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.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49