Figuring that out was easy. Now the hard part begins. There are a countless number of ways to earn miles and points - from credit cards to shopping portals and dining rewards. So, for simpleton's sake, I will only use two cards. Two cards that I have: the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus.
The CSP gets at least one point per dollar on everything, except travel, and dining where you get two points per dollar. The Arrival Plus gets a flat two points per dollar on everything. Now that we know that, let's figure out how many points you can potentially earn in a year.
- $4,003 is spent on groceries. We'll use the Arrival Plus for these purchases because of the flat 2 points per dollar rate it has. That adds up to 8,006 points.
- $2,661 is spent on eating out. Lets use the CSP for this one. We'll get 2 ppd. When all said and done that is 5,322 points.
- $17,377 is spent on housing. Excluding rent/mortgage/taxes (can't pay those with a credit card), we're left with roughly $8,000 that you'll use for utilities, cleaning supplies, furniture, etc. Why don't we use the Arrival Plus for this - earning 16,000 points.
- $1,674 is spent on clothing, shoes and other apparel each year. Again - we'll use the AP getting 3,348 points.
- $9,104 is spent on transportation. Excluding car payments we're left with $5,751. We'll use the AP for gas purchases -which adds up to $2,571. The rest - we'll use my CSP. AP points: 5,142. CSP points: 4,270 (1 ppd for maintenance, tolls, etc. adds up to 2,080. 2 ppd for public transportation, rentals adds up to 2,190).
- $3,919 is spent on healthcare. We're pulling the AP out for this, getting 7,838 points.
- $2,560 is spent on entertainment. Take that CSP out of your wallet. In return, we'll get 2,560 points.
- $3,831 is spent on a bunch of other little things, all of which can be bought with a credit card. The CSP is fine for this. It earns 3,831 points.
- $6,804 is spent on personal insurance, pensions, and IRAs - all of which can't be paid with a credit card.
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When all said and done we spent $32,399 with credit cards. As for points, it breaks down like this:
- CSP points: 15,983. This translates to (conservatively) just under $160. Realistically, probably twice that if you plan on transferring any points to Chase's travel partners, which include United, Amtrak, and Hyatt (just to name a few).
- AP points: 40,334. This will get you at least $403 in travel. Probably more. I explain why in this blog post.
This is a hypothetical situation I came up with. It's possible this scenario doesn't fit your spending habits at all. It also doesn't count the extras you could earn, like through an online shopping portal, or dining rewards. Or, my personal favorite, using my Chase Freedom card to maximize the 5% cash back bonuses they offer, then transferring those points to my CSP account.
What this scenario does, however, is give you a rough idea of the points you could rake in through credit card rewards. Seems worth it to me.
Do you think credit card rewards are worth earning?