I Have A Lot Of Credit Card Minimum Spend To Hit, Here’s How I’ll Do it

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I’ve just applied – and was approved for – four new credit cards. Three of the approvals came instantly. And I have a lot of minimum spend to hit to earn initial bonuses. Here’s how I plan to do it.

The four cards are, in the order that I applied:

  1. Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. I want to earn a Southwest Airlines companion pass in early 2022, valid for the rest of that year and all of 2023.

    That requires 125,000 qualifying points – and this card has Chase’s best points offer ever for the card – 100,000 bonus points: 50,000 after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months plus 50,000 more bonus points after spending $12,000 total on purchases in the first 12 months. I found myself under 5/24, not having applied for many cards during the pandemic. [Offer expired]

  2. Capital One Venture X Rewards offers 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first 6 months plus $200 back in statement credits for vacation rentals charged to your account within your first year.

    I was surprised to be approved for this card new card, but I’m hearing from readers broadly that they’re getting unexpected approvals.

  3. Citi Premier® Card offers 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. (Offer expired)

  4. Bilt Mastercard double points on unbonused spend for the first month.

I need to spend $26,000 to earn bonuses on the first three of these cards (and I actually want to get to my companion pass from Southwest right away (with spend and bonus hitting in January). I’ve taken on a lot, more than most and more than I usually recommend. But I also know I have a lot of spend that I can do. Here’s what I have planned.

  • Property taxes. My property taxes are due in January. Since I refinanced during the pandemic at a super cheap rate, my property taxes aren’t escrowed any longer. I put the cash aside in my Bask Savings Account, earning American AAdvantage miles, keeping the money liquid. And Texas, which has no state income tax, has high property taxes to compensate.

    I can pay these by credit card, but it’ll cost me 2.85% to do so using Plastiq.com to charge my card and send a check (my county would charge 3% to pay by card directly). I don’t normally recommend this just to earn miles, but it’s worth it to earn big bonuses.

  • Quarterly taxes. These are due January 15 on money I’ve earned from this blog, consulting work, award booking service, and the like. I also received a bonus at work and withholding from it at standard bonus withholding rates leaves me owing tax. Plus I realized some capital gains. All of which means I have some big tax deposits to make. Online tax payment processors charge almost 2%, again that’s high but reasonable for earning bonuses like this.

  • Car payment. I can use Plastiq.com to pay my car payment as well, at a cost of 2.85%.

  • Pull forward expenses. I can prepay utilities, prepay a few months of car payment, and even prepay insurance.

I’ve been saving up, setting money aside, for taxes. I realize I’m in a unique situation, with income from a job that happened to give me taxes to pay, income from a website, and unescrowed property taxes in a high property tax state. I knew I had a bunch of money to give to governments at various levels, so I figured it made sense to put those payments to good use. And I can top off with my regular expenses – both monthly, and expenses from the next couple of months as-needed.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Instead of paying a couple percent convenience fees when paying taxes, couldn’t you book a refundable full fare flight to anywhere for a date late next year. Perhaps one flight on each of those cards. Then, when you need to fly next year, cancel the refundable flights and use the credit as you need it. On the other hand, you’ll have a few thousand sitting on the sidelines and if you invest it wisely, you might get more than 2.5% return.

  2. If I’m not mistaken, Plastiq.com payments using Visa are now considered cash advances, which probably incur a 5% cash advance fee. Interest is charged from day 1.

  3. @Sarcastacus – no, that’s not my experience. there are some payments on some visa cards that can code that way but in my experience plastiq will flag that for you (warn you) before processing.

  4. Many Texas license plates have been seen recently in the state of Delaware. Maybe this explains why due to “taxes?”

  5. Yup; I pay my property taxes and estimated tax payments with cards. My January estimated tax payment will easily take care of the minimum spend on my new Venture X card.

  6. Texas property taxes is high???

    Don’t forget there are freaking people living New Jersey!!!!!

    HJ has highest property tax, 6.625% sales tax, higher income tax up to 10.75% and all apply to middle class.

  7. Surely a prime art in succeeding in the points game is to have the optimum distribution of due dates so that there are not peaks and troughs in spends unless your incomes vary to match as such, which I suspect most of your readers do not have! Otherwise, you just put pressure on yourself to spend unwisely, or certainly suboptimally?

  8. Can I make a federal tax payment in January for 2021? I have some spend to hit early next year and that’s all I have coming up.

