Airline frequent flyer credit cards vs. cash back cards

George Hobica, July 08, 2008
Fares from Washington DC:

    $25000 spent on a frequent flyer credit card vs. a cash back card

      Grocery Gas Drugstore All other purchases

    Annual Fee

    Fee to obtain ticket Total cashback (totalmiles plus cash cost of "free" domestic flight)
    The Spend $5200 $3000 $1000 $16,800      
    American Express Blue Cash (5% on groceries, gas, pharmacy; 1.5% on everything else after you spend $6500 annually) $260 $150 $50 $252  $0 $0  $712
    Chase Freedom
    (3% back on your top three of 15 possible spending categories)
    $156  $90  $30  $168  $0  $0  $444
    Airline credit card (miles earned)  5200  3000  1000  16,800  up to $100  up to $50 (25,000  plus $150 in fees)
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