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As a miles and points enthusiast, I’m always working to maximize my spending, and I’ve got a pretty good system with my personal spending. But I've regretted not opening a small business rewards credit card sooner. I spend a lot to run my business, so why not get a little back in the form of a business card sign-up bonus? Some business owners can easily spend the minimum needed for a business credit card bonus. However, for smaller operations, meeting the requirements for the best business card bonuses can be a bit of a challenge. Here are some easy ways you might be able to meet the spend requirements for a great business credit card sign-up bonus without going overboard on your expenses.

Tips to meet the minimum spend for a business credit card sign-up bonus:

  1. Time your purchases strategically
  2. Use your card for regular business expenses
  3. Pay your taxes with your card
  4. Use your card to pay your staff
  5. Prepay business expenses
  6. Prepay for business travel
  7. Buy points or miles

How to Meet Spending Requirements for Business Card Bonuses

Before we get to the list, here are some useful reminders:

  • It’s usually not a good idea to make unnecessary purchases just to meet the minimum spending requirement.
  • Read the fine print to determine your eligibility for the bonus. For example, certain purchases may not count and the time period to meet the minimum spending threshold may start once you’re approved, not when you get the card in the mail.
  • If the credit card has an annual fee, it won't count toward the minimum spending requirement.
  • Make sure you have a plan for paying the monthly balance amount in full, or interest payments will negate the bonus points or cash you earn.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s take a look at some ways you can qualify for that business card sign-up bonus faster.

1. Time Your Purchases Strategically

To help earn your bonus, you'll need to time it so you can use your card as many times as possible (or make big enough purchases) to meet a card issuer's requirements.

Timing depends on your business’ cash flow. Think about the times during the year you tend to spend a lot of money on expenses. Perhaps around the fall season you need to stock up on supplies for the holiday rush or your expenses are pretty even during the year unless it’s when you pay quarterly taxes.

Whatever cash flow looks like for you, open a business credit card around those times. In most cases, small business rewards credit cards offer a three-month window to meet the spending threshold, meaning you don’t have to rush too much to spend on everything in sight.

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2. Pay Regular Business Expenses

Yes, it’s as simple as it sounds. If you’re using a different credit card for things like recurring subscriptions, utilities and other necessities, switch over to the new one for the time being. If you pay by check or cash for certain expenses, ask the vendor if you can use a credit card. A few dollars here and there may not seem like much, but it’ll add up over time.

3. Pay Your Taxes

If you’ve been paying your quarterly or annual taxes by cash or check, you’ve missed out on a golden opportunity. Check the IRS for a list of tax payment service providers since many of them will accept credit cards. State and local tax guidelines may vary, so check to see how you can pay those. In some cases, you may need to use a specific third-party service.

Quick Tip

You may have to pay convenience fees if you cover taxes with a credit card. So consider whether they’re worth it for you to get the sign-up bonus.

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4. Pay Your Contractors or Employees

If someone is salaried and you pay them with a bank transfer, then this tactic may not work. However, if you have contractors who send you invoices, you can pay them with a credit card. In some cases, it’s at no extra cost to you or your contractor. For example, PayPal offers you the choice of paying through bank transfer, debit or credit card (you know which one to choose if you want to earn those sweet rewards).

5. Prepay Business Expenses

Take a look at your regular expenses and see if you can pay ahead. That way, you’re not spending extra, just paying earlier for things you’ll use eventually. You can make an extra payment on your cellphone bill and be credited for months ahead. It could even be for occasional expenses, like an insurance bill that’s due once a year.

Don’t forget before swiping that credit card to ask if you can make payments in advance. Otherwise, your spending could go to waste.

6. Prepay Business Travel

Prepaying for travel is also a great way to meet the minimum spending threshold as transportation, flights and hotels tend to quickly add up. In this case, consider paying for your entire stay in advance, or even meals at the hotel so you’re charging as much as you can on the card.

7. Purchase Miles or Points

To be clear, this is probably the last option to choose, if at all. Purchasing points isn’t a great value unless it’ll cost you significantly less to make a purchase for a planned redemption you’re making soon. Otherwise, you’ll have to look carefully if it’s worth it to do so, assuming the card issuer even counts this toward your minimum requirement.

Here’s to Earning Those Points

Hopefully the above tips will help you rack up a ton of points for your next business credit card bonus. If after some careful consideration you don’t think you’ll be able to meet the minimum threshold for a card, consider one that requires a lower spending requirement or sign up for a simple cash-back card bonus, even if it means earning less rewards. Also, consider earning a bank bonus by opening a new business checking account.

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  • No, credit card issuers categorize the annual fee as a noneligible purchase for instances like earning cash back and minimum spend. Only eligible purchases will count toward minimum spend which omits fees, interest, transfers, returns, credits and cash advances. Eligible purchases are only purchases for services, products, or goods.

  • A bonus requirement on a credit card is the eligibility terms that are enforced by the issuer for earning a bonus. For example, an introductory bonus that allows you to earn cash back, points or miles in exchange for a predetermined amount of eligible spend during a set time upon account opening. "Earn 40,000 in bonus points after spending $500 within 90 days of account opening."

  • If minimum spend is not met by the cardholder prior to the deadline, the issuer will withhold any bonus that was contingent upon the minimum spend.

  • Some disadvantages of a business credit card can include higher annual fees, international limitations, strict earning caps on eligible cash back rewards and limited cash-back categories.


Sarah Li Cain

Sarah Li Cain is a finance and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in places like Bankrate, Business Insider, Redbook, Endless Vacation, LendingTree and Financial Planning Association. She's also the host of Beyond The Dollar, where her and her guests have deep and honest conversations on how money affects your well being. As a lifelong traveler who has lived in five countries so far, she's obsessed with finding the best deals all over the world. In her spare time she likes to garden, practice yoga and hang out with her family.