You can take these rewards to the bank.

Picking the right rewards card can mean free cash — and a lot of it. Data released from WalletHub this week found that the best rewards cards can yield you $1,079 more than the worst rewards cards over the first two years.

But here’s the thing: How much you earn depends in large part on how much you spend and what you spend that money on. And a new report released Wednesday by RewardExpert.com finds that it can take months, and sometimes years, for your rewards card — which typically comes with an annual fee — to begin paying for itself.

The report looked at two categories of credit cards: 1) lower annual fee rewards cards that charge $100 or less per year, and 2) luxury rewards cards with amazing perks but that charge a high annual fee of hundreds of dollars. It then looked at points values awarded on some of the most lucrative and popular cards in each category, as well as additional perks like baggage fee credits. It also factored in typical spending patterns of Americans on things like food, travel, dining and gas, which typically earn credit card rewards

The results? In the lower-annual-fee category, it takes an average of between about a month and half to four months for the card to begin paying for itself.

CapitalOne Venture Barclaycard Arrival Plus
World Elite Mastercard
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Monthly spend:$500 5.9 months 8.9 14.1
$1,000 3 4.5 7.1
$1,500 2 3 4.7
$2,000 1.5 2.2 3.5
$3,000 1 1.5 2.4
$5,000 0.6 0.9 1.4

Source: RewardExpert.com; based on the average consumer’s typical monthly spending at each spending level

The firm notes that the CapitalOne Venture card (annual fee: $59) is a “well-balanced card choice,” while the Barclaycard ($89) might be better suited to someone spending $1500 or more (this card is the top pick for travel rewards by WalletHub this year). And it says that while the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card ($95) — a card lauded by The Points Guy — takes the longest time to break even for the average spender, it offers “an unmatched level of flexibility in cashing in on these rewards.” All three cards are ranked highly by a number of personal finance sites like WalletHub and NerdWallet.

In the luxury rewards card category, it takes an average of between about 2 months and 10 months to start getting the payback on your card. The big takeaway with these luxury cards is that, for the most part, they only make sense for people who spend at least $2,000 a month on their cards. The exception: the US Bank Altitude Reserve (annual fee $400), in which a $1,000-per-month spender can start earning after three months, “which is less than half the time it takes for all other luxury cards,” the site found.

American Express Platinum US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Chase Sapphire Reserve Citi Prestige
Monthly spend:$500 36.6 months 6.1 14.2 22.5
$1,000 18.3 3 7.1 11.3
$1,500 12.2 2 4.7 7.5
$2,000 9.2 1.5 3.6 5.6
$3,000 6.1 1 2.4 3.8
$5,000 3.7 0.6 1.4 2.3

Source: RewardExpert.com; based on the average consumer’s typical monthly spending at each spending level

The company’s pick for big spenders is the Chase Sapphire Reserve (annual fee $450). But the other cards also have their value: While the American Express Platinum card (annual fee $550) may not seem like a good deal from that chart, it has a huge benefit to frequent travelers with a “$200 Uber credit, unmatched lounge access privileges and quintuple points for hotels and airfare.” And it should be noted that many of these luxury cards have perks like special access to events and others things that don’t necessarily have a monetary value, but may have a high value to consumers.

There are two major caveats to this data. First, if you don’t pay off your balance in full each month, you likely will get charged interest on these cards. At that point, the rewards are rarely worth the cost. And second, if you’re considering a new rewards card, you have to think about your typical spending (these above charts are based on an average consumer’s spending): If you spend big on travel, for example, many of these luxury card will make sense for you — even with the high annual fee.