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How to Meet Large Spending Requirements

Beginner’s Guide to Points and Miles

# 15: How to Meet Large Spending Requirements

As credit card sign-up bonuses have increased, so have spending requirements. With the advent of prepaid debit cards like BlueBird, meeting these requirements is becoming increasingly easier. Below is an overview of this and other ways to meet large spending requirements quickly and cheaply:

1. Pay your bills.Charge all of your bills and household expenses to your credit card (utilities, bills, groceries, insurance, car payments, and everyday spending). If you can pay healthcare bills and get reimbursed by your insurance company (in a timely nufnner), even better.

2. Pay other people’s bills. I recently had to meet a $10,000 spending requirement for the American Express Business Gold. It would have been a tough feat to accomplish on my own, so I handed my card off to my aunt, who flips properties for a living. She racked up $9,500 in just a few weeks and I easily finished the rest. If you have trustworthy relatives I recommend asking them if you can charge their bills or large purchases to your card.

3. PIN-enabled gift cards. Both Visa or Mastercard branded gift cards can be purchased in $500 increments for a $2.95-$3.95 fee. You can use these cards to buy money orders and then use those to pay off your credit cards. Not all PIN-enabled gift cards are created equally. Gift cards issued by Metabank or U.S. Bank are typically safe.

4. Charitable donations. It’s the end of the year and many of you are looking for charities to support. Sites like Kiva and E-miles make it very easy to support a great cause and rack up lots of miles. E-miles regularly offers large bonuses for donations. Kiva is also a favorite, boasting a 98% repayment rate. I have personally given to NPO’s through e-miles and have in return been bombarded with mail from various other organizations they were affiliated with. Just a warning that there is a price to pay for the generous bonus points e-miles offers. 

5. Staples Free After Rebate. Staples.com regularly offers free after rebate deals on anti-virus software. These are usually available for $50 and you can buy up to 10 of these. Once you submit the mail-in rebate form online, you’ll receive a check within 4-6 weeks.

Bonus: If you shop through the Ultimate Rewards Mall, you’ll receive additional points. Plus, earn an additional 5 points per $1 when you use your Chase Ink Bold.

6. Buy and sell stuff online. This is going to sound crazy, but during the Royal Wedding frenzy, I made a nice side-income buying and selling items worn by Kate Middleton. Four bottles of the perfume she wore on her wedding day, which retailed for $140, got me $250 a piece on ebay. Four $90 Zara dresses worn the day after the wedding sold for $250 each. Her $250 patent leather wedges were a nice $425 payday. If I had been in the points game, I not only could have earned thousands of miles and met spending requirements, but I would have turned a nice profit doing so. Sadly, Royal Wedding fever has since died, but if you see an opportunity to buy high-priced items and sell them while at least breaking even, I say go for it. 

7. Gift cards. Thanks to recent developments in the giftcard game, it has become increasingly easy to meet large spending requirements. Visa, American Express, and Mastercard all offer giftcards ranging from $25 – $1000. These can be found pretty much anywhere, but keep in mind which category (grocery stores, drug stores, or office supply stores) your credit card awards the most points for. Here are a few great gift card options to help you meet large spending requirements:

Visa, Mastercard, American Express Gift Cards. These can be purchased anywhere gift cards are sold. They come with a fee, typically ranging from $3.95 – $6.95. If at all possible, buy these from a store where your credit card grants you bonus points for your purchase. (Grocery store, gas station, office supply store)

8. Prepaid gift cards. Unlike gift cards, prepaid cards can be reloaded and. have ATM and bill pay capabilities. They are sort of a substitute for a traditional bank account, except they do not insure your deposits.

American Express BlueBird. This card tops them all right now. It can be reloaded with Vanilla Reload cards, has no monthly fees, free ATM access for Direct Deposit customers, and you can use it to pay virtually any bill (including your rent, mortgage, student loans!) and even send checks to your gardner, babysitter, etc.

American Express Serve. Similar to Bluebird, American Express Serve has the advantage of allowing online credit card loads: $200 per day, up to $1,000 per month. Serve does have a $1 monthly fee, which is waived when you load $500 or more each month or utilize direct deposit.

9. Manufactured spending. Both gift cards and prepaid cards tie into the larger manufactured spending game. To learn more about this, check out the newbie guide to manufactured spending.

What is the largest spending requirement you’ve tackled so far? If you know of any other ways to meet large spending requirements, please comment below. 

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Ariana Arghandewal

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