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I just received a great question from a reader asking if the cost of the annual fee of a card counts towards the minimum spend requirements. Typically most points and miles credit cards require you to spend X amount on the card within the first X months to get the bonus sign up points for new applicants. Every card has a different requirement, but it seems like $2,500 within 3 months is an average.
While some credit cards have the annual fee waived for the first card, there are many credit cards that don’t (i.e., Southwest card, Club Carlson card, American Express Platinum card, etc). These annual fees can range from $65 – $450 a year! Of course, if the card has an expensive annual fee it is great if that counts towards the minimum spend requirements, right? Well, unfortunately it does not. There might be a few scenarios out there where this is not the case, but for the most part the annual fee DOES NOT COUNT TOWARDS MEETING YOUR MINIMUM SPEND.
When you are paying your statement balance make sure to NOT include the fee in the amount remaining needed to hit this spend. I know many people have faced this “oops” issue in the past, so do not let it happen to you. This happens more often than not, especially with the American Express Platinum card since the annual fee is $450 and people just include it in their total spend. The credit card companies are typically not so accommodating if you miss the minimum spend requirements due to this oversight, so be cautious.