Survey Finds Americans Save Average of $757 with Credit Card Rewards

Love them or hate them, the use of credit cards is on the rise. Additionally, despite this form of payment often being associated with debt, it seems as though a number of consumers are using plastic (or metal) to their benefit. In fact, according to a new survey commissioned by SlickDeals, Americans save an average of $757 per year thanks to credit card rewards.

In terms of how many credit cards consumers are carrying, the average number was three. Given this limited number of slots, respondents reported spending an average of six hours researching potential options before applying for a new card. Interestingly, only 74% of those surveyed say they meet the minimum spending required to earn welcome bonuses — which are one of the key ways that consumers gain value from new credit card accounts.

Speaking to the value of the rewards they earned from credit cards, 55% of those surveyed said they’ve been able to “almost entirely” cover the cost of a vacation using rewards. Meanwhile, 53% stated that their credit card benefits have allowed them to enjoy a first-time experience. Among these experiences were fancy dinners (54%) and concerts (49%).

Asked what they used their credit cards for, the most popular answers among respondents were “everyday purchases” and “large purchases” with 52%. This was followed by “travel” with 47%. Restaurant dining (45%) and vacations (43%) rounded out the list.

Commenting on the survey’s results, Slickdeal Senior Personal Finance Editor Louie Patterson said, “Credit cards aren’t just another way to pay for your purchases. If you choose the right rewards cards and you’re strategic about how you use them, you can earn tremendous benefits such as free flights, hotel stays or even cashback.” Patterson went on to offer some advice to consumers, adding, “Once you’ve done the research on the right rewards card for you, there are a number of ways to maximize the benefits. Make sure you pay off the balance in full, look for opportunities to pay with your card for monthly fees such as insurance, cable and cell phone bills, and be on the lookout for opportunities to earn bonus points, which may be awarded for specific types of purchases.”

Despite the assertion that credit card rewards are an overall benefit, there are those who have been critical of the practice on a few different fronts. First, some argue that credit cards only entice consumers to buy more (or carry a balance and pay interest), thus negating the value of any rewards they might earn. Zooming out further, businesses may need to pay larger processing fees for rewards credit cards than they would with a debit or non-premium credit cards. In turn, retailers could be raising their prices to account for this, which could particularly impact cash customers who are paying just as much without getting the “perks.” Of course, there are no easy solutions to the issues.

Ultimately, when used responsibly, there are several credit card options that can be beneficial to everyday consumers. Whether they prefer cashback or points that can be redeemed for travel, the ability to earn rewards on items they were going to buy anyway is certainly attractive. Meanwhile, a number of FinTechs are working to bring these types of perks to alternative credit card and debit card products to help level the playing field. Could this eventually help the $757 figure grow? We’ll have to wait and see.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

Other Articles by Jonathan Dyer

Uber Relaunches UberPool as UberX Share

With demand for travel continuing to rise, the ridesharing app Uber has announced a feature to help both travelers and commuters to get to their destinations while saving money. After previously pausing its UberPool service option during the pandemic, Uber is now rolling out a replacement called UberX Share. At this time, the new option is available to riders in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Phoenix, San...

Split Payment Platform Kasheesh Launches as Alternative to BNPL

In recent months, "buy now, pay later" (BNPL) platforms have exploded in popularity. What's more, with Apple jumping into the space, the practice is likely to continue growing despite some concerns in regards to how BNPL services impact consumers' personal finances. With that in mind, one FinTech has just revealed its alternative: a payment-splitting platform for online retail. Today, Kasheesh exited stealth mode to announce the launch of its unique...

Credit Karma Money Spend Adds Cashback Offers for Cardholders

Those looking to add some extra cash back into their pocket will soon have a new option. This week, the popular credit monitoring site Credit Karma announced a new feature for its Credit Karma Money customers. Now, debit cardholders will be able to earn cashback when making purchases from select retailers. According to the site, the list of eligible retailers includes national chains, such as Adidas and Shake Shack, as...