9 ways to earn a credit card welcome bonus, responsibly

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Credit card welcome bonuses are a great way to quickly bolster your points, miles or rewards’ balances. But nearly all welcome offers come with a prerequisite to spend a specific amount of money within a certain amount of time.

It can be a somewhat daunting experience to spend that amount of cash in a short time frame, but with a little planning, it’s quite simple to accomplish.

Select analyzes the different ways you can earn a valuable credit card bonus, without overspending or stretching yourself too thin.

How to earn a credit card welcome bonus without overspending

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Use it on all purchases

On a daily basis, you may make one or more small purchases. Whether it’s a cup of coffee or filling up your gas tank, each purchase can quickly help you get closer to earning the card bonus.

Even though these purchases are small, they can quickly add up over time. So the best strategy to follow is to eliminate all other cards from your wallet while you are working towards the minimum spend threshold. Also, consider adding it to pay for your recurring subscriptions.

Contact your auto and home insurance to see if you can pay ahead

Many insurers will allow you to pay your premium ahead of time, and sometimes they’ll even give you a discounted rate when you do so.

So, if you have the available funds to pay off your insurance premiums ahead of time, this can quickly help get you closer to earning your welcome bonus.

Pay your rent or mortgage

Paying your housing bill with a credit card may seem odd, but it can be done with a few simple steps.

If you’re a renter, contact your landlord to see if they accept card payments. If they do accept credit cards they may levy a 2-3% surcharge. In the case of earning a welcome offer, it may be worth paying the fee.

If you own your home but have a mortgage, consider using a credit card bill-pay service like Plastiq. For a 2.85% fee the company will issue a check directly to your lender and charge your credit card.

Friends and family expenses can help

If you have trusted friends or family members with large expenses in the near future, ask them if they wouldn’t mind paying with your card or an authorized user card.

For example, if you know (and trust) someone who is purchasing a new iPhone, you could pay for their phone and have them reimburse you by check, cash or a payment app like Venmo, Zelle or PayPal.

Pay your taxes

If you owe taxes, there are several ways to pay using a credit card. However, if you owe a significant amount, paying with a card is only advisable if you have the funds to pay the statement immediately, or by putting it on a 0% intro APR card.

There are a few servicers you can use to pay your taxes. The cheapest one, PayUSATax, currently charges 1.96% to process payment by credit card. You can see the three different options here.

On my 2021 taxes, for example, I owed an amount I didn’t feel comfortable paying upfront. Therefore, I paid my taxes using the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card as the card offers 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months that your account is open (14.99% – 24.99% variable after that). I paid the 1.96% fee, but with the welcome offer of $200 after spending $500 or more in the first three months of card membership, I still came out ahead.

As I make payments on my balance over the next 15 months, I will either pay off the balance in full at the end of the 0%-APR-intro period, or I can use another balance transfer credit card to extend my repayment period.

School tuition and/or daycare services

Tuition and daycare services continue to rise in price, with no signs of slowing down. But before you pay your next invoice, check to see if your school or daycare provider accepts credit cards.

If they do, this could easily put you over the spending threshold on many credit cards.

If they don’t, you can consider using a credit card bill pay service like Plastiq, but the 2.85% fee may be difficult to stomach with a large purchase like this.

Down payment on a car

If you’re in the market to purchase a vehicle and plan to do so from a car dealership, you can talk with the financing department to see if you can make the down payment using a credit card.

Some car dealerships are hesitant to accept credit card payments because of chargebacks and absorbing processing fees, but you may be able to negotiate a card payment into the deal.

FSA/HSA reimbursements

If you use either a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) to fund your healthcare related purchases, they may issue you a debit card to spend with.

While the debit card is convenient, you can easily use your personal credit card for those expenses. Then submit your healthcare receipts for reimbursement and pay off your credit card with the money from your reimbursement check.

Charitable donations

If you want a simple tax deduction and have a verifiable nonprofit you choose to donate to, you can use your credit card to make a donation.

Some nonprofit organizations prefer to not receive donations via credit card as they have to incur a fee, so you may want to consider using a bill pay service.

Best welcome offers available

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Rewards

    $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining, 2X points on all other travel purchases, 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022, and 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

    15.99% to 22.99% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • Rewards

    Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year, 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% on drugstore purchases and on dining (including takeout and eligible delivery services), and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    $200 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases

  • Regular APR

    14.99% to 24.74% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

  • Credit needed

The Platinum Card® from American Express

On the American Express secure site

  • Rewards

    Earn 10X points on eligible purchases on the card at restaurants worldwide and when you shop small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership, 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (starting January 1, 2021, this applies on up to $500,000 per calendar year), 5X points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    100,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 within 6 months of account opening

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit Needed

Ink Business Cash® Credit Card

  • Rewards

    Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year (then 1%); 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year (then 1%); 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 12 months from account opening on purchases; N/A for balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    13.24% to 19.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

  • Rewards

    Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase made for your business

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 12 months from account opening on purchases; N/A for balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    13.24% to 19.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Bottom line

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For the rates and fees of the Platinum Card from American Express, click here

Information about the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the cards prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.





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