5 Creative Ways to Meet Spending Requirements for Credit Card Rewards

Image: Credit card spending
Jason Rogers under Creative Commons
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Have you ever wanted to jump into the world of travel hacking with some hard-core credit churning? Signing up for half a dozen credit cards (or more) could help you earn a first-class ticket to anywhere in the world.

But one thing makes me take a step back and decide against an application-spree: the amount of money I’ll have to spend in order to earn the rewards.

I’ve noticed that the spending requirements on credit cards are slowly, but steadily, rising. As a savvy spender, I’m aware of all of the ways to earn frequent flier miles without signing up for credit cards. However, I’d really like to rack them up faster, and these sign-up bonuses are the best way to accomplish that goal. But how on Earth am I supposed to spend a collective $10,000 in three months when my monthly budget isn’t even $3000?

Enter these five clever ways to meet the minimum spending requirements on your chosen credit cards. Some require a little help from your emergency fund and your friends, but all will help you reach that rewards bonus and take your dream vacation a little sooner.

1. Pick Up the Tab When You Go Out

When you’re going to the movies with friends or out for happy hour with colleagues, make it easier on the staff and servers by paying for everything together. As a bonus, you’ll add some some nice sized charges to your credit card. Later you can divvy up the totals and have your pals pay you in cash, bank transfer or PayPal.

Warning: Make sure to funnel your friends’ payments into the appropriate bank account so that you use that money to pay off your credit card bill. You’re working on racking up rewards, not interest charges!

2. Pay Ahead on Your Bills

Some bills, like utilities, may let you pay by credit card. Why not prepay these bills for a few months? If you’re in a pretty stable financial situation, you could consider pulling a bit of money out of your emergency fund to cover the charges.

If you live with a roommate, see if they’ll agree to let you pay all the bills and just write you a check for the total cost.

3. Buy Gift Cards to Pay for Regular Expenses

You can also apply the pre-paying idea to shopping for your groceries, clothing and gas. For most people, it’s really not practical to go on a massive grocery shopping spree to add $600 to your credit card balance.

Instead, buy gift cards to the stores where you shop the most. If you tend to spend $300 on groceries and household supplies at Target each month, just use your credit card to buy $600 in gift cards. Then use the cards to shop as you normally do. To sweeten this deal even more, be sure to buy the gift cards from a website that sells discounted gift cards.

4. Charge Your Rent Payment

If you’re renting, this is probably your biggest monthly expense. Putting it on your card would give you a huge boost toward meeting the spending requirement.

Unfortunately, most landlords don’t accept credit cards, but with WilliamPaid you can use your credit card to pay your rent. There is a small fee (2.95%) for paying by credit card, but the rewards might be worth the expense.

5. Send Money to Family and Friends

If after trying these tips, you’re still struggling to meet the spending requirements, try using Amazon Payments to send money to family and friends via your credit card. Once they get the cash, they just give it back to you. This move costs nothing but a little time and effort from both of you, so reward your friend by giving them a gift card that you earned from doing online surveys.

Now that you’re armed with knowledge, you’ll be ready to take advantage of the next round of credit card bonuses that pop up.

Your Turn: What are some of the ways that you meet the minimum spending requirements on your credit cards?