Just about every credit card sign up bonus has a minimum spend requirement that must be met before the bonus is released. These spend requirements can range from $500 to $12,000.
I’m always looking for ways to increase my credit card spend. Some of the ideas I’ve listed below come with a fee. Those fees are often worth the cost when the reward is a large sign up bonus.
For example we might be getting our roof replaced soon. Normally we would pay with a check but we’ll have the option to pay with a credit card. Paying with a credit card adds a $250 fee. Ouch.
But if I will earn enough points to cover $2,000 worth of flights then I’m willing to pay the $250 fee.
I’ve referenced Plastiq quite a bit in the list below. Many other bloggers have covered this technique in detail so I’ll refer you to them for more information. I will use Plastiq for my next life insurance bill.
Ways To Boost Credit Card Spend
- Everyday expenses – My suggestion is to list out everything you spend money on each year and make sure you are using a credit card for everything you can.
- Car property Tax – We get to pay both county and city property tax on our cars. There is a small fee for using a credit card but I factor this into our overall sign up bonus costs.
- Life Insurance – For the last few years I’ve written a check for my annual life insurance payment. This year I’ll be using Plastiq complete my payment. I’ll be able to submit my payment early and not worry about missing my due date.
- Car Insurance – In my experience most car insurance companies will let you pay for your policy with a credit card.
- Misc Insurance – Same as car insurance but includes things like motorcycle, umbrella, ring and boat insurance. Plus whatever else you have.
- Tax Payments – You can pay your income taxes with a credit card. Take a look at irs.gov for more info. Fees range from 1.87% to 2.25%. I have made quarterly estimated payments and annual payments with this system.
- Rent – Many landlords and management companies will let you pay rent with a credit card, sometimes for no fee. This would be an easy win. For those that don’t accept payment this way you might be able to use Plastiq to send payments.
- Mortgage – I’ve never tried to pay my mortgage with Plastiq but it is possible. People have had mixed experiences with payments being late. For me it is not worth the trouble.
- Utilities – Our utility companies allow us to pay with a credit card for a small fee.
- Work Travel – Many companies do not require their employees to use a company issued card for their travel experiences. If you have a choice stop using the company card and start using your own rewards card.
- School Tuition – We decided not to pay for our daughter’s preschool with a credit card because the fees were unusually high. Each school will be different, but you might be able to use Plastiq. Many colleges will allow you to pay your tuition with a credit card. You can also pay off student loans with Plastiq.
- Charitable giving – For many this is a one time donation at the end of the year. For those that tithe this is an often overlooked monthly contribution that can be put on your credit card. Most churches accept credit card payments.
- Fantasy Sports – Most sites will now refund your deposit back to your credit card negating any spend you were hoping to get. There are still a few out there that will let you pay with a credit card and then withdraw through Paypal or a check. When withdrawing through Paypal the money is deposited to your account, not refunded to your credit card. Expect to get shutdown if you push too hard. I am currently running a few experiments with this idea and will publish my findings soon.
- Reselling – There are blogs dedicated to this idea. The process here is to buy at a discount and sell for as close to even or profit as possible. If you pay for the product with a credit card you keep the points. This takes a lot of work but if you can scale it you can rack up plenty of sign up bonuses.
- Send money to family via PayPal – I find PayPal to be valuable service so I don’t like to take risks with my Paypal account for fear of it getting shut down. If I was to use this strategy personally I’d use it rarely and aim for amounts of $3,000 or less. The idea here would be to send money to a family member you trust using your credit card through PayPal. Then the family member would move that money to their account and write you a check. The fees will be extremely high.
- Pay bills – Car payments, student loans, lease payments or any other recurring fee. Again, Plastiq.
- Buy For Others – If you have family that has no interest in credit card points but has some big expenses coming up offer to pay for it with your credit card and let them write you a check. Be sure to consider the risks like returns and not getting your check from the family member.
- Gift Cards For Later – If a rare sign up bonus becomes available and you have no way to hit the min spend buying gift cards that you can use later often makes sense. I’ve done this before by buying Amazon gift cards and then applying them to my account. I know I’ll use my Amazon gift cards and they have no fees.
- Fund a bank account – Dr of credit has a long list of banks that allow you to fund a new checking account with a credit card. It takes work to dig through the details and find banks that allow a large deposit ($1,000+) and will not charge a cash advance fee. The trick is to find a bank that serves customers in your state. After all of my research I only found 2 banks that allow credit card deposits of $1,000 or more and serve customers in Virginia.
- Cable/Wireless – Set your card for auto billing. These days our cable and wireless bills are large. I suspect many families spend over $1,000 in 3 months for their cell phones and cable. $1,000 is the spend requirement for many travel cards.
- Home maintenance/repairs – This includes appliances. In my experience most contractors will prefer a check but accept a credit card without a fee.
- Home Improvements – If you have the ability to schedule these charges around credit card applications then it could be a great way to hit a spend requirement.
- Buy a car – We were shocked when we bought a car recently and the dealership let us put the entire purchase on our credit card with no extra fees. I was prepared to pay cash but I was really glad I had my Starwood Amex in my wallet.
- Manufactured Spend – This topic deserves its own series of posts. Learning the process takes a lot of work and comes with some risks. Two great resources are the guide written by Frequent Miler and Point Chaser.