07 Feb How I Increased Credit Card Spend to Earn 100k Membership Rewards!
Back in November I signed up (and was approved) for the Business Platinum card from American Express. The offer at the time featured 50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000, then an additional 50,000 points following an additional $10,000 in spending – all within 3 months from account approval! American Express card offers are “once per lifetime” – so I was determined to get the most out of this offer I possibly could, which meant $15,000 spending in 3 months!
FYI – the Business Platinum sign-up bonus has recently changed to a much less attractive offer – featuring a lower point bonus and a higher spending requirement – 50,000 points at $10,000 spend, and an additional 25,000 points after an additional $10,000 spend!
The Starter Guide advises you to never spend outside of your budget and to always pay your balance in full each month.
Spending money is easy – the hard part is spending money without breaking the budget!
While this was a business credit card, my business does not generate that level of monthly spending, therefore I had to get creative! I employed each and every spending strategy I had in my bag o’ tricks and achieved my $15,000 goal – while staying on budget!
Here’s how all that spending went down:
(1) Mortgage Payments through Plastiq – About $4k in 3 months
Plastiq enables credit card use on transactions that historically do not allow that type of payment… for a small % fee. They will charge your card and subsequently send an ACH transfer or paper check to the payee that you have designated.
What are the fees?
There is a standard credit card fee (Amex & Visa are 2.5%, while Mastercard is 2%) of 2-2.5%, but lower promotional rates are sometimes available. Personally, 2-2.5% is higher than I am willing to pay (unless I am meeting a minimum spend) so I always look out for the lower promotional offers!
While it cost me some upfront fees, this technique fast-tracked my spending! In addition, Plastiq payment were coding as 2x during the Small Business promotion at the end of 2016 so I was earning at a high point rate that offset some of these fees!
(2) Pre-paid Expenses – About $2k in 3 months
If your monthly budget allows, prepay your expenses like utilities, electricity, cable bills, or in my case – fitness! My wife is a big fan of the Pure Barre fitness classes and came across a nice Christmas promo featuring a few months’ worth of workout classes. The classes were on sale and would last her awhile plus the extra expense in the current month helped us meet the minimum spending requirement!
(3) Gift Cards for Future Use – About $2k in 3 months
These can be a bit tricky, but if you invest in gift cards that you KNOW you will use at a future date, it works like a charm! This is especially true if you can happen to find these gift cards on sale! Buying $250 in gift cards at an 80% discount will leave you with $200 in spending, and $50 in savings discounts! And you can use the gift card at a later date!
AYP Tip – Be careful in this act! I have read reports of gift card purchases not counting towards the minimum spending requirement, but these individuals were really maxing out this method. Don’t go crazy here and you’ll be fine!
(4) Help from the Fam! – About $3k in 3 months
I knew I had quite the task ahead of me with $15k in spending in 3 months, so I put out an APB to the family – letting them know I needed help spending! They of course would have to reimburse me for any expenses paid on their behalf, but I did sweeten the deal for them by offering them all double the points I earned on any purchases! My dad took me up on the offer by allowing me to pay a large home improvement expense!
To thank him, I made good on my word and transferred Membership Rewards to his Delta Skymiles account – giving him that last bit needed to book an award flight for his Myrtle Beach golf trip!
(5) EVERYTHING ELSE! – About $4k in 3 months
Whether it was $2 or $200, I put the spending on my Business Platinum credit card. I realize I missed out on some bonus category spending – like 3x on travel and dining with my Sapphire Reserve – but I had to put all my eggs in the Business Platinum basket if I wanted those 100,000 Membership Rewards!
$4k + $2k +$2k + $3k +$4k = $15k spent in 3 months. Over 120,000 Membership Rewards earned. It was tough, but I kept within my spending budget – paying all bills on time and in full!
Now all I have to do is decide what to do with them!? Singapore Suites? DeltaOne Business Class?
It’s going to be pretty weird not using my Amex Business Platinum card for each and every $1 spent, but I am excited to give my Sapphire Reserve some love and get back to all that 3x Ultimate Rewards on travel and dining!
What are your favorite strategies to meet high minimum spending requirements?