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Year in Review - Tallying Rewards, Card by Card

Curious_George2
Valued Contributor

Year in Review - Tallying Rewards, Card by Card

It's fun to read people's plans for what cards to pursue next year in the 2022 Card Strategy thread. In a similar vein, I find it useful to look back at the year that was, to see how much value each of my current cards actually delivered. For me, there are some surprises.

 

  1. $1,600 from Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority. Redeemed points for flights, used $75 SWA credit and earned some small spend offers. ($149 AF)
  2. $900 from Amex Delta SkyMiles Gold. Used miles from SUB for a flight worth about $800. The rest was monthly dining credits. ($99 AF)
  3. $450 from DW's Chase Amazon Prime. Sweet, sweet cashback.
  4. $350 from US Bank Cash+. $150 SUB and $40/mo cashback for 5 months.
  5. $225 from Amex Gold/Green/Gold. Numerous small spend offers, $100 Loungebuddy credit. No MR redemption. ($250 AF)
  6. $130 from Capital One Quicksilver. Half from spend offers, half from regular cashback.
  7. $125 from BofA Travel Rewards/Customized Cash Rewards. Steady cashback.
  8. $110 from Citi Double Cash/Rewards+. All of this was cashback when the card was Double Cash.
  9. $60 from Citi Costco Anywhere. Cashback from Costco spend in 2020.
  10. $25 from HSBC Platinum Rewards. Cashback at 1% from paying cell phone bill with Mastercard.
  11. $20 from BankAmericard. Mostly BankAmerideals with a little cashback at 1.25%.

First off, I'm glad to see all my AF cards are pulling their weight. I barely use my Amex Delta card, so it's strange to see it near the top. Shows how much a SUB can tip the scales, but that's not sustainable so I see a PC coming.

 

I was excited when I first got my Citi Double Cash, but I didn't end up using it as much as I expected so I'm now converting it to Custom Cash. That should help it place higher next year.

 

I fret a bit about the AF on the Amex Gold, so it's a relief to see that it will pay for itself this year. Hopefully there will be some big MR redemptions in my future so that card can do better than break even.

 

Cash+ really shines here, considering I only had it for half the year, but of course the SUB helps. That and DW's Amazon card stand out as reliable, high value cards for us.

 

The two at the bottom of the list aren't earning much in rewards and can't be PC'ed, but they are old and don't have AFs, so it's worth keeping them around.

 

All told, that's about $4,000 in value from cards with a combined AF of $500. In the years before I found MF, the rewards I earned were negligible. And let's not even talk about all the interest I used to pay. Smiley Sad What a difference this place makes! Smiley Very Happy I'm very grateful to have found it. 

 

Anyone else want to add up your 2021 rewards value by card and share what you find?


Message 1 of 12
11 REPLIES 11
tcbofade
Community Leader
Super Contributor

Re: Year in Review - Tallying Rewards, Card by Card

Well I didn't find $4,000.00.   Yay you!

 

...between DW and I, counting SUBs and cash back, we'll be over $1600 in cash back this year.  (She just hit one SUB this weekend, haven't cashed it out yet.)

 

 

 


01/01/22 Fico 8: EX 722, EQ 736, TU 716.
12/03/21 Fico 9: EX 749, EQ 758, TU No idea.

Zero percent financing is where the devil lives...
Message 2 of 12
Trini88
Frequent Contributor

Re: Year in Review - Tallying Rewards, Card by Card

Almost every card I have I got this year and majority are under 6 months old. Capital One doesn't let me track anything so I can't say for sure how much cashback I received but I know it was a good amount.

 

Discover is still in cashback match, so far it says they owe me: $45+ plus I have the other $45+ sitting waiting to be redeemed. That's with me only using the card for 1 month (had it converted to 5% rotating categories in late October to take advantage of 10% cashback on Walmart and Target). I shop at those 2 places a lot!

 

Amex BCP: Random cash back $39 (no clue how they gave me this, maybe from all my purchases). Only card I keep calculations trying to hit my sub. I got $145+ cashback so far from my Amazon purchases and $54+ so far from my Grocery purchases. Over $200 cash back, not bad for a card I had for less than 3 months.

 

FNBO: Received that card on Sunday, need to hit the $200 sub for $1000 spend, will be easy, spent $110 on it yesterday during normal spending.

 

Target: Website says I saved $61+ so far by using their card, would have been more but shifted spend onto Discover card for 10% cash back.





Goal Cards: BOA Cash Rewards || Citi Custom Cash || Penfed PCR || US Bank Cash+
Message 3 of 12
Kforce
Valued Contributor

Re: Year in Review - Tallying Rewards, Card by Card


@tcbofade wrote:

Well I didn't find $4,000.00.   Yay you!

 

...between DW and I, counting SUBs and cash back, we'll be over $1600 in cash back this year.  (She just hit one SUB this weekend, haven't cashed it out yet.)


Total rewards have a high correlation to spend, and spend has a high correlation to income.

One making 7 figures will usually have more rewards than the $35,000 household

 

A more important number is the average percentage from spend.

(All Subs + all rewards + additional rewards or value) - (All AF's) / (Total spend on all cards) = Percent

 

I have 3% cash back rewards.

 

Message 4 of 12
longtimelurker
Epic Contributor

Re: Year in Review - Tallying Rewards, Card by Card


@Kforce wrote:

@tcbofade wrote:

Well I didn't find $4,000.00.   Yay you!

 

...between DW and I, counting SUBs and cash back, we'll be over $1600 in cash back this year.  (She just hit one SUB this weekend, haven't cashed it out yet.)


Total rewards have a high correlation to spend, and spend has a high correlation to income.

