Sunday Reader Question: When Does the Clock Start Ticking on Credit Card Spend Bonuses?

by on February 5, 2012 · 14 comments

in Chase, Credit Cards, Sunday Reader Questions

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Update: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card sign-up bonus offer is now reduced to 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

TPG reader Buck writes:

“I just received my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card today. When does the 3 month clock start to get the 50,000 bonus points promo after $3,000 in spend? The day that I call the phone number to activate the card or did it start the day that I applied for the card?”

Per my official contact at Chase “The clock on the 3 months starts at account open date (approval date).” This may vary by issuer, but to be safe you should assume the day the account was created is the day the clock starts.

So if you get denied originally and then call the reconsideration line (like I had to do), then the clock starts the day you get approved. If you think you’ll have a hard time hitting the spend or if you are about to leave on a trip, you can always ask for them to expedite delivery of the card because sometimes it can take up to two weeks.

Another thing to consider: when I applied for the Ink Bold card, it was sent to the address I have on my Chase business checking account, which wasn’t where I wanted it sent. I spent almost a month tracking the card down (in between several international trips) and by the time I got it in my hands over 33% of my spend clock was gone. Always confirm with Chase that they have the correct address where you want the card sent.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Katherine Wu

    I was just thinking about trying to research this question too! Thanks to Buck for asking and TPG for answering of course. I think my approval date would be when I called them to verify some information on my application and they told me I was approved and what the credit limit was. My follow-up question is how to verify how much I’ve progressed towards the spending limit–is this something I can call them to have them check? I return a lot of things so I wanted to double check.

  • PJ

    Net the activation date
    Call to double check

  • The Wanderer

    When I get a new card, I always call to activate. While I have them on the phone, I confirm my card is registered for the proper bonus and what the terms of that bonus are. I also ask them what my activation date is, often saying that I want to know when my annual fee will be due the next year. One company, I can’t remember which, will not tell you the date because they say it is part of what they use to confirm identity. Although I think this is a ridiculous reason, you can still get them to tell you what date you need to complete your minimum spend by and then just subtract. I keep a spreadsheet with activation/renewal dates for each card along with minimum spend and required completion dates. If you want to check on your progress towards minimum spend, you can just call and they will look it up for you.

  • Brent

    When I called to activate my Chase INK the CSR told me I had 3 months from the day of activation

  • Gustav Schmidt

    It is 93 days from the date of approval not activation.

  • Anonymous

    CSRs make up answers all the time. My answer is directly from the source, so I wouldn’t bank on activation being the start of the clock

  • Chris

    For Amex, it is date of ACTIVATION, not approval.

  • fwoomp

    How do you tell what the approval date is? I never knew I was approved, I just randomly received the card in the mail (a loooong time after applying, incidentally–not very impressed with their lack of organization).

  • Anonymous

    Correct..which is what the post states

  • Anonymous

    You’d have to call to find out the exact date

  • Benthelefty

    I’ve gotten help with my chase rep before on my sapphire preferred spending. Download mint and it tracks everything…

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone know when the clock starts ticking for Citi? I received the card about a month ago but haven’t been home since then and just activated it this week. I’m thinking I might be a little behind the 8 ball already.

  • Travel and Credit

    Same thing – from date of approval. I actually had to help my Dad out with his minimum spend on the Citi AA card deal awhile ago b/c he only activated the one he was working on the spend for, thinking that the clock wouldn’t start until he activated the 2nd one…. He called and found out he only had 3 weeks left! Always know, & always be prepared.

  • Anonymous

    I do the same except I also ask for the statement closing dates and payment due dates. When doing this, I also ask if these dates are the same every month or if they can vary (typically biz cards can – yes Citi, I’m looking at you!).

    It’s also a good time to add AUs if you want – and who doesn’t! :-)

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