$525 Gift Cards (Citi, dh)
$300 Cash (Chase checking reward, dh)
$200 Cash (AmEx Card Everyday, Moi)
$200 Cash (Barclay card, dh)
$1,225 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*
**Free Prime For One Year
**$40 cash back (Amex Reward for spending $40 at Amazon)
**$85 Citi Price Rewind
Ongoing rewards (projected through 12/31):
+$200 deposit to ROTH (Fidelity Am Ex - 2% cash back; health insurance charged to this card)
+$300 AmExRewards (6% cash back groceries/3% fuel)
+$100 Target rewards (5% discount Target purchases; mostly groceries)
+$40 Visa Rewards (3% back at restaurants)
+$525 Citi 2% card (2% back everywhere)
Grand Total = $2,515
Year 2011 = $4,164
Year 2012 = $2,782
Year 2013 = $2,623
Year 2014 = $3,128
Year 2015 = $2,515
Total 5 Years = $15,212
***Mostly Tax-Free Income***
***CAVEAT - I absolutely do not recommend utilizing credit card rewards in this manner, unless you are in full control of your credit card spending.***
We have utilized credit card rewards for decades. It's only in the past 5 years I have been tracking them so closely in my blog because they started to get so substantial.
This year started out kind of slow and I Wasn't expecting much for this year. But as the rewards started to pile in for the last quarter of the year, I decided to do a tally.
& I realized, WE BOUGHT A CAR WITH CREDIT CARD REWARDS. Seriously! The $15,197 we amassed the passed 5 years was more than enough to pay for our most recent car purchase.
That said, I can not stress the CAVEAT part of this post enough. We personally have extreme fear of debt and have never paid a cent to a credit card company (no interest or late payments or carrying balances or whatever). I know not one penny of that $15,197 went back to the credit card companies in the form of any kind of interest or fees. The bulk of what I charge up for rewards is our health insurance (a bill we obviously are going to be paying regardless). Also, groceries and utilities. We charge up the fun stuff too, because we charge up everything, but I've never justified a splurge for a credit card reward. That would defeat the whole purpose.
If you are going to end up paying one single cent to the credit card companies, or can't treat your credit card like simply like it's an ATM card, then I would never recommend going for these kinds of rewards.
On the flip side, if you avoid debt like the plague and you have the personality for it, it's really not that big of a deal. You know, in response the DR mentality that it's impossible to win with credit cards. To that, I say: I got a FREE CAR!
P.S. On average I'd say the earning power on these rewards is about $1,000 per hour of time and energy. This is the most efficient income stream that we have, by a mile. Least effort/most reward.
2015 Rewards Update (Ummm... Bought a CAR with Rewards!)