Completing Minimum Spend
As most of you know, I did a round of credit card applications earlier this month.
To receive all 135,000 miles + 4 free hotel nights, within the span of 3 months, I need to spend $9,000!
While it is a large sum, there are a few easy way to do this without spending money on unnecessary purchases:
1. Use Your Card For Everyday Purchases
This option is fairly obvious but you can use your new credit cards to pay for dinner, groceries, gas, clothes, etc.
In addition to the basics, there are lots of other things that you can pay for with a credit card that most people overlook.
Million Mile Secrets has a great list of 40+ ways but some “overlooked items” include paying college tuition (if there isn’t a fee), car / home insurance, cell phone / internet (easy $200+ a month), gym membership, etc.
Taking advantage of paying for these everyday purchases via credit card can easily help you spend $1,000 - $3,000 a month if you are a family of 4.
While $1,000 - $3,000 a month in spend certainly does help put a dent in minimum spend requirements, when you have to spend $9,000 in 3 months, it is always good to look at other options.
2. Amazon Payments
Amazon Payments is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to generate an extra $1,000 a month in spend since it is all done online and is currently FREE!
I use Amazon Payment to pay my rent every month, but as I talked about in this old post, you can use it for anything. If you have a family of 4, you can easily generate $4,000 a month in FREE spend!
I made my parents and brother set up Amazon Payments accounts for my use. When I need to meet minimum spend, I just use my credit card under their names and am able to send money to myself or trusted friends without issue. That is how I completed the $1,000 minimum spend requirement for my new Fairmont card via my mom’s Amazon Payment account!
3. Vanilla Reloads
While Vanilla Reloads don’t get as much attention anymore because the lucrative 5x UR bonus at Office Depot is long dead, you can still purchase Vanilla Reload Cards at CVS (if there is a CVS near you).
While there is a fee of $3.95 per $500, if you are really in a bind, then for $19.50 you can “spend” $2,500.
If spending $19.50 can help you reach a minimum spend requirement and earn some free travel, then I’d say it is money well spent!
This technique isn’t a particularly great way to earn miles (unless you really need them), but is extremely useful for hitting minimum spend targets in a short time.
For example, I just had my parents sign up for some cards this weekend and they have to spend $5,000 in 3 months. They should be able to do that pretty easily. However this week when I called British Airways to cancel my Dad’s BA card for him, I was informed of a retention bonus of 9,000 Avios if he spent $1,500 in 3 months. Since my parents are already doing their $5,000 in minimum spend, I figure I will just go to CVS and buy $1,500 in Vanilla Reloads for them for $12 and earn 10,500 (9,000 Avios + $1,500) Avios for our BA Family Account.
More information about Vanilla Reload Cards and Bluebird can be found here.
4. Chase Giftcards
As of right now, Chase is selling their Chase giftcards via their website without an additional fees!
Even better, is that you can purchase these giftcards with a Chase Visa or Mastercard credit card. Unless you live in AR, CT, HI, ME, NH, NJ, RI, VT, then you can’t buy them online.
I tried to use a Citi card, but the website knew it wasn’t a Chase card : (
While that news of giftcards being sold online isn’t terribly exciting, due to financial reform, all pre-paid giftcards are required to come with a debit pin!
As I learned from Million Mile Secrets, you can load your Bluebird Card at Walmart with a debit card (or giftcard) as long as it has a pin…
So basically, with this Chase promotion, you can buy these Chase giftcards with a credit card, load the giftcards onto Bluebird, and then pay off your credit card bills!
How To Buy Chase Giftcards & Load Them Onto Bluebird
1. Go to Chase Gift Cards Website
On the right hand you will see a “Order Online” button. Click on it and it will take you to an external vendor to purchase the giftcards.
2. Buy Some Giftcards
You can order a maximum of 5 giftcards (up to $500 in value) each transaction.
At the current time, it seems you can only buy $2,500 worth of giftcards per a month, per a card.
I tried to do two $2,500 transactions and was denied.
However you can use a different Chase card to do additional orders.
To purchase giftcards, on the main page, pick your card design, as well as the value (I did $500).
For the recipient information, I put down MY name, address, and email.
If you choose a value over $100, the giftcard has to be shipped to the person who purchased the giftcards anyways, so there is no real value in not putting your real information.
Once you add the giftcard to your account, simply go back and add 4 more giftcards, and click on check out!
When you check out, you will need to enter your Social Security Number and Date of Birth. I am guessing this an attempt to monitor money laundering.
3. Wait For Arrival
The giftcards take 5-7 days to arrive and they come via standard USPS mail.
4. Activate Cards
Once you receive your giftcards, call and activate them via the number on the back of the card.
On the automated system, it will give you the PINs for the giftcards. It also prompts you to change the PIN if you want.
I chose to leave the PINs unchanged and wrote them on the back of the giftcards so I’ll remember them.
5. Go to Walmart or Walmart Express
You can load $1,000 a day (or two $500 giftcards) onto Bluebird in a day.
To load the Bluebird card, you have to go to Walmart.
I live in Downtown Chicago and Big Box retailers aren’t exactly welcome here, so Walmart instead opened up a Walmart Express which is a scaled down version of a Super Walmart. You can use these Walmart Express stores to load your Bluebird Card or regular Walmarts or Super Walmarts.
To load the your Bluebird card at Walmart, you can either do 2 things.
A. Go to Walmart ATM
If your store has a Walmart ATM, I’d recommend going that route since it is easier and you don’t have to answer as many questions.
To load your Chase giftcards via the Walmart ATM, read Million Mile Secrets instructions here.
Unfortunately, my Walmart Express didn’t have a Walmart ATM so I had to go with option B.
B. Go to Walmart Money Center or Customer Service
If your Walmart has a Walmart Money Center (photo below), then you can go there to load your Bluebird.
My Walmart Express did not have a Walmart Money Center or Walmart ATM, so instead I just went to Customer Service.
When the cashier asks what you want to do, simply tell them you want to load your Walmart Bluebird Card with a DEBIT CARD.
Sometimes the cashier knows how to do it, other times they may need to call someone over.
You will have to hand over your Bluebird Card to them to do the transaction.
They will then ask you how much you want to load. Tell them $500.
The $500 will then appear on the screen for you to approve.
Once you approve it, you will then be asked to swipe your debit card and enter your pin.
As soon as the money is loaded, you will get a receipt that says at the bottom how much is loaded onto your Bluebird Card!
I did two separate $500 transactions in a row. I am not sure if you can do a $1,000 transaction and pay with 2 different cards.
If the cashier asks why you want to load $1,000 or $500, just say that you purchase things on the internet and don’t want to use your real credit card out of concern over identity theft. Works every time : )
6. Pay off your credit card bills
Once your Bluebird is loaded, then simply use it to pay off your credit card bills.
As I stated above, there does seem to be a monthly limit of $2,500 per a card.
You can always use another Chase card but remember there is a monthly $5,000 load limit on Bluebird. Obviously this can be alleviated, if you tell your family members to sign up for Bluebird Cards, as I have done.
While large minimum spend requirements can be daunting, if you use the above tips and tricks, you can fairly easily spend $9,000+ in 3 months without buying unnecessary stuff.
By using the above tricks and making a few trips to Walmart and CVS, I will be able to earn over 135,000 miles + 4 free nights, for a few hours of work.
The value of the 135,000 miles + 4 free nights can easily top $10,000+ depending on what I redeem them for, so in my book 5 trips to Walmart is definitely worth a few hours of time since I normally don’t make $2,500 an hour!
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