I Paid $4,043 in Credit Card Annual Fees in 2022 – Was it Worth it?

Good evening everyone, I hope your week is going well.  With the end of the year right around the corner, I decided to publish my 2022 version of credit card annual fees I paid this year.  For comparison, here are my previous credit card annual fee posts:

For this year’s post, I decided to break up the list of credit cards into 5 sections:

  • Annual fees paid on new credit cards with sign up bonuses
  • Annual fees paid on credit cards that received retention offers
  • Annual fees on credit cards that have been upgraded / downgraded / product changed
  • Annual fees on credit cards that I closed
  • All other credit cards

For simplicity, I did not include the value of miles or points earned from credit card spend, but I did include the value of miles and points earned from sign up bonuses, anniversary points, discounted points, and rebated points.  I counted all credits, reimbursements, and retention offers at dollar face value (with AMEX MR Points at 1.5 CPP, airline miles at 1.0 CPP, and hotel points at 0.5 CPP). For hotel free night certificates, I used a standard value of $100, with the exception of the Marriott 85K Free Night Certificate and Hilton Free Night Certificates at $200.

I went through all of my credit card statements and online accounts to see which Credit Card Benefits I used in 2022 and those values are summed up in the CCB$ column. If I received a retention offer, that is listed in the RO$ column. I listed the credit card annual fees in the AF$ column. Lastly, I used this formula to calculate the Profit or Loss (P/L column) for each credit card: CCB$ + RO$ – AF$ = P/L.  Laura’s card are marked as LT.

Summary of annual fees paid on new credit cards with sign up bonuses:

  • I paid $959 in annual fees across 9 credit cards but received $6,495 in credit card benefits and sign up bonuses.
  • There were 4 credit cards with $0 combined annual fees, but $1,800 in credit card benefits and sign up bonuses.
Credit Card Name Credit Card Benefits CCB$ RO$ AF$ P/L Notes
AMEX Business Gold 90,000 AMEX MR Point Signup Bonus ($1,350) $1,350 $0 $295 $1,055 New card – paid annual fee since meeting minimum spend
Bank of America Alaska Airlines 60,000 Alaska Airlines Miles Sign Up Bonus ($600) & $100 Statement Credit $700 $0 $75 $625 New card – paid annual fee since meeting minimum spend
Bank of America Business Advantage CCR $500 Statement Credit Sign Up Bonus $500 $0 $0 $500
Bank of America Business Advantage UCR $500 Statement Credit Sign Up Bonus $500 $0 $0 $500
Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business 80,000 America Airlines Miles Sign Up Bonus ($800) & $95 Statement Credit $895 $0 $95 $800 New card – paid annual fee since meeting minimum spend
Capital One Spark Cash Select Business $500 Statement Credit Sign Up Bonus $500 $0 $0 $500
Capital One Venture X 75,000 Capital One Miles Sign Up Bonus ($750) & $300 Travel Credit $1,050 $0 $395 $655 New card – paid annual fee since meeting minimum spend
Chase IHG Rewards Business 140,000 IHG Points Sign Up Bonus ($700) $700 $0 $99 $601 New card – paid annual fee since meeting minimum spend
Wells Fargo Business Platinum $300 Statement Credit Sign Up Bonus $300 $0 $0 $300
$6,495 $0 $959 $5,536

Summary of annual fees paid on credit cards that received retention offers:

  • I received a total of $719 in retention offers across 6 credit cards.  If you never call and ask for a retention offer, you will never get a retention offer.
  • The best retention offer came on my American Express Gold Card where I got 20,000 AMEX MR Points after spending $2,000 in 3 months.
  • I feel awkward calling for retention offers on no annual fee cards, but maybe I will break out of that mindset and try that in 2023.
Credit Card Name Credit Card Benefits CCB$ RO$ AF$ P/L Notes
AMEX Business Platinum $400 Dell Credit, $200 Airline Credit, $179 CLEAR Credit, $120 Wireless Credit, & $73 in AMEX Offers $972 $100 $595 $477 Retention Offer: $100 statement credit
AMEX Gold $300 in AMEX Offers, $120 Dining Credit (Grubhub) & $120 Uber / Uber Eats Credit $540 $300 $250 $590 Retention Offer: 20K AMEX MR Points ($300) after spending $2,000 in 3 months
Capital One Venture Rewards LT Laura’s everyday credit card $0 $59 $59 $0 Retention Offer: $59 statement credit
Chase IHG Rewards Premier 40K IHG Free Night Certificate ($100) $100 $50 $89 $61 Retention Offer: $50 statement credit
Chase JPMorgan Ritz Carlton $300 Airline Credit & 85K Marriott Free Night Certificate ($200) $500 $150 $450 $200 Retention Offer: $150 statement credit
US Bank Altitude Reserve $325 Travel Credit & $20 Statement Credit Offers $345 $60 $400 $5 Retention Offer: 4,000 Altitude Reserve Points ($60)
$2,457 $719 $1,843 $1,333

