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Credit Card Rewards Summary 2017
Old 01-02-2018, 10:40 AM   #1
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Credit Card Rewards Summary 2017

First off, Happy New Year to all the users! 2017 was a pretty good year for me and I think as long as I continue on my "restricted diet" of "news intake", 2018 will be pretty good too!

At any rate, one of my year end financial summaries that I put together is how well we did in regards to credit card rewards. It looks like thanks to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, 2017 was the most beneficial year we have had. So, how well did you do last year w/ rewards? Here is how we did:

American Express Cash Back Preferred: $625.00 (annual fee $75)
USAA Limitless Cash Back: $195.49 (no fee)
Chase Sapphire Reserve Cash Back/Credits: $637.95
Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel Redemptions: $1937.84 (annual fee was refunded and I don't know why).
Chase Freedom: $52.09 (no fee)
Chase Amazon: $197.92 (no fee)

TOTAL CASH BACK: 1708.45
TOTAL TRAVEL CREDIT: 1937.84
TOTAL VALUE OF REWARDS: 3646.29

I would like to thank those good consumers who rack up credit card debt and pay exorbitant interest rates...without you, the CC companies wouldn't be nearly as gracious.
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Old 01-02-2018, 10:55 AM   #2
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We don't do as much credit card hacking as we could but in 2017 we did do the following -

2 free flights to Ireland on Delta we earned mostly with each of us doing Delta AmEx sign up.

2 free flights to Portugal on United with 2 credit cards I signed up for

We have about 40k miles on American I haven't used as of yet (I credit card offer)

We each have 45k miles on Sun Country (local regional airline) that we haven't spent the miles on yet but should be good for each of us to get a free domestic flight.

On top of that I'm sure we got a lot back on our main Capital One Quicksilver card (1.5% cash back).

This year I should try to get DW to do the same 2 United cards I did to earn another international flight but not sure I'll be as active as we have been in the past.
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:01 AM   #3
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Probably around $1200 cash rewards maybe more. Another $75 I just took yesterday but that will count for 2018.
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExFlyBoy5 View Post
First off, Happy New Year to all the users! 2017 was a pretty good year for me and I think as long as I continue on my "restricted diet" of "news intake", 2018 will be pretty good too!

At any rate, one of my year end financial summaries that I put together is how well we did in regards to credit card rewards. It looks like thanks to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, 2017 was the most beneficial year we have had. So, how well did you do last year w/ rewards? Here is how we did:

American Express Cash Back Preferred: $625.00 (annual fee $75)
USAA Limitless Cash Back: $195.49 (no fee)
Chase Sapphire Reserve Cash Back/Credits: $637.95
Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel Redemptions: $1937.84 (annual fee was refunded and I don't know why).
Chase Freedom: $52.09 (no fee)
Chase Amazon: $197.92 (no fee)

TOTAL CASH BACK: 1708.45
TOTAL TRAVEL CREDIT: 1937.84
TOTAL VALUE OF REWARDS: 3646.29

I would like to thank those good consumers who rack up credit card debt and pay exorbitant interest rates...without you, the CC companies wouldn't be nearly as gracious.


WOW.... that is a LOT of spending....

At 2% (not sure you are even there) that is $182K.... but even at 3% it is still $122K of spending!!! On CCs!!!!
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:31 AM   #5
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$1,271.72 across five different cards, which is about 2.5% return on everything spent on the cards in 2017.

I got better ROI on my churning than I did my Vanguard REIT fund.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
WOW.... that is a LOT of spending....

At 2% (not sure you are even there) that is $182K.... but even at 3% it is still $122K of spending!!! On CCs!!!!
Some cards when you sign up, they give you double rewards points, or so much back for spending $XXX.XX within so many months. More than a quarter of my returns are from promotions like that, so the returns may not reflect actual spending.
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Old 01-02-2018, 12:22 PM   #6
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Around $200 not a big spender.
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Old 01-02-2018, 12:22 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by RetiredGypsy View Post
$1,271.72 across five different cards, which is about 2.5% return on everything spent on the cards in 2017.

I got better ROI on my churning than I did my Vanguard REIT fund.



