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Credit Card Cash Rewards Explained

Credit card cash rewards can offer added benefits to credit card owners. But sometimes it can be confusing to claim them. In addition, not all cash rewards are the same.

Types and Distribution of Credit Card Cash Rewards

There are several types of credit card cash rewards as well as different ways they can be distributed. It is important to know when and how they can be made available to make the most of these rewards.

American Express® statement credit cash reward printed and stored either digitally or manually for proof of distribution.

Types of Cash Rewards

There are between three and four types of cash rewards. The most direct is the statement credit applied directly to your credit card statement, illustrated above. But which statement is the question. Is it your current statement or your next statement? I often find that a call into the credit card company is needed to clarify this question.

The other types of cash rewards are illustrated here. They are gift cards, merchandise and friend referral rewards.

Types of additional cash rewards available as illustrated by Amex®.

Distribution of Credit Card Cash Rewards

This is where things can get confusing. Distribution has several options:
• anytime by request online or by phone
• with a minimum of $25 in rewards by the same methods
• in increments of $25 in rewards by the same methods

Capital One® offers cash back in any amount at any time plus lots of other rewards.

Option One is the simplest and most direct. Capital One and now Bank of America credit cards both offer this service. See the illustration above,

Option Two is where things can get complicated and there are drawbacks. This is because you can’t withdraw cash rewards at any time. There has to be an accumulation of at least $25 to do so. American Express distributes cash rewards this way. Read the fine print inside the red outline.

credit card cash rewards
Cash rewards are available for a minimum of $25 dollars. See the fine print inside the red lines.

Then there is Option Three, the least desirable way to cash in cash rewards. They can only be made in increments of $25. As illustrated below, cash rewards can be distributed only in increments of $25.

credit card cash rewards
Wells Fargo Go Far® Cash Rewards program distributes rewards only in incremented of $25.

Reading the fine print is important to understand what types of credit card cash reward exist and how they can be distributed. You can also learn more about credit cards on this blog by going to the search bar and typing in credit cards.


Capital One Cash Back VISA Credit Cards
Bank of America Cash Back VISA Credit Cards
Wells Fargo Credit Cards
American Express Credit Cards

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Mixed Cash Reward Credit Card Benefits (Part 4 – June 2019)

Mixed cash rewards are the category of cards that most cash reward cards fit into. Therefore, this blog post will offer much details about this category. Unlike Green Go cards that have excellent ratings, these mixed benefit cards can have many pros and cons. Because of this, I refer to them as yellow light cards. Their mix of offerings can make it very difficult to decide whether to go or to stop from securing one.


To make this easier to understand, the rating system for Cash Reward Credit Cards is similar to how traffic signals control vehicular movement. Image is from Pixabay.

In order to make the most of mixed cash reward credit cards, one should first compile a list of the pros and cons of the cards being considered. I recommend applying for only one card at a time. Let me explain how the mixed category works.


As described in previous posts in this series, Cash Reward credit cards can be divided into three types of benefit categories. This is similar to how a traffic signal directs vehicular activity. Both the GREENLIGHT and REDLIGHT signal are fairly straight forward in their comment. The former directs one to GO while the latter clear indicates STOP.

But the middle or mixed category does neither clearly. In fact, it leaves the decision up to the driver. That person must make a judgment call on their own. In spite of this, a judgment call does not have to be made blindly.

GREEN LIGHT credit card cash reward cards detailed in the blog post Excellent Cash Reward Credit Cards (June 2019)

YELLOW LIGHT cash reward cards and qualities are detailed in this blog post, Mixed Cash Reward Credit Card Benefits (June 2019)

RED LIGHT means to seriously consider avoiding a particular cash reward card with overwhelming drawbacks.

The yellow ‘caution’ light traffic signal from Pixaday images.

So far, all the credit cards mentioned in this series have no annual fees. But cards that do have annual fees can pay substantially more rewards, like the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express®. For the privilege of the much higher cash reward levels, there is an annual fee of $95. Coincidently, there is also a signup bonus of $250. Right there, the annual fee is offset. For the most part, I prefer not to get cards with annual fees. Somehow, money needs to be made available to pay the fee each year.


This works well for people with savings. But it may not be practical for Former Middle-Class people who barely make ends meet on a monthly basis to allow for this. Saving up $95 for the annual fee tends to be a luxury reserved for the Middle Class. But, in spite of my limited funds, I made a judgment call and went for a card with an annual fee. My thinking was as follows.