One making 7 figures will usually have more rewards than the $35,000 household

 

A more important number is the average percentage from spend.

(All Subs + all rewards + additional rewards or value) - (All AF's) / (Total spend on all cards) = Percent

 

I have 3% cash back rewards.

 


Agree and I think it skews in other ways as well.   Generally, higher income can allow "better" cpp redemption, because a) the higher spend allows you to accumulate more points, giving you the option of premium cabin vs coach say, and b) and the higher income allows the spend (not covered by awards) for longer trips in potentially more expensive places so you can go to five places in Asia over 5 weeks rather than 2 days in Detroit.

Message 5 of 12
Curious_George2
Valued Contributor

Re: Year in Review - Tallying Rewards, Card by Card

All fair points. I find a card-by-card retrospective helpful in deciding which cards to cut, keep, change or add. Sometimes the actual data tells a different story than my predictions or subjective impressions. Others may or may not find value in a similar exercise. 


Message 6 of 12
Kforce
Valued Contributor

Re: Year in Review - Tallying Rewards, Card by Card


@longtimelurker wrote:

@Kforce wrote:

@tcbofade wrote:

Well I didn't find $4,000.00.   Yay you!

 

...between DW and I, counting SUBs and cash back, we'll be over $1600 in cash back this year.  (She just hit one SUB this weekend, haven't cashed it out yet.)


Total rewards have a high correlation to spend, and spend has a high correlation to income.

One making 7 figures will usually have more rewards than the $35,000 household

 

A more important number is the average percentage from spend.

(All Subs + all rewards + additional rewards or value) - (All AF's) / (Total spend on all cards) = Percent

 

I have 3% cash back rewards.

 


Agree and I think it skews in other ways as well.   Generally, higher income can allow "better" cpp redemption, because a) the higher spend allows you to accumulate more points, giving you the option of premium cabin vs coach say, and b) and the higher income allows the spend (not covered by awards) for longer trips in potentially more expensive places so you can go to five places in Asia over 5 weeks rather than 2 days in Detroit.


^^^  +100

Those of us that can't take advantage of good travel cards have a max of ~5% cashback, even with dozens of cards.

I believe that those with good spend and travel cards can approach real numbers north of 8%.

 

 

Message 7 of 12
Kforce
Valued Contributor

Re: Year in Review - Tallying Rewards, Card by Card


@Curious_George2 wrote:

All fair points. I find a card-by-card retrospective helpful in deciding which cards to cut, keep, change or add. Sometimes the actual data tells a different story than my predictions or subjective impressions. Others may or may not find value in a similar exercise. 


A card by card review is the best way to check your own fleet of cards

I would still be looking at the percentage each card is making and not just the rewards

Example: Your top earner :

(1600+75+50) - (149) / (yearly spend on card)

1,576 / 60,000 = 2.6%  while 1,576/40,000 = 3.9%

You can see if you are doing better than a flat 3% AOD, etc.

 

Your best earners might be low on the total rewards list, and highest rewards low on the percentage scale

Example: Your USB Cash+:

(150+200)/4000 = 8.75%, nice earning from you spend.

However even with high percentage of return, a card might no be valuable if you don't have enough spend

Example : Wife:  Has an amazon card, 5% yes but our amazon spend average per mo over last 7 years is 74/mo = 1.48/mo over using one of my 3% cards.  Is it wortwhile ?

 

With out looking at how much you spend on each card, the rewards are only a part of the picture. 

** Additionally every year one should sort where they spend their money by rewards categories, it tells the most about which cards are best. **

 

Message 8 of 12
JNA1
Valued Contributor

Re: Year in Review - Tallying Rewards, Card by Card

Due to a bunch of great SUBs, we are having a record cash back year. I would guess we'll earn maybe another $300 more in December due to normal spend and the rest of holiday spend. 
We earned a lot of cash back on those BBVA ClearPoints cards that are now gone as well. Next year we'll be getting 5% in a lot more categories for the whole year, but won't earn nearly as much on SUBs since I have to garden to Sept to get the CFF. 

Here's where our lineup stands for the year:

 

E58BCD7A-0FEB-4865-834A-9155777E43AC.png

 

 

Our credit card journey started 3/2018

Hover over cards to see limits and usage.
Total CL - $385,750
Cash Back and SUBs earned as of 11/23/21- $8181.22

CU Memberships

Goal Cards:


Message 9 of 12
Crowhelm
Frequent Contributor

Re: Year in Review - Tallying Rewards, Card by Card

Well, we of course did well this year since this was the first year (well half-year or with some cards even just quarter year) we had more than our BECU 1.5% cashback card. SUB's were a big chunk of the cashback as well but the year is not over yet. Looking at some big purchases through Amazon totaling about 10K for the newly constructed but not completely finished theater room, that would be another $500 cashback on the Prime card. But it might get delayed to early next year as well. 

Here is our total so far, as of November 25th, 2021

 

BECU Cashback Signature Visa        $ 724.32

Chase Amazon Prime Signature Visa     $ 238.90 + ($ 150 Amazon gift card)

FNBO Evergreen Signature Visa       $  342.45

Citi Custom Cash                     $ 40.21  + ($200 SUB)

(DW) Citi Custom Cash           $ 30.89 + ($200 SUB) 

(DW) Wayfair Mastercard       $ 48.43 + ($80 SUB)

(DW) Chase Freedom Flex     $ 43.56 + ($200 SUB)

                      Total:                   $  1468.76 + SUBS ($ 830)

          Grand Total:                   $  2298.76

 

Best of all, total interest cost for the year, big fat ZERO

The last time I paid any interest on any credit card was in 2008. Feels good to actually use credit cards to your advantage for a change.



Message 10 of 12
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