See our Advertiser Disclosure here.
A few weeks ago in a recap post, I shared a post by Travel with Grant that contained the amount he spends on credit card annual fees. I admitted that I was shocked to see that he spent over $4500 on annual fees.
Then, just a few days ago, I saw that Mark from Miles to Memories also did a recap of his annual fees. He spent over $3000 on credit card annual fees this year.
I actually didn’t know exactly how much I spent on annual fees this past year, but I hoped it wasn’t as high as that. My number did surprise me, though.
My Credit Cards with Annual Fees
These are the current credit cards that my husband and I carry that have annual fees:
Chase IHG X2–$178
Chase World of Hyatt X2–$190
Capital One Venture Rewards Card–$95
American Express Hilton Honors Surpass Card–$95
Chase Ink Business Plus–$95
Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard–$95
Grand Total: $1198
Our total is higher than I thought! Free travel and perks come with a price.
In addition to the cards above, we own some cards that had the annual fees waived this year:
Avianca Vuela Visa ($149 waived)
Citi Premier X2 ($190 waived)
US Bank Flexperks Visa ($49 waived)
Chase United Mileage Plus Explorer Card ($95 waived)
Total fees waived: $483
Value from Credit Card Annual Fees
The value from some credit card annual fees is easy to calculate. For others, the benefits are subjective.
The CSR has a $300 travel credit, which of course we easily use every year. So, that wipes out $300 and essentially makes the fee $150.
The Chase IHG card comes with a free night for each card’s $89 fee. The value you get depends on the hotel you book with that free night cert. This year, we used the certs to book two nights in Boston that cost $1325.33. So, we came out $1147.33 ahead.
The same is true for our World of Hyatt cards. The card comes with a free night at a Category 1-4 hotel. We are using our certs to stay at the Confidante in Miami Beach over Spring Break. The cash cost is $989.52, so we come out $799.52 ahead.
The Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard gives me free checked luggage. I came out $55 ahead this year (we travel light).
It’s harder to calculate the value from my other cards’ annual fees. I love how I can get 5X points with my Chase Ink Business Plus at office supply stores. I got some room upgrades and free breakfasts with my Amex Hilton Honors Surpass card. And, I love earning 2X on all my Capital One Venture Reward card purchases and using the points to erase travel spending on hotels and travel without regard to award availability. But, those benefits are hard to quantify.
So, even though we spent almost $1200 on annual fees this year, the quantifiable benefits alone are over $2300.
For newbies in this miles and points hobby, I’m sure my $1198 in annual fees seem crazy. For long-time hobbyists who travel more frequently than my family does, this number is probably low.
The bottom line is, there is no “right” number of cards to own or annual fees to carry. If you feel you are getting worthwhile value from your credit card, then keep it. If not, dump it. But, keep in mind that the longer you dabble in this miles and points travel hobby, the easier it is to justify the fees to get the perks. If your goal is to save money on travel, the fees can take away from that goal.
Does my number surprise you? Have you added up the cost of your credit card annual fees?
Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.