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Running out of time? 5 ways to hit your card’s minimum spending bonus

Sept. 22, 2021
5 min read
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.


You met the minimum spending requirement on your shiny, new credit card spending requirement — well done! It may have taken a couple of big purchases or perhaps even travel reservations, all of which seemed great at the time.

Until you returned that big-ticket item or canceled that trip, and now you’re short on the spending requirement for that new sign-up bonus. If you find yourself in this situation or are running out of time before the introductory period is over, we’ve got you covered. Here are five ways to quickly hit your minimum spend if you’ve had recent unexpected returns.

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Pay for everything with one card

Prioritize one card until you meet the spending requirement. (Photo by Jacob Lund/Shutterstock)

Now is the time to charge everything you can to your rewards credit card if you're trying to hit that minimum spending requirement. If you have any household bills set to autopay, consider swapping out cards temporarily. The next time you’re ordering groceries through an online service, update your credit card so you get closer to your spending goal.

Every purchase you’re making should be channeled toward helping you complete those spending requirements. Even if you're forgoing category bonuses, it’s worthwhile if this would help you earn a substantial welcome bonus that could be worth $1,000 or more.

Prepay bills

Pay for any and all bills, even if it's for next month. (Photo by AleksandarNakic/Getty Images)

If charging all of your daily spending and household bills to your credit card still isn’t enough, consider prepaying some bills. Everything from your utility bills to cellphone, internet, cable, and even insurance premiums can usually be paid in advance.

Meeting spending requirements to earn a substantial welcome bonus is great, but not at the expense of incurring debt. Be sure to only charge as much as you’re able to pay off at the end of the billing cycle. The last thing you want is to rack up interest charges that offset the value of the welcome bonus. But, if you can afford to put some extra cash to bills you charge on your card ahead of time, that will work to get you closer to earning that bonus before it's too late.

Buy gift cards

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

If you have no bills to prepay, consider buying gift cards that you can use for future purchases that you'll spend on eventually. Gift cards can also be a great way to support local businesses that may be struggling at the moment. You’ll get closer to your spending goal and help your local business (hopefully) weather the storm.

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Mortgage and rent payments

(Photo by Grace Cary/Getty Images)

Mortgage and rent payments are some of the biggest expenses for most households, making them great for meeting credit card spending requirements. You can pay your rent or mortgage with a credit card using services like Plastiq, RadPad, PlacePay, RentMoola, and Venmo. Fees range from 2.5% to 3.99%, though there are ways to get your Plastiq fee waived.

Some of these platforms have restrictions around which credit cards you can use for specific payment types. For example, Plastiq doesn’t accept Visa cards for mortgage payments. Be sure to look into these restrictions and have a backup plan if paying housing expenses with a credit card is not an option. Also, allow some extra time to be sure everything goes through as planned. While we don’t always advocate paying any fees to earn miles, it can be worth it in the case of a big bonus.

Add an authorized user

Adding your children as authorized users to your credit cards will help them build a credit history and hopefully lead to better credit scores as they transition to adulthood. (Photo by Maskot / Getty Images)

Suppose you’re not able to complete your credit card spending requirements by doing any of the above, then considering enlisting a little help. Adding an authorized user costs nothing in most cases and can help you hit your spending goal faster with two people working on a shared goal. The person you designate will receive a copy of your credit card with their name on it and can charge their personal spending to it.

Choose your authorized user carefully, as you’ll legally be on the hook for any charges they incur. Be clear about repayment expectations and consider limiting the amount of credit they can access. There’s also the challenge of keeping spending separate, so I would proceed with caution on this one, but it’s also an option.

Bottom line

While there’s no guarantee this will work, it may also be worthwhile to call your credit card issuer and ask for an extension if you are falling short. But if you can just get down to business, then these five options should help you hit your minimum spending requirements on time.

Additional reporting by Stella Shon.

Featured image by It's always a good idea to take inventory of your wallet every so often. (Photo by The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more