Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.
Today I ran across an interesting article about credit card rewards that probably won’t be super surprising to many of us, but it was still an interesting read. The Forbes article linked above points out that in 2016, for the first time, Chase outpaced American Express in their annual spending on credit card rewards. Not coincidentally this is also the year that Chase literally ran out of the Chase Sapphire Reserve and its metal card shortly after the card and its then 100,000 point sign-up bonus were introduced in the second half of the year.
As recently as 2015 there was still a pretty wide gap in annual spending between American Express and all of the other major banks on credit card rewards, so Chase really shot up their spending in that one year to overtake Amex in spending. Both companies were estimated at over six billion in spending on credit card rewards in 2016, but were customers just snatching the big bonuses and then moving on to the next one?
Of course some do just that, but this survey pegged the number of those who just get a card for the bonus and then ditch it in favor of the next bonus at under 4% of those surveyed who had opened a card in the last year. On the flip side, those big rewards bonuses that cost the banks so much money do still have a big impact on getting folks to hit the apply button as 44.5% of those same people said they opened the account because of a sign-up bonus. Along those lines, here’s a rundown of some of my favorite current sign-up bonuses.
There’s no question thar while banks are upping the amount they are spending to attract and reward customers, it is a very good time to consider adding a reward credit card and its sign-up bonus to your wallet. I agree with the majority of people in that survey mentioned above who said that while the sign-up bonus was what might have spurred them to action, the built-in ongoing perks of the card were actually the most important features. The banks are getting smarter at blocking and weeding out that 4% or so who hop habitually from card to card, so I’m more than happy to not only occasionally pick up new cards and their huge sign-up bonuses, but make use of many of them for their ongoing bonuses and perks, too.
What is your current rewards credit card strategy and does it surprise you at all to learn that Chase has overtaken the top spot in rewards spending?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.