Normally, I get 3% cashback for groceries. Figuring charges of around $400/month for groceries at 3% gives me a return of $12/month. That becomes $24/month at 6%. Over a year, I make an additional expense reduction of $120. That pays for the annual fee of $95. In addition, the promotional signup bonus is $250. This is clearly a win-win situation. I just have to make sure I have the annual fee put aside each year. Another point in its favor is that the total of necessary charges. It is $1000 in 3 months. That is the same as many other cards with fewer benefits.

The Blue Cash Preferred Cash Rewards Credit Card can be an excellent choice for grocery shopping and gas. But you need to pay a $95 annual fee. Recommended by Best Cash Back Credit Cards (June 2019)



Also, check the fit as described in the third post poker analogy. Does it fit into the % flush or straight flush? Does it have the most benefits for type category you want a card in? Refer back to Blog Post 3as a helpful example. Also refer to the example below.


If you are looking to form an ongoing credit card charging relationship with a home improvement superstore, controversy reign on which store and credit card are best. Lowe’s seems to outrank The Home Depot. Also see the review of the Barclaycard in the Sources & Resources Section at the end of this post.


[caption id="attachment_19475" align="alignleft" width="703"]Mixed cahs reard cards At first glance, a great deal. But read the fine print.


Green Go cards are clearly transparent in what makes them excellent considerations for cash reward cards. Yellow mixed consideration cards are not as straight forward. Then, the pros and cons need to be weighed more carefully to decide if one in this category is a good choice. Consider the amount of a promotional bonus they pay. Know the % of return and any limitations regarding that. See which side of the scale they tip to, more pros or more cons.

Check the fine print. That means the not obvious, hidden qualities of the card. As a matter of fact, these can result in more negative than positive qualities. For example, the Barclaycard account sounds good at first glance. But it does have one major drawback. I know of no other card with this drawback. Surprisingly it does not pay cash rewards until $50 worth has been accumulated. So beware of such fine print. In addition, Some other cards charge no annual fee for the first year but do charge one after that.



The final post in this series will focus on the qualities and kinds of cards that are in the RED signal area. They should be avoided or pursued with the utmost caution. Because they are risky, sometimes that makes them plain unsuitable in my opinion. In addition, the risk is like making a right turn on red when you’re not sure there was a sign indicating that it is okay to do so. Or you make the turn without looking so see if a card is coming from your left. Beware Risky Cash Reward Cards

Here are the links to this five-part series about my Credit Card Rating System:
Introduction to A Credit Card Rating System
The Rating System Used for Cash Back Credit Cards (Series Part 2 – June 2019)
Excellent Cash Reward Cards (Part 3 – June 2019)
Mixed Cash Reward Credit Card Benefits (Part 4 – June 2019)
Risky Cash Reward Credit Cards (Part 5-June 2019)

Please note: I am not a certified financial planner or professional advisor. These blog posts about the use of credit cards are based on my own experience which I freely share. But I can take no legal or financial responsibility for the results you may have in attempting to follow my system. But I do wish you the best and welcome your comments and questions at the VERY end of this post. You will have reached the end because you can not scroll down any further. As well, you will have reached the comment form.



Compare Cards: Best Cards for Cash Back

Nerd Wallet | Credit Cards Market Place

How Cash Back Credit Cards Work

Credit Cards for Home Improvement

Barclaycard CashForward World Mastercard

Best Credit Cards For Gas

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Excellent Cash Reward Cards (Part 3-June 2019)

This post, excellent cash reward cards is the third in this series. By now readers most likely understand that in order to choose excellent cash reward cards including the excellent benefits they offer, it is key to have a reliable cash reward credit card rating system. Then one can best evaluate the quality of any card being considered.


My system for rating Cash Reward Credit Cards has two parts. First there is the similarity to how traffic signals regulate traffic.


As a rule, cash reward credit cards offer all kinds of cash benefits as compensation for making purchases with them. In order to make the most of cash reward credit card choices, you need to know a card’s pros and cons.

As a matter of fact, excellent cash reward cards tend not to have much of anything in the way of drawbacks. In other words, you want to pick a card that bats as close to 1000 as possible. That is the purpose of an excellent cash rewards card.

With this in mind, once you know what to look for and what to avoid, then you’ll have the tools necessary to plan for the best card with the most benefits. In other words, an excellent rated card. Let’s look at this more closely.



Green light adapted from a Pixaday image.

