This past fall, Chase offered a uniquely large welcome bonus, 80,000 points (worth up to $1,000), for signing up for their Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Well, the marketing worked on me — I love exclusivity and a good deal. I didn’t have a travel rewards card previously and figured it was a good time to start building up points for when international vacations were viable again.
To earn the bonus, you had to spend $4,000 in the first three months and sign up by November 8th. Well, I signed up in November and hit the bonus just one month later. There’s certainly no advantage to hitting the bonus so quickly, except perhaps for peace of mind. Clearly, I was excited and I have little control.
80,000 bonus point mindset
I was able to hit the spending required to earn the bonus with a combination of luck and intention. I made a few conscious decisions and rearranged spending I planned for the year into these few months (stuff for my apartment for example.) But the seasonality of the deal falling during the holidays was certainly a big contributor to earning the bonus so fast. As well as some convenient medical procedures for me and my furry roommates.
My Taurus self is absolutely prone to luxury and self-care splurging. So needing to hit the welcome bonus only encouraged my buy-first think-later tendencies. If your financial habits trend more towards frugality, here are some of the ways I hit the bonus that may offer inspiration for your own rewards card minimums.
Christmas gifts galore
One of the reasons I felt confident I could hit the $4,000 spending requirement was the timeliness of the offer. I signed up for the record-high bonus in November, which meant a couple of months of holiday shopping. A significant chunk of my spending minimum was met by purchasing Christmas gifts for my family and friends.
And my moms’ Christmas shopping too
I also took opportunities to pay for family member’s Christmas shopping using my card. They’d pay me back later and I’d earn points for their spending. If we were at a store together, I’d just pay for our things together. Or for example, when there was something on Amazon my Mom wanted to purchase for my Dad but didn’t want him to see it on their shared Amazon account, I would buy it for her and earn points for her shopping too.
Took advantage of the season of giving
In the spirit of the holidays, I picked up the tab and paid it forward more often. I’d cover takeout on game nights with the family, I’d pay for the grocery or Costco run for my household and would buy coffee for the person behind me in line. My intentions weren’t entirely pure here and it added up to a significant chunk of spending towards my welcome bonus.
I got a dental crown
A blessing and a curse — my first dental crown fell within my first month of having the Chase card. The out-of-pocket cost after insurance was a big factor in hitting my bonus so quickly. And in case you’re curious, I do floss every day! The doctor said it was probably genetic, thanks, Dad.
Two of my cats were spayed
Our two quarantine kitties were due to be spayed during November as well. I used the Chase Sapphire card to pay for their operations, which totaled a couple hundred towards the spending minimum. This was certainly another instance of convenient timing.
I bought a TV on Black Friday
I splurged on a Black Friday sale at Costco and purchased a 65” 4K TV for my apartment. I already needed a TV for when I moved into my new apartment and knowing I’d be working towards some quintessential travel points by purchasing certainly encouraged me to pull the trigger.
I supported small businesses
The push to support local restaurants with takeout and my need to spend a certain amount of money made for an expensive combination. I more freely ordered food and purchased local goods knowing there was that additional incentive. Let’s just say, my local Thai spot should dedicate a curry dish in my name.
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