Chase Reportedly Overtakes Amex in Credit Card Rewards Spending

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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?

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  1. The real question is can chase keep it up with their perks. Ie citi prestige devalued their 4th night perk after 1+ years. Also my beloved Amex devalued their 50% rebate. Fortunately for me it doesn’t affect me since I’m Canadian. Im more then happy to pay $700 cdn amex Platinum $125cdn SPG and $300cdn airmiles reserve.

  2. If the SPG AMEX card is discontinued in 2018, as expected, the differential between spending on AMEX and Chase will be even greater. AMEX really needs more moderately priced cards and better MR partners and point transfer ratios to even begin to compete with the CSR.

  3. I collect Amex MR and Chase UR. What Amex MR need is a better hotel transfer partner…or transfer to Hilton like 1MR=10HH

  4. If Chase maintains their $ 300 travel credit, I’ll stay with the card. My wife and I both have our own cards. The 100,000 bonus got us to apply. Excellent other perks.

    To be clear on the $ 300 travel credit, I went to the auto show in my hometown. Paid $ 5 for parking. The $ 5 credit showed up immediately. Any travel qualifies. Amex falls far short. No interest in their Uber reimbursement. Amex accounted for about 60% of my spending before getting the Sapphire Reserve. That included Amex Costco. Since getting Sapphire Reserve, Amex is down to about 10% of my spending. Don’t plan on renewing my Amex Delta, or Amex Blue Cash Preferred. Both are fee cards. Chase Freedom and Sapphire Reserve fit ny needs.

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