After completing our Credit Card Application Spree to Maximize Sign Up Bonuses , I had a stack of new cards that all had various requirements to get the bonuses. Spend $500 in 3 months, $2k in 4 months, etc.
With some careful planning, I set our plans in motion to collect over $1500 in sign up bonuses. Below are the detailed steps to make sure you earn all your bonuses and maximize your rewards.
This strategy could work if you are opting for the Travel Application Spree for Points and Miles  too.
Tips To Collect Sign Up Bonuses from Application Spree
- Make a Master Spreadsheet. After applying for each card, I made a spreadsheet that detailed each card, the sign up bonus, the spending requirements and date, steps to activate and redeem rewards, and any future to-dos (like canceling the card before any annual fees kick in). I referred to the spreadsheet regularly to cross off each requirement as we completed it.
- Enroll in Each Rewards program. Each card seems to have its own rewards program, and a few of them require a sign up bonus for the program. Before using the cards, my next step was to make sure that each card was linked to the right program.
- Label Each Card. I wrote in black marker on the front of each card how much money I needed to spend to hit the bonus. For the cards I gave my husband, I detailed how much he needed to spend and what to spend it on.
- Coordinate Rewards and Bonuses. I also coordinated any rotating cash rewards  to double dip on the rewards. For example, we maximized our spending on home and garden this quarter on the Citi Dividend  card to hit the spending level for the sign up bonus and get 5% cash back. The result? $125 cash back on our $500 purchase!
- Separate Balance Transfers. I pulled the cards that were designated for balance transfers (the Pen Fed Platinum VISA and the Discover More Card ) to make sure they didn’t get mixed in with the purchase cards.
- Start Spending. We then used the new cards for the obvious: our routine spending. We have already prepaid most of our expenses for the year when I went on our $1175 Chase Cash Back Run , so there weren’t many options to prepay big expenses.
- Track Spending Online. Since I’m playing with the new Personal Capital account to get the $10 Sign Up Bonus , I added the new cards I wanted to track to my account online. That way I knew exactly when we would hit each spending level and move onto the next card.
- Deferring Purchases. Once we ran out of regular purchases, to finish off some of the spending requirements and defer the spending into the future, I ordered American Express Gift cards . American Express allows you to purchase the gift cards with Visa, Mastercard or Discover, so it’s a good way to finish up some of the spending without buying useless junk. Now I can just hold onto the cards until I’m ready to make another purchase.
- Buying Gift Cards. I also used one of the strategies I typically use with our American Express 6% Cash Back Credit Card : buying gift cards at the grocery store. This is another great way to defer purchases for places you’ll shop at.
- Finishing Up the Odd Amounts. I found that each card ended up with odd amounts at the end. $2.36 here and $5.73 there. To finish up the purchases (without going over to lose on the opportunity cost of spending on another card), we bought Amazon gift cards  with all the miscellaneous leftover amounts. You can then add them all together to make a regular purchase.
- Collect Sign Up Bonuses. Finally, it’s time to collect on all your hard work. Don’t forget to redeem all the points and cash back for your hard earned sign up bonuses!
If it sounds like too much work, and you are more interested in pursuing one card at a time, you can always opt for just the $400 Sign Up Bonus from Chase Sapphire Preferred to get the biggest bang for your buck!
What strategies do you use to track and collect sign up bonuses?