I don’t know why this question isn’t blogged about very often. Everyone writes about how you can earn points and spend those points, but how long does it really take to receive them from the credit card company? There is nothing like waiting on a huge chunk of points, IE free travel, to show up in your account.
Most credit card companies tell you the points will be available for use 6-8 weeks after you complete the minimum spend requirement. That can seem like a lifetime especially if it takes you a few months to meet your minimum spend. Fortunately, in my experience, 6-8 is usually over estimating things.
**Remember this on all credit cards, if your card has an annual fee the first year, that will NEVER count towards your minimum spend. When adding up your charges to check your minimum spend progress, DO NOT count the annual fee.
With most Chase cards, they will deposit the points the day after your statement closes, assuming you met your minimum spend within that statement. Your statement generally closes on the same day every month and your first statement should close around 30 days from the date your credit card application was approved.
In order for your minimum spend to “count” within that statement, all charges must be posted because pending charges will not qualify. Let’s say your statement closes on the 25th each month, you would want to make all your purchases/transactions no later than the 20th to ensure they will post to your account (posting generally takes 3-4 days). If you are shy of your minimum spend by just one dollar when your statement closes, you will have to wait a full 30 days for the next statement to close before you will get your points.
As always, if you return an item before the statement closes, that will be reduced from your minimum spend total. (Notice I didn’t say anything about returning items after your points post however, proceed with caution!)
~~Average time to receive credit card in the mail for Chase: 7-8 business days in my experience
With American Express the statement close date does not have much, if any, bearing on when you receive your points. In my experience with the Delta, Premier Rewards Gold, Starwood, and Platinum card, the points were received just two days after the minimum spend was met. There are reports of people having their Membership Reward points placed on ‘pending’ for 1-2 billing cycles. It is hard to know what causes this exactly but I have not experienced it.
It should also be noted that this pending delay is typically only experienced on Amex branded cards that earn Membership Reward points not co-branded cards like Delta or Starwood. My Delta points posted to my SkyMiles account two weeks after I was approved for the card, wow! I completed the easy $1,000 minimum spend in less than a week which is why I received the points so quickly.
~~Average time to receive credit card in the mail from American Express: only 2 business days (they have automatically 2-day air-mailed every card of mine so far, even replacements)
My experience with Citi is a bit limited compared to Chase and Amex but I still hold three credit cards with them. I must note that my customer support experience with Citi has been below par. Myself and many others at times, and only sometimes, refer to Citi as $#!tty Bank. My personal bias aside, I typically received my points two weeks after meeting the minimum spend. This applied for my Thank You Premier card as well at the American Airlines Platinum card.
~~Average time to receive credit card in the mail from Citi: 6-8 business days
Like Citi, I currently hold three Barclay credit cards, all travel based of course. Their flagship card is the Arrival Plus MasterCard. This card has a $3,000 minimum spend and your “travel credit of $400” is generally posted a week after your minimum spend is met. The cool part about travel cards like the Arrival Plus is that you can make your travel purchase, count it towards your minimum spend, and then once your points post use them to erase the travel purchase.
Let’s say you wanted to buy a plane ticket from San Francisco to Honolulu. That ticket should run about $400 if you aren’t going at peak times. The day you get your Arrival Plus card in the mail you will just activate it and purchase your $400 flight. You are now $400 into your minimum spend! When your points post you can then use 40,000 of them to erase the $400 travel-related charge. You don’t have to wait for the points to post before getting to book your vacation! (but you do have to wait for the points to erase the travel charges off your bill)
~~Average time to receive credit card in the mail from Barclay Card: 7-9 business days (They come from DE so that could be why they take longer to get to me in AZ)
Need help keeping track of all your points and accounts (what a great problem to have), check out Award Wallet. As always, your minimum spend can be met quicker and more easily by using Plastiq. Plastiq allows you to pay bills like car payments, mortgage, student loans and even rent, all with a credit card. All payments from Plastiq will show as a purchase and counts towards your minimum spend.