10 Creative Ways to Meet Your Minimum Spend

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Not being able to meet the minimum spend on a new credit card is one of the main things holding people back from getting into the travel hacking game. Lucky for you there are tons of ways to meet your minimum spend.

And work within the rules! Nothing ethical in this list!

It is important to have a plan on how to meet your minimum spend on each and every new credit card you open. One of the most important aspects of travel hacking and the easiest way to earn a lot of travel points quickly is to collect the sign-up bonuses on credit cards. The only way you receive the sign-up bonus is if you meet your minimum spend on that credit card!

But meeting the minimum spend is difficult for a lot of people. Some credit cards have upwards of $5,000 in minimum spends you have to meet, and that can be beyond your normal spending habits.

This post has you covered though!

By the time you’re done read (okay, skimming) this post, you’ll have a better idea of the most creative ways to meet your minimum spend every single time you open a new credit card!

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1. Pay Your Student Loans

This is one of my favourite ways to meet a credit card minimum spend. It is also one of the most creative ways to meet your minimum spend that not a lot of people are talking about.

A quick Google search can end in confusion and no clear answer as to whether or not you can pay your student loans with a credit card.

I’m here to tell you that YES most people are able to pay at least part of their student loans with a credit card.

I love this!

Paying back student loans is painful, but it is a lot more fun when you’re earning points towards free travel by paying your student loans with a credit card!

You can use either PaySimply or Plastiq to pay your student loans with a credit card and meet your minimum spend!

Both are third-party sites that charge a small fee (about 2.5%) to pay your student loans with a credit card.

It is the perfect way for young people to earn travel points and meet their minimum spends without breaking the budget or straying from their normal spending habits.

I caution you to do your own math and figure out whether the 2.5% in fees your paying to use a third-party site is worth it, and you get more value out of the transaction in points than you pay in fees.

It is never beneficial to use a cash back credit card to pay your student loans. You never get as much value back as you pay in fees.

You should only use a travel credit card to pay your student loans. It is the only mathematical way you get more value back than you pay in fees.

2. Pre-Pay Your Car or House Insurance

You can strategically apply for a new credit card around the time your house or car insurance is due.

You can pre-pay for the entire year (and save a little money in the process) with your credit card!

It is a great way to meet your minimum spend without spending money on things you don’t need!

Nearly every house and car insurance company allows you to pay with a credit card online. You shouldn’t have any issue using your credit card to pre-pay your insurance.

If you’re not able to pre-pay the whole year up front, most insurance companies allow you to choose between semi-annually, quarterly, or monthly payments.

Choose between paying in full, paying half, or paying a quarter of the bill.

Whatever works best for you and your financial situation.

If you’re already on a monthly payment plan, you can call your insurance provider (or try to contact them electronically because talking on the phone is evil) and ask to make an advance payment or change your payment terms.

Most insurance companies are flexible, and as long as you’re a solid customer who makes their payments on time, you should have no trouble being able to pre-pay for part of your car or house insurance.

Woman putting credit card in purse

3. Pay Your Quarterly Taxes

If you’re self-employed or know you don’t have enough tax coming off your pay check every two weeks, you can pay quarterly taxes to the CRA or IRS with a credit card.

This is, again, done through a third-party site like PaySimply or Plastiq.

It is super easy to do, and it is a great way to meet your minimum spend.

Paying your taxes with a credit card is a great strategy anytime you owe taxes. Whether it is after you file your tax return or pre-paying taxes, I suggest looking into paying your taxes with a credit card.

It is one of those situations where if you have to pay more money to the government, you may as well get some travel points out of it!

I know I’m going to owe a fair amount of tax on my 2021 tax return, and I fully intend to make that payment with a credit card through PaySimply!

4. Buy Gift Cards

This is one of my favourite ways to meet a credit card minimum spend!

You can purchase gift cards on your credit card for places you normally spend money.

You can purchase grocery, gas, or travel gift cards with your credit card and use them whenever you need to!

It is one of the easiest and most straightforward ways to meet your minimum spend!

Be sure you do some research and go to a store where you can buy gift cards with a credit card.

Some places (especially in Canada) only allow you to purchase credit cards with a debit card.

That won’t help you meet your minimum spend, so you don’t want to be stuck in that situation.

One easy way around that problem is to purchase gift cards online.

Nearly every online retailer allows you to purchase gift cards online with a credit card, so you won’t run into the situation of being forced to use a debit card to purchase your gift cards.

My extra secret strategy for buying gift cards to meet the minimum spend is to buy gift cards at places where you receive bonus points.

If you card has elevated points earning at grocery stores, buy your gift cards at grocery stores to earn more points.

For example, the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Canada card offers 5 points per $1 spent at Marriott.

This includes gift cards!

So to maximize your points and meet your minimum spend, you can buy $1,500 worth of Marriott gift cards and use them at a later date when booking a trip.

Genius, right?!

