American Express Credit Cards

How to Meet the $7,000 Spending Requirement on the SPG Business Card

Reader Lindsey sent me a question that I get quite a lot from people who haven’t made the leap into manufactured spending. I thought it was worth addressing in a post, since it’s such a common question from newbies:

…I’ve been casually collecting points for 3 years but want to be smarter and more deliberate about my strategy now that I understand the value of a good cpp rate.

I reallyyyyy want the AmEx SPG Business card for the 35,000 bonus and no ding to my 5/24 status, but $7k is a lot of spend for me for 3 months (I’m a single female with a full-time job but still!)

(My goal is to use the Starpoints with the transfer bonus to surprise my dad with a Lufthansa first class booking!) Any advice on how to meet minimum spend?

First off, I love that Lindsey is doing this for her dad. I’m lucky enough to have had some amazing premium cabin travel experiences thanks to points and miles, but nothing beats being able to do this for family. My dad has flown business and first class products that I have yet to experience for myself. But it makes me so happy to fly him and my mom wherever they want to go in comfort. So hats off to Lindsey for saving up her hard-earned points, so her dad can fly Lufthansa first class. On to the business of meeting the $7,000 spending requirement…

Charge EVERYTHING to Your Credit Card

That sounds pretty elementary, right? Charge every household bill and daily expenses to this card. Be careful not to overspend just because the ultimate reward “outweighs the cost” of spending beyond your means. Most of us don’t spend $2,3300 per month on food and gas, but work your rent or mortgage and you’ll knock out a huge chunk of that $7,000 spending. How do you pay your mortgage with a credit card? Plastiq.

Plastiq is a bill pay service that allows you to make rent and mortgage payments with a credit card. The service does charge a fee on credit card payments, but if you’re a new member and sign up with my referral link, you’ll get 500 Fee-Free Dollars. What does that mean, exactly? It means you won’t have to pay fees on $500 worth of payments. Refer your friends and family and you’ll earn 1,000 FFD’s for every successful referral. While you’re at it, get your dad into it: Ask if you can make any payments for him using Plastiq and your SPG credit card. Chances are, you’ll be able to meet a large chunk of that $7,000 spending requirement via mortgage and rent payments alone.

UPDATE: You cannot make mortgage payments with American Express on Plastiq. When I made a mortgage payment last week, I thought it went through with an Amex card but it turns out the default was set to a MC card. 

Fund a Bank Account With Your Credit Card

FTU Seattle got me thinking seriously about funding bank accounts with a credit card. It’s just so easy and a great way to diversify spending.  Not only can you earn a cash bonus from the bank, but you’ll also knock out credit card spending requirements. Doctor of Credit has a list of bank accounts you can fund with your American Express card.

Churn Merchant Gift Cards

In the past, I’ve used The Plastic Merchant to successfully churn merchant gift cards in large quantities. I’ve never had a payment issue. However, I have heard complaints from readers about bounced checks that led to checking account shutdowns. TPM has addressed these issues, but you should all be aware of the general risks involved in gift card churning. TPM’s rates are some of the highest I’ve seen around – good enough to help you break even or make a small profit. That being said, I know people who’ve successfully sold gift cards on other platforms. Proceed with caution on this one, but it is an option that pretty much anyone can take advantage of.

Not everyone has ms-friendly Walmart stores or other sources for liquidating gift cards. For those people, meeting credit card spending requirements via regular spending doesn’t have to be the only option. There are lots of other ways to meet credit card spending requirements: I know people who  fund loans on Kiva, invest on Kickfurther, resell merchandise, and lots of other stuff. While spending $7,000 in 3 months sounds like a lot, it’s much more feasible if you charge your daily expenses and find creative ways to put extra spending on your SPG Business Card.

If you all have other non-manufactured spending tips to share with Lindsey, please do so in the comment section.

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  1. Ariana, I do not think you can do mortgage, or car payments, with an AMEX card on Plastiq.

  2. A lot of these avenues for min spend requirement and amex are no longer valid.

    • Sadly true — afaik, we still can’t use Plastiq to process Amex card payments for mortgages. Multiple widely read blog posts on this from early last November. Ariana, has something changes?

