How My Family Earned $2,336 In Credit Card Rewards In 2023

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In 2023, my household racked up $2,336 in money again bank card rewards — essentially the most we’ve ever earned. That represented a 2.8 % return on $84,084 in spending we’d have accomplished anyway.

In 2022, we earned $1,701 in money again (a 2.1 % return). The most important distinction this 12 months was that we lastly took my very own recommendation in February 2023 and signed up for a card that provides 2 % money again on all the things we purchase. Whereas my spouse and I favored the simplicity of our earlier two-card technique, I observed there have been numerous holes. A lot of our purchases solely earned 1 % money again, and I knew we might do higher.

How we did it

This 12 months, our greatest workhorse was our latest card: the Wells Fargo Lively MoneyⓇ Card. We love the easy, beneficiant return it affords: limitless 2 % money rewards on all purchases. We additionally obtained a $200 welcome bonus after spending no less than $500 in our first three months with the cardboard.

In whole, we spent $49,291 on this card in 2023 and redeemed $1,202 in money again. That’s a 2.4 % return, which exceeds the usual 2 % ratio largely due to the sign-up bonus. We additionally obtained greater than 2 % again on a number of purchases by means of the “My Wells Fargo Offers” digital coupon program.

Our second-most often used card was the Chase Freedom FlexSM*. We spent $22,573 on this card and earned $608 in rewards (a 2.7 % return). We used this primarily for the rotating 5 % quarterly bonus classes and got here near maxing out all 4 quarters in 2023 (the 5 % payout is capped at $1,500 in quarterly bonus spending; activation is required and cardholders earn 1 % again after hitting the edge). This was additionally our go-to card for eating (3 % money again), and I just like the Store Via Chase portal, which regularly yields additional money again on on-line procuring purchases.

The Blue Money Most popularⓇ Card from American Categorical is our third and closing card. I’m an enormous fan of this card for groceries, because it offers 6 % money again at U.S. supermarkets (as much as $6,000 in annual spending, then 1 % again after that). That is additionally our main card for choose streaming subscriptions (6 % money again), gasoline (3 % money again at U.S. gasoline stations) and transit (3 % money again together with parking, tolls, trains and extra).

I’m all the time looking out for good Amex Presents, too. We spent $12,220 on this card and earned $527 in rewards (a 4.3 % return, though when you subtract the $95 annual charge from the rewards, then it was 3.5 %). Our different two playing cards don’t cost annual charges.

How this is applicable to you

Your spending habits are undoubtedly totally different, however I nonetheless suppose there are a number of broad classes that everybody can take away from this train.

One is {that a} no-annual-fee 2 % money again card is a surprisingly profitable choice for all kinds of cardholders. Money again is Individuals’ favourite bank card function, and most of the people don’t wish to juggle too many playing cards. My spouse, for instance, all the time will get confused about which playing cards are finest for which varieties of purchases. She needs to maintain issues easy.

Virtually the entire $49,291 in purchases that we charged to our Lively Money Card in 2023 would have earned simply 1 % money again on our different two playing cards. By incomes 2 % as an alternative of 1 %, that added as much as an additional $493 over the course of the 12 months.

It’s additionally necessary to prioritize your prime spending classes. Groceries are an enormous one for us, and honestly, we must always most likely add a second grocery rewards bank card to get across the spending caps.

One other gap in our bank card rewards technique is that we spend loads on journey however aren’t maximizing many of those purchases with the three playing cards we’re at the moment utilizing. The Wells Fargo AutographSM Card is my favourite journey card that emphasizes money again. There are tons of playing cards that supply transferable journey factors and airline miles, too, however I’d slightly follow money again because of the flexibility and ease. I additionally like that the Autograph card doesn’t cost an annual charge. That is one we’re contemplating including to our wallets in 2024.

The underside line

In the end, everybody wants to determine what works finest for them. So long as you’re avoiding curiosity by paying in full every month, and so long as you’re solely spending cash you’ll have spent anyway, then any rewards you earn symbolize free cash.

There’s no one-size-fits-all reply, however when you’re in search of course, money again tends to supply essentially the most common attraction. And if you wish to preserve it actually easy, getting 2 % again on all the things is a very nice start line — both as your solely card or as a basis upon which you’ll layer extra playing cards that emphasize your prime spending classes.

Have a query about bank cards? Electronic mail me at and I’d be completely satisfied to assist.

Issuer-required disclosure assertion

Details about the Chase Freedom Flex has been collected independently by Bankrate. Card particulars haven’t been reviewed or permitted by the issuer.  

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