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When you're eyeing a new credit card — whether from Chase, American Express, Citi, Capital One or an alternative — you need to do some math.
Specifically, you need to figure out if earning the card's welcome bonus is worth your time. Part of that decision hinges on making sure you can meet and pay off the $4,000 required spend within three months of opening the account (or whatever the minimum spend is for your card of choice).
What's 4000 / 3? That's roughly $1,333.33 that needs to be spent monthly.
After all, a credit card welcome bonus is only worth it if you can hit the required spend without filleting your finances.
Knowing how to hit a credit card's required spend is a good skill to possess. Here are some ways to make it happen with regular, in-budget expenses. For now, we'll focus on cards that have a
How to spend $4,000
Save the date
The first thing you want to do when trying to hit a required credit card spend is to mark the date your purchases must be paid on a calendar.
Burn that date into your brain so you don’t miss it. Set reminders of that date for every other week to make sure you're on target to hit the required spend.
Charge your bills — and everything else
Once you sign up for that new credit card with a required spend, start using that card for everything. Going out for a bagel and coffee? Charge it. Filling up at the gas station? Charge it. Use your new card on every single purchase during those first three months.
You'll be surprised how quickly all those little payments add up. But again, remember to only adopt this strategy if you can pay off that $4,000 right away. Carrying a balance on your welcome offer minimum spend defeats the benefit.
Additionally, charge bills and expenses already in your budget, so you won't have to worry about racking up interest charges by carrying a balance. If at all possible, prepay the bills with your card to ensure that you hit that $4,000 mark.
Pick up the tab
Going out to dinner with a large group of friends? Offer to pick up the bill using your credit card. Simply pay the bill, then have your friends pay you back with cash or a payment app like Venmo.
Stock up on gift cards
Think about the places you shop most often. Once you have a list on hand, purchase gift cards for those retailers using your credit card. Then, the next time you visit Whole Foods or that same retailer on the way to work, use the gift card as payment. It's an easy way to bump up your credit card spending without overextending yourself.
Credit cards with a $4,000, 3 month minimum spend requirement
At the time of writing, these travel credit cards' welcome offers required new cardmembers to spend at least $4,000 to be eligible.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Citi Premier® Card: Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Citi Prestige® Card: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card: Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
IHG® One Rewards
- Cheers to new tiers: New tiers allow members to earn points faster.
- Piling on the perks: New members benefits that enhance every stay
- Milestone Rewards: Allows members to choose their rewards.
World of Hyatt
- Earn points for things you already enjoy with Hyatt
- Use your points for free nights at more than 1,100 hotels around the world
- Three elite tiers to unlock exceptional benefits - room upgrades and more.
Alaska Mileage Plan
- Join Mileage Plan and Save $25 on your next flight
- Our members earn 30% more miles on average than other airlines
- You earn based on how far you fly, not how much you spend