[Update 1/22/20: Updated the post with the tidbit that American Express can manually grant an extra 10 days upon request.]
I’ve noticed that credit card offers almost always have a minimum spend requirement, usually $1,000 or $3,000. I’ve also noticed that this minimum spend requirement needs to be completed within a set period of time, again this is usually one month or three months.
I’m wondering two things:
How is the timeframe calculated? Is this based on a calendar month? E.g, if I apply for a card on January the 2nd and it requires you to spend $1,000 within three months do I have until April the 2nd? If not how long does each card issuer consider a month?
When does the clock start ticking? Is it when I first apply, when I’m approved or when I finally receive the card?
Answer: As always, thanks for your question. My personal advice to try to meet your minimum spends as early as possible, that way you don’t need to worry about the answers to these questions as you’ll always meet them on time. In addition to this I always try to ensure that I spend more than the minimum, that way if something goes wrong with one transaction I don’t miss out on the bonus. In addition to this it also doesn’t look like you’re just chasing bonuses which could be a warning signal to the card issuer to not approve you for future cards. Now that I’ve given that mini lecture
I wasn’t sure what the answer to your question would be, as I always meet my spends early. I decided to reach out to the major card issuers to see what their policy is. Most card issuers said that it’s not based on a calendar month and that they consider each month to have 30 days. Your minimum spend time period will ordinarily begin when you’re approved for your card. Obviously, this varies from card issuer to card issuer. Below we’ve listed what each of the major card issuers does:
- American Express: Begins on card approval and they give 92 days total, reportedly. There’s a report indicating that, upon request, they can grant an extension of 10 days for a total of 102 days.
- Bank of America: Begins on card activation and is based on billing cycles (Reader leifinseoul says that they were told it was based on card approval. )
- Barclay: Begins on card approval and each month is 30 days
- Capital One: Begins on card approval and each month is 30 days
- Chase: Begins on card approval, always seem to have a three month spend period which is 103 days; more recently, they’ve been giving 115 days total (see also this post)
- Citi: Begins on card approval and each month is 30 days; they do add a 14-day grace period as well – 104 days total
- Discover: Awaiting response
- U.S Bank: Begins on card approval and each month is 30 days
- Wells Fargo: Begins on card approval and is based on calendar months
Obviously this can be a bit annoying considering that it can take time for a card to arrive after your approved. I always ask to have my card expedited, different card issuers have different rules which you can read about here. Hope this answers your question, if you or anybody else has any other questions feel free to contact us to get an answer or leave a comment below.