No Excuses! Now You Can Afford Any Minimum Spend

Update:  There are reports online that effective 11/11/12 Office Depot is no longer carrying the Vanilla Reload cards.  If that is correct the 5x opportunity with Ink Bold + Vanilla Reload + Office Depot may no longer work.  I know that my local Office Depot does still have Vanilla Reload cards.  They also still allow the purchase with a credit card.

The ultimate goal of any miles and points collector is to discover ways to ‘fabricate spending’.  This means spending money without spending more.

The only prerequisite is actually just a little bit of creativity and the ability to think outside of the box.

With the various resources available, I think that almost all of us should be able to get any credit card – regardless of the minimum spend.

Over the last few months, I’ve had folks say they can’t meet a $3,000 minimum spend in 3 months, but I think that’s mostly just because they’ve never explored ways to spend more on their credit card without spending more money.

Of course, your first piece of homework is to read about these 10 ways to reach your minimum spend.  Be sure that you’re using your credit card for everything that accepts credit cards.

** This assumes that you’re paying off your balances and you’re not spending more just because you’re using your credit card.  If having credit cards has a negative impact on your budget, then this game of getting credit cards for the bonuses is not for you! **

Today I decided to challenge us to see what it would take to reach the minimum spend on the best earning credit card on the market – the Ink Bold or Ink Plus cards.  Both cards come with a $10,000 minimum spend  $5,000 minimum spend in three months.  Typically, this would be an absolutely untouchable minimum spend for most folks.

But times are changing.

The goal – the goal is to get $5,000 worth of charges on your card in 3 months.  If you can charge things on your card that you don’t actually spend for six months, then you are on the right track.


Last week I talked abou a great new product called Bluebird.  This is a product that allows you to use a backdoor method to use your credit card to pay your rent, mortgage, and other people using your credit card.

Since Bluebird is a new product, everyone is guessing the limits and thresholds that American Express will allow with loading and spending.  There are many people buying $2,000 worth of Vanilla Prepaid cards per month using their Ink Bold or Ink Plus cards.

In the three months (as long as you’re using the card for other spending too), you can ‘spend’ $6,000 just by buying Vanilla Prepaid Reload cards, loading on them to your Bluebird card, and using those funds to send checks or make payments for things you’d be getting anyway.

Remember, you’ve now spent $6,000. But you can use the card, mail checks, and make payments over the next year if you have to, but your credit card charges happen within the 3 month time frame.

Amazon Payments

Amazon Payments allows you to use a credit card to send $1,000 per month to anyone with an email address.  If you owe money to someone, you could send it to them up to $1,000. One possibility is to send money to someone and have them send money to you.  You wouldn’t want to do this all the time, but it would definitely work a few times.

In three months, you could spend $3,000 using Amazon Payments.

Just by using Bluebird and Amazon payments, you can spend $9,000 in three months.  Now your only job is to spend $1,000 with your regular spending in three months.

Even if after those two things you haven’t spent enough money, you could use your credit card to ‘prepay’ for items you might want to use in the future.  The easiest way would be to buy gift cards or buy more prepaid debit cards.  A good example would to be load funds onto a Walmart Gift card if you didn’t think you are going to meet your minimum spend.  By the way, not all Wal-marts will allow you to load gift card funds with a credit card, but I was at a Wal-mart in Colorado that does allow it.

With Bluebird and Amazon payments, you need to challenge yourself to figure out how you can creatively spend as much money as possible without actually spending any money.

This opens the door for you to get cards like the Ink Bold and Ink Plus with high minimum spends.

Rumor alert: There is a rumor circulating (started by FrequentMiler) that is saying the Ink Bold minimum spend is dropping to $5,000 in mid-November.  I can’t personally confirm this, but you could wait a week or two before applying for this card if you were interested in it (which you should because of the 5x at office stores).  Also, Chase is usually very good about matching you with an offer if a better offer comes out after you apply for your card.


  1. Rene Visco says

    I checked Amazon payments and they only allow me to add a bank account, not credit card. Am I overlooking something?

  2. Philip Bullock says

    I just opened my BlueBird Account and I had a curious thought. Do you know of any feature that would allow me to transfer money from my BlueBird account back into my bank accout?

    • says

      Yes, that is possible. As with all things everything in moderation is the key. You can also get cash out of designated ATMs if you have a direct deposit set up.

  3. Kurtis says

    These pre-paid cards open some exciting possibilities as well as a lot of complexities. In your example of meeting a $10,000 minimum spend in 3 months its great that a person can load up a bluebird card and then stretch the spending over a longer period than 3 months. But that does not take away the fact that you have $10,000 of charges on your credit card! So these high minimum spends still present limitations for those who don’t have that kind of cash flow.

    • Philip Bullock says

      This brings me back to why I asked my question above. If you can simply purchase a large amount of Vanilla rewards points (to load up your BlueBird) but then simply write yourself a check from your own BlueBird account (a circular flow of money)…. then meeting the high limitations should not be a cash flow problem.

      • says

        The issue would be getting flagged by American Express for ‘perk abuse’. If you don’t have regular spending and bill paying habits (i.e. uploading and transferring money to your self ONLY) then that would be an issue. The goal is to spread out your spending and uploading to different methods. Make sense?

        • Philip Bullock says


          I am still a bit confused and appreciate your response. What you have explained above is an issue BlueBird would have with my spending habits, when my intuition tells me that the “perk abuse” would actually occur in purchasing only Vanilla prepaid cards with your Chase credit card (which is the only way for most to meet the spending limit). Given that BlueBird is a prepaid debit card with no perks, why would BlueBird have a problem with you loading and unloading the card? If what you are saying is that the problem is “perk abuse” then purchasing Vanilla cards with Chase is the ONLY place I am seeing an issue…… which, in my opinion seems to contradict the entire system if Chase will flag you for “perk abuse” for purchasing these cards.

          For example, if I purchased $10,000 worth of Vanilla refill packs on my Chase card, and then loaded them onto my BlueBird card, why would BlueBird care if I just wrote myself a check?….. they are just a prepaid debit card system and not a perks rewards card.

          • says

            Right now everything is hypothetical as the Bluebird product hasn’t been around for long enough to provide any data points as far as the limits. Trust me people will push the limits and we will know what is and is not allowed.

            The biggest question I ask is how does AMEX plan to be profitable with Bluebird. My answer is by collecting the fees from merchants when people use the cards to buy things. If they get a sense that a person is just trying to cycle funds through them that person may be shut down.

            Personally, I’m just playing it conservatively.

            Also, there are several reports out today that Office Depot is no longer carrying Vanilla Reload cards.

    • says

      The point is that you only have to prepay the $10,000 in the first three months. Then you could take the next year (if you wanted to) and use the funds from your Bluebird account. You can use the funds to make donations to church, pay student loans, pay mortgage, transfer to your ATM, withdraw cash. The possibilities are almost limitless. It is also a worth goal if $6,000 of the spend is on Vanilla Reload cards with a Ink product. Those $6,000 worth of cards earn you 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points.
      FYI, I’m anticipating that next week my links to the Ink products will reduce to a $5,000 minimum spend.

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