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Credit Card Rewards for CY21
Old 01-05-2022, 02:04 PM   #1
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Credit Card Rewards for CY21

I have started similar threads in years gone by and thought I would do it again this year. Basically...how did you do w/ credit card (and other banking) reward programs?

In 2021, I continued to use the same "core" cards and churned one new card and took a bonus that was made available on a seldom used card.

Primary Cards are:

USAA Limitless Cash Back (2.5% on everything)
American Express Cash Card (6.0% Groceries, 3.0% Gas; $95 annual fee)
Amazon Chase Card (5% on Prime Purchases)
Chase Freedom (only rotating categories; 5%)
Opened Cap One Quick Silver for $200 Bonus
Used Seldom Used Card for $100 Bonus


So, total cash back rewards for 2021: $2186.91

While this is $ 1089.60 less than 2020, that's OK with me...that tells me that we spent less.
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Old 01-05-2022, 04:32 PM   #2
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I did about $2500 in cash rewards but about 40% of that was bogus accounts that I opened just for the reward with no need or intention to keep the account. Besides feeling sleezy for doing this I am rededicating myself to zero effort rewards. I’m using Fidelity Visa, Lowe’s, Target, Amazon Chase, etc because why pay a dollar when I could pay 98 cents and the bill is not due for 30-60 days? I put my insurance and utility payments on cashback cards. I pay two months utility bill to cut the service fee to 1/4%.
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Old 01-05-2022, 04:43 PM   #3
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I'm lazy, so my "go to" card is the Fidelity Visa with 2% cash back on everything.

Apart from that, all gas purchases are with the PenFed Visa that are always 5% cash back.

And when the Chase Freedom card has 5% cash back on groceries (like it does right now), that's my card at Kroger because I spend a lot there.

Of course the Amazon Prime card for Amazon purchases (lots of those, too).

I like the Apple Card because it's at least 1% back and sometimes as much as 3% on purchases here and there.

Beyond those, I actually have seven other cards I use for special purposes (airlines, hotels, etc.). Mostly for the extra benefits I get when using them at those places. They don't get used often, but it's nice to have them.


ETA: Looks like about $1,200 in cash back last year.
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Old 01-05-2022, 05:21 PM   #4
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$2250 in direct cash back plus some others that went to reduce prices. Kindle had a summer promotion where you got a Kindle credit when you spent $X. That kind of thing.

This year was higher than usual as I put my premium cataract lenses on my Fidelity card and got 2% back on them.

The main drivers of the cash back:

Fidelity Visa - 2% on everything. Our "main" card that we use for everything we can

Amex - 6% groceries, streaming (plus lower amounts on other stuff). Mainly use for true grocery store and YouTubeTv and HBO

Chase Freedom - 3% restaurants (lesser on other stuff) -- Use for restaurants/takeout

Amazon Prime Visa - 5% on Amazon/Whole Food (lesser on other stuff) - Use for Amazon purchases. For same during Prime Day we got an extra 5% on some TVs we bought

Apple - 3% on Apple stuff
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Old 01-05-2022, 05:23 PM   #5
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I've pared mine down to two- the only loyalty program for which a branded cc would make sense is Hilton and that's the Amex, which many smaller businesses don't like, so I stick with cash-back cards. I froze my credit years ago so it's too much trouble to churn for sign-on bonuses.

I got $734 from Fidelity in the last 12 months and will get a gift card for $463 plus whatever cash back I get on purchases between now and February with my February statement on the Costco Visa. I use that one only for the categories where the cash back is greater than 2%- travel, restaurants and gas. Not happy that the Costco rebate is only annual, and it's in the form of a Costco gift card so I don't get any cash back when I spend it!
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Old 01-05-2022, 06:05 PM   #6
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We had a burst water line flood while away from our SoCal house. Everything sat in the water for about a week, so our insurance took a big hit. Lots of reimbursements to us for contractor expenses. We paid for many of those reimbursed expenses with an Amex card we signed up for a with a $700 annual fee and a 125k point signup bonus, and put about $30k on the card, with Amex offering 15xpoints on local business spending. Ended up with over 500k points, and after paying for the card they were worth about $3000 at Amazon. That was our big score on cards, with a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Business, and BofA Business contributing another $2250 in bonus earnings. Made some amount in points earned by spending as well, but our go-to Fidelity cards didn't get their normal use!
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Old 01-05-2022, 07:55 PM   #7
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I did $4700 with the chase pay yourself back rewards last year since we didn’t really do a lot of traveling.
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Old 01-05-2022, 09:10 PM   #8
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For 2021

$861 cash back (mainly from Fidelity)

$1,250 in bonuses for opening checking accounts - only kept one account (Fidelity)

$6,994 increase in value of points/miles - mainly from bonuses of new credit cards. I do this every 2 or 3 years.