Some cards when you sign up, they give you double rewards points, or so much back for spending $XXX.XX within so many months. More than a quarter of my returns are from promotions like that, so the returns may not reflect actual spending.
+1.

We amassed a lot of points with sign up bonuses and try to use our two Chase cards (Saph Res and Marriott) for all our spending.

Haven't redeemed much as we have been spending down the rewards garnered during corporate travel ( those are almost exhausted). As we enter 2018, it's nice to have several hundred thousand new points to "spend."
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Old 01-02-2018, 12:34 PM   #8
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We did about $2100 net in cash back and the value of goods and services.

On the expense avoidance side, we avoided just under $400. In FX service charges/ high fx rates on Visa and foreign ATM withdrawals this year.
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Old 01-02-2018, 12:37 PM   #9
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I generally charge everything I can to get the rewards points and managed about $700 in bonuses. Now I need to figure out something frivolous to spend this "found money" on !
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Old 01-02-2018, 12:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
WOW.... that is a LOT of spending....

At 2% (not sure you are even there) that is $182K.... but even at 3% it is still $122K of spending!!! On CCs!!!!
Well, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is put on a card if it can be. And no, we were NOWHERE near $100K in spending. The reward rates are:

Amex: 6% on Groceries/ 3% on Gas
USAA: 2.5% on All Purchases
Amazon: 5%
Chase Freedom: 5% on categories (changes quarterly)

The big one in 2017 was the CSR card...the entire amount was essentially free money and most of it was as a sign up bonus. We did put travel on it and some dining when they offered the 3x points on those categories.

Biggest "extra" expenses were some vet bills, a new bed/mattress, new gutters for the house and quite a bit of preventive maintenance on car as well as tires for both vehicles. Those "extra expenses" were in the neighborhood of $13,000.

Edit: I added up the total amount actually charged across the cards and the amount came to $39,180. Generally speaking, the only thing that isn't put on a card is property taxes and the barber shop.
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Old 01-02-2018, 01:30 PM   #11
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I got some dough but have no idea how much.
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Old 01-02-2018, 02:44 PM   #12
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I should track this. Just locked in 2 Southwest RR trips to the east coast today.

I know we traveled relatively inexpensively thanks to Chase, AmEx and Barclay. They have paid me to use their cards the past three years.

Strategy is to always have enough room to snag the 50k signup pts.

Then I spend on 5% cash back cards when possible
Followed by Amazon 5%
Followed by Gas Station 5% + .10c coupons upon fill up
Followed by bulk purchasing when Dept Stores are at 5%.

I am tempted to sign-up for the USAA 2.5% since I am ex Air force, but that would draw away from collecting ultimate rewards points which I find are most flexible when booking. Can xfer to SouthWest RR, United, or other major airlines. I use my preferred for purchases not in a category and pushing them onto the USAA card would eliminate my airfare flexibility.

By grouping our spending we've saved quite a bit. I always try to load up on gas/groceries/dept stores when those revolving categories come along and usually get gas/groceries the last day the category is under effect.

I know my rewards are in the multiple thousands. I spend about 60-70k on credit cards a year. Better than not getting anything.

I've scored free airfare to FL, CA, VA, HI.

With a family of 4 no way we could afford to travel without these rewards.

For car rentals I usually use CostCo, but sometimes find local hustlers that have better deals.

It's funny most people I talk to about this "game" tell me that it's something they should do but never do. I suspect these same people don't manage or track their investments close as I either.

Saphire Reserve is in my sights.

Last year I noticed with the revolving categories I was able to get 5% off gas for 1/2 the year, 5% off department stores for 1/2 the year and 5% off groceries for 1/2 the year.
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Old 01-02-2018, 03:17 PM   #13
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I don't keep that detailed track, but I got the CSR in Nov. 2016 and got the 100K bonus points. This year I got the Chase Marriott for 80,000 points. I use Amex for gas/groceries and Capital One for everything else.


This year I used points for flights from DC to NM, DC to Boston (had to buy last minute tickets), and tickets for my sister and I to go to Belize this January. I used the $300 CSR travel credit for a hotel stay.


