5 Ways to Earn That Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus

Banks often use sign-up bonuses as a way to get new customers to apply for one of their cards. But are you guaranteed to earn the bonus?

Mar 23, 2014 at 1:15PM

If you've never had your own rewards credit card, chances are that you might be missing out. That's because, as Lauren Gensler recently pointed out in Forbes, some of the biggest banks around are trying to build their credit card customer base by reaching out to their own customers. To make the sale, writes Gensler, they're "revamping their cards and offering extra rewards." And, most banks aren't just going after their own customers -- they're going anyone who is credit-worthy and willing to sign on the dotted line. How are they reeling people in? The answer: sign-up bonuses.

Credit card sign-up bonuses were created to incentivize you to sign up for a particular card. In most cases, customers are required to hit a minimum spending requirement within a certain time frame in order to earn the bonus, with the average time being around three months.

When you sign up for a new credit card with the hopes of earning the bonus, it's important to have a plan. First, you need to know the minimum spending required to earn the bonus. Second, you need to know how much time you have. Once you finally have those details pinned down, you only need to follow through and spend the amount required. But, how do you do it?

Focus on food
With the average family of four with two young children spending anywhere between $554 and $1,080 on food each month, many families might be able to hit a minimum spending requirement just by buying food with their credit cards. If this is your strategy, use your card each time you go out to eat or hit the grocery store. Keeping track of what you've spent and where also helps to ensure that you're staying on track with your budget and plans.

Ensure you're insured
Even though they may not advertise it, a lot of insurance companies will allow you to pay your insurance premiums with a credit card. To find out, give your insurer a ring and ask. If your insurer cooperates, you can get that much closer to hitting your minimum spending requirement by using your card to pay for the various types of policies you may carry, including car insurance, homeowner's insurance or renter's insurance.

Fill the tank
If you or your spouse commute for work, using your credit card for gas is yet another way to inch toward the minimum spending requirement for your card. Just make sure to take your card along any time you think it might be time to gas up.

Pay for a trip
If you have upcoming travel plans, putting them on credit might just be enough to push your spending over the edge. Use your rewards card to book flights and hotel rooms, and for the convenience of not having to carry cash while you travel.

Take advantage of other large purchases
When it comes to earning a sign-up bonus, many rewards enthusiasts try to time their credit card applications around large, planned purchases. For many, this might mean signing up for a new card right before the holidays. For others, this could mean planning rewards around upcoming home improvements or when replacing big-ticket items such as furniture or appliances.

Credit card sign-up bonuses are popular for a reason. And for many, pursuing them is a popular and lucrative hobby. However, if you want to get the most out of your sign-up bonus, it's important to pay your card off, in full every month. Otherwise you'll end up paying interest on your purchases. And in most cases, that's a move that isn't rewarding at all.

This original article: 5 ways to earn that credit card sign-up bonus appeared on cardratings.com

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Additional credit card articles can be found on cardratings.com

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4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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