Using Credit Card Bonuses for Race Fees - Running with Miles
Credit Cards Marathons

Using Credit Card Bonuses for Race Fees

Race Fees
Written by Charlie

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As I mentioned recently, the cost for race fees is going up every year. Yes, there are many things that demand the increase – permits, security, technology, fewer sponsors, etc – but that does not make it any easier to pay these higher fees! I would not be surprised to learn that the average marathon entry fee for a marathon in the US is about $100. Even if this is your hometown marathon, that is costing quite a bit to run!

One year, I set a goal of not spending over $300 on running in any category. That meant shoes, race fees, GU gels, clothes, travel (minus the gas), and anything else running related. It was hard but I was able to do it! However, these days, if you run two marathons in a year, you will find very little left of the $300 to cover shorter, local races. What can someone do to avoid these fees?

Using Credit Card Bonuses for Race Fees

Many credit cards seem to be making a shift – reducing the amount of points/miles awarded with the sign-up bonus or raising the required spending for the bonus while adding cash back incentives. For example, the recently changed Delta American Express cards that I wrote about had upped the spending threshold but threw in a $50 or $100 statement credit (after the first qualifying purchase made at Delta). Another example is a recent public offer change on the Marriott card – it went from 50,000 points to 40,000 points and $100 (though the 50,000 point offer is still available).

So, how does this help the runner seeking to pay for race fees? Now, you can sign-up for a credit card and get cashback to cover that cost! To be clear, these types of cards have been around for years, but it may be a nice addition that the mile and point bonus cards are beginning to offer these cashback bonuses as well. To give an example of what is available, here are some of the cards that offer cashback bonuses.

Bank of American Cash Rewards Credit Card

Race Fees

  • This card offers $100 cash back after spending $500 on this card in the first 90 days
  • This card has no annual fee
  • Other card high points – 2% cash back at grocery stores and 3% cash back on gas for the first $1,500 in combined spend each quarter
  • Application Link (not a referral link)

American Express Blue Cash Preferred

Race Fees

  • This card offers points redeemable for $150 cash back after spending $1,000 on this card in the first 90 days
  • This card has a $75 annual fee – making the cash back bonus an effective $75 bonus
  • Other card high points – 6x cash back bonus on supermarket spending (up to $6,000 of spending per year)
  • Application Link (not a referral link)

American Express Blue Cash Everyday

Race Fees

  • This card offers points redeemable for $100 cash back after spending $1,000 on this card in the first 90 days
  • This card has no annual fee – making this card a better offer than the above if chosen specifically for the bonus
  • Other card high points – 3% cash back bonus on supermarket spending (up to $6,000 of spending per year)
  • Application Link (not a referral link)

Citi Dividend Platinum Select

Race Fees

  • This card offers $100 cash back after spending $500 in the first 90 days
  • This card has no annual fee
  • Other card high points – earn 5% cash back on rotating categories each quarter
  • Application Link (not a referral link)

 Barclaycard Rewards Mastercard

Race Fees

  • This card offers 5,000 points after first purchase and an additional 5,000 points after spending $750 in the first 90 days – a total of $100 cash back
  • This card has no annual fee
  • Other card high points – 2x points on gas, groceries, and utilities
  • Application Link (I receive a commission from this link if approved)

NFL Extra Points Credit Card from Barclay Bank

Race fees

  • This card offers points redeemable for $100 cash back after spending $1,000 on this card in the first 90 days
  • This card has no annual fee
  • Other card high points – if you are a NFL fan, you can pick your team and have it on a card (not of huge interest to me, but maybe to some!)
  • Application Link (I receive a commission from this link if approved)

Chase Freedom

Race Fees

  • This card offers $100 cash back after spending $500 in the first 90 days
  • This card has no annual fee
  • Other card high points – 5% cash back per $1,500 spent per quarter on rotating categories
  • Application Link (not an affiliate link)

MLB Credit Card from Bank of America

Race Fees

  • This card offers $100 cash back after spending $500 in the first 90 days
  • This card has no annual fee
  • Other card high points – if you are a baseball fan, you can pick your team and have it on a card (of greater interest to me than the NFL card!)
  • Application Link (not an affiliate link)

Race Fee Strategy

With each of the above cards, you need to spend a certain amount of money to receive the cash back statement credit. The best strategy to employ would be to apply for one of the above cards before you pay your race fee. Once you receive the card, put your race fee on this card and then use it for the other spending necessary to reach the appropriate threshold. You can use Vanilla/Bluebird combo to achieve that spending within one day or use it for everyday spending. Using these cards will allow you to get your race fee for free. Since there are 4 banks represented, you could apply for one every few months or once a year to continue paying your marathon fees! Good luck!

 

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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