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33 Ways to Meet Credit Card Minimum Spending Requirements

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Katie Seemann

Katie Seemann

Senior Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 27U.S. States Visited: 27

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure an...
Edited by: Kellie Jez

Kellie Jez

Director of Operations & Compliance

Countries Visited: 10U.S. States Visited: 20

Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s c...

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Congratulations, you just got a new credit card with a great sign-up bonus! Now, comes the important part; you need to complete your minimum spending requirement within the specified time to earn that bonus.

For some people, this is no big deal, but for many, this can be a daunting task. If your expenses are low you might be unsure of how you can meet that minimum spending requirement.

Here are 33 ways to help you meet your minimum spending requirement without buying a bunch of extra stuff you don’t need. If you are a long time cash or debit card user, some of these ways might come as a surprise to you.

Tips to Meet Your Minimum Spend

Most merchants that accept credit cards do not have a minimum amount required at purchase. This means you can charge that 50 cent pack of gum if you want. You might get a sideways look from the cashier, but you will be one step closer to hitting your minimum required spend.

Some establishments have a self-imposed minimum required to use a credit card. Often, if you tell them that a credit card is the only form of payment you have, they will let you use your card. Occasionally, they might stand firm with their minimum requirement, but it can’t hurt to ask.

At service providers, like hair or nail salons, the business will have a sign indicating that tips are only accepted in cash. While it might be preferred to tip in cash, if they accept credit cards, they will accept a credit card tip. Similar to above, simply let the cashier know that all you have is a credit card, and they will often let you charge the tip to your card.

33 Ways to Meet The Minimum Spending Requirement on a Credit Card

Most credit cards that come with a hefty sign-up bonus also have a minimum spending requirement that you need to complete in a certain amount of time.

The most common requirement is $3,000 in spending in the first 3 months after your account opening. So, for most cards, you will need to spend at least $1,000 per month to hit that target.

Hot Tip: As soon as you get your new credit card, double check what is required to earn the sign-up bonus. The most common amount is $3,000 in 3 months, but this can vary so be sure to check your specific card. It’s also a good idea to mark this date in your calendar so you don’t forget.

Do not wait until the last few days to hit your minimum spending. Sometimes it can take longer than expected for a charge to post, and you don’t want to lose out on your bonus because of bad timing.

Here are 32 ways to use your credit card to hit your minimum spending requirement:

1. Groceries

Groceries can be a large line item in most families’ budgets. Paying with a credit card every time you are at the grocery store is an easy way to make sure you can meet your minimum spend. Yes, charge it even if you are only running in for a loaf of bread.

If you are working on earning a sign-up bonus, consider stocking up on non-perishable items you use all the time. The USDA indicates that the average monthly cost of a family of 4 with moderate spending on groceries is $896.20. With 3 months of groceries, you’re nearly there!

Make your grocery spending even more beneficial, use a card that earns bonus points on groceries. Here are some great card with bonuses on grocery spend:

2. Gas

Here’s another easy one and an expense that most people have on a regular basis. Always charge it, and those dollars will add up to help you meet your spending requirement.

When you are not working on earning a bonus on a specific credit card, make the most of your gas purchases by using a credit card that earns bonus points at gas stations like these:

3. Household Necessities

Need toothpaste, paper towels, and kitty litter? Charge it all.

Some store credit cards like the Target RedCard™ offer discounts when using their card. However, if you are trying to meet a minimum spend requirement, it’s advisable to put your store card away until you have earned the bonus.

4. Cable, Internet, and Phone

You can often have these things automatically deducted from a checking account, but you don’t earn any points that way. Set up all of these recurring charges on a credit card. Each month, your accounts will charge your credit card, and you will earn points.

If you spend a lot on cable, internet, or phone charges, consider a card that offers extra points for charges in these categories. The Chase Ink Business Preferred® earns 3x Ultimate Rewards points on cable, internet, and phone services.

Hot Tip: Set up all of your recurring bills like internet, cable and phone service to automatically charge to your credit card each month. It’s just as easy as having the charges come out of your checking account, and you will be earning valuable points when you use your credit card.

5. Home Entertainment

Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, Audible, etc. All of these things can be paid for with a credit card. If you already have automatic payments set up, move the payments to the card you are trying to earn the bonus on.

6. Dining

It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting down to a 4-course dinner or getting a muffin at your local coffee shop; use your credit card to pay. This category is especially easy to earn bonus points too. There are lots of credit cards that offer extra points on dining purchases.