Greenlight cash reward credit cards offer these types of benefits:
1. good to excellent percentages on cash rewards (3-5%)
2. $150-$200 promotional bonus for opening an account and even more on cards with annual fees
3. cash rewards are available in any amount at any time
4. rewards redemption is possible by a variety of methods
5. choose from several categories for top rewards rate
6. payment date and statement closing dates can be changes

The Bank of America® 2019 Top Rated Cash Reward Credit Card Mastercard is a ‘green light’ card. Specifically, it has a 5-star rating from CompareCards® by Lending Tree






The Bank of America® Cash Rewards MasterCard

Green light adapted from a Pixaday image.
One cash rewards credit card that provides all of the qualities listed below is the Bank of America® Cash Rewards Mastercard. In fact, it has been rated No. 1 in Cash Reward Credit Cards for 2019 repeatedly on websites like

The benefits include:
a. $200 promotional signup bonus
b. 3% reward in a specific categories
c. user can choose which category gets 3% from several options
d. cash rewards accumulated are available in any amount at any time
e. no annual fee





Another top rated card is the Capital One® Quicksilver Card which also has an excellent rating of 4 1/2-stars from
Capital One® Cash Rewards Quicksilver MasterCard

Green light adapted from a Pixaday image.
Also a highly rated cash rewards credit card is the Capital One® Quicksilver Card. It’s only possible drawback is the 1.5 percentage rate on cash rewards. But that is still better than getting only 1%. Besides, rewards are available at any time. As a result, the following benefits clearly outweigh the drawbacks on some other cards with a higher % rate.

The benefits include:
a. $150 promotional signup bonus
b. 1.5% everywhere, on everything
c. redeem any amount of rewards at any time
d. no annual fee ever






There’s more to come. Here are the links to all five posts in this series about my Credit Card Rating System:
Introduction to A Credit Card Rating System
The Rating System Used for Cash Back Credit Cards (Series Part 2 – June 2019)
Excellent Cash Reward Cards (Part 3 – June 2019)
Mixed Cash Reward Credit Card Benefits (Part 4 – June 2019)
Risky Cash Reward Credit Cards (Part 5-June 2019)

Please note: I am not a certified financial planner or professional advisor. These blog posts about the use of credit cards are based on my own experience which I freely share. But I can take no legal or financial responsibility for the results you may have in attempting to follow my system. But I do wish you the best and welcome your comments and questions at the VERY end of this post. You will have reached the end because you can not scroll down any further. As well, you will have reached the comment form.

Compare Cards: Best Cards for Cash Back

Nerd Wallet | Credit Cards Market Place

Best Cash Back Credit Cards from

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Using Cash Reward Credit Cards for Survival & Profit



I’ve talked a lot about using cash reward credit cards, lately. It actually feels like I am living in a credit card world. In fact, this for two reasons. One is because I have wanted to learn everything I could about cash reward credit cards, credit scores and credit reports, too. The other reason, probably the most important one, is that cash reward credit cards have become one of my most essential survival tools.

cash reward credit cards
Alison D. Gilbert, The Credit Card Maven
The Credit Card Maven

As a result of my intense interest and need to know everything I can about credit cards, I’ve even created a Facebook page called The Credit Card Maven. This is where I post information as I have researched and sourced it. I have found a number of websites, blog posts, Facebook pages (listed here) and groups that are extremely helpful resources in my quest for knowledge as The Credit Card Maven in my credit card world. Included are:
Credit Card Mastery
Credit Karma
Wallet Hacks
Wise Bread

cash reward credit cards
Viper Tool Storage Box Survival Toolkit as part of My Credit Card World
Credit Cards as a Survival Tool

As I mentioned at the start of this post, credit cards have become a survival tool in my credit cards world. It was not by design that this came to be.

It was more a matter of circumstances. Once I got a feel for how useful and profitable using credit cards could be, my desire to use them and master it increased. Let me give you an example.

I have had cash reward credit cards for a number of years. I can accumulate up to about $40. in a two month period from one of them. That was a good beginning. Then I decided to get a travel rewards card in anticipation of someday going to visit my family in Colorado. I used it and kept on accumulating points.

Credit Card Currency

When I went to check on the conversion to paying for an airplane ticket, the results were not impressive. I had to find something better. This time by design, I set out to find the best deal I could for air travel benefits using a credit card. I found one that I ultimately used for my flight. It rewarded me with 30,000 points and a $100. discount on my airplane ticket. This was such a great deal that I have enough points to return to Colorado for free, right now.

cash reward credit cards
Credit cards currency from
Now that’s what I call using credit cards as currency. If I could do that with a travel rewards credit card, I wondered what other benefits and rewards I could manifest in my credit cards world. I familiarized myself with a few other travel rewards cards as part of getting a second ticket for my husband and having funds for other things related to our vacation. All in all, my activities resulted in a savings of between $400 and $500 for our trip.



