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4 easy ways to hit your credit card sign-up bonus spending target

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There are plenty of Head for Points readers currently chasing a spending target on their American Express card.  Why?  Because they want to trigger a lucrative sign-up bonus in order to book a flight before the Avios devaluation takes place on April 28th.

(This article discusses cards you could get and still trigger a sign-up bonus before April 28th.  Time is ticking away – your window is a lot tighter than it was when that piece was published three weeks ago.  Unless you can hit your spending target within 1-2 weeks it is probably already too late to get a British Airways American Express.)

Here is a reminder of four ways to push your spend towards the target if you think you may fall short:

American Express gift cards

(EDIT:  A reader report in March 2015 suggests that gift card purchases are no longer earning points.  This was only one incident but be aware!)

As I wrote last week, Amex is currently selling its gift cards with no fees via a special promotional code. Until 31st March, you can order up to £500-worth per transaction. You can charge it to your BA / Gold / Platinum American Express card (it will go through as a purchase) and you can then spend it at your leisure during 2015.

Amex Gift Card

Supermarket gift vouchers

The easiest ideas are often the ones you forget. If you are running a little short on your spending, just buy £xxx-worth of gift vouchers or gift cards for your usual supermarket. This brings forward spending that you would do anyway and doesn’t cost you anything.

If you buy your petrol from your supermarket, even better – it means you will be able to spend the gift vouchers more quickly.

Ordering foreign currency and travellers cheques from Amex

As I wrote here, ordering foreign currency from the Amex travelmoneynow website is treated as a purchase. (Ignore what your card rules or the Amex website says contrary to this, I promise you it will go through as a purchase.)

The currency needs to be delivered to your home or office, however, as Amex only has offices at Birmingham International Airport.

Details of Amex’s foreign exchange rates can be found here.

If you are not travelling, one option used to be to order Sterling Travellers Cheques.  There is a 1.5% fee for this but that is relatively modest if it gets you to your spending target.  However, in the last couple of years a few major banks have stopped accepting them as deposits – HSBC pulled out last June.  Do not do this unless you are 100% sure that you can redeem them.

Use Paypal if a retailer accepts it but does not accept American Express

Some online retailers do not take American Express but do accept Paypal. In most cases (some retailers block Amex access to Paypal), you can select to pay with Paypal and use your Amex card through that. More information in this post.

It is, of course, also possible to send a payment to a friend or relative via Paypal, charged to your Amex. There will be a 3%+ charge for this. You need to be VERY careful if you do this, as Paypal operates under tough money laundering restrictions. Any signs of suspicious transactions will lead to your funds being frozen.

If you are a long-term Paypal user and / or have your personal bank account verified with them and / or have your Amex card ‘verified’ then, realistically, sending a few hundred pounds this way should not be a problem.  You would be foolish to push your luck though.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (82)

  • Damian says:

    I needed to up my spend to trigger my 241 voucher. Knowing i would immediately spend a couple of thousand on BA flights, and more on accomodation, i ordered an expensive laptop online. As soon as i had my voucher i paid for the flights and returned the laptop.

    My annual spend now well over the trigger so i don’t think AMEX will have a problem.

  • Only 15 days to hit my £3k spending says:

    @ Lady London : Thanks for the two pence, think I will keep it more simple.
    Actually I am not totally sure that betfair will accept paypal payment linked to Amex

    • grex9101 says:

      For all of those discussing it:
      PayPal gambling transaction CANNOT be funded with amex.

  • mastro says:

    buying in ebay the gift voucher will usually be cheaper and can be paid via paypal amex

  • oyster says:

    On the subject of Amex Plat Supp card 10k promo, I’ve had 4 supp cards declined as my wife had already added those 4 people to her Plat account. It seems any person can only be the recipient of 1 supplementary amex card, even from multiple main cardholders.

    • reds says:

      Added our eldest son to both mine and mrs plat card as supp without as problem. All the other 4 supp were different though.

  • marcin says:

    Question: If I have BA Amex card already and apply for Amex Gold – will I get a 20000miles sign-up bonus, or no chance?

    • Rob says:

      100% definite you get the bonus, don’t worry

      • marcin says:

        In eligibility of Amex The Preferred Rewards Gold Card says “I understand I will not be eligible for any Welcome Bonus award if I hold or have held any Membership Rewards enrolled American Express Card in the past six months.” That’s why wasn’t sure

        • TimS says:

          BA card isn’t a “Membership Rewards enrolled” card though.

          BA Amex gives you Avios.
          Amex Green, Gold & Plat give you Membership Rewards points (which you can then redeem for Avios or other things).