How I earned the full 100,000-mile Venture bonus charging $20,000 worth of boring life expenses

Apr 7, 2021

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Sometimes spending money is fun. Maybe that is splurging on a drool-worthy meal out, pressing add-to-cart for that item you’ve been saving up for or finally booking that trip.

But then there are the other, less fun expenses that are just a part of life. You know, things such as medical bills, taxes, tuition, summer camp fees, insurance bills, government fees…the list goes on and on.

Unlike dining, travel or even groceries, those really boring life expenses are rarely a bonus category on any rewards credit card. However, these boring facts of life are exactly how I recently unlocked the full limited-time 100,000-mile welcome bonus on the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

Here’s how I did it — and how you may be able to leverage your own everyday life into up to $1,400 worth of miles.

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Unlocking the full 100,000-mile limited-time sign-up bonus

(Photo by The Points Guy)

The limited-time Capital One Venture Rewards Card bonus of up to 100,000 miles is back and paid out in two tiers (I applied last time it was available in late 2020).

The first bonus tier is pretty easy to unlock, as 50,000 miles are awarded with $3,000 spent on purchases in the first three months.

But that second batch of 50,000 miles takes $20,000 in spending in the first year of account opening. For some, that’s out of range and not worth the effort. However, for others who have a lot of these no-fun life expenses coming up, spending $20,000 on a credit card over the course of a year to earn the full 100,000-mile bonus may actually be easier than you think.

This is especially true if, like me, you’re in the midst of a series of large expenses. In our case, we are building a home, and have no shortage of things that need to be paid for right now.

While having a new home will be exciting when it’s done, the large bills for paperwork, dirt, surveys, etc., you get along the way aren’t exactly the fun part. Home repairs, a big move, major renovations and more can also all serve the same function of adding up quickly and helping you unlock a big credit card bonus along the way.

Related: Credit cards offering $1,000 or more in first-year value

(Image by Steve Smith/Getty Images)

As insane as it sounds to spend $20,000 on one credit card in a year, it’s actually “just” $1,667 per month if averaged out of 12 months. Sure, you could use that same amount to unlock multiple smaller sign-up bonus spending requirements, but whether you want to do that or not is a different matter.

Either way, you absolutely should not spend extra money on things just to earn a sign-up bonus, but if you have existing expenses that you can shift to this card to earn the bonus, it can be a winning strategy — as long as you continue to pay off your balance every month.

Related: How to maximize Capital One Venture miles

How to charge your way to unlocking a big sign-up bonus

Some of the largest expenses we had that quickly got us much of the way to earning the full 100,000-mile bonus on the Capital One Venture Card included charging our annual property taxes, paying a variety of (big) permitting and utility fees for our new home construction, my 11-year-old’s two-week sleepaway summer camp tuition, ski lessons for my 5-year-old and dealing with a few medical expenses sprinkled in along the way.

It’s fair to say it’s been a pricier than normal last few months for my household, but it felt good to turn that cash we were spending anyway into earning $1,400 worth of travel rewards (based on TPG valuations), thanks to unlocking this 100,000-mile bonus.

A few of those expenses (such as property taxes) did require adding on a few percent in fees in order to charge the expense to a credit card, but it was worth the added cost for us in this case to unlock the full 100,000-mile bonus.

While everyone’s personal situation is unique, here is a rundown of some relatively big-ticket items that you might be able to charge to your rewards credit card in a similar situation to earn a big welcome bonus. Over the course of several months to a year, these expenses can make even a hefty spending requirement quickly come into view.

  • Car insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Home insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Day care
  • Summer camp
  • School tuition
  • Medical bills and copays
  • Veterinary expenses
  • Dog day care or boarding
  • Property taxes
  • Permitting fees
  • State taxes
  • Federal taxes
  • Utilities
  • Appliances
  • Student loans 
  • Household repairs
  • Furniture
  • Gym memberships
  • Activity fees (dance, gymnastics, soccer, music lessons, etc.)
Activity fees and camps add up. (Photo by Thomas Barwick/Getty Images)

Here are some more types of surprising expenses (such as rent) you may be able to charge to your credit card.

Related: Is it worth it to charge an expense even if that costs more?

And of course, all of this is in addition to common everyday expenses such as dining, gas, streaming services, cellphone bills and groceries.

Bottom line

When I applied for the Venture card the last time this increased 100,000-mile bonus was offered, I hoped it would work out to earn the full bonus, but I wasn’t 100% sure since I hadn’t ever gone for a sign-up bonus that required that much spending. Charging $20,000 to a credit card is a lot of money and expenses — but in this case, the timing worked out with lots of big bills coming due within a few months’ time.

But since you have a full year to earn that second part of the bonus, and you’re also earning 2x miles per dollar charged to the card along the way, it might be more doable than you think, even if you aren’t in the midst of a construction project.

From insurance bills to tuition, taxes and more, you may have large upcoming expenses, and those be could the key to unlocking serious travel rewards, like this limited-time sign-up bonus.

Application link: Capital One Ventures Rewards Card: Earn up to 100,000 miles for a limited time.

Featured photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.

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