Thanks to Milenomic Kacie I was inspired to make this calculator.  I’m putting in a few popular cards together into this calculator. You can use this page to compare the earning you would receive with each card. Think of this page as a calculator to decide what the best credit card for you might be.

Inputs: Your Budgeted Totals

Here I’d recommend looking at your monthly budgeted amounts or last year’s spending totals if you have them.  These totals are going to be your inputs for the categories below.  The ouputs are based off of these–so the more accurate you inputs the closer this calculator can get to your actual earning structure.



It would be hard for me to analyze your spending since the above form creates dynamic content.  However, you should be able to see patterns above.  I hope the calculator helps you see clearly the earning potential of both the cards you have and those you don’t.

Note: The above calculator assumes you put ALL your spending on one card and pay it off at the end of the month. Someone who does this is called a “pure transactor,” and is surprisingly revenue positive for credit card companies. (this source has the profit margin at 15% for some pure transactors, search for ‘pure transactor’). I’m not advocating you become a pure transactor, I’m also not going to elaborate on optimizing transactions here.

Why bring these topics up? We’ll be discussing pure transactors and their counterpart, optimizing transactors more on the blog. And finally, you should never ever, ever, ever become a ‘revolver,’ or someone who holds a balance monthly and pays interest charges.

Push the numbers around a bit, if you have any questions, or if you find particularly interesting data patterns please leave me a comment blow.

If you’d like me to add an additional card to the analysis I’d be more than happy to do so.

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7 thoughts on “The Best Credit Card For You: Calculate [disappointing] Yearly Earnings

  1. This is a fun exercise, thank you Kacie for the Idea and Sam for pulling this together. Obviously people reading your site will mostly be optimal transactors. I’m probably a 95% (99%?) optimal transactor but maybe a little too much due to credit card annual fees. I put most of my unbonused spend on my SWA card until I get companion pass, then the rest goes on my blue business plus. I also I currently hold the following cards: Amex personal platinum (I always use the uber & flight credits, live in DFW and use the centurion lounge a number of times a year, amex offers on this card offer a bit of Uplift as 2,000 MR > $20 IMO), CSR (easily use the annual travel credit and have used the .5cpp uplift and to the tune of 320,000 points in the past 2 years), just applied for the Rose gold card yesterday and I think I can get some value out of it in year 1. I also have a handful of hotel cards with annual benefits that potentially outweigh their annual fee. But there is something to be said about simplification and not carrying around so many credit cards (currently I have 11 in my wallet).
    Anyway I’m a relatively new reader to the site, and don’t really know your perspective on annual fees so I would love to hear your perspective. I’m personally ok with paying annual fees but know I need to occasionally update my thought process as situations change.

    • Should be there now. Let me know if it isn’t. Thanks for the detailed response. Sometimes our anti-spam flags first posts (or posts in quick succession). You should be white-listed now, so no more holds!

    • No problem. The hard part is all the formatting and such–adding an additional card is easy now, so if you have one you’d like to compare just let me know and give me a day or so.

  2. I think your uplift of 1.5 on a Citi Premier is incorrect.

    As far as I’m aware, it’s only 1.25X through their travel portal.

    • It’s an abstraction.
      If you have Premier *and* Prestige you can do better than 1.5 cpp towards 4 night hotel stays booked through their portal.

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