How Long Do I Have To Reach My Minimum Spend Requirement?

[Update 1/22/20: Updated the post with the tidbit that American Express can manually grant an extra 10 days upon request.]

Question:

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:

  1. 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?

  2. 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:

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.

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does amex still grant the 10 day grace period if you cant meet sign up bonus in 92 days

temp
temp

CSP opened on 6/29. Bonus tracker in app for 100k shows 9/29. Minimum met on 10/2. UR page shows 100k will be deposited next statement related to my final transaction on 10/2

DaveC
DaveC

So is the consensus still that Chase gives >100 days even though there’s a tracker? The tracker has today as my deadline. I spent the required amount 2 days ago (Costco online gift card) but it still shows as pending today, and this is making me nervous.

naftali weiss
naftali weiss

Do they count the day I made the charge or the day it posted?

DW
DW

It’s almost always the day the charge posts/settles.

ValTN
ValTN

Any updates on Chase giving a grace period, beyond the 3 months?

payyoutuesday
payyoutuesday

.

AC
AC

Hey Doc, possibly a new data point here.

Just realized I was off about $80 from minimum spend and called Amex today asking if I can get any extension on the Hilton Surpass. The final day was 1/6.

The extension request was denied by the rep. Even after pleading ignorance on the annual fee not counting towards MSR, and having her ask her manager, she wouldn’t offer a single day of extension.

Tried using online chat but got the same reply.

Any advice?

Matthew
Matthew

Keep better records?
I think DoC already gave his advice above, meet MSR early and go comfortably over it.

KP
KP

AC, My husband was off by $101 on 22nd was the last day. He realized on the 27th. Called Amex and the rep said she would put in a request. Points showed up today in his account. I would call again.

weiskel
weiskel

Possibly dumb question, but what is the easiest way to determine your “card approval” date for Chase cards? Is this equivalent to the “New Inquiry” or the “New Account” dates in Chase Credit Journey?

sdsearch
sdsearch

It’s not the New Inquiry date, it’s the Opened On date of the new account. But I don’t know how quickly that shows up for Chase cards at Chase Credit Journey, on third-party credit reports it doesn’t tend to show for a month or two.

But if you really want to know the date you need to do the spend by, ask Chase. They’ll probably tell you that date, in which case you don’t have to do the calculations yourself.

And a general tip: Asking the bank to tell you date by which you have to finish the spend is an excellent way of confirming that you’ve qualified for the bonus, since it forces the bank to look at your specific account. (It’s much better than just asking them if you qualified for the bonus, because that question allows them to guess and give you the wrong answer without looking at your account.)

Just try to give it some margin no matter how you determine the date. You don’t want to miss a sign-up bonus just because a charge didn’t post for a couple weeks, or just because something had to be returned at the last minute for credit, or just because you got sick right as that date was approaching, or whatever.

weiskel
weiskel

Ah, thanks for this. I should have given it a closer look before I asked. I usually only look at the “Alerts” section of the Credit Journey, but the Opened On date is not listed there for obvious reasons. If found it now in the “Reports” section.

ThanksDoC!
ThanksDoC!

Thank you for updating this! You guys do a great service to this community.

xx
xx

I have a question! I was going to email but I felt kind of silly not knowing the answer, but I’ve never seen it written about anywhere (I searched a LOT of forums for this).

If you use cash back/rewards to lower your balance, that doesn’t subtract from what you’ve already spent towards the MSR, right? (I hope not!)