Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.
You met the minimum spending requirement on your shiny, new credit card spending requirement — well done! It may have taken a couple of big purchases or perhaps even travel reservations, all of which seemed great at the time.
Until you returned that big-ticket item or canceled that trip, and now you’re short on the spending requirement for that new sign-up bonus. If you find yourself in this situation or are running out of time before the introductory period is over, we’ve got you covered. Here are five ways to quickly hit your minimum spend if you’ve had recent unexpected returns.
Pay for everything with one card
Now is the time to charge everything you can to your rewards credit card if you’re trying to hit that minimum spending requirement. If you have any household bills set to autopay, consider swapping out cards temporarily. The next time you’re ordering groceries through an online service, update your credit card so you get closer to your spending goal.
Every purchase you’re making should be channeled toward helping you complete those spending requirements. Even if you’re forgoing category bonuses, it’s worthwhile if this would help you earn a substantial welcome bonus that could be worth $1,000 or more.
If charging all of your daily spending and household bills to your credit card still isn’t enough, consider prepaying some bills. Everything from your utility bills to cellphone, internet, cable, and even insurance premiums can usually be paid in advance.
Meeting spending requirements to earn a substantial welcome bonus is great, but not at the expense of incurring debt. Be sure to only charge as much as you’re able to pay off at the end of the billing cycle. The last thing you want is to rack up interest charges that offset the value of the welcome bonus. But, if you can afford to put some extra cash to bills you charge on your card ahead of time, that will work to get you closer to earning that bonus before it’s too late.
Buy gift cards
If you have no bills to prepay, consider buying gift cards that you can use for future purchases that you’ll spend on eventually. Gift cards can also be a great way to support local businesses that may be struggling at the moment. You’ll get closer to your spending goal and help your local business (hopefully) weather the storm.
Mortgage and rent payments
Mortgage and rent payments are some of the biggest expenses for most households, making them great for meeting credit card spending requirements. You can pay your rent or mortgage with a credit card using services like Plastiq, RadPad, PlacePay, RentMoola, and Venmo. Fees range from 2.5% to 3.99%, though there are ways to get your Plastiq fee waived.
Some of these platforms have restrictions around which credit cards you can use for specific payment types. For example, Plastiq doesn’t accept Visa cards for mortgage payments. Be sure to look into these restrictions and have a backup plan if paying housing expenses with a credit card is not an option. Also, allow some extra time to be sure everything goes through as planned. While we don’t always advocate paying any fees to earn miles, it can be worth it in the case of a big bonus.
Add an authorized user
Suppose you’re not able to complete your credit card spending requirements by doing any of the above, then considering enlisting a little help. Adding an authorized user costs nothing in most cases and can help you hit your spending goal faster with two people working on a shared goal. The person you designate will receive a copy of your credit card with their name on it and can charge their personal spending to it.
Choose your authorized user carefully, as you’ll legally be on the hook for any charges they incur. Be clear about repayment expectations and consider limiting the amount of credit they can access. There’s also the challenge of keeping spending separate, so I would proceed with caution on this one, but it’s also an option.
While there’s no guarantee this will work, it may also be worthwhile to call your credit card issuer and ask for an extension if you are falling short. But if you can just get down to business, then these five options should help you hit your minimum spending requirements on time.
Additional reporting by Stella Shon.
Featured photo by The Points Guy.