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As a miles and points enthusiast, I’m trying to find any way I can to maximize my spending — who doesn’t want free stuff? I’ve got a pretty good system going with my personal spending, but have regretted not opening a small business rewards credit card sooner. After all, I spend quite a large chunk each year to keep my business running smoothly, why not get a little kickback from it in the form of a business card sign-up bonus?
For some small business owners, expenses are significantly high enough that meeting a minimum spend requirements for a business credit card bonus isn’t that big of a deal. However, for smaller one-person entities, meeting the requirements for the best business card bonuses — which can range from $4,000 to $15,000 — can be a bit of a challenge. As an example, the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card has a sign-up bonus of $750, but new cardholders need to spend $7,500 with the new card during the first three months of account opening.
That’s not to say it’s impossible to meet bonus spending requirements; you just have to be smart and strategic about it. You obviously don’t want to make unnecessary or extravagant purchases just to meet the minimum spending threshold. So, today I want to go through my list of seven tips to ensure that you hit that threshold and earn the bonus.
How to Meet Spending Requirements for Business Card Bonuses
Before we get to the list, here are some useful reminders:
It’s probably not a good idea to make many unnecessary purchases just so you can meet the minimum spending requirement.
Don’t’ forget to read the fine print to determine your eligibility for the sign-up bonus. For example, certain types of purchases may not count. Similarly, the time period to meet the minimum spending threshold may start once you’re approved, not when you get the card in the mail.
If the credit card carries an annual fee, it won’t count towards the minimum spending requirement.
Make sure you have a plan for paying the monthly balance amount in full, or else interest payments will negate all the bonus points or cash you earn.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s take a look at some ways you can qualify for that business card sign-up bonus faster.
It’s All in The Timing
That’s right — you need to time it just right so you’ll be able to use your card as many times as possible to meet a card issuer’s requirements. After all, is it really worth opening a new card for the bonus if you won’t be able to spend enough? Or if you have to spend extra money that you normally wouldn’t, is the sign-up bonus really a “free” reward?
Timing really depends on your individual business’ cash flow. As in, when are the times during the year you tend to spend a lot of money on expenses? Perhaps around the fall season you need to stock up on supplies for the holiday rush or your expenses are pretty even during the year unless it’s when you pay quarterly taxes.
Whatever cash flow looks like for you, work around opening a business credit card as close to those times. In most cases, small business rewards credit cards offer a three month window to meet the spending threshold, meaning you don’t have to rush too much to spend on everything in sight.
Pay Regular Business Expenses
Yes, it’s as simple as it sounds. If you’re using a different credit card for things like recurring subscriptions, utilities and other necessities, switch it over to the new one for the time being. If you pay by check or cash for certain expenses, ask the vendor if you can use a credit card. A few dollars here and there may not seem like much, but it’ll add up over time.
Pay Your Taxes
If you’ve been paying your quarterly or annual taxes by cash or check, you’ve missed out on a golden opportunity. Check the IRS for a list of tax payment service providers since many of them will accept credit cards. State and local tax guidelines may vary, so check to see how you can pay those. In some cases, you may need to use a specific third-party service.
Keep in mind you may have to pay convenience fees for, well, the convenience. So consider whether they’re worth it for you to get the sign-up bonus.
Pay Your Contractors or Employees
If someone is salaried and you pay them with a bank transfer, then this tactic may not work. However, if you have contractors who send you invoices, you can pay them with a credit card. In some cases, it’s at no extra cost to you or your contractor. For example, PayPal offers you the choice of paying through bank transfer, debit or credit card (you know which one to choose if you want to earn those sweet rewards).
Prepay Business Expenses
Take a look at your regular expenses and see if you can pay extra right now. That way, you’re not spending extra, just paying earlier for things you’ll eventually. You can make an extra payment on your cell phone bill and be credited for months ahead. It could even be for occasional expenses, like an insurance bill that’s due once a year.
Don’t forget before swiping that credit card to ask if you can make payments in advance. Otherwise, your spending could go to waste.
Prepay Business Travel
No doubt you’re mostly likely not traveling much these days (except to Chez Kitchen to grab lunch). But if you do, prepaying for travel is a great way to meet the minimum spending threshold. After all, travel tends to be a large expense between transportation, flights and hotels.
In this case, consider paying for your entire stay in advance, or even meals at the hotel so you’re charging as much as you can on the card.
Purchase Miles or Points
To be clear, this is probably the last option you choose, if at all. Purchasing points isn’t a great value unless it’ll cost you significantly less to make a purchase for a planned redemption you’re making soon. Otherwise, you’ll have to look carefully if it’s worth it to do so, assuming the card issuer even counts this towards your minimum requirement.
Here’s to Earning Those Points
Hopefully the above tips will help you rack up a ton of points for your next business credit card bonus. If after some careful consideration you don’t think you’ll be able to meet the minimum threshold for a card, consider one that requires a lower spending requirement or sign up for a simple cash-back card bonus, even if it means earning less rewards. Also, consider earning a bank bonus by opening a new business checking account.
While we work hard on our research, we do not always provide a complete listing of all available offers from credit-card companies and banks. And because offers can change, we cannot guarantee that our information will always be up to date, so we encourage you to verify all the terms and conditions of any financial product before you apply.