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How To Use Amazon Payments To Hit Minimum Spend Requirements

Although the weather was terrible today in Chicago, unexpectedly it was an exceptional day for my future travel plans!

I love when travel plans just drop into your lap without having to do any work!

  • 10AM – Got an email saying Liverpool FC was coming to play some exhibition matches in Boston and Baltimore. I am a huge LFC fan, and have wanted to make the weekend trek to Anfield but I suppose making a weekend trip to the East Coast makes a little more sense.
  • 11AM – Emily told me she got approved for her vacation in June which means it is time to officially plan our Summer trip. It is currently a toss up between the French Riviera or Istanbul. Both cost the same amount of miles! If you have been to either, feel free to comment with your thoughts.
  • 12PM – My Cousin texted me to say he got a job in Seattle which means I can finally make the trek out to the Gorge in Washington over Labor Day weekend to see Dave Matthews Band.

How To Meet Minimum Spend Requirements

So as I pointed out earlier this morning, the Chase Sapphire Preferred 50,000 point offer ends on Tuesday. Unrelated, my friend told me he signed up for the Chase Ink Bold Business Card which offers 50,000 Ultimate Reward points but you have to spend $5,000 in 3 months.

All this got me thinking about minimum spend requirements, and the fact that there may be people sitting on the side for the Chase Sapphire Preferred 50,000 point offer because they are afraid they can’t hit the minimum spend requirement.

While if you have a family of 4, you probably can easily hit minimum spend requirements, in my friend’s case, he still lives at home and doesn’t really have any real expenses which is a problem.

Typically to hit minimum spend requirements you can use the strategy of pre-paying for future expenses such as next year’s insurance or buying grocery and gas gift cards to use later in the year, etc.

While this is effective, $5,000 worth of gift cards and insurance may not suit everyone.

Daraius of Million Miles Secrets has a list of 40 potential other ways to rack up minimum spend which can be found here.

Ultimately you want to meet the minimum spend requirement by buying things you ACTUALLY, as opposed to buying junk that you will regret in a few months!

Ideally you would want to buy items on your Credit Card and then somehow get the same value back in cash! This can be achieved by buying a friend’s airline ticket on you card, and having your friend pay you back in cash, etc.

Back in the U.S Mint days, you could order thousands of dollars of $1 coins on your credit card at cost, they would be delivered to your door for free, and you could just deposit them in your bank.

This was great because you could meet your $3,000 or $5,000 minimum spend without having to really spend any money out of pocket!

You could spend $3,000 and get $3,000 back in $1 coins. To be fair though it was a pain in the butt to haul $3,000 in coins to the bank every week!

Unfortunately those days are long gone, so we have to get creative!

Amazon Payments

Currently the most effective of tool out there to meet minimum spend requirements is Amazon Payments.

Amazon Payments is essentially a Paypal competitor which allows you to send money between two parties for free.

As of right now, this also includes Credit Cards!

If you are familiar with Credit Cards, you know Visa and Mastercard charge a 3% or so fee to process Credit Card payments. This means Amazon is currently eating these processing costs to build market share.

I only expect this generosity to last for a couple of more months, as for every $1,000 someone transfers, it costs Amazon $30 or so in processing fees.

Not really a good long term business model!

It is for this reason I recommend not going nuts and trying to transfer $5,000 in one month.


However if you transfer less than $1,000 (which is the monthly credit card limit), as I have been doing to pay my Rent, you should be fine.

To sign up for Amazon Payments, simply go AmazonPayments.com. If you have an Amazon.com account log in, if you don’t, go ahead and create one.

Invalid request error occurred.

Once you are logged in or signed-up, it will ask for your Social Security Number, etc so they can make sure you aren’t money laundering.

After you register your Credit Card and Bank Account, you should be ready to send the money.

For the party you are going to send the money to, they will also have to sign up, including adding their Social Security Number, Bank Account, and Credit Card info.

It is for this reason, it is best if the party you are sending the money to is a spouse or trusted friend.

After your account is fully set up, simply go to the Send Money tab, and fill in the following fields.

I actually do use Amazon Payments to pay my Rent, so I put Rent in the box. You can put whatever you want, but I figure Rent is one of the only consistent reasons why you would transfer $1,000 a month, so it makes sense on that level too.

Note: That there is a $1,000 per a month limit on Credit Cards. Also from my experience, it is better to have your other Party’s account set up and verified before sending the your money, or the payment might not go through.

Invalid request error occurred.

After you hit continue, it will ask you how to want to fund the transfer.

Invalid request error occurred.

Once you hit continue, it will take you to the Confirmation Page.

After you hit send on the Confirmation Page, the person you are sending the money to will get an email.

The first time I tried to pay my landlord via this method, the payment got flagged by Chase so I had to call Chase and tell them to manually override it and then I had to re-run the payment.

Once your other Party logs into their Amazon Payments account, they can go collect the money and transfer it to their bank account. Once it is in their bank account, they can either write you a check or give you cash, or if you are savvy you can electronically transfer it.

