How to Hit a Spending Bonus up to $15,000 for Free!


UPDATE – LMCU has decreased the credit card funding limit from $15,000 to $2,000 at opening.

Most credit card bonuses require a minimum spending amount before you receive your miles, points, or cash.  The majority of these bonuses require spending between $500 – $5000, but some larger bonuses require a higher minimum spend.  For example, Brooke and I just received our Citi American Airlines Executive cards, which require us to spend $7,500 to earn 75,000 AA Miles.  Using normal manufactured spending techniques, spending this much would cost between $75 – $90 each (still a great deal for 75k miles).  However, with this new method, we were able to easily earn the bonuses for free without even leaving the house!  

Lake Michigan Credit Union (LMCU) offers a Max checking account that can be initially funded up to $15,000 with a credit card.  Only Visa and MasterCard are accepted for this offer.  (Sorry, Amex Platinum!)  The funding posts as a purchase, not a cash advance, for most credit card issuers.  To be safe, reduce your cash advance limit as low as possible before attempting to fund your account!  This can be done with a simple phone call to your credit card company.

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While you are on the phone with your card rep, I also recommend notifying them of a large purchase.  This will significantly reduce the chances that your funding request will be denied by your credit card.

When you set up your LMCU account, you must qualify by either being a local resident, family member, or donating at least $5 to ALS research.  I imagine that most of you don’t meet the first two requirements, so go ahead and make a donation to a worthy charity!

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Go ahead and proceed with the account opening process.  You will then be prompted to enter your credit card information for initial funding.  If you dropped your CA limit and notified them of a large purchase, everything should go smoothly.  We were able to fund our accounts with almost our entire credit lines for each card (I held back $50 just to be safe).

The purchase posted to our credit cards two days after funding the account.  We then used the funds in the account to pay off the credit cards directly.  You could also choose to leave money in the account and pay the cards off with other cash on hand.  If you complete some simple requirements, this checking account earns 3% interest on the first $15,000 ($450/yr).

The only drawback to this simple process is that LMCU does a hard credit pull through TransUnion.  This did not deter us, but you should be aware.  Also, as far as I can tell, this is a one-shot deal.  Pick your spending bonus wisely!

We are very happy with our combined 173,000 AA miles from the offers and “spending!”  What bonus will you hit with this method??  Cheers!


12 thoughts on “How to Hit a Spending Bonus up to $15,000 for Free!

  1. How man different cards can this initial funding be split up over? I am looking at using this to meet minimum spend for my second AAdvantage Plat and CSP. Was thinking about adding a third card. Would this be possible?


    • From what I’ve seen, you can only use one card for this initial funding. The website only had a place to input one card. I don’t know if anybody has tried calling and requesting multiple cards.


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