American Express Credit Cards

Meeting Large Spending Requirements Without Manufactured Spending

A 100,000 point sign-up bonus isn’t rare for the American Express Platinum Card. In fact, there have been bonuses out there for up to 250,000 Membership Rewards points after a total of $55,000 worth of spending over six months. A few months ago, a bunch of people got in on the 100,000 – 150,000 point Amex card offer, completing $3,000 – $10,000 worth of credit card spending requirements to bag the prize. Then Amex started freezing accounts and rescinding points that had already been issued. People targeted for these clawbacks seem to be those who did one or more of the following:

  • Used targeted links
  • Had some variation of the Platinum cards before (i.e. the Amex Platinum Mercedes-Benz), 
  • Met the spending requirements through manufactured spending – specifically, buying gift cards. 
  • Closed the account within 30 days to get the annual fee refunded.

Needless to say, people tried to fight the clawbacks, though so far they’ve been unsuccessful. 

Credit card wallet

If you’re more upset about not getting in on a 100,000+ point sign-up bonus than the fact that American Express pulled a pretty shady move here, you’re my kind of people. It sucks, but we are at the mercy of the banks. If another great Amex Platinum sign-up bonus comes along, we’ll have to meet the spending requirement without manufactured spending. That’s tough to do since most of us don’t have ‘Rockefeller’ stamped on our foreheads. How do you meet $3,000 – $55,000 worth of credit card spending requirements without wasting your savings or going into debt? Here are a few suggestions:

Charge Everything to the Card

It seems backwards to meet credit card spending requirements via normal spending, but in this case, old-fashioned works. Everything from your $5 daily coffee habit to your utility bills can help you get closer to completing the spending requirement on your American Express Platinum credit card. Buying a new iPhone? Charging it to the American Express Platinum card will not only get you closer to meeting the spending requirement, but the card’s extended warranty will cover repairs in case you drop your phone or it isn’t quite as water resistant as claimed.

If you’ve got an upcoming vacation to book, the American Express Platinum is a great card for that. Amex Platinum cardholders get a slew of travel benefits, including Car Rental Loss & Damage Insurance that is extended only if you charge your booking to the card. You might even want to overpay some bills (i.e. the 6-month car insurance bill, your mobile bill, etc.), but only if you can pay off the balance at the end of the month.

Get Others to Help You Meet Credit Card Spending Requirements

If you’re going for 150,000 point Amex Platinum sign-up bonus, consider getting help from friends and family. Pay their bills with your credit card and have them reimburse you with cash. This is an easy way to use legitimate spending (albeit someone else’s) to earn the card sign-up bonus. 

Get Into Reselling to Meet Credit Card Spending Requirements

My first foray into reselling was less than smooth, thanks to Ebay’s ridiculous policy where they allow people to bid on an item and then back out without consequences. Amazon is a bit better, but the fees can take a fair chunk of your profits. At some point I’ll return to this idea when I have an actual business that sells branded products. Until then, I still recommend reselling as a way to generate extra miles through spending that is far less objectionable to banks than gift card churning

Pay Taxes to Meet Credit Card Spending Requirements

If a great Amex Platinum card offer comes around during tax seasons, consider using the card to pay your taxes. This would help you earn miles and meet credit card spending requirements. Processing fees range from 1.87 – 2.25%, but may be worth paying if they help you meet a spending requirement that results in a generous sign-up bonus that would otherwise be unattainable. 

Pay Medical Expenses to Meet Credit Card Spending Requirements 

If your insurance company allows you to pay your medical expenses and get reimbursed, this is ideal. It’s especially ideal for those who use a flexible spending account to cover medical expenses, since that works in much the same way: You pay for your medical expense with a credit card (i.e. dental exam, physical, checkup, prescriptions), submit a claim, and you receive a check for the total amount as long as you have the funds to cover this cost.

Fund a Checking Account to Meet Credit Card Spending Requirements

Back when Citi allowed funding checking accounts with credit cards, a lot of people made out like bandits. Not only did they earn miles for funding a checking account, they earned miles from their credit cards as well. You can imagine how easy earning spending requirements must have been. Doctor of Credit has an extensive list of bank accounts that can be funded with a credit card, which you should browse for the best offer. American Express imposes cash advance fees on some of these bank charges, so make sure to pick one that’s safe.