Although I hate Chase Bank (not Chase Credit Cards though) for their ridi
culous checking fee, their new person to person quick pay is exceptionally useful for transferring money between 2 checking accounts.

If your friend has Chase, they can transfer the Amazon Payment funds into their Chase checking account, and then do an electronic quick pay transfer to your account.

All in all, I have been paying my $750 rent to my landlord for the last 4 months, and my friend has been transferring me $1,000 a month to meet his minimum spend and we have not had any problems. When my friend transfers the money to me via Amazon Payments, I simply move that money to Chase, and then transfer it from Chase back to his Chase checking account.

The vital thing in this is equation is that we ARE NOT transferring money back and forth between each other on Amazon Payments!

If I were to send him $1,000 for rent (via Amazon Payments) and then he sent me $1,000 for “rent” (via Amazon Payments) every month, we would be asking to be flagged.

Therefore do not try any circle strategies in which A transfers to B, and then B transfers to A.

Additionally, I’d even stay away from doing any triangle strategies in which A transfers to B, B transfers to C, and C transfers back to A.

I’m sure Amazon has sophisticated fraud and anti-money laundering systems and will connect the dots if you do the same transfer pattern every month!

Therefore the best bet is the straight line strategy in which A transfers to B via Amazon Payments, and then B uses Chase or any bank to route the money back to A.

Yes person B won’t get any miles for transferring the money back to person A, but you also won’t get flagged!

If you have any questions or have any better ideas on how to meet minimum spend requirements, feel free to email me at FrequentFlyerUniveristy@gmail.com or leave a comment.

Before anyone comments about how this is unethical, I will point out that when I actually do pay my Rent via Amazon Payments, that Amazon is still loosing money even though it is a legitimate transaction.

Amazon could easily charge people to use credit cards, but they are purposely eating the transaction fee in an attempt to cut into Paypal’s market share. Their strategy is obviously working since this post prominently promotes Amazon Payments and not Paypal!


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  1. Does your credit card company treat the payment as a cash advance, leading to a fee, or as a regular purchase?

  2. As long as you select purchase, it will come through as a purchase. I have been using my Sapphire, no problem.

  3. Avoid the French Riviera. Unless you speak fluent French of course. The people are not friendly and downright rude to Americans and the beaches are not very nice. I would highly recomment the Chinque Terre in Italy insted. Great food in smaller villages. We had a great time there. Then went to France and were immediately ready to leave but had to reservations to stay for 2 days.

  4. Parag, I just set up an account with Amazon Payments and tried for the first time to send money with a credit card, followed your instructions (just did one transaction A –> B), and this is what I got:

    Pending. We are unable to complete your transaction until further review. It can take up to 24 hours to complete this transaction. We apologize for any inconvenience this delay may cause.

    Is this what happened when you had to call Chase the first time you tried to do Amazon Payments? I called Chase and they didn’t even have record of this transaction attempting to go through. I was trying to send to a family member who has the same last name and address as me (although it honestly was money for rent!). Have other people had problems with this?

  5. You know I started my account a few months ago, but I vaguely do remember something like this happening because I had to tell my landlord that it would take a few days for payment to clear the first time. I wouldn’t worry about it, they are probably just making sure you are a real person. Let me know what happens and I’ll update the post.

  6. FYI the payment went through this morning. It took about 12 hours for it to process.

    I also went back and read through the user agreement and other info on the site and they explicitly say that you can send money between family members. Like you said, it is prohibited to send money to yourself, and I’m guessing transferring to someone with the same last name and address probably triggered a review in my situation. Thanks again Parag for all the great info.

  7. I think the one thing missing from this is the tax implications. Thanks to the current powers in charge who passed some horrible legislation (I’ll stop politicking now) things like Amazon Payments, Venmo, etc. can be subject to IRS Form 1099. Those in this game have been lucky in the past, but I’m afraid this game is up as well.
    What does that mean? You can be on the hook for the taxes on the money you received. $12k a year at (assuming) 20% tax rate, you will owe Uncle Sam $2k! Have your wife/husband involved as well – double it! Now Is that worth the points you earned?

    I don’t want to be a wet blanket – I’ve signed up for 10 cards this year and am drowning in ways to hit my spending minimums. I just don’t want the IRS at my door b/c I wanted an upgrade.

  8. Sounds an awful lot like money laundering.

    Also, when you say that amazon pays 3% in fees, you grossly ignore their volume-based fee discounts. While they are still paying cc transaction fees, it’s likely under 1%. This means your money laundering scheme won’t last forever, but it will likely last longer than it otherwise would.

    Gluck out there.

  9. The IRS allows 12k in “gift” per year. That is not the same as work/service. For that you have to be under $600, otherwise you must issue a 1099. A money transfer does not constitute service. I am not a tax accountant.

  10. Not exactly, we aren’t trying to conceal the source of the money or avoid paying taxes on illegally derived money.

    You may be right about the 1%, I am not sure.

  11. I hope you are right. But on the advice of an accountant, I have stopped. I’ll follow up with this gift concept.

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