Chase Sapphire Reserve and Gold Delta Skymiles card from american express

What if I can’t cover the minimum spend for a sign-up bonus?

UPDATE: I sat down to write this post about two weeks ago, but never got around to posting it. One of the reasons was a week-long vacation that consumed a lot of my time (more to come on that), but I also needed a little more inspiration. As mentioned in previous posts, I am looking to upgrade my credit card inventory, and that is what I just did. I applied to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, originally got a pending decision, called the reconsideration line and got approved! Now the trick is going to be hitting that $4,000 of spend in 3 months. Which brings me my inspiration for the post!


Something that I would like to focus on are subjects that I think touch close to home for myself and my fellow millennials. One of these being the problem that some face when they can’t cover the minimum spend on a credit card to get the sign-up bonus. For instance, the Citi Prestige card is running one of its highest sign-up bonuses at 75,000 points after $7,500 spend in the first 3 months. That’s right, $7,500 in three months!

For a lot of people I know that is easily achievable in a week or so, but for myself and many of my fellow millennials, $7,500 is a whole lot of money to spend in 3 months. Heck, I ran into this issue trying to get $4,000 in 3 months with my Chase Sapphire Reserve (and now Chase Sapphire Preferred).

First, I don’t think this is any reason to not go after a sign-up bonus. If you want that Citi Prestige sign-up bonus, alongside the 4th night free benefit, there are ways to get creative and get it. Second, you aren’t going to be able to magically spend more money. If you are like me, you are going to have to find ways to spend extra to hit that extra spend. With that being said, I would never recommend spending more than you can pay for. I ultimately treat my credit card as a debit card– and I don’t like over-drafting! I don’t know all the best reasons, but I’ll share some that I have come up with.

Without releasing too much personal information, on an average month I spend about $1,200 — that includes everything from living to basic necessities to occasional luxury spending (and that’s being generous, I am a very frugal spender).  When you do the math, I am $400 short of the Chase Sapphire Preferred spend, but $3,900 short of the Citi Prestige spend. So let’s look at some ways to possibly supplement that spending to hit that minimum spend…

  • Use family or friends
    • [This is what I plan on leveraging the most with my Sapphire Preffered] When I was attempting to hit the minimum spend on my Sapphire Reserve I was lucky enough to have my parents, who were in the market for a new AC unit. I asked about putting the charge on my card and they were able to pay me back. Just like that I easily got to my spend.
  • Pay for your rent with your card
    • Definitely worth considering for the Sapphire Preferred. Like many other rent payments, I get charged $55 for a payment with a Visa. With the help of TPG’s point valuations, I have done some quick math. Paying for the rent on my card every month is not worth it, but if it’s what I need to get the sign-up bonus it is definitely worth it.
      • $1,330 (what I pay for the rent with the credit car fee) x 2.2 cents a point (according to TPG valuation of UR points) = $29.26 –> so it’s worth about $29 if I put rent on my card every month, where I pay $55 extra –> $29<$55 so definitely NOT worth it.
  • Put your taxes on the card
    • I honestly have not read too much into this topic, but I do know that some people have given a deep dive into taxes with a credit card. It is another large purchase you could consider
  • Make a down-payment on a large purchase
    • Only caveat here is that I would never recommend making a purchase you can’t pay off in full. As a young person trying to break into the credit game, I highly recommend not running a balance on your card–always pay your balance in full, every month. BUT, for example, if you plan on buying a car in the near future, it would be the perfect time to go ahead and buy it!

While hitting that spend can take a little bit of creativity, it ultimately comes down to signing up at the right time. There are definitely times when I am more focused on saving, and others when I know I will be spending a little more moola. For instance, I know that I will soon have to shell out some money for upgrades to my car (new brakes, new tires, etc.) and I have put that off until I receive my new card.

The final leg…

I don’t think there is any reason not to go after a sign-up bonus. If you are able to get approved for a card you can definitely find a way to hit the minimum spend. With a little bit of creativity and strategic planning, you can be well on your way.


Tucker is an avid points and miles enthusiast. Being fully involved in the world of credit cards and frequent flying for only a few years now, he brings a very fresh and unique perspective to the world of travel.


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