Tips to meet your credit card spend on everyday bills – readers’ suggestions!

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I knew Delta Points readers were smart, but WOW, you all are just BRILLIANT! Seriously. I was hoping for a few ideas that could help me and other readers and I got a flood of choice suggestions. The best part was I made it HARD, or so I thought, to come up with these ideas under the terms I laid out. So just what did I have in mind with what conditions from the post Monday about how to meet my $10,000 in spend on my Delta Reserve AMEX card?

I wanted things that were “everyday” type spend. Some of the other ideas are good, but not in the rules for normal household spending. Also, you could not just go buy gifts for yourself or others as you should never spend on things you do not need just to meet spend needed for points. Another point was it cannot cost more that 1% as worst case a Skymile is worth 1 cent since you can spend it that way buying a ticket with the “pay with miles” options when you have ANY Delta AMEX card. Thus, even with a 1% “cost” it would net out as break even. 2 or 3%+ is out the window as that costs you money! Other things that were tossed out was buying and selling things. Sure that works, but this needed to be NORMAL everyday spend items to count. I thought I had hit on most of them. Boy was I wrong! Take a look at this HOME RUN list of things yours truly did not think of (btw I am paraphrasing for space and credit goes to the one who said it first)!

  • My suggestions were prepaying phone, cable TV, Internet, gas, electric, insurance – health and auto, food bills with store gift cards, USPS stamps, Sam’s Club or Costco, and an AMEX gift card for normal spending.
  • HT to Jamie who suggested buying Hotel or Airline gift cards if you know you will stay or fly some place next year. Too bad Delta has no EZ gift cards and I would never buy them the way they make you do it right now (are you listening Delta?)!
  • HT to dubaych who suggested prepaying with your Eye Doctor, Dentist or other medical provider.
  • HT to DaninSTL who suggested prepaying your gym membership (is he telling me something?)
  • HT to Bret who suggested prepaying a little extra to your “IZOOM” or other type toll device (mine will not let me but maybe some will?).
  • HT to AlohaDaveKennedy who suggested buying certain gift cards for yourself at a discount at Plastic Jungle. He also pointed out if you drink Starbucks you are prepaying for coffee you will drink anyway! This is different from just buying an AMEX gift card for normal spend.
  • HT to Christine who says to buy Lowes or Home Depot gift cards, naturally starting at the portal to buy them, for a planned project and then go back to when you go to spend them.
  • HT to Silvia who suggested prepaying for your Last Will and testament as well as grave plots (yeah kinda creepy, but a good idea for some readers?)
  • HT to Chris who suggested buying 100% rebate items. I am allowing this one as it does NOT require reselling. I got shutdown from Staples FAR (free after rebate) stuff, but if you have to put a stamp on something it will most times stay under the 1% rule cap so this one works and you may need an antivirus program anyway for 2013.
  • HT to Lee who suggested buying things that other family members want and give them a 1% CASH discount for letting you do it. I love and hate this. I love it because those who are not playing our game get a sweet discount. I hate this because you should be teaching EVERYONE you know to play this game too, right?!
  • HT to AK who suggested donating to charity on your card. Kiva is fee free but other charities as long as they do not charge you a fee over 1%, work as well!
  • HT to Paul S. who suggested prepaying for daycare and such for the little ones. I also like the idea of paying with AMEX gift cards for those who normally take cash if they will agree to it!
  • HT to Weston S. who suggested buying some dinner gift cards. I was on the fence about this one, but when he suggested doing it at restaurants that are part of Skymiles dining program I could see the winning logic of this if done within reason!
  • HT to The Deal Mommy who suggested prepaying for some shopping clubs or wine clubs. Now this is not for me, but I am sure some see real value and points in these so I get this one for some.
  • HT to AAL who reminds us to check our tires on our car. With winter on the way, this tip and cost could save a life. Just smart to do each year and can help meet spend!
  • HT to Jetsfan who says to prepay summer camp for the kids next year. Why not if you know they are going. You could maybe extend this to other sports related things they have for spring too!
  • HT to Harlan Vaughn who suggested prepaying your rent. I would be cautions with this one, but you could ask your landlord if you could pay with an AMEX gift card maybe, but be sure you GET A RECEIPT.
  • HT to StellarCom1 who suggested paying your satellite radio bill for a full year. Not only to meet spend but sometimes you could get a discount.
  • HT to Paul who says to prepay your alarm service for a year. Many have this type of protection so why not! Good tip.
  • HT to BothofUs2 who suggested to prepay your service contract on your furnace. It could also work with A/C or water conditioner etc. Just a great idea and smart too.
  • HT to JB who tells us to prepay for lift tickets. This could extend to other things like a golf trip you have planned (i.e. put down the deposit for your group) or a deposit on say a vacation rental etc. Good outside the box thinking JB!
  • HT to Scott and to Tom who talk about prepaying homeowners association dues or timeshare dues in advance. Sure that works!
  • HT to dot cahill who suggested paying for pool service for the year. Don’t have one but many do!
  • HT to Jim H who suggested to prepay a car rental for a 2012/2013. This can even sometimes save you money!
  • HT to thrashsoundly who suggested to pool your gifts for a wedding. I am allowing this one as everyone goes to a wedding each year right so why not pool your and your family’s spend for a big gift. That is unless all in your family are points hounds like you and want the same thing! 🙂

Some of the other ones that are maybes are things like taxes. If you can do it for a less than a 1% fee then I am on board but I bet this is hard in most states and for federal too when paying with an AMEX card.

So there you are. What a list! Some final words of caution with all this. As some have commented, are we/I not just hurting your/my spend for next year? You bet! But, that is why I personally am staying in the short term range. Also, we have a need NOW. Next year you may have some big spends you need to make that you do not need to make NOW to get over the hump for your MQM’s. Lastly I remind you again NOT EVER to carry a balance to get this done. ONLY prepay as much as you can pay off in full from your normal income or short term from savings to be paid back over the next few months. I thank you all for the great input and I WILL be adding this to my “Essentials” tab as this is good stuff – René
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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One comment

  1. Just a clarification: many of us pay pre-tax dollars into medical savings account and, despite our best estimates, every year find ourselves scrambling to “use it before we lose it.” Depending on how your msa is set up, you can pay a broad range of medical expenses with your credit card, then reimburse yourself from funds you have already set aside and must use by year’s end anyway.
    Myself, I think I’ll buy $5000 worth of Starbucks credit and $5000 of Forever stamps.

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