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In the last couple of days, I got an offer from Discover for an extra $400 cash back bonus, if we spend $xxxx dollars with Discover for each of the next 5 months, which is somewhat higher than our average credit card spending.

I'm trying to figure out a way to take advantage of the offer without needlessly spending extra money.

We're planning on buying a new appliance next month, so that should cover February when put on top of our regular spending; and a couple of trips we're planning in March and April, which should go a long way to covering those months, as well.

May and June, however, might be a challenge. So, I'm making a list of optional spending - things we'll spend on anyway, but aren't time-sensitive, that we can slide around one way or the other, if need be, that we can use the discover card for. Unfortunately, we already use that card for most of our credit card purchases, so not a lot we can do to move things from other cards to the discover.

I'm committed to not wasting an extra $400 to get $400, but will arrange our finances to take advantage if it is practical. If I'm close in any given month, I can prepay on our Easypass (turnpike) or stock up on pantry staples, perhaps purchase gift cards for things we'll spend on in future months. Still, it looks like it might be a stretch. Curious if others have taken advantage of these offers and what lengths they've gone to.
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I got one of their offers back in Nov or Dec that paid me an extra $100 bonus if I spent $1000 total between then and Feb. I managed to do it by paying for DH's root canal, which was more than that $1000, and was something I had to pay for anyhow.

Do you have something like car or house insurance or perhaps utilities that you can spend the money on?

What about other regular expenses like your groceries?

It sounds like you have to spend a lot each month since you are talking about appliance purchases, and I'm not sure that I would spend anything extra just to get that cash back.
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It sounds like the bonuses are targeted/customized based on past spending habits, so they get you to attempt to stretch your spending beyond what you normally would. The extra required for us works out to something around $300-500/month on average, so yeah, kind of substantial. We were originally thinking of buying the range this month, but we can easily wait the 2 weeks until February and then maybe shift some of the February spending into March, etc...

We pretty much already put all of the regular stuff on the discover card, groceries included. Utilities are already setup for auto-pay, so don't intend to change that, and insurance is paid up for the year. I think the first few months, with spending that is already planned, we can shuffle things around to get the charges into the month where the extra spending is needed, but we may need to get a bit creative the last couple of months to spend the required amount. Making the credit card payments in full will not be a problem, it's just finding wise things to spend it on. No biggie if we don't succeed, and I probably won't spend a whole lot of effort on it, but the extra $400 is a nice incentive if we can make it work in an intelligent way.
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I got an offer from Discover for an extra $400 cash back bonus, if we spend $xxxx dollars with Discover for each of the next 5 months, . . .

I got a couple from Discover structured as $100 cash back bonus for spending $XXX dollars with Discover for each of the next Y months. To do that, I would have had to shift all my credit card spending to Discover, and still have a chance of having to spend extra to clear all the monthly hoops. I ignored those offers.

Then recently Discover sent me a richer offer, $100 bonus cash back for spending $1000 with them before March 31. I can do that by shifting spending from my 2% cash back Fidelity Amex and my spending at Sam's Club that would otherwise be 1% back on the Sam's MasterCard. I can also shift restaurant expenses that would be 3% back on the Sam's MasterCard to 2% base back on Discover (Open Road version). So I took that one.

My take on the multi-month requirement is, if it looks iffy to clear the hoops for every month you should ignore the offer. In a few months they are likely to send you a better offer. I would not stock up on stuff just to get the cash back; if I let cash back change what I would spend money on, I walk onto a slippery slope of more spending than planned. I don't want to go there. I'm fine with shifting spending that would happen anyway to Discover.

Then when I've charged my $1000, Discover will go back into a locked file drawer. Their base cash back package is inferior to my other cards. I'll take it out again when I get another offer rich enough to be worth shifting away from better base cash back. Or not, if the Discover marketing people get smart enough to stop sending me offers that are rich enough for my taste.

Patzer
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I wonder what triggers these offers. I had stopped using my Discover a couple years ago when there insurer refused to cover a theft at my very secure office building (left an ipod on my desk in my gym bag as opposed to in a locked drawer).

So, I stopped using the card when they refused to reconsider

Last year, they sent me an offer ($500 if I spent a certain amount for 5 months). So, I switched back.

No new offers of that caliber, so I am wondering if I should switch to my travel rewards card and see if they make that offer again...
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Well, I've made it through the first two months+, and curiously, I've been in a position where, rather than accelerating purchases, I've been able to put off some things to the next month instead, and still hit the monthly spending amount.

February saw some required car repairs in order to pass inspection.
March was our vacation and some dental work.
April was some more car repairs (different vehicle) and another short trip out of town that required a few nights of hotel reservations.

I had been planning on a new stove in February or March, but looks like I can put off that purchase until May or June now. Still lots of spending that I can shift by a couple of weeks or more one way or the other in the next couple of months, so should be able to accomplish this without spending additional money. And we'll continue to pay off our bill in full each month.
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