How to Get Started with Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses

Posted by Adrienne on October 9, 2013

Perhaps you’ve read through Madison’s articles on her Credit Card Application Sprees or Extreme Credit Carding and thought “wow – that sounds great but I could never pull that off”. I’m here to tell you that you can and you can make it easy too.

There are some people who are so bad with credit cards that they should never try this but if you’re organized enough to pay your bills on time and you don’t carry a balance then I believe you can do it. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re considering a Beginner Credit Card Application Spree.


Photo Credit: 401(k) 2013

Start with Just One

Starting with just one credit card gives you much less to manage. There are many different offers out there with spending requirements both big and small. It doesn’t really matter which you choose (since this is really just practice to get used to doing it). Pick something that feels easy for you. For example, the Citi Dividend card currently offers a $100 bonus after $500 in purchases. In addition, the Citi card earns 5% Cash Rewards on holiday shopping at department stores, toy stores, and Best Buy this quarter.

Decide How You Will Meet Spending Requirements

How will you reach your spending requirements? Do you plan on using the card for gas purchases only? Will you make your regular grocery purchases or will you hit the spending requirement with one big purchase? There is no wrong way here. The idea is to have a plan and stick to it.

Keep Track of Your Spending and Time

Now here’s the most important part of the process. You need to track your spending against the target you need to hit and keep track of the time it’s taking you to do it. This can be as simple as piece of paper you write on or as complicated as a spreadsheet.

Here I actually recommend the more complicated system. The reason is that this is just one card and it’s pretty easy to keep track of. If you want to be able to track multiple cards it’s good to come up with a system that works for that too. So while you’re practicing with one card you can see how it works for you and make any changes before you’re juggling a bunch of cards.

Cash in Your Rewards

Once you’ve hit your spending target cash in your rewards. You’ll probably have to wait until your statement closes for the bonus points to hit your account. Once they do follow the credit card’s process to cash out your points (for statement credit, gifts cards, etc.). If you have any problems with this step call the 800 number for assistance.

I once had trouble at this step because the credit card’s system wouldn’t let me redeem more than 3 gift cards. I made a quick call to customer service and a very helpful person was able to override this and get me what I wanted.

Cancel the Card (If You Want To)

Now you don’t have to cancel the card but I like to do so because it frees me up to take advantage of the sign up bonus again in the future. You might decide to keep it in addition to (or instead of) another card you have. Just keep track of what accounts you have open. Again this isn’t hard for one credit card but you want a system for when you have many. If you don’t want to cancel the card, you can also convert credit cards instead of paying annual fees.


So now that you’ve done one card you’re ready to move onto multiple offers. Or you might decide that one at a time is right for you. Whatever you decide – congratulations. You’re on your way to earning free money for relatively little work.

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