Summary of annual fees on credit cards that have been upgraded / downgraded / product changed:

Credit Card Name Credit Card Benefits CCB$ RO$ AF$ P/L Notes
AMEX Hilton Honors Aspire $250 Resort Credit, $250 Airline Credit, & Hilton Free Night Certificate ($200) $700 $0 $450 $700 Downgraded to AMEX Hilton Honors
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless LT $300 Airline Credit, 85K Marriott Free Night Certificate ($200), & 35K Marriott Free Night Certificate ($100) $600 $0 $95 $505 Upgraded to Chase JPMorgan Ritz Carlton
Citi AT&T Access More 1 None (keep for 5% cash back at select categories) $0 $0 $95 $0 Product changed to Citi Custom Cash 1
Citi AT&T Access More 2 None (keep for 5% cash back at select categories) $0 $0 $95 $0 Product changed to Citi Custom Cash 2
Citi AT&T Access More 3 $20 PayPal Purchase Bonus $20 $0 $95 $20 Product changed to Citi Custom Cash 3
Rakuten Cash Back None (account converted automatically) $0 $0 $0 $0 Automatically product changed to Synchrony Premier
US Bank Radisson Rewards Business None (account converted automatically) $0 $0 $60 -$60 Automatically product changed to US Bank Triple Cash Rewards
US Bank Radisson Rewards Premier 40,000 Anniversary Radisson Hotels Americas points ($100) $100 $0 $75 $25 Automatically product changed to US Bank Altitude Go
$1,420 $0 $230 $1,190

Summary of annual fees on credit cards that I closed:

Credit Card Name Credit Card Benefits CCB$ RO$ AF$ P/L Notes
Capital One Spark Miles Business $100 Global Entry Credit $100 $0 $95 $100 Closed account to avoid annual fee
Chase Ink Cash None (reapplying in a few months) $0 $0 $0 $0 Closed account to reapply in a few months
US Bank Business Leverage  None (account closed) $0 $0 $95 $0 Closed account to avoid annual fee
US Bank Business Triple Cash Rewards None (account closed) $0 $0 $0 $0 Closed account to reapply in a few months
$100 $0 $0 $100

Summary of all other credit cards:

  • It’s pretty incredible that I was able to earn $240 from having 2 Bank of America Better Balance Rewards Credit Cards and a Bank of America Checking Account.
  • I saved / earned plenty of Wyndham Rewards Points on my Barclays Wyndham Rewards Earner Business Credit Card.
  • I plan on downgrading my Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card to a second Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card when the next annual fee posts.
  • The combination of having the $95 annual fee Citi Premier Credit Card for the ability to transfer ThankYou Points to travel partners and the no annual fee Citi Rewards+ Credit Card that offers a rebate of up to 10,000 ThankYou Points each year works well.
Credit Card Name Credit Card Benefits CCB$ RO$ AF$ P/L Notes
AMEX Blue Business Plus $20 in AMEX Offers $20 $0 $0 $20
AMEX Old Blue Cash $70 in AMEX Offers $70 $0 $0 $70 Converted to AMEX Blue Cash Everyday
Bank of America Alaska Airlines Business Alaska Airlines Companion Fare ($100) & $11 from 20% In-Flight Purchase Rebate $111 $0 $75 $36
Bank of America Alaska Airlines LT Alaska Airlines Companion Fare ($100) $100 $0 $75 $25
Bank of America Better Balance Rewards 1 $120 in Quarterly Cash Rewards (with Bank of America Checking Account) $120 $0 $0 $120
Bank of America Better Balance Rewards 2 $120 in Quarterly Cash Rewards (with Bank of America Checking Account) $120 $0 $0 $120
Barclays Wyndham Rewards None (waiting for upgrade offer to Barclays Wyndham Rewards Earner+) $0 $0 $0 $0
Barclays Wyndham Rewards Earner Business 16,500 Discounted Wyndham Rewards Points ($165) & 15,000 Anniversary Wyndham Rewards Points ($150) $315 $0 $95 $220
Chase Freedom Flex $3 in Chase Offers $3 $0 $0 $3
Chase Freedom LT $8 in Chase Offers $8 $0 $0 $8
Chase IHG Rewards Premier LT 40K IHG Free Night Certificate ($100) $100 $0 $89 $11
Chase IHG Rewards Select 40K IHG Free Night Certificate Capped ($80) $80 $0 $49 $31
Chase Ink Plus $95 in Chase Offers $95 $0 $95 $0
Chase Ink Unlimited $25 from Visa SavingsEdge Discount $25 $0 $0 $25
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Premier Plus Business 35K Marriott Free Night Certificate ($100) $100 $0 $99 $1
Chase Sapphire Preferred $51 in Chase Offers $51 $0 $95 -$44 Paid annual fee to receive 15,000 Chase UR Points from referral
Chase Southwest Airlines Priority LT $75 Travel Credit, 7,500 Southwest Airlines Points ($75), & $27 in Chase Offers $177 $0 $149 $28
Chase World of Hyatt LT Hyatt Free Night Certificate Category 4 ($100) & $31 in Chase Offers $131 $0 $95 $36
Citi Costco Anywhere LT None (gas savings and cheap pizza) $0 $0 $0 $0
Citi Double Cash $10 from Category Spend Bonus $10 $0 $0 $10
Citi Premier None (keep for the ability to transfer ThankYou Points to travel partners) $0 $0 $95 -$95
Citi Rewards+ 10,000 ThankYou Points rebated from ThankYou Point transfers ($100) $100 $0 $0 $100
Discover It 1 (Iridescent) None (keep for 5% cash back on rotating cash back categories) $0 $0 $0 $0
Discover It 2 (Gold) None (keep for 5% cash back on rotating cash back categories) $0 $0 $0 $0
US Bank Cash Plus None (keep for 5% cash back categories) $0 $0 $0 $0
$1,736 $0 $1,011 $725