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5. Make Purchases on Behalf of Friends and Family and Have Them Pay You Back

This is a little sneaky and requires you to have friends and family members that are willing to go along with your scheme.

This is one of the ways I used to meet my minimum spends when I was fresh out of university and wasn’t making a lot of money.

The premise is really easy.

You offer to buy groceries, gas, or, really, anything for your friends and family with the expectation that they will pay you back after they get their items.

This method of meeting your minimum spend requires a fair amount of trust between you and the people you’re buying items for.

You have to trust that they will pay you back in a timely manner and not stiff you and leave you with a credit card bill you can’t pay off in full.

But in most cases, this is a great way to meet your minimum spend.

One of the best ways to use this method to your advantage is offering to shop at exclusive places that not everybody has access to or offer to use a discount code you have for other people’s orders.

This incentives people to let you pay and pay you back later.

Offering to shop at Costco if you have a membership is a great place to start. People love saving money and buying in bulk. Especially when they don’t have to pay for a membership!

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6. Pre-Pay for Your Next Holiday

One of the easiest ways to meet your minimum spend is to get a new credit card while you’re planning a holiday.

You use your new card to pre-pay for flights, hotels, excursions, and any other travel-related expenses.

You’re going to pay for those expenses in any event, so if you’re eyeing a new credit card, apply for it before you start booking your trip.

I’m not lying when I say this is one of the easiest ways to meet your minimum spend.

You already have that money (in theory) set aside to pay for the trip, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to pay off your card balance.

This may seem a bit odd because you’re earning travel points for a trip you’re booking.

Wouldn’t you want to be able to use your points for a trip?

Well, yes.

You’re working on building a points balance to be able to use on your next trip.

If you’re already in the process of booking a trip or planning a trip, you either already have the points you need for that trip or are paying for it with your fiat money.

The points you earn for booking that trip come in handy for the next trip not the trip you’re booking.

Solo Female Travel

7. Pay Your Rent

Just like student loans, you can often pay your rent by using PaySimply or Plastiq!

It is an amazing use of credit cards even when you’re not trying to meet your minimum spend.

I mean who doesn’t want to earn a ton of points every month just for paying a bill you have to pay in any event?!

Plus rent is normally the most expensive bill every month, so you can earn points quickly with little to no effort.

You just have to make sure your landlord is a payee on a third-party site, and you’re good to go!

It often takes two or three days for payment to settle when using a third-party site. If you’re going to pay your rent with a credit card, be sure you make the payment a couple of days before it is due.

You do not want to be hit with a late fee or a black spot on your records just because the third-party site took a few days to get the money to its destination.

8. Pre-Load Amazon or Starbucks Cards

If you spend a fair amount of money at Starbucks, Amazon, or any other store where you can pre-load money onto a gift card or loyalty card, do it!

It is a super convenient way to meet your minimum spend.

You’re essentially pre-paying for purchases you know you’re going to make.

This strategy for meeting your minimum spend is very similar to the buying gift card strategy.

You’re just pre-buying your morning hit of caffeine through the Starbucks app rather than buying a Starbucks gift card at a grocery store.

9. Add an Authorized User

One of the quickest ways to meet your minimum spend is to have two people making purchases on the card rather than just one!

Pretty much every credit card issuer allows you to add one (or more) authorized users to your credit card.

This means you can add your spouse, family member, etc. to your credit card and have them spend money on the card that counts towards your minimum spend.

This can be a bit risky. Make sure you’re adding someone as an authorized user that you trust.

You don’t want to add someone as an authorized user and have them spend a bunch of money on the card and then not be able to pay it off.

That puts you in a bad situation where your credit score and credit history are impacted.

You do not want to be in that situation!

But if done properly with someone you trust immensely, you will be surprised at how quickly you can meet your minimum spend without trying!

Couple Travel Hacking

10. Donate to Charity

The last (but not least) way to meet your minimum spend is by making a charitable donation.

It is important for people who are in the position to help others to do so.

Meeting your minimum spend and earning travel points is a nice bonus!

But in all seriousness, find a charity that you like (and doesn’t spend most of their money on administrative costs) and make a donation.

It probably won’t be enough to meet your minimum spend entirely, but it is a good place to start.

You get a nice warm feeling knowing you helped out the world!

For my Canadian friends, one of my favourite places to donate to is The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking. I spend my Master’s studying sex trafficking prevention, and it is such an important cause to support.

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Conclusion

There you have it!

Now you’ll never be left scrambling trying to figure out how to meet the minimum spend on your credit cards!

These 10 ways to meet your minimum spend are fool proof, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to meet any minimum spend by using the strategies on this list.

One of the most important parts of travel hacking and travelling the world for free is taking advantage of sign-up bonuses to get those sweet, sweet rewards points.

You should never apply for a credit card if you don’t have a plan to meet the minimum spend. That is just a waste of a hard credit hit!

10 Creative Ways to Meet Your Minimum Spend

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