Life Style

How I Earned the Chase Sapphire Preferred Welcome Bonus on a Budget

Once I decide I’m ready to add travel rewards card to my wallet, I have to consider more than just budgeting for an annual fee and adding another monthly bill to my list.

As a moderate spender, one of my biggest concerns is how to comfortably meet the spending requirements to earn the attractive welcome bonus on my new card.

I have chosen Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to start collecting value Final bonus point with reasonable annual fees. The real value for a brand new points collector like me is encapsulated in the card’s welcome offer — 75,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening.

TPG’s valuation pegs this welcome offer at $1,538 when you take advantage of transfer partners, or $937.50 if you redeem through Chase Travel℠ at 1.25 cents per point—an attractive deal for those new.


In my research, I found that spending $4,000 within three months to get a welcome bonus seemed pretty standard for Chase credit cards, so I decided the best way to start was Your rewards journey is to earn 75,000 Ultimate Rewards points in advance. When I first bought the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the clock started ticking.

With my normal spending habits, I probably wouldn’t spend $4,000 on groceries in three months. However, I made some small adjustments and reached my goal with just a few weeks to go.

Here are five methods I used to earn the Sapphire Preferred welcome bonus as a moderate spender.

Related: Which budgeting technique is right for you?

Includes full tabs on my Chase Sapphire Preferred

Whether it’s date night, midday lunch, or dinner with the girls, I start checking everyone’s information in one go at restaurants.

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In addition to helping me reach my spending goals, this is especially advantageous with the Sapphire Preferred card because it earns 3 points per dollar on dining, including:

  • Delivery service
  • Show
  • Eat in restaurant

I would pay the bill in full and my friends would pay me back their share of the check.

This way, each purchase got me closer to the minimum spend needed to accumulate points, and my credit card bill was paid in full without incurring many additional costs.

Related: After 14 years, why should the Chase Sapphire Preferred still be your first rewards card?

Pay to attend an event with the Chase Sapphire Preferred

This is where the scoring game starts to get interesting.

More than half of my close friends in Charlotte, North Carolina, attended the University of North Carolina, and I’d been hearing about how cool the men’s basketball games were at Chapel Hill for months.

I paid for tickets to a UNC men’s basketball game with my Sapphire Preferred card. AUGUSTA STONE/PRAYER POINT

We had been discussing buying tickets for a less expensive home game for a while, and since I was trying to spend more on my new Sapphire Preferred Pass, I suggested buying seven tickets for the game. Monday night between the Tar Heels and Wake Forest. .

After purchasing my ticket, I had an additional $327 to get closer to that $4,000 minimum spend. After my friends paid me back and I paid off my balance, I got every dollar back for this purchase as Ultimate Rewards Points.

While the ticket didn’t automatically activate the bonus category on my Sapphire Preferred, I did activate the limited-time 5% cash back offer from SeatGeek through an in-app offer before purchasing.

Thanks to this cashback promotion, my account was also credited with some money from the ticket purchase.

Plus, the Tar Heels won!

Related: Who should (and shouldn’t) buy the Chase Sapphire Preferred?

Plan your trip on the Chase Sapphire Preferred

Most of my friends who came to UNC basketball games with me lived in and around Charlotte. Since Chapel Hill is about two hours away from us, we decided to take a weekend trip from there.

Whenever you are away from home, you will naturally have to spend more money. Even though this was only a two-night trip (and we were graciously provided with free accommodations at a friend’s house), the outings and meals purchased were all additional expenses to cover. Earn my welcome bonus.


I don’t need to splurge on a long trip or even book a hotel night to spend more than I would if I stayed in Charlotte that weekend.

I noticed that making a few more transactions worth $20-$40 eventually increased during the three months that I worked to meet my welcome bonus spending requirement.

My trips to Chapel Hill helped me realize that $4,000 doesn’t have to be as scary a threshold to reach as I thought it would be.

Related: How to travel on a budget: Here are our 22 top tips

Spend your vacation with the Chase Sapphire Preferred

I’ve also intentionally timed everything here.

When I signed up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the first rewards credit card that comes with a welcome bonus that depends on spending, it was around mid-November.


As for many others, this is the start of a heavy spending season for me. Between going home to visit family in Georgia and finding the perfect gifts for my loved ones, I’ve already budgeted for extra spending.

That naturally makes it easier to spend more money and meet the welcome offer’s spending requirements.

Related: Why would you want to pay the $95 annual fee for the Chase Sapphire Preferred

Just use my Chase Sapphire Preferred

All of which brings me to my final point, perhaps the most intuitive and certainly the most important: I spent as much as I could with the Sapphire Preferred until I reached my spending goal. This card ends up being the best card in my wallet thanks to its generous earning structure and ability to earn high-value Ultimate Rewards Points.

I’ll also use this strategy in the future when I open a new credit card that has a solid welcome offer and a manageable minimum spend requirement.

Related: 6 reasons the Chase Sapphire Preferred should be your next credit card

Bottom line

I created a spending strategy that worked for my budget before signing up for the Sapphire Preferred card to get the welcome offer.

Within my personal budget, I typically don’t spend $4,000 in three months (not including rent). However, being mindful of my budget while maximizing the benefits of my new credit card helped me earn 75,000 Ultimate Rewards points quite easily.

Register here: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with a welcome offer of 75,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening.

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