How Much Money I Made From Credit Cards in 2023

I earned 630,000 credit card points which equates to around $8,500 USD.

Irtiza Hafiz
4 min readJan 3, 2024
Photo by Claire Abdo on Unsplash

In 2023 I earned 630,000 credit card points which equates to around $8,500 USD.

That’s a lot of money towards flights and hotel stays. So, needless to say, this has been a great credit card year.

In this blog post, I will give you a breakdown of how I earned these points, what cards helped me earn them, how I value the points, and finally the monetary value of these points.

Let’s get started.

American Express Membership Reward Points

Cards

Out of all issuers, I possess the highest number of cards from American Express.

  1. AMEX Gold
  2. AMEX Cobalt (Canada)
  3. AMEX Everyday Preferred
  4. AMEX Blue Business Plus

Points

  • Referral — 0 Points
  • Sign Up Bonus (SUB) — 0 Points
  • Everyday Spending — 120,000 Points

Valuation

I value MR points at 1.8 cents-per-point (CPP), which is different from The Points Guy’s (TPG) valuation of 2.0 CPP.

Instead of taking CPP values from the internet, I rely on my personal experience.

I typically transfer MR points to Aeroplan, Virgin Atlantic, or Hilton. Based on my previous redemptions, the CPP hovers around 1.8 CPP.

Dollar Value

Valuing MR points at 1.9 CPP, the 120,000 MR points earned in 2023 gives me around USD$ 2,160 of travel.

Hilton Honors Points

Cards

I possess only one Hilton AMEX co-branded credit card — Hilton Honors Business Card.

Points

  • Referral — 0 Points
  • Sign Up Bonus (SUB) — 130,000 Points
  • Everyday Spending — 75,534 Points

Total — 205,543 Hilton Honors Points.

Valuation

I value Hilton points at 0.7 CPP, which is slightly higher than TPG’s valuation of 0.6 CPP.

The increased valuation mostly comes from consistently using Hilton’s “5th night free” benefit which gives you one free night when you book 5 award nights with points.

Dollar Value

Valuing Hilton points at 0.7 CPP, the 205,530 Hilton points earned in 2023 gives me around USD$ 1,439 of travel.

Capital One Miles

Cards

One of my favorite credit cards of 2023 — and also my only Capital One credit card — has been the Capital One Venture X.

Points

  • Referral — 25,000 Points
  • Sign Up Bonus (SUB) — 90,000 Points
  • Everyday Spending — 16,000 Points

Total — 131,000 Capital One Miles

Valuation

I value Capital One miles at a mighty 2.4 CPP (compared to TPG’s 1.85).

Let me explain.

Throughout the year my biggest and best redemption of Capital One miles was to transfer them to Turkish Miles&Smiles and upgrading my 10,000 miles round-trip flight to business class.

Both times I did this upgrade, I ended up with a 2.4CPP.

Moving forward, I also plan to build my setup around Capital One and Turkish Miles&Smiles, but more on that in a future blog post.

Dollar Value

Valuing Capital One miles at 2.4 CPP, the 131,000 points earned in 2023 gives me around USD$ 3,144 of travel.

IHG Reward Points

Cards

With more international travel coming up in 2024, I decided to pull the trigger on another hotel credit card — Chase’s IHG Premier Card.

The card comes with some great multipliers, 1 free night, complimentary IHG Platinum Elite status, amongst many other perks and benefits.

Points

  • Referral — 0 Points
  • Sign Up Bonus (SUB) — 140,000 Points
  • Everyday Spending — 15,000 Points

Total — 155,000 IHG reward points.

Valuation

I value IHG points at 0.8 CPP, which is considerably higher than TPG’s valuation of 0.5.

Let me explain.

Whenever I book IHG hotels, I always use the “4th night free” benefit which means, “book 4 nights with points, and get the 4th night for FREE”. That increases the overall CPP of any redemptions that’s greater than 3 nights.

Also, all my IHG redemptions have been outside the United States, where both the quality of hotels and CPPs are considerably better.

Dollar Value

Valuing IHG reward points at 0.8 CPP, the 155,000 IHG reward points earned in 2023 gives me around USD$ 1, 240 of travel.

Rakuten Amex MR Points

If you are not familiar with Rakuten, it’s a cash back portal where you can earn either straight cash back or American Express MR points.

As I am browsing through some available offers right now, these are the few that sticks out:

  • 45% on Hello Fresh
  • 10% on Hotels.com
  • 4% on Adidas
  • 8% on RayBan

All you got to do is click through the links of any of the above websites from Rakuten, and complete your shopping in a single session.

Once done, you will receive the rewards in either cash back or MR points — whichever you prefer in your account settings.

Rakuten was the superhero for me during this year’s Black Friday shopping.

They had some crazy deals — 90% off on VPNs, 70% off on tech items, 85% off on perfumes and clothing.

Points

I earned a total of 15,320 MR points through the Rakuten portal.

Valuing MR points at 1.8 CPP, that’s USD$ 276 towards hotel stays and flights.

Cash back

Cards

My credit card setup leans heavily towards travel rewards instead of cash back because of the outsized value the former gives you.

The only two cash back cards in my setup are:

  1. Apple Card
  2. Scotiabank Visa Momentum (Canada)

Dollars Earned

I barely put any spend on either one of these cards. That’s why the rewards are very mediocre:

  • Apple Card — $11 received
  • Scotiabank Visa Momentum — $206 received

Total — USD$ 217 cash back earned.

Summary

At a quick glance, here’s how my 2023 credit card points earning breaks down:

  • Total points earned — 627,000
  • Potential monetary value — USD$ 8,500

If you have enjoyed this, you will also enjoy some of redemption blog posts, such as, my business class upgrades on Turkish Airlines, my San Francisco trip on pointsand my overall travel redemptions in 2023.

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Irtiza Hafiz

https://irtizahafiz.com Engineering manager who writes about software development and productivity.