Tag Archives: US Bank

I Paid $3,820 in Credit Card Annual Fees in 2020 – Was it Worth it?

Good morning everyone, happy Friday!  After I published How Much Did I Pay in Credit Card Annual Fees in 2020?, several readers asked if I could share how much value I received from each credit card in 2020.  Today’s post is also a sequel to my 2019 post (I Paid $4,588 in Credit Card Annual Fees in 2019 – Was it Worth it?).  All 24 of these credit cards were opened before January 1, 2020, and no sign up bonus is included.  For simplicity, I did not include the value of miles or points earned from credit card spend, since that is somewhat subjective (and most of the miles and points were not spent in 2020).  I counted all credits, reimbursements, retention offers, and referral bonuses at dollar face value.  For hotel free night certificates, I have several from 2020 that expire in 2021 and 2022, so I am using a standard value of $100 for each hotel free night certificate.

I went through all of my credit card statements and online accounts to see which Credit Card Benefits I used in 2020 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 fee 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

I sorted the credit cards alphabetically and split them up into 3 smaller groups.  Here are some thoughts from the first group:

  • The first 3 AMEX cards were big money makers due to the standard card benefit credits and the temporary pandemic benefits.  It will be hard to beat these numbers in 2021.
  • I never planned on keeping the American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card long term and only signed up for the 70,000 Delta SkyMiles sign up bonus in 2019.
  • In most years, we are easily able to use the $99 Alaska Airlines Companion Fare, but due to the pandemic and very cheap Alaska Airlines flight, we did not use the Companion Fare in 2020.  I am hoping to use the Companion Fare this year.
  • I’m glad Laura (LT) was able to get a $59 retention offer on her Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and a $100 referral bonus.
Credit Card Name Credit Card Benefits CCB $ RO $ AF $ P / L
AMEX Business Platinum $400 Dell credit; $198 airline reimbursement; $160 wireless phone credit; $158 shipping credit; $96 AMEX Offers for Dell & AT&T $1,012 $200 $595 $617
AMEX Gold $120 dining credit; $100 airline reimbursement; $60 AMEX Offer for Shop Small $280 $0 $250 $30
AMEX Hilton Honors Aspire $250 airline reimbursement; $250 resort credit (used at restaurants); 1 Free Night Certificate (expires 7/2/22) (worth $100) $600 $0 $450 $150
AMEX Platinum Delta SkyMiles Downgraded to no annual fee American Express Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card to avoid paying annual fee $0 $0 $250 $0
Bank of America Alaska Airlines (LT) Alaska Airlines $99 Companion Fare expired in 2020 $0 $0 $75 -$75
Capital One Venture Rewards (LT) $100 referral bonus $100 $59 $59 $100

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How Much Did I Pay in Credit Card Annual Fees in 2020?

Updated at 9:20am PT on 1/4/21: I went through my credit card statements and found 2 more retention offers, so I updated the second table below.


Good morning everyone, I hope your weekend is going well.  In December 2019, I wrote I Paid $4,588 in Credit Card Annual Fees in 2019 – Was it Worth it?  In that post, I listed all of our credit cards that had annual fees and I attempted to justify why paying over $4,500 in annual fees was worth it.  Unfortunately, 2020 made it very difficult to get a ton of value out of our travel reward credit cards, so in March 2020, I wrote Reconsideration Strategy for Credit Card Annual Fees During Coronavirus Pandemic.  I decided to list all of our credit cards that have annual fees, sort them by when the annual fee posted / will post, and called for retention offers every time a new annual fee posted.  At the beginning of 2020, we had 25 credit cards with annual fees and would pay $4,845 in annual fees if we made no changes or retention offer calls.  In this post, I will share what retention offers we received, which credit cards we closed, and which credit cards we product changed.

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My Best Practices for New Credit Cards and Sign Up Bonuses

Good afternoon everyone, I hope your week is going well.  I recently completed the minimum spending requirement for 4 different credit cards (My October 2020 Credit Card App-O-Rama Results) and wanted to share my best practices for new credit cards and sign up bonuses.  I currently have 32 credit and charge cards open and have had 90 other cards since I started travel hacking in 2011.  To the best of my knowledge, I have never missed a credit card sign up bonus by not completing the minimum spending requirement.  Feel free to use all, some, or none of my best practices with your next credit card.  For this post, I am going to use a fictitious credit card as an example to illustrate some of the pitfalls to avoid.

ABC Credit Card has a sign up bonus of 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in 3 months with a $95 annual fee.  You apply for the credit card on January 1 and your application is pending.  Your application gets approved on January 5 and your new credit card arrives on January 15.  You activate your new credit card on January 18.

Credit Card Tidying and Organization

When your new credit card arrives, I recommend activating it immediately.  Then set up online access to view and track your purchases.  If you get paid monthly, you may want to change the bill due date to a date that is more convenient for you (unfortunately, this may not be possible until after the first statement closes).  For simplicity, I like to have all my credit card statements close around the same date, so that I do not need to remember several different credit card due dates or statement closing dates.

If you are concerned about accidentally making a cash advance purchase, call the credit card company and ask to lower your cash advance limit to $0.  If you were approved with a small credit limit and have other credit cards from the same credit card company, ask if they can transfer some of your credit limit over to your new credit card.  If you want to receive your statements electronically, sign up for electronic statements (I will explain why below). Continue reading

Redeem Radisson Rewards Points for Gift Cards ($100 Visa GC for 67K Points) + 15% Rebate [Rebate Posted & VGCs Received]

Updated 10:00am PT on 11/2/2020: I provided more information at the bottom of the post regarding when the rebated Radisson Rewards Points posted to my Radisson Rewards account and when the Visa Gift Cards arrived in the mail.


Good morning everyone, I hope you had an exciting Amazon Prime Day(s).  I was reading Doctor of Credit and saw a deal that didn’t get much attention: Radisson Rewards: 25% Back On Awards, 15% Back On Giftcard Purchases.  I have a stash of Radisson Rewards Point since I cancelled 5 nights at various Radisson Blu hotels in Ireland, so I was curious what kind of gift card deals were offered.  In this post, I will show you what kind of gift card deals are available and explain why I redeemed 268,000 Radisson Rewards Points for $400 in Visa Gift Cards.  To get started, sign into your Radisson Rewards account and click this link to enroll in the current promo.  For gift card redemptions, you can get a 15% rebate when you redeem points between now and October 25.  Redemptions start as low as 7,000 points for a $10 gift card.

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My June 1 Checklist of Credit Card Credits (Shipping, Wireless, Restaurants, Groceries & More)

Updated 12:50pm PT on 6/6: My $300 travel credit on the Chase Sapphire Reserve doesn’t reset until October.  See details below.

Updated 11:00am PT on 6/5: I tested the $250 Hilton Resort Credit on a restaurant purchase and the statement credit posted in 3 days.  See details below.

Updated 11:30am PT on 6/3: The $325 travel credit on the US Bank Altitude Reserve can now be used for restaurant purchases from 6/1 – 12/31.  See details below.

Good morning everyone, I hope you had a good weekend.  Today is June 1 and the start of a new month.  As the saying goes: New Month = New Credits.  I have several credit cards, but these are the 5 credit cards that have credits that I can use this month:

American Express Business Platinum Card

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