Disclosure: Basic Travel Couple, LLC has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Basic Travel Couple, LLC and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
So you’ve jumped head first into the Basic Travel World and opened up one of our Top Credit Cards. Now, the only thing standing in your way of a lazy beach chair on a remote island is hitting the Minimum Spend necessary to be credited those award points. First and foremost, it’s always a great idea to notate in your Basic Travel Log what the terms and conditions are for the card that you’ve just opened. This means keeping track of the date the card was opened, the minimum amount of money you have to spend to receive the sign-up bonus, the amount of the sign up bonus, as well as the date you have to meet the spend. Trust us from experience, great record keeping will save you from a lot of headaches when you are opening multiple cards and need to ensure that you meet the spend on all of them.
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Pro tip-- If the terms state to spend $3,000 in 3 months, and you opened the card on January 1, then look at your calendar and set an alarm for the 60 days from that date! For this example, the date would be March 1. You would then have until March 31st to meet that $3,000 threshold. This way will ensure you have enough time to meet that minimum spend.
Most credit cards have an average range of spending $1,000 to $5,000 in the first 3 months. If you’ve followed our strategies and converted all of your spending to your new credit card and find yourself still coming up short then one of the following strategies may help you reach that magic number:
- Bills, Bills, Bills (And we’re not talking about the Buffalo Bills). One true and tested way to put a dent into that Minimum spend is to pay your bills using your new Credit card. This includes Cable, Internet, Gas, Electric, Spotify, Pandora, Netflix, Hulu and so on and so forth.
- Feed me! From frozen pizzas to baby spinach, all of those Grocery Items can help support your travel habits. Don’t forget that Dining Out also counts! You can charge any meals that you eat while on the go, whether it’s your morning coffee, the burrito at Chipotle, or a fancy dinner out on the town.
- Working off all of that food! Special shout out to those Basic Travelers that sign up for a Gym Membership in order to get back in shape for all of those summer vacations they are planning on taking with their Basic Travel Points!
- The 9 to 5. Whether you take the train in, utilize ride-sharing like Uber & Lyft, or drive a car there are bound to be expenses related to you getting to and from your job. Train tickets, Ridesharing Fees, and Gas/Car Maintenance can be paid with your credit card to help meet that minimum spend!
- GIFTSAny Birthdays, Anniversaries, Graduations, Retirements, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Weddings, Festivus (for the rest of us) and “Just Because” gifts can easily be purchased using your new credit card!
- Cash Apps/Online Pay.Using Amazon Pay, PayPal, Facebook Cash, Venmo, Google Pay and many other payment programs to pay friends or family. Be on the lookout for various fees when using these Services! For example, Venmo has a 3% fee when sending money and PayPal has a 2.9% fee plus $0.30 for each transaction.
- What do you do when you encounter a monthly bill, like a Student Loan that does not accept credit cards for payment? One Word: Plastiq– you can use Plastiq to pay with your credit card for things like State, Local, and Federal Taxes, Rent or Mortgage, College Tuition, and many other entities. Check out their website for a full list of potential payment opportunities (and use our referral code 626101 to get $500 Fee Free Dollars!) For Example, let’s say an offer is to earn $500 after spending $3,000. You have a $3,000 bill that you pay using Platiq. With a 2.5% Fee ($75) that is a positive gain of $425!
- ***It’s important to note that Plastiq does come with a 2.5% Fee. This is typically only used to meet the minimum spend and not for continuous use as it could negate the rewards amounts*
- Medical– Anytime that you visit your primary doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist, blood work is done, annual eye exam, dental work you can swipe that line of credit to earn points even when it hurts!
- After a long day of work, you come home to find a puddle of water on your floor and notice a leak coming down from your ceiling. The average cost of a new roof is $9,000! If you use your credit card to cover the cost that could result in multiple vacations from something that you have to pay for either way. The same goes for any other home remodeling, new appliances, and supplies needed to get the job done.
- Add an Authorized User (AU) to your credit card. It should go without saying but only do this with someone you trust. It’s an easy way to double down on regular expenses but you are still responsible for all purchases that come from your AU.
- Buy/Resell Items *** Full Disclosure this can be a risky option if you can’t resell what you purchased or get close to the value you purchased for! Think about items you can buy and resell on sites like eBay or Amazon OR Tickets that you can resell on Stubhub or Ticketmaster.
Pro Tip: Remember to NOT spend beyond your means! If you catch yourself channeling your inner Black Friday voice and begin purchasing random things that you can’t pay for then the interest that you will be charged will certainly negate all of the benefits of award travel. Please don’t do this!!
By using 1 or more of these options above you should be able to meet that Minimum Spend without actually spending money any differently than you normally do. Hopefully, this article was able to provide some inspiration and motivation for opening a Credit Card that has a higher Spend requirement like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card to spend $3,000 in 3 months and receive a welcome offer of 50,000 Venture miles! This bonus is equivalent to $500 off in travel! Be sure to check out our points and miles cards by clicking on our banner below!
Disclosure: Basic Travel Couple, LLC has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Basic Travel Couple, LLC and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.