Here are some great credit cards for earning bonus points on dining purchases:

If cash back is more your thing, there are plenty of cards that offer cash back at restaurants:

Credit CardCash-Back at Restaurants
The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card2% cash-back (up to $50,000 per year; 1% thereafter)
Capital One® Savor® Rewards Credit Card4% cash-back
Chase Freedom® Credit Card5% cash-back during specified times of the year

7. Travel

You should always use your credit card on travel. In addition to earning points, there are lots of credit cards with travel insurance coverage, or airport lounge access.

Travel is also a bonus category on lots of great credit cards so you can rack up points quickly when using your credit card for travel expenses.

Here are a few fantastic travel rewards credit cards:

Credit CardsBonus Points Earned On Travel Expenses
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • 5x Ultimate Rewards points on air travel if purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 10x Ultimate Rewards points on hotels and car rentals if purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3x on all other travel
American Express® Gold Card
  • 3 Membership Rewards points/$1 on flights booked directly through an airline and travel booked through Amex Travel.
Capital One® Spark Miles For Business
  • 2 miles

8. Reimbursable Business Travel

If you travel for work, see if you are able to pay for the travel using your personal credit card and then submit the expenses for reimbursement. This is an ideal situation since you are basically earning credit card points for nothing! Even if you have a corporate credit card, you might not be required to use it. Check with your company for the specific policy.

9. Prepay on Upcoming Trips

If you like to travel, you likely have plenty of trips planned at any given point. For things like hotels or cruises, you often don’t have to pay in full at the time of booking. But, if you have a minimum spend, pre-paying for upcoming trips can be a quick way to hit that minimum.

You can also make partial payments towards your upcoming trip in whatever amount you need to hit your spending requirements.

10. Gym Memberships

Any type of gym membership, fitness classes, yoga studio, or even online fitness classes can be paid for with a credit card. You might as well get healthy while you are earning those bonus points!

The World of Hyatt credit card even offers a fitness bonus category! This card earns 2 World of Hyatt points per $1 spent on fitness clubs and gym memberships; this can include things like yoga studios and even personal trainers.

11. Kids’ Activities

If you are a parent, you know how expensive kids can be. You might as well earn some points while paying for all of their activities. You can use a credit card to pay for anything from dance, swim, or soccer classes to private school tuition or daycare.

12. Your Morning Coffee

If you stop by your local coffee shop every morning for a quick caffeine pick-me-up, be sure to pay with your credit card; even if it’s only a dollar or 2. A $2 coffee, 5 days-a-week is $40 a month towards your minimum spend. Every dollar counts!

Use your credit card even for small purchases like your morning coffee. This will help you hit your spending requirement fast. Image Credit: via Shutterstock

13. Lunch at Work

Grabbing a quick sandwich between meetings? Use your credit card. If you are eating with a group, you can offer to pay for everyone’s lunch on your credit card and have them give you cash.

14. Gifts

If you have birthdays or holidays coming up, go ahead and purchase some gifts early while you are working towards your sign-up bonus. You will earn your bonus quicker, and you will be thankful your shopping is done once that birthday or holiday rolls around.

15. Charitable Contributions

You can do good in your community or donate to a cause that’s meaningful to you with a swipe of your credit card. Not only are charitable contributions a tax deduction, but you get those points and help meet your minimum spend.

16. Home Remodeling/Landscaping

The first question you should ask anyone that you’re considering hiring for remodeling or landscaping is, “Do you take credit cards?” While you may laugh at this, most contractors and landscapers take credit cards. Those points add up and you get closer to your minimum spend.

17. Home Repairs/Handyman

If you need to hire a professional to do some work around your house, more often than not, they will take credit cards. So, next time you need a plumber, electrician, carpenter, or another service professional, be sure to ask if they take credit cards.

18. Maid Service

If you are able to enjoy the luxury of having someone else clean your home, be sure to put it on a credit card if you can.

19. Personal Care: Haircut/Massage/Manicure/Pedicure

Treat yourself to a fresh haircut, a massage, or a mani/pedi, and be sure to pay with your credit card. Often, these types of services ask for a tip in cash. However, even if they prefer a cash tip, you can ask to put it on a credit card too. More often than not, they will be happy to do it.

20. Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaning is a necessary expense for many people and can easily be charged to a credit card. Many dry cleaners are located within grocery stores and can be coded as a grocery store expense. That means you can often earn bonus points when using a credit card that earns bonus points on grocery purchases like the Amex Gold Card.

21. Gift Cards

If you are in a hurry to meet your minimum spend, avoid buying things you don’t need. Instead, you can purchase gift cards to stores you shop at often like a gift card for a grocery store. If you are going this route, try to purchase gift cards from a store that offers bonus points to maximize every dollar you spend.

