The 1st thing most people ask when they get into the ‘Free Travel via Credit Cards’ game is ‘How am I going to spend $2,000 / $3,000 or in some cases $5,000 in 3 months? If I had that kind of money lying around I wouldn’t be tryin to travel for FREE in the 1st place!’
Fear not young Grasshopper, there are ways around that. Some which essentially don’t include you actually ‘Spending‘ any money at all.
The best and move ‘lucrative’ method for ‘Manufactured Spending‘ USED to be the Target RedCard. But that method joined the US Mint Trick and Amazon Payments in the MS Graveyard.
Currently one of the easiest methods for those new to the Churning Proess would be using Visa PrePaid Debit Cards – AKA ‘Vanilla Reloads’ – and using those cards to buy Money Orders for 59 cents. Those money orders can then be used as you see fit…. To pay your bills, or more likely to pay yourself back.
You can read all about that process here, or check below for the easier ‘less sketchy’ methods of meeting minimum spend requirements.
If you fear the ‘Gift Card-MO’ method, there are a handful of options available to meet the Minimum Spend Requirements by using the credit card you just applied for to pay every day expenses.
- Pay Your Mortgage Insurance Premium in Full for the Year
- Note – You can easily separate your Insurance from your Mortgage payment if that’s currently being handled by your Mortgage Provider. Your Insurance will mail you a bill two months ahead of time.
- Pay your Phone Bill in Advance (Verizon lets you pay up to $300 towards your current bill at any time)
- Same goes for Cable (AT&T for example)
- Pay Your Water Bill for the entire year (In Cleveland, you can pay $500 towards your bill without fees)
- Pay Your Electric and Gas Bills for the next couple of months
- Electric will come with a 2.5% Fee, sometimes worth it, but NO FEE if you setup Automatic Payments
- Buy Gift Cards for the Grocery Store(s) you shop at routinely.
- This has the added benefit of giving you ‘Fuel Perks’ if you shop at a place like Kroger or Giant Eagle
- When dining out with friends, offer to put the bill on your card and have everyone else pay you in cash (Many cards give bonus points to restaurant categories)
- Apply for Cards when you know you have a big expense such as a car repair or wedding coming up
- If you work in a Corporation, charge all you can on your own Card, and then have the company reimburse you via an expense report instead of using a Corporate Card
- If a Friend has a large expense coming up and you trust them, ask if they would use your card to pay for a purchase, and pay you back in cash / check
- Make all of your Wedding and Bar Mitzvah Gifts Amazon Gift Cards. Everyone Loves Amazon.
- Most car dealerships let you put up to $5K of a down payment on a credit card with no fees, but make sure you negotiate the price BEFORE hand.
Be Creative! Even if you’ve already met the minimum spend, every dollar you charge (and pay back on time of course) is a dollar close to a free vacation!