Update: This offer for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite MasterCard® has expired. Learn more about the current offers here.
I’m currently working on meeting the minimum spend on The Platinum Card® from American Express, and I’m still about a month away from hitting the $5,000 mark, after which I expect to get 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points.
The Amex Platinum has the highest minimum spend of any card I’ve applied for all year, and I specifically planned to apply toward the end of the year so holiday expenses could help me reach $5,000 in spend relatively quickly.
Meanwhile, I’ve been considering what other cards I might want to apply for while I’m trying to meet the Amex’s minimum. It’d have to be a card that doesn’t have a large minimum spend requirement of its own.
I’m sure others sometimes find themselves wondering how to juggle budgets with minimum spends, so here are a few decent options that might fit the bill (pun intended):
I’ve been meaning to pick this card up for a while. The JetBlue Plus Card offers 30,000 TrueBlue points after $1,000 spend in the first 90 days. The card also has no foreign transaction fees and offers a 10% rebate on points every time you redeem them for a flight. It also is a “chip + pin” card, which makes it extra easy to use abroad.
I’ve heard anecdotally that Barclays only lets you have two or three of their cards at once, so plan out whether you’d like this card, the AAdvantage Aviator card (see below), the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard®, or one of their other cards.
If you live in or near a city where JetBlue has a hub (like New York, Boston, Ft. Lauderdale, etc.), I’d definitely recommend applying for this card. It has a $99 annual fee, not waived the first year.
I already have this card, otherwise, it’d be a no-brainer. Getting a free night at any IHG hotel worldwide every anniversary you have the card is a steal.
The icing on the cake is the 80,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 in the first three months.
Better yet, the annual fee is only $89, and it’s waived the first year. If you don’t already have this card, you should consider picking it up.
The great thing about this card from Banco Popular is that there is no minimum spend – you get the 40,000 LifeMiles bonus after your first purchase. LifeMiles are one of the most lucrative points currencies for Star Alliance premium cabin redemptions. The annual fee is $149, not waived the first year.
This card is just like the Vuela Visa in two ways:
- It has an alliterative name
- It requires no minimum spend: you get 60,000 bonus miles after you make your first purchase and pay the annual fee ($95)
Sometimes it can be tricky to find a good redemption option for AAdvantage miles, but they certainly do exist (more often on partners than on AA itself).
It also gives you 10% of your redeemed miles back (up to 10,000 miles per year), effectively reducing the cost of award tickets.
Alaska’s huge list of global airline partners means that their miles can be used to travel just about anywhere, and there are a lot of good redemptions to be had.
You get 40,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles after spending $2,000 in the first 90 days, making this a fairly attainable bonus.
I also get a lot of value out of the companion pass that comes with this card. The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card is issued by Bank of America and has a $75 annual fee, which is not waived in the first year.
This card is a good way to earn American Express Membership Rewards points.
You earn 15,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first three months. It offers 2x points on purchases at gas stations, and if you use it 30 or more times in a billing period, you earn 50% more points on all purchases during that period. It has an annual fee of $95, which isn’t waived in the first year.
This card has no annual fee (Rates & Fees). It offers 10,000 Delta SkyMiles after $500 in spend in the first three months.
Believe it or not, that’s enough for a free short-haul flight. (Flights between San Francisco and Los Angeles, or between D.C. and New York, for example, can be as low as 5,500 SkyMiles each way.)
You earn 2 miles per dollar spent at US restaurants, 2 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, and one mile per dollar spent on everything else.
This may not be the most lucrative card in terms of benefits and welcome bonus, but it’s got a low minimum spend and may be worth picking up for some extra SkyMiles if you have a use for them.
This no-annual-fee card offers a limited 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year up to $20,000 spent. After that earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases..
Ben has written many times about the benefits of using this card in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which can be a simple but effective strategy for acquiring points.
Of course, this card, as well as the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred, are subject to the 5/24 rule, meaning if you’ve opened 5 or more new card accounts in the past 24 months from any bank you likely won’t be approved.
Here’s another no-annual-fee card that gives you 20,000 Capital One miles after $1,000 in purchases during the first 3 months of account opening.
Capital One miles can’t be transferred to airlines and other partners (unlike the points you’d earn on many Chase, American Express, and Citi cards), but 20,000 miles has a value of $200.
You probably won’t be using this card to fly international first class on a five-star airline, but it can help offset some of the costs of your next vacation. You earn 1.25 miles on every purchase.
These cards have attainable minimum spend requirements and offer some good benefits. Personally, I’ll probably go with the JetBlue card, because I fly them often and those 30,000 points will pay for a couple flights. Also, I don’t currently have a “chip + pin” card (you stick out like a sore thumb in Europe if you’re using chip + sign, and chip + pin is required at many automated kiosks for buying train tickets and other important stuff).
If you have a favorite card that I’ve left out, feel free to mention it!
Non-Affiliate Product Disclaimer: The information for the AAdvantage Aviator Red Card, Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Card, and Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card has been collected independently by One Mile at a Time. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees).