How To Reach Your Minimum Spend And Unlock Welcome Bonuses For Free Travel

All the best Travel Hacking credit cards are interesting because of their welcome bonuses that give you flights, hotel nights or free travel credits simply by getting the card. Here’s what you need to unlock these Welcome Bonuses easily.

It almost always involves spending a minimum amount on your new credit card in the first few months (usually three months) to unlock the bonus. That’s what we call “minimum spend”. That’s all that’s required on your side, after this, the points are yours and you have nothing else left to do. It scares some people, but it definitely should not.

I had $6,000 to reach in three months personally (and with my girlfriend), which was 4 cards at $1,500, and yes, it took some effort, but it’s feasible even for a very frugal person like me who definitely isn’t a big spender.. so don’t stress with $1,500, thanks to our tips you will get there.

By the way, if you want to refresh your memory, here are the 10 rules about travel hacking credit cards.

The most common amount required to unlock the welcome bonuses is $1,500, which is extremely easy to reach when you know how to do it. Here are tips that will be very useful to anyone who has taken advantage of any of the incredible offers in our list of the best travel hacking credit cards in Canada.

It’s useful for one card … but it’s so simple to reach when you only have one card to do that it’s mostly to help you order two travel hacking credit cards at once, twice a year (or one every three months if you prefer) and maximize your free trips, provided you follow the rules mentioned above obviously.

What you need to know about welcome bonuses

Before telling you how to reach those minimum amounts, there are some important things to know.

Document your application

The first step is to note all the details when you apply for a credit card because sometimes those details will be difficult to finds afterward and those available publicly on the site of the card may differ from your own offer.

For example, you often get more rewarding bonuses using the links we provide (and it also supports us, so we appreciate when you go through our tool for any card request, thank you 🙂 !), so we recommend you record or film your screen throughout the application to make sure you get the top offer you applied for, not the one publicly available that could be of lesser value.

That way, you will know exactly the minimum amount to spend and how many months you have to do so and will have proof since the banks sometimes have several different offers in the market at the same time.

Pay attention to the rules

The timespan you have to spend the minimum amount often begins the day of your application, not the day you receive the card, so don’t be fooled. Do not wait until the last day of your three months to reach the $1,500 and you will avoid this risk anyway.

Another detail: the annual fee (the best cards have one, but the welcome bonus are higher too) does not count as an expense towards the minimum amount, so don’t rely on your on your card statement balance because it includes the $120 fee. In short, in the case of a card with $120 fee, it’s $1,620 that you will need to “spend”, not $1,500.

Same thing with the refunds. If you make the mistake of having a purchase refunded on the card and it makes you go back below $1,500, you lose the Welcome Bonus. So be careful. 

Before telling you how to reach this amount easily, remember that there is absolutely nothing you can do if you miss your deadline. It’s over, no second chances, no way to rectify. Your welcome bonus is lost forever. It is extremely important to be careful and follow the above guidelines.

How to reach the minimum amount.

So, as I told you, it’s very easy to spend $1,500, here are the few tips. Remember, you should never spend more just for travel hacking, it’s a horrible idea and it’s not the way to do travel hacking. Refer to the 10 rules mentioned previously.

1. Your regular expenses

You might be surprised by how much you are already spending, it’s probably close to $1,500, because that’s only $500 a month.

Restaurants, gas, groceries, clothing, cell phones … for many of you, the $1,500 minimum spend is almost automatic as long as you pay for everything with your new card.

That’s what you should always do anyway (pay everything with a credit card), because that’s what Travel Hacking is all about. As long as you pay your account in full at the end of the month, it does not cost you a penny in interest.

2. Your friends and family

The second step is quite simple, see if your family members or your friends have some large expenses coming up in the next three months.

Let’s say your father / brother / friend has to buy a $400 item at Canadian Tire, use this to help you attain your $1,500.

Just pay for it and he can give you the $400. This should help most of you reach the required amount.

3. Pre-pay for frequent purchases

You should not have a lot left, so this technique is pretty simple. Go to Shoppers Drug Mart, Metro or Walmart or any store that sells gift cards from different merchants.

Buy gift cards for places where you shop often and where you’re sure to be able to use relatively quickly.

It will count as an expense, will allow you to reach the minimum amount, simply by “pre-paying” your next purchases. Buying gift cards does not come with any additional fees, so it’s a simple solution.

4. Use Paytm

This trick is very interesting. A Canadian app called Paytm allows you to pay your electricity bills, your taxes with the Canada Revenue Agency, certain school taxes, and some other suppliers who do not usually take credit cards. It’s free with a MasterCard credit card.

It may be a promotion that will eventually end (that is, they may end up charging a fee) but until then, it is very useful to reach your minimum spend… and even just to accumulate Points and Miles for free travel.

See the detailed article here (in addition we give you a code for 1,000 Paytm Points, which are worth ≈ $ 6).

5. Use Plastiq

Plastiq, unlike Paytm, should only be used as a last resort. It is a service that allows you to pay literally anything (mortgage, rent, condo fees, suppliers of any kind).

Because unlike Paytm, there is a charge of 2.5% for any payment, so it is only worth it if you are really stuck and you will not be able to reach your minimum amount otherwise (or you can use it anytime if you have a card that gives you a better return than 2.5%).

See the detailed article here (in addition we give you a code for a first payment of $ 500 without fees).

Bottom Line

That’s it, now you know it’s very simple to reach your minimum spend requirement on credit cards. So don’t let this requirement stop you or prevent you from getting plenty of free travel with credit cards.

Do you have any questions? Ask them in the comments below.

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He aims to share his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to Travel Hacking... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 52/193 Countries, 46/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

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