying Amazon gift cards. The same thing is true for other stores as well.
Purchasing gift cards from the stores, you frequent often can help you hit those minimum spends. You will already be spending that money at the store shortly, so you might get a gift card to help with your minimum spend technique and strategy.
Bill Pay Services
As rent and housing payments are some of the most significant expenses we may have, you can use services to help pay those bills if you spend a little extra. Services like Plastiq and Melio can help you pay your rent for a small fee. Many Bill pay services out there can help you hit those credit card minimum spend.
Pay For Gym and Media Subscriptions
Many of us go to the gym and watch Netflix or Disney+. It is a part of life. So why not make a little extra on those bills we pay. Using your credit as the default payment can help hit that required credit card minimum spend. We are already paying for these items; we could get some points out of it.
Do you own your own business? Even if you own your own business or not, you could put expenses on your credit card and get reimbursed if the company approves of it. If you need to travel for business, you could have the company reimburse you, and you put the expenses on your card.
I worked for a man that asked me to do these things. He wanted me to earn a percentage of the spending, and he would reimburse the expenses. It was a great way to hit the minimum spend requirements from just purchasing things for the business.
Open a Bank Account
You can open a bank checking account with a credit card. A couple of bank accounts allow individuals to use credit card money to fund bank accounts. It may cost $250 or more, but depositing this money will enable you to open a bank account and earn a little more through bank account bonuses.
That is like killing two birds with one stone. You can hit the minimum spend and earn a bank bonus.
Tax time is only sometimes the favorite time of the year. Each year, we must dread or get excited about doing tons of paperwork to either pay taxes we owe or to get a refund.
Did you know you pay your taxes with a credit card? Tax time is one of the best times to use a credit card to hit a sign-up bonus. The fees range from 1.87%-1.98%. There is a percentage added on top, but it is pretty minimum. It all depends on the third-party vendor.
If you want to earn money on the side, you might pay a small fee to hit the big bonus.
Pay a Friend (Paypal and Venmo)
One of the last ways to hit the minimum spend is by paying a friend through Paypal or Venmo. It is not free to send money via credit card to a friend via these methods. There is a fee attached to it. It can be a great way to spend some money. You may need to pay for some things, and you can use Paypal or Venmo instead use your credit card.
Some credit cards have category bonuses at certain times of the year, and Paypal will be on that. If you use your card during those times, the fee negates each other.
If you are looking to make a big purchase shortly, like a wedding, honeymoon, furniture for a home, or anything, then this could be the perfect time to hit that credit card bonus. These big purchases are already preplanned, so why not grab those additional points along the way.
Hitting the minimum spend does not have to take much brain power as we think about the things we already need. Recently, I used a credit card to help pay for a country visa, which helped me hit a minimum spend.
Beware of Over Spending
Travel hackers will use these methods to earn cashback rewards, perks, and bonus points to travel for free or try to get a free business class or first-class flight ticket. Realize that you need the money in your budget to cover the expenses.
Even if you are paying for meals, make sure to receive money from those people to cover the bill. Make sure you spend your money wisely and avoid debt.
Combining Points For More Returns
If you can, pair up the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card or the Chase Freedom Card and one of the Chase Sapphire cards. With these cards combined, you can use those points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards to book cheap and free flights. It is an excellent reward for hitting these bonus points.
Many travel rewards credit cards have similar things to Chase credit cards. American Express, Citi, and Capital One cards have many bonuses and perks that you can also take advantage of. These cards are some of the best travel cards out there.
Hitting the minimum spend on credit cards allows you to hit the bonuses. The bonuses help many users that may be frequent flyers use a card offer to help them purchase cheap airfare for travel.
Travel hackers like signing up for new credit cards to earn bonuses and redeem rewards. Through these minimum-spend activities, they can take advantage of credit card offers to get cashback rewards or bonus miles to fly for free. The card companies want more people to spend, and those that play the game know how to redeem these offers for travel. It is a game that allows them to fly cheaper.
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I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.