Across 52 credit cards, I paid a total of $4,043 in annual fees, but I received a total of $12,208 in credit card benefits and $719 in retention offers for a net profit of $8,884.  I always think its funny when I hear non travel hackers say that hate paying annual fees or avoid credit cards with annual fees like the plague.  Most credit cards that have annual fees provide benefits that offset or exceed the annual fee, if you are able to jump through some hoops to get the benefits.

If you have any questions about any of these credit cards, please leave a comment below.  Have a great evening everyone and happy holidays!

12 thoughts on “I Paid $4,043 in Credit Card Annual Fees in 2022 – Was it Worth it?

  1. Boraxo

    I’m not sure the conclusion follows the data. Most of “profit” comes from one-time SUBs and downgrading cards before AF hits. But in fact it’s the AF paid at the beginning of the 12-mo term that applies, not the AF when you cancel.

    I’m betting you don’t continue to pay high AFs after first year. And finally it is unusual to receive retention bonuses every year – these are more one-offs like SUBs.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Boraxo, thank you for your detailed comment. I separated the list into different sections, so it would be easy to see how much profit came from sign up bonuses vs older cards.

      As for retention offers…
      In 2022, I received $719 in retention offers on 6 credit cards.
      In 2021, I received $810 in retention offers on 4 credit cards.
      In 2020, I received $709 in retention offers on 7 credit cards.
      I didn’t keep track of retention offers in 2019.

      I only keep credit cards with annual fees if the benefits exceed the cost, so I try to close cards that don’t provide enough value to keep.

      Reply
  2. Mike Saint

    Great write up Grant. I know it’s crazy but between me and my wife we pay about $9,700 in annual fees. We only keep cards that have at least that much in value. We don’t usually sign up and cancel unless the card is a big loser but so far, I’ve received more than that in value throughout the year.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hey Mike, that is impressive! Do you have several AMEX Platinum Cards that scale up the annual fee total? If I could spend $15k over and over again, I would have picked up a few AMEX Biz Platinums this year. Happy holidays:)

      Reply
  3. Starbucks Man

    This is useful – I used your metrics to evaluate my own cards. Why did you downgrade the Hilton Aspire? For me it’s an obvious keeper (until they go Amex coupon book on us). The resort and airline credits are full value to me and the annual cert extremely valuable.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      The main reason for the downgrade was to wait for an upgrade offer to the Hilton Surpass or Hilton Aspire, but I haven’t received an upgrade offer yet. I think I did the downgrade right after ANEX paused their Hilton upgrade offers. I hope it comes back soon.

      Reply
  4. JBCH

    Wow, you started in the morning and ended in the evening, that’s a full time job, lol.

    I have a question how do u plan to apply to Chase Ink Cash when you seem to be over the 5/24 or did I miscount?

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      I was approved for 7 business credit cards and 2 personal credit cards and I keep track of all my applications from the last 2 years, so I should be under 5/24. We will see if Chase approves me for a Chase Ink Cash CC.

      Reply
  5. Alex

    Hi Grant,
    Did Laura receive 2 Marriott free night certificates on one card? I thought you can get only one based on the card anniversary date. So if you upgrade before the anniversary date, you get a better certificate. But I never knew you can have two. How is it possible?

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Yes, Laura received both. I’m sure it was a glitch since she should have only received 1 FNC. If you upgrade to the Ritz Carlton, you should get an 85K FNC when you receive your next FNC.

      Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Joni, great question. I can see my Experian credit score through Chase Credit Journey is 788 and my TransUnion credit score with Discover Credit Scorecard is 818. Overall my credit score is in great shape :)

      Reply

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