If you have an Ink Business Cash® credit card, purchase gift cards at an office supply store to earn 5% cash back. If you have an Amex Gold Card, purchase your gift cards at a U.S. supermarket to earn 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar.

22. Reimbursement from Friends and Family

You can offer to charge purchases for your friends and family on your credit card. Then, they can give you cash to cover their expenses. This works well if you are out at a group dinner; offer to put the charge on your card and everyone can pay you instead of having everyone pay separately.

If you are dining out with a group, offer to charge the bill to your credit card. Then everyone can give you cash or send a quick payment through Venmo or PayPal. Image Credit: via Shutterstock

23. Add an Authorized User

You can add an authorized user to your account who will get their own card. Then that person can charge their expenses on your card and the amount will count towards your minimum spend requirement. They can give you cash for their purchases or send a payment through a service like Venmo or PayPal.

Since you are ultimately responsible for all the charges made by your authorized user, only do this with someone you trust.

24. Utility Bills

Utility bills are something that most people pay for by check. However, you’re likely able to pay for these bills using a credit card. Sometimes there is a small fee, but if you are working towards a minimum spending requirement for a sign-up bonus, it can be worth it.

25. Plastiq

In a perfect world, everything could be paid for by a credit card. But the reality is that there are many large expenses like rent, a mortgage, and taxes that can’t be paid by credit card. Plastiq is a service that allows you to pay for these types of expenses with a credit card regardless of whether or not the vendor accepts credit cards.

There is a catch, though. Plastiq charges a service fee of up to 2.5%. However, in some situations, the bonus points earned can outweigh the fee charged by Plastiq.

26. Melio

Melio is a new bill pay competitor to Plastiq. Compare the range of bill pay recipients and fees to Plastiq for the best current deal.

27. PayPal

If you are putting friends’ charges on your credit card, PayPal is an easy way for them to pay you back without having to deal with cash.

You can also send payments through PayPal via a credit card, but there are fees involved. PayPal charges a 2.9% fee plus an additional fixed fee based on the currency you are using.

It’s good to know this is an option, but it’s probably only a good idea in very specific situations.

Hot Tip: Paypal also comes in handy if you want to split a payment on a large purchase to meet more than 1 welcome bonus a single transaction.

28. Venmo

Venmo is another easy way for friends to pay you back without having to deal with cash. You can also send payments with a credit card. This feature does charge a 3% fee so it’s not something you want to do with regularity. But, in some circumstances, it could be worth it.

29. Resell Items

If you want to get really creative, you can get into the reselling business. This involves purchasing items and reselling them on sites like eBay or Amazon. This doesn’t come without risk, though, so be sure you know what you are getting into before you get into the business of reselling and that you abide by any state laws.

30. Expenses For Your Small Business

If you run a small business, you can put business expenses on your personal credit card if you need to hit a minimum spend requirement. While this might make your accounting a bit more complicated, it can be a great way to earn a sign-up bonus quickly.

31. Car Repairs/Maintenance

It’s no fun to pay for car repairs or maintenance, but it’s a necessary expense. So, put those charges on your credit card, so at least you know you are getting closer to earning that sign-up bonus.

32. Car Wash

Dirty car? Run it through the car wash and charge it.

33. eBay Fees

If you sell items on eBay, you know that there are fees associated with selling. You can have these fees taken out of your earnings, but a better option is to opt to have those fees charged to a credit card. It only takes a minute or 2 to set up and you will be on your way to earning more points with your credit card.

What Doesn’t Count Towards Your Minimum Spending Requirement?

There are a few types of charges that will not count toward your minimum spending requirement. These can include:

  • Annual fees
  • Balance transfers
  • Cash advances
  • Travelers checks
  • Foreign currency
  • Money orders
  • Wire transfers or similar cash-like transactions
  • Lottery tickets
  • Casino gaming chips, race track wagers, or similar betting transactions
  • Any checks that access your account
  • Interest
  • Unauthorized or fraudulent charges
  • Any other types of fees

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are tons of ways to hit that minimum spend requirement on your new credit card without purchasing a bunch of stuff you don’t need.

One important thing to keep in mind is that you should not charge anything on your credit card that you can’t pay off at the end of the month. Interest charges and fees not only damage your credit score, but they offset any benefits you are getting from your points.

The information regarding the Capital One SavorOne Card Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Chase Freedom® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding The World of Hyatt Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Katie Seemann

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure and Forbes Advisor.


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Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.


