Meeting your Minimum Spend on a New Credit Card

You’ve done it.  You have applied for a new credit card and after you spend $3000 in three months you’ll receive 40,000 points or whatever the card you are applying for is offering.  The problem is that you don’t need anything to purchase using a credit card that will total $3000 in the allotted time.  What’s one to do?  Hang on, I’ve got the answer to your dilemma.

Every month most of you have to pay rent, home mortgage or some other bill that you have to write a check for since they won’t accept credit cards.  Keep this thought in the back of your mind as I move forward with this thought.

American Express came out last summer with an alternative to checking accounts and debit cards.  It is called the American Express Bluebird.  You can pick one up at WalMart where they are exclusively sold. At my WalMart they are found a a display near the cashiers and cost $5.  You then go home and log on to their site and register for a permanent card OR just go to their site and order a permanent card for free.  You should receive it in the mail in about 10 days.

American Express Bluebird
American Express Bluebird

You will now need to “fund” it – in other words put some money on this card.

There are several ways to do this.  If you purchased it at WalMart you will need to put some money on it at the register.  If you have a SunTrust Delta debit card, you can use that and get Delta points for every dollar you put on the BB.  The same goes for the Alaska Air debit card.

Another option is the Vanilla Reloadable Card available at CVS and now at 7/11 stores.  *** Update – as of 4/14/14  you could no longer purchase Vanilla Reloads at CVS when using a credit card.  I have not seen Vanilla’s at 7/11 in a long time.  If you go to the Vanilla Reloadable website you can click on the tab for reload locations.  I primarily use CVS since they are always in stock at my stores near me.  You will find them in the gift card carousel.  There are a lot of cards that are called Vanilla – some are debit cards, some are gift cards – make sure your Vanilla Reloadable looks like this:

Must look like this
Must look like this

You can “load any amount from $20 to $500 all for a $3.95 fee.  I use whatever credit card I am trying to meet my minimum spend on or whatever card I want points or miles on.  I bring my card home and scratch off the silver bar over the pin number on the back of the card. I then click on the VR website and enter the number of my BB card. Below that I enter the pin number of my VR card. After I submit it, it is instantly loaded onto my BB card. You can only load $5000 per month and $1000 per day and you can only spend $5000 per month.  Basically the VR is a transfer mechanism for putting money onto your BB and getting points at the same time.

Once you have done all this you can then pay your bills just like you would with online banking. You enter the payee, the address, account number and the amount you want to pay. You cannot schedule a payment though. So, now I can get points and miles from purchasing VRs and then loading them onto my Bluebird and having the BB pay my bills for me. For your minimum spend, buy your VRs, load them onto BB, and then have BB send a payment to the credit card that you just used to purchase your VRs with.  This is called manufactured spending.


WalMart Money Center ATM machine
WalMart Money Center ATM machine

I personally would not take out all my money but rather do a mixture of debit for purchases and money out at an ATM.  I tend to use mine exclusively for bill payment.

Other methods are getting a Serve account and doing the same thing that you could do with Bluebird.

I would enjoy reading your comments and finding out if you find this helpful.  Please consider leaving a comment on this blog.

NOTE:  Since this was written there have been various methods of meeting your minimum spend that have come and go.  What I do now is purchase VISA gift cards in grocery stores, Simon Malls, etc in $500 amounts.  These are variable gift cards that you can load from $20 to $500.  Make sure they are issued by US Bank or Meta Bank.  IF US Bank, call the number on the back of the card to set a pin.  If Meta Bank, the pin is the last 4 digits on the card.  I then take the card and purchase a money order using the gift card, now operating like a debit card.  I’ll deposit the money order back into my bank account to be able to pay for the gift card that I initially bought.


8 thoughts on “Meeting your Minimum Spend on a New Credit Card

  1. Hi, recently I found that purchases from some 7-11 stores are viewed as “gas”.
    Can somebody verify if Penfed or Fort Knox 5% credit card also view 7-11 purchases as “gas”?

    1. I cannot confirm that but generally it is how VISA classifies it. The purchases are coded. My inclination is that if purchases from 7/11 are viewed as gas then that would be the same for Penfed and Fort Knox. I suggest trying it out by loading a small amount onto a VR then check with your cc to see how it was coded. Would love to have you report back.

  2. Thanks for answering so many questions for a newbie like me! I just got 3 Vanillas to complete my sign-up bonus for my new credit card. I haven’t had luck finding them at CVS (I bought the last 3 last month and they have not restocked since). Tonight I went to a 7-11 that had them, but the cashier said his system for selling those was down once he saw I wanted to use a cc to pay for them (total BS). I went to another 7-11 and bought them without a hitch.

    1. I found that one of my CVS stores did not have the the VR in stock for a long time. I finally spoke with the manager and her inventory record showed that she had lots of them which obviously she didn’t. She corrected the inventory and within a week the store had plenty of VRs. Some urban populated areas tend to sell out more quickly than those in a more rural area. Glad you were able to find them at a 7/11. I heard from another person but have not checked it out for myself that the Dollar Store carries the VRs but does not allow you to use to a cc to purchase them.

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