How to Meet Min Spend Requirements Easily
The 1st thing most people ask when they get into the ‘Travel Hacking‘ game is ‘How am I going to spend $2,000 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 my friend, there are ways around that. Some which essentially don’t include you actually ‘Spending‘ any money at all.
One of the easiest methods for those new to the Churning Process 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-Money Order’ method, there are a handful of safer/easier options available to meet the Minimum Spend Requirements by using the credit card you just applied for to pay every day expenses. Another favorite is using Plastiq – a service that sends a CHECK to your Payee- after you pay them via Credit Card. They charge a fee for this service, but you can use this link to get $500 in ‘Fee Free Dollars’ after spending $500. Their normal ‘cut’ is 1 – 2.5%.
Easily Meet Minimum Spend Requirements for any Credit Card
- 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.
- Get a new Card when you have Car, House, or Boat Insurance payments coming up (Pay in Full!)
- 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.
- Get a new card in November, right before the holiday Shopping Season
- Kiva.org is a great AND Humanitarian way to meet Min Spends while helping others. They allow you to make loans of $25 or more to entrepreneurs in 3rd world countries and elsewhere… These ‘Loans‘ are similar to donations, except you get the money back at the end of the loan term – which is typically 6-18 months. You can basically ‘bank’ the money with them (or with a rural rice farmer in Cambodia) and expect to get the $ back 99% of the time. I choose the 6-month loans for a quicker payback, but no matter what you’re helping people which is great in and of itself.
You can get 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!