Use Kickfurther to Meet Credit Card Spending Requirements

Kickfurther is great for meeting credit card spending requirements. However I wouldn’t recommend investing large amounts of cash that you can’t risk to lose or go without for several months. That being said, if all goes well, you will not only earn miles and meet credit card spending requirements, but you’ll earn a cash profit on your investment. New members who sign up for Kickstarter with a referral link will receive a $5 credit. 

Use Kiva to Meet Credit Card Spending Requirements

Microlending site Kiva has long been used as a backup option for meeting credit card spending requirements. Kiva has a 98% repayment rate, but repayment may take a while and isn’t guaranteed. In other words, don’t lend more than you can afford to pay off and part with for good.

If you’re going to meet large spending requirements using methods other than gift card churning, it’s probably not a good idea to get it all done in one month. Depending on your income, spending $10,000 per month might give the impression that you’re not doing it though normal spending. That might sound paranoid, but none of those Amex Platinum card applicants anticipated Amex investigating purchases to the point where they were able to pull up the items being purchased, and using that as a basis for clawing back sign-up bonuses.

Have you had a credit card sign-up bonus rescinded recently? How do you plan on meeting large spending requirements going forward?

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  1. hollyatclubthrifty

    I got one of the 100K Plat offers with a $3,000 minimum spend. I didn’t manufacture spending, and I’m so glad! I can spend around $1,500 per month naturally with groceries, health insurance, kids gymnastics lessons, etc.

    • Good call! Plus, $3k for 100k is an awesome deal. I think I had the personal Amex Platinum card a few years ago. If I see a 100k Business offer with a $3k spending requirement, I’m so getting in on that.

  2. Ariana, you mentioned “if another great sign-up bonus comes along for the Platinum Card, we’ll just have to try and meet the spending requirement without manufactured spending.” From what I read on FT, those who sign up for ANY amex CC and do not get their bonus means you miss the boat on that particular card since their rule is based on the PRODUCT, not whether you got a bonus on it or not, the first time you applied for it. Feel free to correct me if my understanding is wrong.

    • I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying. Amex restricts the sign-up bonus to once per lifetime. So if you got the Amex Platinum card, you can’t get it again even if the sign-up bonus is different (and in this case, if you got the Amex Platinum Card and then applied for a Mercedes Benz card, you got your sign-up bonus clawed back as well). Is that what you mean?

  3. Dang girl. Great post.

  4. Good choices, though I would also add venmo/other money transfer services as a back-stop. Eating fees is certainly less than ideal, but 3% on the last $1k or $500 of a min spend is a small price to pay to ensure the bonus is obtained.

  5. Remember I tagged you on twitter with my 150k offer? Well I got it, I have a store on ebay and I do have a legit business, after spending $7000 in one day at the place I usually I get my inventory, my account went under review.

    A month before I got the 75k bonus for the gold and now both accounts are frozen even though all my purchases were legit, no MS involved. Now I’m waiting on their decision until next week and I have 185000 points that I might lose.

    We’ll see what happens, hopefully I won’t get shut down.

    • That’s terrible! Keep me posted on this. Hopefully they’ll come to their senses and clear your account. I think with the large amount of ms people have done in the past, they’re probably weary about a $7k purchase. Here’s hoping this works out in your favor.

      • Edgar Velasquez

        Good news! After a week of review I got an email saying that they have limited my spending limit for both cards, which is fine with me, at lease they didn’t cancel the accounts and I get to keep all those points!!!

        • So glad to hear it! It’s good you put legitimate spending on that card. So many folks used ms and had their sign-up bonuses revoked with no recourse. It’s good you at least could prove your spending was legit.

  6. If anyone wants to partake in manufactured spending, that’s their choice, but there’s no need to get upset at American Express or any other bank and accuse them of shady practice in this case. Their terms and conditions specifically excludes cash advances, reload cards, and cash equivalents to get any promotional bonus. MS spenders rolled the dice and have lost one fight, that’s all. Banks are in business to make money, just as MS spender’s main goal is to finance their travels much cheaper than what they’d actually have to pay.

    People should get upset at banks when they misbehave as Wells Fargo employees did by opening up fake accounts using customer info so that employees can meet their sales quota.

    • The problem here is that they didn’t just go after ms’ers. They froze some legitimate accounts (after they issued the sign-up bonus). The WF thing was terrible and I’m sure those who were affected by it were upset.

  7. Got a targeted offer from Amex Biz Gold today (existing cardholder). For every 5k spend get 5k bonus. So 5 will get you 10.

  8. I think now is a good time to re-post this so that people who are applying for the new Amex offer know about it

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