So, total of $9,106.

2022 will be much less. Won't be doing any credit card bonuses and may not do any bonuses for opening accounts. Most spending will go on Fidelity 2% card, Amazon Card and Chase Freedom (quarterly categories).
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Old 01-06-2022, 05:09 AM   #9
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We are not big spenders about $168 cash back.
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Old 01-06-2022, 05:42 AM   #10
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Cash rewards of $4,507 last year. This includes payment of some large expenses for other family members with reimbursement, but keeping the rewards.
No bonus rewards last year. Just didn't feel like it.
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Old 01-06-2022, 07:34 AM   #11
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I have about 400K points on Chase Ultimate Rewards but have never used them for cash back. I transferred 100K to an airline account for a frequent flyer trip. I also signed up for a Southwest card a couple of months ago because it offered 100K bonus points. I already qualify for the first 50K and will get the second 50K if I keep the card for a year and rack up enough spending. That seemed worth the hassle.

I will have to watch this thread for tips on how to use my Ultimate Rewards. Getting the extra benefits seems to require buying or booking stuff through their portal. Bit of a PITA.
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Old 01-06-2022, 10:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
I will have to watch this thread for tips on how to use my Ultimate Rewards. Getting the extra benefits seems to require buying or booking stuff through their portal. Bit of a PITA.
You might want to try this discussion of people's experience with Chase Ultimate Rewards on the EarlyRetirement.Org site.

https://www.early-retirement.org/for...ts-110811.html

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Old 01-06-2022, 10:40 AM   #13
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Old 01-06-2022, 11:12 AM   #14
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Non-chain restaurants that do lots of carryout have been pushed to the edge by covid. Consequently, around here they have been asking patrons to pay with cash so the restaurant can avoid the high fees of the cash-back cards. We've been doing so to help these small places stay afloat.
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Old 01-06-2022, 11:39 AM   #15
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Restaurants and business in our area are not encouraging cash for payment and have not for some time now. Paper money is dirty. They all request credit cards or in some instances debit.

Moreover...people do not want change. Their staff have little interest in handling paper money transactions.

When we came back from Mexico in March 2020 we had $200 cash. We have only been to the ATM once since then. For $100. We still have $60. of that left.

All transactions have been on line or tap and go. Debit once...we we absolutely avoid debit. Can only think of one or two where we had to use the pinpad to input our PIN and one was a debit transaction.
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Old 01-06-2022, 05:35 PM   #16
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For 2021, I got back $1,646 in Credit card cash and my spending was a paltry $35K in total for the year, with a large chunk not on credit cards.

Also Amex was nice and gave me $60 for buying restaurant food. Also got a few random bonus from other CC's for specific

So Total was ~$1,720
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Old 01-07-2022, 08:17 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
I have about 400K points on Chase Ultimate Rewards but have never used them for cash back. I transferred 100K to an airline account for a frequent flyer trip. I also signed up for a Southwest card a couple of months ago because it offered 100K bonus points. I already qualify for the first 50K and will get the second 50K if I keep the card for a year and rack up enough spending. That seemed worth the hassle.

I will have to watch this thread for tips on how to use my Ultimate Rewards. Getting the extra benefits seems to require buying or booking stuff through their portal. Bit of a PITA.
Same here.....hope to get the companion pass by this Summer.
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Old 01-07-2022, 09:12 AM   #18
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2% cash back Fidelity VISA. $4,317 cash back last year. Yeah! Ahh crap! That means we spent $216,050 on our credit card. Oh my.
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Old 01-07-2022, 01:26 PM   #19
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Primary cards used:
Wells Fargo 2% and several offers a year I use to get bonus rewards -Do not like how they manage the rewards but worth the headache
Chase Freedom (Standard rotating 5%)

HH Amex (mostly take advantage of the statement credit offers)
TD Bank (3% dining, 2% grocery -use for restaurants and is the card I carry with my phone around town)


Cash back earnings 904.18 on total spending for the year of $20,874 (expenses paid out of pocket). Includes one $200 bonus and a $150 referral bonus.
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Old 01-07-2022, 01:27 PM   #20
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Ha ha, for those that come on here and think everyone here is high-rolling (or cheap!)!
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