Right now I have 45K points on CSR, 83K points on Chase Marriott, and 138K points on the Capital One card. With various trips planned for this year, I hope to put them to good use!
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Old 01-02-2018, 04:40 PM   #14
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I've been using a PenFed Visa for years, getting 5% cash back on all gas purchases at the pump. Adding up this year's take, it's about enough for four free tankfuls, so that's a pretty nice perk.
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Old 01-02-2018, 04:45 PM   #15
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I've been using a PenFed Visa for years, getting 5% cash back on all gas purchases at the pump. Adding up this year's take, it's about enough for four free tankfuls, so that's a pretty nice perk.
+1

I got $180 cash back on our PenFed Visa gas card this year, about half the amount when fuel prices were higher and we were driving more. Not complaining...
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Old 01-02-2018, 06:37 PM   #16
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I do not keep real good track, but I have always wondered how much I do actually get back. I like cash back, then I can spend it on airlines or other fun stuff.

Over $3K, which is tax free.

I rarely get less than a 2% back. Mostly I charge stuff like this.

US Bank Visa Signature - 5% back on fast food, cell phone.
Sam's Club Visa - 5% back on gas, 3% back on travel, 3% back at restaurants
Fidelity Visa Card - 2% back on everything
Menards - 2% back at Menards, plus 1% contractor. Plus other rebates.
Amazon - 5% back on Amazon purchases

I am unsure how much I actually got back at Menards, but the individual rebates for buying some items was pretty large. Often an 11% back in store credit on my entire purchase, in addition to the standard 2%+ rebate I always get there. Plus the 1% contractor rebate. I spent $6,300, so add it another $126+.

When Menards has an 11% rebate on all purchases, Home Depot matches it. So the Home Depot rebates are included below.

2017 Rewards 
Sam's$518
Menards Rebates$710
Menards Cash Back$126
Fidelity$1,391
Amazon$182
Home Depot 11%$182
US Bank$170
Total$3,279
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Old 01-02-2018, 07:13 PM   #17
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Mostly it’s cash back cards for me. This quarter Discover is giving 5% for gasoline. However, I cant use it at Costco gas station which gives m4 4%. The 1% difference is enough to make up for the higher gasoline prices at other stations.

Between Cash-Back, a free flight and a two free hotel night, the cards brought me about $925 of worth in 2017. However, I do have a number of miles/points on various cards that are so far unused but need to be used in 2018 before they are devalued.
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Old 01-02-2018, 07:26 PM   #18
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I got tired of playing the "sign up for the discount of the quarter" game and trying to remember what card to use when and where. I now stick with three credit cards - one for fuel, one for Amazon and one for everything else:

PenFed Visa - 5% cash back for pay-at-the-pump purchases
Chase Amazon Prime Visa - 5% Amazon cash rewards for Prime purchases
USAA Limitless Cashback Visa - 2.5% cash back on all purchases
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Old 01-02-2018, 07:47 PM   #19
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Mostly use Costco visa, for just about all purchases, that is over $1000; especially due to moving expenses. Add in various other rebates around $1500 and we’re doing good. I don’t total it specifically, actual numbers are probably a little higher.
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Old 01-02-2018, 07:56 PM   #20
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A good year: Southwest RR plus and premiere @ 60K each in June. Total Southwest points were 125K after the required spending, and we were able to get the companion pass for this year and half of last year. Made good use of the IHG Accelerate promotions with short trips. We've been travelling for essentially free this fall and winter.

Totals amount to about 10 free round trip tickets to locations in AZ, FL, OR, WA, and approx. 15-20 days free hotels (172000+ IHG points plus a "free" night from our two annual credit cards).

Total spend on this was 5K for the SW cards and about 10 paid IHG stays (figure 1200 total), plus additional household and travel expenses amounting to 1-2K per month.

We're big fans of Marriott, IHG and Southwest promotions cards. We like to do travel and have found the gamification that they are doing ends up being very rewarding. But you do need to travel for this to make sense.

If you're looking at Southwest, make sure you wait for the 60K level before getting the cards. Usually they do it on their anniversary (June) and October or so.
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