Ira Chorush

April 14, 2019

You did not mention a way that I use when required to meet minimum spend requirements; pay your estimated taxes to the IRS. The minimum charge for doing this is 1.87%; with many cards paying rewards of 2% or more you actually can earn money. If you need it, the IRS does not care if you pay more than your estimated tax for a particular payment and you can make up for it by spending less on your next payment; Additionally, you get the float when you pay the IRS by credit card. One other addition: Cable companies and Phone companies never care if you pay more than your monthly bill. They will just give you a credit which will disappear on a month by month basis. If you are getting a card which defers interest on charges for some time, you can make minimum payments until all is back in balance.

Katie Seemann

April 20, 2019

Hi Ira,
Thanks for the suggestions!

Joe Chan

November 22, 2019

Does buying supplies for my restaurant and bar count? They are for a wholesale resell license business. Seems like I could spend $15000 a month so it doesn’t seem like it’s abiding by the rules. I read that manufactured spending is not allowed and could get an account or points revoked.

Jarrod West

November 24, 2019

Hi Joe,

Just to clarify, are you asking if you can use a card to buy items for your restaurant or for a reselling business? Either way, both of those options are completely legitimate and should not cause any points to be revoked.


April 17, 2019

So, basically you should just buy anything you have to buy with a credit card? This list is literally pointless. It’s “anything you buy” buy it with a card for max points.

Christine Krzyszton

April 18, 2019

Hi Andrew. Actually, the article is about meeting the minimum spending requirements when you first apply for a credit card. You must spend a certain amount, usually within the first 3 months after you’re approved for a card, to secure the initial welcome bonus. It may not be obvious to think of paying your utilities ahead, for example, or pay car insurance with your card, therefore the intention of the article. This is not the same as earning maximum rewards for just spending but ideas on how to meet those spending requirements for that up-front bonus.


July 09, 2019

A friend sent me a referral for the Amex Delta Gold card (70K bonus pts), but I am struggling in planning the $4K spending requirement. Do you think a large purchase of gift cards would be acceptable?

Jarrod West

July 10, 2019

Hi George,

Yes, if you purchase gift cards that will count towards the minimum spend requirement for your card.


July 24, 2019

Does paying others credit cards bills count towards a minimum spending requirement ?

Stephen Au

July 24, 2019

Hi Marina,

What you’re talking about is known colloquially as a balance transfer. These DO NOT count towards a minimum spending requirement. Thanks for reading.


February 14, 2020

I am a bit confused. Do these cards require a minimum purchase each month during the year or just the first 3 months or whatever their offer is? Do I need to make a minimum purchase (say $1000) every 12 months of the year?

Jarrod West

February 14, 2020

Hi Bruce,

The minimum spend requirement is just for the intro period, usually around 3 months, in order to receive the sign-up bonus. Afterward, you can spend as much or as little as you’d like.


April 16, 2021

A couple of very important points missed:

Paypal and Venmo to friends/yourself usually count as a cash advance which does NOT count towards minimum spend!

Estimated tax payments is also a very good option.

Jarrod West

April 16, 2021

Hi C,

In my experience and the experience of many others, Venmo and PayPal payments code as purchases and not a cash advance, so they do count towards the minimum spend.


September 14, 2021

It depends on the bank. I asked Barclays that owns the JetBlue and American Airlines card about Venmo and they would not provide me a direct answer whether it would be charged as a cash transaction. They said to ask Venmo, and Venmo said ask Barclays.

Christine R

May 02, 2021

American Express explicitly states in the terms of many of their cards now that gift cards don’t count. I know they don’t count for the gold card bonus. This has been verified on many sites.


August 30, 2021

You can also buy items on rebate. For example, items from Amazon if there is a rebate and you have Prime so that the shipping is free, or items from local stores so you don’t have to pay shipping. If the item has a full rebate, you may want to consider buying even items you don’t need, but can give away or donate. Keep in mind any tax you would have to pay and whether it’s worth it – it might be if you will use the item. Ibotta and Snagshout have some good potential for this.


September 14, 2021

Hi – be careful with Venmo, some credit card companies are treating Venmo as cash advance transactions. Apparently, each bank is different and it’s very difficult to get a direct answer from them on whether or not they will treat it as a cash advance. Barclays that owns the JetBlue and American Airlines card, for example, has not given a direct answer on this


January 12, 2022

You CANNOT pay ebay fees with a credit card. Maybe a couple of years ago, but no more. The fees are taken from your sales, when ebay sends your payouts. The only time any amount gets charged to your card is if your fees are higher than your sales. In which case, you might want to reconsider selling on ebay.


October 20, 2022

Just buy some gift cards at the places where you shop most. Me, I purchased a $500 cash card at Costco.


February 04, 2023

Does Costco still only accept Visa Credit Card?

Jarrod West

February 06, 2023

Hi Clive,

Costco accepts Visa and Mastercards.

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