Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: How to Meet the Spending Requirement for Bonus Fast

OK, here’s the question: “How can I reach the $3,000 spending requirement for the 40,000 bonus points fast?”

As I mentioned quite frequent here I am a credit card person, but I usually only get cards without annual membership fees because I don’t really see any extra benefits from those cards to justify the cost of having them given my spending level. However, I did acquire three cards with membership fees in the past 18 months: a Citi AAdvantage Card, a Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card, and the latest Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, all for their new member bonuses that are either in frequent flyer miles or can be converted into miles. For the first two cards, the conditions for the bonuses weren’t difficult to meet and I got the bonuses quite easily. For the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card that I received early last week however, the spending requirement is the highest for me so far: $3,000 in the first three months to get 40,000 bonus points.

Actually, since we usually charge more than $3K on all our credit cards every month, spending $3K in three months isn’t really the problem. What I want to do is do it as fast as possible on a single card, maybe in one month instead of three, without actually spending the money, or at least not all of it. I am going after the bonus, but we certainly don’t want to “waste” $3K just to get the bonus, so ideally, the best way would be using the card to buy “money” that we can use later to buy stuff we indeed need.

When I got the Citi AAdvantage card early last year, I was able to use the card to purchase hundreds of $1 coins from U.S. Mint and then deposit that money in my bank account and the purchases still counted toward the spending requirement. But now that option is gone, so I have to find other ways to charge enough to the card to get the bonus. Looking at my options, it seems that the easiest way for me to “spend” the money will be using the card to buy cash gift cards, but I only want to those that don’t charge any extra fee for the purchase (meaning American Express Gift Cards won’t be considered as there’s usually processing fees or shipping cost involved). I have identified two targets: Costco Cash Card and Amazon Gift Card.

Since we shop a lot a Costco, my first choice will be buying a Costco Cash Card. Even though I can only pay my purchases with AMEX cards at the warehouse, all major credit cards are accepted for online orders, so buying a big Costco Cash Card will solve a large part of the problem. I can also buy some Amazon Gift Cards, but the thing is we don’t buy a lot of stuff at Amazon and when we did, it was usually in a small amount. Therefore, it could take a very long time for us to spend the money if we woudl get, say, a $500 Amazon Gift Card.

On the other hand, now is probably the best time of the year to rack up credit card rewards. With the holiday season around the corner, we sure will spend a little more than we usually do, so hopefully with the combination of gift card purchases, it won’t take use too long to meet the spending requirement.

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