  9. Gary Leff wrote:
    > Texas, which has no state income tax, has high property taxes to compensate.

    According to the Texas Comptroller:
    Texas has NO state property tax. The Texas Constitution and statutory law authorizes local governments to collect the tax. The state does not set tax rates, collect taxes or settle disputes between you and your local governments.

  10. @MS – I was being colloquial, if you live in Texas you pay high property tax, more money is raised at the local level here than in many other states

  11. @ Gary. If you live in a city or suburban area in Texas, you pay higher property taxes. 191 of the 254 Texas counties are considered “rural.” The tax rates set by those rural/agricultural counties are in most cases much less than those in cities since the land is taxed on the value of what it produces. Those counties are the “tail that wags the dog” in state government . . . IMHO.

  12. All well and good but, approximately, how much will you be paying in fees to earn those “free” miles?

  13. “They’ll claw back the points when you cancel the refundable flight.”

    even if the refund in airline credits? as for SWA?

  14. You could just buy a nice piece of Hunter Biden artwork as an investment and knock it all off at once. Plus you could write off the cost on taxes somehow, I’m sure 🙂

    Seriously it all sounds like a good plan.

  15. @Gary you have lots of investments and make a ton of money correct? What are you doing with a mortgage let alone a car payment? That does not compute to me as someone owns homes and vehicles free and clear for years and makes presumably far less than you.

    Are you just pandering to the masses as to what they can do?

  16. Just a tip about taxes in Texas. Gary Leff and One Trippe said it succinctly. Most relatives of mine pay little or minimal taxes on Property. How? Their home is just outside the city limits of Fort Worth, Abilene, Austin, etc. When you move to Texas you must study this carefully, your realtor should be aware of this. And claiming a homestead in Texas will lower your taxes. You are only allowed one homestead in Texas.
    Also your car insurance rates in Texas are based on the County where you park/garage your car overnight.
    You could drive all day long in Downtown Dallas EVERYDAY! and your car insurance will be lower because you live in another county outside Dallas
    Being a Veteran also helps, can’t tell you the number of times I have been stopped and the Policeman sees my Veteran status on my Driver’s license and just let’s me go with a warning. It’s the Texas drive friendly way….nobody is out to quote “get you.” Just be nice to people.
    There are 254 counties in Texas, pick the right one for your family.

  17. When we need to spend more close to the bonus deadline, we prepay our groceries by buying $100 gift cards at Trader Joe’s and anywhere else we regularly shop. If we had a mortgage, we’d pay it down.

  18. @Mike- I could pay off my 2.75% mortgage or 2% car payment but I didn’t get where I am financially by being stupid.

  19. 2021 Tax Rates
    Austin TX rate $22.20 per $1,000 with no state income tax, 8.25% sales tax
    Nashua NH rate $22.61 per $1000 with no state income tax, no sales tax
    Providence RI rate $24.56 per $1000 with stat tax and 7% sales tax.

    What is not disclosed is that TX and NH have HIGH licenses and permit fees on everything. They need to make up the revenue some where. So a 15 year old car in NH pays an annual fee of $400 a year to be on the road, Even though it the car is worth only $500. Corporations in TX pay fees for everything every year.

  20. Fee free visa cards at AAA. Met the spend requirement on two venture x cards in a matter of minutes. Already cashed the visa cards out and awaiting cap one to post the bonus points.
    @Jorge FJB

  21. “The four cards are, in the order that I applied: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card…” It might appear that you’re well over 5/24. Is that correct? Have you found a way around 5/24? Thank you.

  22. Thanks for everything you do Gary

    Curious about the new capital one venture X card

    every time I apply for a capital one card (I have one) it says I have a applied to soon and I’m not qualified to get another one

    is there a certain period of time that I should let it go before applying for this?

    any thoughts would be appreciated

    Thanks john

  23. Hey Gary,

    If you’re really desperate for some extra spend, please feel free to pay my quarterly tax in January.

    I promise I’ll write all sorts of nice things about you in the comments section 🙂

  24. @Gary — I make it about $1300 in outlay to meet these minimum spends (3% fees and 2% foregone cash back). I’m 100% sure that you’ve done the math to know it’s more than worthwhile for you, and equally certain that plenty of readers don’t understand the cost involved.

  25. bc – they won’t claw back the bonus points on cancelling the flights if you by then have spent the required amounts for the sign up bonus, in other words if you just bought yourself timing it’s fine, it you now didn’t make the spend, that’s a problem.

  26. Texas homestead exemption is a whopping $20,000 off the value of your home.

    I guess when houses where $40k, this was a big deal. Now a days when your house is $300k, it’s not much at all.

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