What Is The Actual Minimum Spending Requirement Time Frame For A Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus?

by on October 27, 2013 · 16 comments

in Chase, Sunday Reader Questions, Video Blog Post

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Our first reader question today comes from Ben, who tweeted me @thepointsguy with a question about minimum spending requirement time frames:

“Two customer service representatives told me Chase gives you 103 days to meet a 3 month spend. Any experience with this? 90 days vs. 103 is a big difference.”

This is actually true! Chase starts the clock at the time you get approved for that new card, but everyone knows you don’t actually get the card for the several days it takes Chase to actually create your account and mail it out to you, so the bank gives you a 13-day grace period on top of the advertised 90 days.

However, I would not push your spending requirement window to the limit, especially when there’s a large bonus involved. I always try to hit my minimum spending requirement as soon as possible. Sometimes it is difficult to gauge your actual limit since most credit card companies start the clock the minute you’re approved and it’s often hard to tell what exact day you were approved – especially if your account is put into pending.

So my advice if you’re having an issue with spend is always to call up the bank and ask them what the due date to hit your minimum spending requirement is. The last thing you want is to think you have a certain amount of time to hit your spending requirement and to miss out on a big bonus like the Ink Bold or Ink Plus‘s 50,000-point bonus or the Sapphire Preferred‘s 40,000-point bonus but miss out entirely. Most credit cards are sticklers about that and won’t give you the bonus unless you hit the spending requirement unequivocably before the due date, so always try to hit it as soon as possible and if in doubt, don’t be afraid to call up and verify.

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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  • Steve

    A word of caution about bonuses–I recently applied for Amex Starwood business and personal on the same day. The business card was approved, personal application was canceled–apparently you can’t apply for both simultaneously. I called Amex next week and asked them to reinstate the 2nd application (which was approved). I met my $5000 spending requirements, got 30K points for business, only 10K points for personal! When I contacted Amex, I was told the 2nd application was only for 10K. A supervisor told me that when they set up the personal application, it was indeed only for 10K. However, she was kind enough to offer me 20K more points due to the misunderstanding. Never apply for biz and personal at the same time.

  • Ben Price

    I’m the guy who asked the reader question–just to clarify: the reason I asked is because I’m putting off spending on my two Southwest cards until January 2014 (going for the Companion Pass). 90 days from approval is 1/4. 103 days from approval is 1/18. I could probably meet the spend requirement thru manufactured spending in those first four days, but it definitely helps that Chase gives you that extra grace period. Props to them (not sure if AMEX, Citi, etc do this as well).

    Thanks for answering my question!

  • Dee

    In my experience, Chase can take a few days to post a transaction. If it was me, I’d be at CVS on 1/1/14 buying Vanilla cards.

  • Yankees

    How about Amex and Citi, when do they start counting, from approval or time of activation?

  • Ben Price

    I will–but, I don’t want to only buy VRs as my only statement charges. I’d be fine in 4 days, but again, it’s nice knowing Chase gives you that 13 day grace period.

  • Ben Price

    I’m under the impression that all of the major banks start the clock from approval. I’m wondering though whether or not the non-Chase banks also give the 13 day grace period?

  • r0m8470

    TPG, can a sign up bonus reset? Meaning say I apply a card now, meet the requirement and get a bonus. Can I then cancel the card within 12 months, then re-apply within 18 months? Will that net me another set of sign up bonus?

  • Guesty

    I’m going for the Companion Pass too. While I’m paying my taxes due 1/15, I’m also wondering if you can spend $3,500 out of $4,000 in 2013, then hit the threshold early in 2014? Wouldn’t you then earn all of the 100,000 points in January?

  • Ben Price

    I’m kind of confused here as well…

    What I’ve gathered from over at FT is:

    Your bonuses will hit in 2014, but whatever you spent in 2013 won’t count towards CP. So in your scenario, you’ll get the 100k in 2014, but you’ll miss out on the 3,500 points you spent in 2013.

    What I’m confused about is…let’s say your statement closes in 12/15/2013. Does that mean whatever you spent between 12/15-12/31 will count? Maybe TPG can enlighten us.

  • Dieuwer

    Yes that is possible, but not with every issuer. It’s called “churning”. I think that Chase does not allow it and AMEX frowns upon it. However, people have reported that for instance the BofA Visa Alaska credit card can be churned.

  • SamL

    Wouldn’t any regular points from December spending that goes on your January 2014 statement go toward the Companion Pass? I thought points usually post when a statement closes.

  • Rodo

    I had the minimum spend issue with Amex Hilton Surpass card. I did the minimum spend within 90 days of receiving the card but got no sign up bonus as Amex said it was 90 days from approval. Several calls and letters later Amex still refused to give me the bonus.

  • John Hill

    Great question. I just got the Southwest Business and Personal cards for 50K each so I can get the CP early 2014. Just received them middle of October so I’ll be fine but I might have forgot about the 90/103 day time frame if I hadn’t seen this post. I’ll make sure this happens.

    One thing to remember, if this helps you, is that you can set the statement closing date. It may be the case where you can push that back to a later time in the month (or earlier as it suits you) in order to meet the spend requirements.

  • yn

    i just had this problem my pending transactions did not go through till after the last day
    what are the chances they will give me an extension? the rep said he will file one for me explaining the sich

  • Jialing

    I second this question! Having an issue with my AMEX Gold Business rewards card. Totally slipped my mind that my 90 days was approaching. Now i’m on my 95th day and finally did hit my spending threshold of $5k. Called CS and they said it’s supposed to be 92 days and they’re not sure if I will get my 50k bonus or not. :(

  • ABB

    My CPA recommended that I should not put personal expenses to meet minimum requirement spending. I received my Ink Plus and bought Vanilla reload paks at CVS and load it to Bluebird checking to pay mortgage and car payments. Thinking about getting the Ink Bold card in a few months so we can rack up some points to purchase 3 business class tix to Asia. What do you think?

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