Is it time to declare victory over the continual increase in minimum spends imposed by the credit card companies? We may be there, at least for now.
The game has changed significantly in the last six months and, I think, in our favor. Banks and card issuers have spent their time increasing minimum spend on their credit cards and at the same time given us ways to meet the minimum spends required. Here are just a few examples.
- (and still the most profitable) Ink Bold or Plus card buying Vanilla Reloads at Office Depot for 5 points per dollar and cashing out with regular spend and cash back at grocery stores with a Netspend card, money orders at Wally World and cheap ATM withdrawals if using the Amex Prepaid card.
- Buying $3,000 Amex gift cards at Big Crumbs (use my referral link to join, please) for cash back and referral network cash back, then loading them onto American Express for Target Prepaid cards only $3 per thousand.
- The Bluebird card can be loaded with just about any debit card (including mileage earning debit cards) and then you can unload it with regular spending, paying bills, sending money to friends, ATM withdrawals and who knows what other ways our creative gang will find?
- A friend showed me another way to actually earn a few bucks (.91%) buying gift cards online at a discount, meeting the minimum spend on your card, then unloading them again online. I promised I wouldn’t reveal it online, so go think this one through yourself. I’m keeping my promise
- And you can actually earn $45 cash using the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express and buying bank gift cards at the grocery store with the 6% cash back (hurry unlimited for one year ends on Nov 5th)
- (And most important) You must maintain a good credit score or get yourself in the good credit score range as quickly as possible to take advantage of this bonanza. Think 700+ on the FICO style scales and 800+ on the VantageScore scales as a minimum to play the game.
The keys to success here are pretty simple.
- Don’t get greedy. Maxing out a play draws attention to yourself. A continual stream of Wally World money orders at $1000.60 will cause you problems as will constant $400 ATM withdrawals or always getting $200 cash back at the grocery store. So what’s wrong with $160 cash back some times? Slow Down
- Spread it around. Use more than one technique to reach the minimum spend required on each of your new credit cards.
- Let the card issuers make money off you. Example here: the Ink Bold and Plus card should be used for regular spend as well. The banks can’t sustain spending only at the 5 point bonus category. Give them some spend at the 1% category and let them recoup with the merchant fees they collect from retailers. Remember we are earning big here with each Ultimate Rewards point worth at least 1.9 cents.
I am personally declaring Victory for Katybug and myself. We currently have enough tools in our box of tricks to see the world at prices we can afford. And we’ll use those tricks carefully and with moderation to keep the game outcome in our favor.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Annual Fee: $95 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The Sapphire Preferred offers 2x points on dining and travel, and no foreign transaction fees, making this the go-to card for travelers.
This card accumulates Ultimate Rewards points, which are very valuable for transfer to United and Hyatt. Overall, this card is a great choice for maximizing earnings on dining, travel, and every day spend.
- Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
- 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value — that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
- 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
- Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95