Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am a credit card rewards junkie. I am always jumping from card to card in order to score the best sign up bonus or reward that I possibly can. I hold no loyalty to any bank out there, so once I have achieved the reward that I am after, each card gets kicked to the curb. Furthermore, I don’t really care that much if my credit score takes a few dings because we no longer use debt to finance our lifestyle…and I still have great credit to boot! I almost feel bad for the amazing rewards that I racked up in 2012. Almost. Recently, I added up our credit card rewards for the year and realized that we have made around $2,500 in 2012 alone. That’s CASH MONEY BABY!!! This is how we did it…
The Rewards Game Begins
Editor’s Note: If you are interested in getting most of these cards for yourself, simply use the widget provided in the sidebar or below. Select “Card Type” and Credit Card Rewards to see a bunch of great rewards card options! Please note that Club Thrifty does receive compensation should you use the widget and decide to sign up for one of these cards.
At the beginning of the year, we both got Chase Freedom cards. At the time, they had a $100 sign-on bonus if we spent $500 in the first three months. This was a no brainer. Our grocery spending is $500 per month….so we put our groceries on the cards and kept very close track of the spending on each one until we reached $500 on both cards. This meant a combined $200 in cash rewards from our two Chase Freedom cards alone.
Next, we each got a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Each card had a $400 sign up bonus if we spent $3,000 in the first three months. Usually, we wouldn’t be able to spend $6k in 3 months. However, since we were about to book a few vacations, we signed up. We put our upcoming vacation to the Dominican Republic and the entire remainder of our year’s gym membership on one card to reach $3,000. We used the other card to pay for all of our Fall break beach vacation spending (almost $1,000 in gas, food, and entertainment). We put the deposit down on our vacation that we booked for May 2013 ($300), and we put a few months of groceries, gas, and miscellaneous expenses on it. We easily reached the spending requirements on both cards and scored $800 in cash rewards! Now, that is some serious credit card churning!
Getting Tips from Friends
After that, we were looking for a new rewards card. I just happened to stumble upon a post at Financial Samurai. We then both signed up for the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card. The deal was that we would each get 15,000 in “thank you points” for spending $1,000 in the first three months. 15,000 points equals out to $150 in gift cards or other items that you can choose from Citibank. We used the cards for one month’s groceries and put our new furniture on the cards in order to reach the $1,000 spending requirement on both. With ease, we scored $300 in gift cards from Citibank! We decided to use the redeem the points for $300 in Walmart gift cards which we then used to buy groceries. Boring, I know…but it did free up an additional $300 out of our grocery budget to throw towards the mortgage. Score!
Next, the saga continued as I signed up for the Citibank Premier card. I earned another $250 in Walmart gift cards just for doing our regular spending. Still, I have to admit, I despise shopping at Walmart. Everyone that works there looks miserable and it’s just so damn depressing. Also, does that place have a single window? Seriously…
Using Credit Cards for Mileage
Next up, we signed up for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards card. We did our regular spending and earned either $800 in flights or $500 in gift cards. I haven’t redeemed this yet. We will either a) redeem for flights to FinCon b) redeem for flights to Vegas for Greg’s birthday weekend, or c) redeem for $500 in Walmart gift cards. We haven’t decided what we’re doing vacation-wise in 2013 so I’m keeping these rewards in my back pocket for now.
Right after the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card deal, we got a sweet direct mail offer from Bank of America. Their offer required that we spend only $500 within three months to earn a $250 statement credit. Obviously, this was going to happen. We put one month’s groceries on the card and quickly earned $250 to spend on…..you guessed it….groceries. Boom. Savings.
Now, we are working on the Citibank Premier card that Greg signed up for. Again, we will earn another $250 in gift cards once we reach the required spending. The good news is that I just figured out how to pay my biannual car insurance bill using a credit card ($584), so we are very close to reaching the spending requirement! Unfortunately, we will (again) redeem these for Walmart gift cards. They just don’t have that many good options to choose from, and I would much rather get free groceries than spend a gift card on something I don’t really want.
Our 2012 Credit Card Rewards Totals
So, what do you guys think? Here is the breakdown of how much I scored from each bank:
Chase: $1,000 in sign up bonuses plus 2 free flights or $500 in gift cards
Citibank: $800 in gift cards
Bank of America: $250 statement credit
I am also trying to decide what to do next. I am thinking that Greg should get a Southwest Rapid Rewards card so that we can earn two more flights or the $500 in gift cards. What is your favorite rewards card? Do you have any suggestions for me?
To find these cards for yourself, please use the widget below. Select “Card Type” and Credit Card Rewards to see a bunch of great rewards card options! Please note that Club Thrifty does receive compensation should you use the widget and decide to sign up for one of these cards.