$500 Credit Card Cashback In A Year

by The Happy Rock on March 2, 2009


I just recently received another $250 from my Chase Freedom rewards card.  The check arrived almost exactly on my one year anniversary of signing up for the card.  I have some unspent cash back still on the account, so even accounting for the $26 dollars in charges for an 8 hour late payment I still made $500 this year.  In reality I only had to earn $400 in cash back rewards since Chase still adds $50 to a $200 check request.   A nice little perk for funneling our cash purchases through a credit card and paying of the balance each month.

I am not telling everyone to go sign up for credit cards, since the debate about whether it is worth it still rages on.  There are many downside factors that people often don’t consider when using rewards cards.

What are the reader’s thoughts?  Credit cards rewards: worth the effort or not worth the hassle?  After my last late payment debacle I am getting closer and closer to the not worth my time and energy side of the debate.  My time and energy deserves to be spent on much more important things.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Penelope Pince March 2, 2009 at 6:07 am

I am of the school of thought that rewards credit cards are totally worth it. My sister and I shared an AMEX Blue Cash card for a couple of years and together earned enough to qualify for the 5% cash back on groceries, gas and drugstore purchases. We’re not big spenders, but we managed to earn over $300 one year and about $190 the second year.

We’ve now switched over to the Amazon card because we do quite a bit of shopping there and we’re not spending enough these days to reach the $6,500 AMEX threshold quickly enough to start earning the 5% (I think it’s 1.5%).

I don’t have a hard time remembering that when I use my credit card, it’s the same things as spending cash, so no problems with overspending. It’s just better than paying in cash, because your cash stays in the bank earning interest for up to 6 weeks longer if you time your charges right.

And to remember to make my payments, I have Google calendar email me a reminder 2 days before the due date. Chase also has an automatic payment scheduling feature so you don’t have to log into your account every month to make your payment.

So, I think credit cards are less hassle than paying in cash or check – you don’t need to go the ATM or write out a check to make a payment. You can pay for all your purchases at once, and you have a record of every dollar spent and where it went.


Grog March 2, 2009 at 5:05 pm

$250 is nothing to shake a stick at. Nice work!


Discover March 2, 2009 at 6:50 pm

If you earn $500 in rewards each year, you can actually make at least 3 late payments each year without calling in and still make a profit from rewards, so I would say it is worth the effort.

I use a 5% cash back credit card for gas and groceries and another card for all other purchases. I find it much easier to keep track of my spending this way and couldn’t imagine charging everything on my bank account. I would be afraid of the overdraft fees much more than the late payment fees on a credit card.


the weakonomist March 2, 2009 at 10:18 pm

I have the chase freedom card and got a check for $250 last fall. That card is fantastic. Like other companies though, they kill you on the fees. I had a payment bounce once it and cost me $45. It wasn’t my fault but they wouldn’t budge. Thankfully my employer covered it since it was their fault.


Krunk March 5, 2009 at 1:55 am

I am also in favor of credit cards with cash back, but utilize a different strategy. Most people find one good credit card with a high cash back percentage for categories they spend a lot in and stick with it (where all other purchases are rewarded at 1%).

I practice a different strategy where I have an arsenal of credit cards.

I have a credit card which gives me 5% cash back on gas and office supplies, another which gives me 5% cash back on supermarket and drug store, another which gives me 5% cash back on utilities, another which gives me 3% in restaurant, and finally a 2% cash back as my fall back card for anything that doesn’t fit in those categories.

It does take extra work to manage all these credit cards and it’s definitely not a plan for everyone. But in the end, you do come out quite ahead (almost twice the cash back I would’ve made if I stuck with just 1 card).


Movie Man March 8, 2009 at 4:01 pm

That’s a pretty good return on your Chase credit card! But to be honest, I don’t like Chase. They outsource customer service to India and the calls appear to be time limited. If they put you on hold to speak to a supervisor, expect that their phone system will disconnect you. The customer service was absolutely horrible for me.


daisy March 9, 2009 at 6:32 am

I don’t like Chase. But it’s sounds good. Nice work!


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