      • No, I just mistakenly thought a mortgage payment I made last week got processed with an Amex credit card. I have multiple cards and Amex was my default for a long time. Turns out I was wrong.

  3. Paying cable, phone and utilities ahead works for me. Most of these companies accept at least 500.00 payments ahead. Just make sure there is no extra fee to pay with a credit card. Also some auto insurance can be paid with a credit card. Some do not take Am Ex cards.

  4. Question, arising from the offer t&c:

    Eligible purchases do NOT include…. purchases of gift cards,”

    Wondering how this is defined…. Ok, that verbiage has been there a while an AMEX card promos…. and I did recently (within the past year) manage to still get an spg amex bonus despite about half my spend being in the realm of “merchant gift card churning.”

    Yet with the rise of Amex “Rat teams” — which you don’t mention — increasingly have my doubts. What’s your thoughts?

    • I’ve heard of people getting their sign-up bonuses clawed back after meeting spend with MS. But that might also be because they used targeted links to sign up. I would avoid using the card at obvious gift card merchants (i.e. GiftCard Mall, However, using it to buy gift cards at a grocery or office supply store should be fine. What are Amex rat teams?

      • RAT — as in “Rewards Abuse Team” — saw rumors of this circulating late 2016, and then they, the AMEX RAT’s, came out in force last years (2017). End of year run-down of last year’s low-lights via this doc post:

        And the hits keep coming this year…. I appreciate your thinking that merchant gift cards have a greater chance of escaping such scrutiny. (Besides, for a lot of us, gift-card reselling arises to the level of an actual business activity — and we report as such) And yet, the doubts linger — especially as my #1 go to venue for buying such new merchant gift cards shows up on my credit card statements as “paypal digital gifts” — almost assuredly a “red flag” to an Amex “RAT” that once to sniff out nefarious “cash-equivalent” activity. (Amex RAT patrols act as judge, jury, and executioner — you have no recourse if they decide to accuse you of conduct not consistent with your card member agreement (as they vaguely interpret it).

        • Thanks for sharing! Stuff like this is why I’ve always been weary of MS’ing with Amex. I would go easy on the PayPal Digital Gifts purchases. I’d maybe even go the grocery gift card route to really mask those purchases.

  5. Given all of the Amex MS avenues that have been killed off recently, this reads like a generic “How to meet the MSR on [insert card name here]” post.

  6. Hubby’s reading of this post prompted me to check for official guidance from Plastiq. Their current guidance:

    “Unfortunately, at this time Plastiq is unable to support mortgage payments on Visa and American Express cards. This is an industry-wide mandate, which means that other bill payment services are also unable to support mortgage payments on Visa and American Express.”

    (They still can use M/C and Discover, but relevant to this thread, NOT Amex.)

  7. One more problem afoot.. on your suggestions about funding new bank accounts, (where you mention Doc) your readers ought also know of Doc’s recent reporting (of Reddit data points) that there’s growing concern that Amex “RAT” teams are at work there too….

  8. I call my utility companies and prepay electric water and phone. Mine charge zero to $1 for this service. I’ll put 1k on each. Then run a credit. I buy a couple gift cards at/for my local grocery store, no charge. I usually get a couple at $500 each. I’ll do the same with gas, though it’s harder to find stations that have their own cards. I just say I’m looking at card to give my priest and they are very helpful. I ask my friends if any of them have s big purchase coming up and ask if I can put it on my card.

  9. They being said, I realized most of my suggestions can only be funded with visa/MC

  10. Insert with my current statement
    We are updating the list of transactions that are not eligible purchases and
    for which you will not earn points by adding:
    • Purchases of cash equivalents
    • Person-to-person payments

  11. I got lucky today when I found out my dr takes Amex. The insurance co reimbursed me $3650 for a procedure and I’m now paying my dr w a platinum card!

  12. @Karen, I hope the procedure went well and that you’re good and healthy. I love being part of a crowd that says, “Cool, I have to go to the doctor for a procedure. Bring on the points!”

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