Credit Cards The Basics

Setting Spending Goals

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With the New Year here, many have made resolutions about what they hope to accomplish or achieve in 2013. Since many of us are runners, I am sure there are numerous running goals that everyone has! Others will make goals based on weight loss, spending less, getting in shape, etc. We are going to take a small shift on one of those goals (spending less) and go in a different direction – spending more in 2013! šŸ™‚

What do I mean by this? Well, many have projects coming up this year or creative spending methods or just everyday spending and you will be putting much of that on credit cards. Today, we will look at some of the cards that you could draw benefit from if you are going to be doing big spending.

Leading up to the New Year, I did this very thing myself – choosing what spending goals I wanted to achieve. Before getting into the various options available to you, I will tell you some of the cards that I was deciding between.

  • Delta American Express Reserve – Spending thresholds are $30,000 in a calendar year. When those thresholds are hit, you will receive 15,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles (elite miles) and 15,000 bonus redeemable miles (on top of the miles received for spending). You can hit this threshold twice – but you can get a personal and a business version of this card. If you were to max out both spending thresholds, which would be $120,000, you would receive 60,000 MQMs and 60,000 extra redeemable miles. Those 60,000 MQMs put you only 15,000 miles away from Platinum status on Delta (which is their 2nd highest tier)!
  • British Airways Visa – There is a current promotion going on which gives you 50,000 Avios after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months and an additional 25,000 Avios after $10,000 in the first year and an additional 25,000 Avios after spending $20,000 in the first year. These thresholds are based a membership year. If you spend $30,000 in a calendar year, it will give you a companion ticket when flying on British Airways. This ticket is for a companion when you redeem miles for one ticket. All you have to pay is taxes (which can be substantial, especially if redeemed for first class).
  • Chase Ink Bold/PlusĀ – With each of those cards, you can get 5x points per dollar with cell phone bills, landline bills, internet bills, and office supply stores. The limit on the bonus in for that is $50,000 on each card. So, if you maxed out the bonus on one of the cards, you would earn 250,000 Ultimate Reward points.
  • American Express Premier Rewards Gold – If you spend $30,000 in a year, you will receive a bonus of 15,000 Membership Reward points on top of the minimum 30,000 points you achieved in spending (the card gives bonuses for certain categories, like 3x points for airline travel).

So those were my choices that I had before me. I ended up deciding to go with the Delta American Express Reserve. For me, that will work best since I need to keep minimum of Gold status with Delta and I will not be flying as much with them as I originally thought. I rolled over 21,000 MQMs and will get at least 15,000 from actual flying. So, that with the 15,000 from spending will get me to Gold Medallion status. That is important because it gives me Skyteam Elite Plus status that gives me luggage overages, 100% bonus miles, and Sky Priority access among other things.

Now, I do not normally spend $30,000 in a year without buying tickets for other people. I can easily do it, however, with creative spending. Now with Bluebird, it is very easy to hit these spending thresholds for various cards and their bonuses.

Here are some ideas on how you can do creative spending to reach these thresholds (many of these are things that I do):

  • Buy big-ticket items for other people (when you use some American Express cards, you get extended warranties on electronics) and have them reimburse you
  • Buy items on sale and sell them on Craigslist, Amazon, or eBay. I did this last year with tablets – I was able to sell 12 for a tiny profit (around $12 each) but I was able to get $5,000 of spending doing that.
  • Buy open-box items at stores and resell them (my favorite is Best Buy and Apple computers – I did this last year with a few Apple laptops for around $5,000 in spending and profited about $200)
  • Buy airline tickets for friends and family (I do this a lot – last year, I probably purchased around $20,000 in airfare for friends)
  • Use Bluebird to pay taxes, mortgages, insurance, and any other expenses that can only be done with check or bank account. If you max this out, you can do $60,000 a year in Bluebird/Vanilla spending.
  • If you have home-improvement projects coming up, purchase Lowes gift cards at Office Max or Office Depot with your Chase Ink Bold or Chase Ink Plus card to receive 5x points per dollar as well as get your spending up.

Those are just a few ideas. I am sure if you couple those with your regular spending habits, you will easily be able to hit spending thresholds for one of these cards.

Here is the list of cards that have significant spending threshold bonuses:

American Express Delta Airlines ReserveĀ 

  • Sign-up offer – 10,000 Medallion Qualifying Miles after first purchase
  • Annual Fee – $450 (not waived)
  • Threshold Bonus – Receive a bonus of 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 redeemable miles (RDMs) after spending $30,000 in a calendar year and receive an additional 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 RDMs after spending an additional $30,000 in a calendar year
  • Application Link (I do not receive a commission for this card)

American Express Premier Rewards Gold

  • Sign-up offer – 25,000 Membership Reward points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • Annual Fee – $175 (waived for the first year)
  • Threshold Bonus – Receive a bonus of 15,000 Membership Reward points after spending $30,000 in a calendar year
  • Application Link (I receive a commission for this card)

British Airways Chase Visa

  • Sign-up offer – 50,000 Avios after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months and receive an additional 25,000 Avios after spending $10,000 within the first membership year and then an additional 25,000 Avios after spending another $10,000 with the year (so, a total of $20,000 in spending)
  • Annual Fee – $95 (not waived)
  • Threshold Bonus – After spending $30,000 in a calendar year, receive a companion pass to be used with an award ticket on British Airways
  • Application Link (I do not receive a commission for this card)

Hilton HHonors Citibank ReserveĀ 

  • Sign-up offer – 2 Free Weekend Nights after spending $2,500 in the first 4 months
  • Annual Fee -$95 (not waived)
  • Threshold Bonus – Receive 1 free weekend night after spending $10,000 in a year. Receive Hilton Diamond status after spending $40,000 in a calendar year
  • Application Link (I do not receive a commission for this card)

These are the cards that I thought would work the best for everyone right now. I will update the list more as different offers come out.

So, how about it? Are you ready for setting spending goals? Even if you decide to not go with one of the cards listed above, just make sure that you do your big dollar spending wisely. By wisely, I mean use the appropriate card for the best category bonuses. If you are going to use just one card for most of your spending, I would use one of the cards below:

Chase Sapphire Preferred

  • Sign-up offer – 40,000 Ultimate Reward points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Annual Fee – $95 (waived for the first year)
  • High-point of card – 7% bonus on all points earned within the year
  • Application Link (I do not receive a commission for this card)

American Express Starwood Preferred Guest

  • Sign-up offer – 10,000 Starpoints after first purchase and 15,000 additional points after spending $5,000 in the first 6 months
  • Annual Fee – $65 (waived for the first year)
  • High-point of card – points can be transferred to most airlines. For every 20,000 points transferred, you will receive a 5,000 mile bonus making each point worth 1.25 miles per dollar spent (if transferred to an airline)
  • Application Link (I do receive a commission for this card)

 

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are authorā€™s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.

Editorial Note - Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

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