Can Low Spenders Travel Hack?


We often get questions about whether or not someone who doesn’t spend much can travel hack. Can low spenders travel hack? Absolutely! Ideally, you want to be spending about $1,000 a month on items you can put on a credit card to meet your minimum spend.  Be sure and think of all the ways you can possibly put purchases on your credit card. Here are some other suggestions.


Enlist the Help of Family

Maybe you can’t meet a minimum spend but your family may have expenses that they can have you put on your card and then pay you for. Readers are always telling me how their parents are using their credit cards to purchase things like a new couch. The parents aren’t interested in travel hacking but are happy to help their children.


Turquoise couch and brown table

Put that new couch on your credit card for a family member and have them reimburse you.


Pick Up the Tab

When you go out to eat or on vacation, volunteer to pick up the tab for the restaurant, groceries, or even the flights, and have them Venmo you their share. When my daughters and I travel, we always let the person who is meeting minimum spend pick up the tab and reimburse them.

Coaches of a team can volunteer to put the new team uniforms on their credit cards and get reimbursed. Teachers can buy school supplies and get reimbursed. Leaders of church groups can pay for activity expenses, etc. Can low spenders travel hack? Yes, with a little help from our friends!


People eating around table

Next time you go out to eat with a group pick up the tab and have others pay you back


Pick Credit Cards with Low Minimum Spends

There are credit cards with a low minimum spend so tackle those first. Get in the groove of travel hacking slowly and then see if you can figure out how to then get the cards that require a bigger minimum spend.

When you go to our best current offers page, you can filter to the cards that have a lower spending requirement. You can see that there are some for a minimum spend of less than $1,000 in three months. However, the cards with better bonuses will usually require a spending of at least $2,000-$4,000.


Screenshot of credit card offers



Cards with Low Minimum Spends

Our favorite cards, The Chase Sapphire Preferred, The Capital One Venture Card, and the Citi Premier Card all have a $3,000- $4,000 minimum spend. See if you can use some of our methods above to get those bonuses.

Here are some credit cards with lower minimum spending that might interest you:

  • Chase Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited – the minimum spend is only $500 and you get $200 cash back or 20,000 Ultimate Rewards (You’ll need a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Reserve, or Chase Business Ink Preferred Card to really use them for travel)
  • Delta Gold Card – only do this if the offer is 70K which it currently is. $2,000 minimum spend and the annual fee is waived the first year.
  • Barclay Red Aviator Card – 50K Aadvantage miles and only one purchase on the card is needed. This is arguably the best deal in travel hacking. The annual fee is $95.
  • Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card – 20,000 Venture Miles after a $500 minimum spend (worth $200) and no annual fee.
  • American Express Green Card – 50,000 American Express Rewards after a $2,000 minimum spend.
  • Hilton Honors American Express Card – 80,000 Hilton Honors points after a $1,000 minimum spend. 80,000 points may sound like a ton but this will probably get you one nice stay or 2 okay stays at a Hilton.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold Card – only do this if the offer is 60,000 for a spend of $2,000 in 3 months. It has no annual fee.
  • Southwest Plus Card– The bonus on this card can fluctuate but the standard offer is 40,000 points after spending $1,000 in 3 months.


Bottom Line

The more minimum spending you can make on a credit card, the more points, and miles you can acquire. However, you can still save on vacations and travel if you have less spending. Can low spenders travel hack? Absolutely! Free is free and, even if you do it on a smaller scale, it is amazing! If you have other tricks and hacks for low-spenders, please share them!

Sand against turquoise water

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