Credit Card Investing

Let me present one more situation where the skilled use of a credit card became very profitable. I found an offer for a cash rewards credit card that would refund $100 on spending $500 within 90 days of acquiring the card. That would be a 20% profit. I had never accomplished that in the stock market. It seemed like a very good investment to me. I wasn’t sure if I would be granted another card as I had accumulated quite a few by this point. But it came through. I fulfilled the requirements. Now I am just waiting for my investment to pay off.

cash reward credit cards
Credit Card Monthly Rotation represented by a photo from
Credit Card Monthly Rotation

I made another discovery. It may seem a bit confusing. In fact, I am kind of surprised that I am even able to do this. I am calling it credit card monthly rotation. It is based upon a combination of the nature of credit cards themselves and good credit card hygiene.

Each credit card has a closing date and a payment due date. Since I have several cash reward credit cards and they have different closing and payment dates, I can stagger them and not have to pay them at the same time. If I make my purchases and schedule my payments using my monthly rotation system, I have a revolving credit situation. In other words, if my budget in a particular month needs to be exceeded, I can use a card that has a closing date that will allow payment the following month. I just have to make sure the funds will be available then. I also have to have a very good bookkeeping system to keep track of every detail of every card.

cash reward credit cards
Brian Cain’s Credit Card Mastery Course
Credit Card Mastery

What is credit card mastery? Have I achieved it? It turns out that this term exists. I did not invent it as I thought I had. There is actually a course called Credit Card Mastery that costs $97. Much of it seems similar to my own system. Although I have not taken that course, it looks very comprehensive. This is an introduction to the course and an explanation of it by founder, Brian Cain.

Based upon my understanding and goals to achieve Credit Card Mastery, I believe that I am on my way but I have not achieved mastery yet. When will I achieve it? There are several requirements that I have established for myself:
• My credit scores average will be over 800 again. It is only about 10-20 points from that now.
• My monthly rotation system will have proven itself to work and I will have a sense of mastery in my credit card world
• My Credit Card Management Chart will be complete and committed to memory. As a result, I will have a firm grasp on all my cards and a natural flow for their use in rotation as needed.


To many people, understanding credit scores and reading credit reports are overwhelming and confusing. There is no need to not have transparency and clarity about your credit cards world. Credit cards are an important tool and can even be crucial for personal survival and business development. Study the resources provided. Take the Credit Card Mastery Course if you can. Having one’s finances in order and being able to live solvently in a credit card world are not luxuries. They are necessities and everyone deserves to have them.

cash reward credit cards
The Cool Piggy Bank property of The and the cover image of their facebook page
Sources & Resources, a course developed by Brian Cain, find a credit card that’s right for you, free credit scores and more, Best Credit Cards of 2017, all about finances, founded by Jim Wang, great blog post advice about credit cards and everyday frugal living

Identity Guard

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Credit Card Bonus Program Offers: Proceed with Caution

stop sign ‘Stop and Proceed Slowly’ Sign by


My Financial Profile
A recent promotional bonus credit card program has allowed me to be very resourceful with credit cards. Even though I live on a fixed monthly stipend that is typical of a retired low income senior, credit card programs have been a benefit for me. This is because of the tools I have learned and benefited from.

I have written at length about the potential benefits from the responsible use of credit cards. Below are the four Ebook I have written about various credit card benefit offers. These minimally priced Ebooks are available on Amazon.

credit card bonus offer
Financial Ebooks I have written that are available on Amazon
Ebooks and Other Blog Posts
Different Types of Credit Cards And Their Best Uses, Part One – July 2019 was one of my first blog posts on this topic. This blog post is about my latest experience with credit cards benefit offers.



A New Credit Card Promotional Bonus Program to Explore
Several months ago, I was able to apply for a new Promotional Bonus Program Credit Card. I applied and was immediately accepted. Much to my surprise, I had the opportunity to apply for several more of them. I was accepted by those as well.

Without blinking, I went from qualifying for one, then four, and even as many as six of these credit cards. Even then, I kept finding more of these offers. Since I did not want to miss out on a single one of them, I kept applying and being accepted.

promotional bonus credit card offers
Capital One Promotional Bonus Credit Card Offer


How To Play
At first, I thought the rules were simple. The Promotional Bonus Credit Card program required only that I charge a given amount of purchases ($500 to $1,000) within a three month period of time. As the bonus, I could receive the equivalent of two hundred dollars per card. Since I always charged many of my purchases, I assumed this was going to be an easy win.

promotional bonus credit card offers Wells Fargo Promotional Bonus Credit Card Offer

A Grand Total of Ten Cards
By the time I finally got a denial, I was the recipient of ten promotional bonus credit cards. Wow, I was really feeling exuberant. What I didn’t realize was, like a gambler, feeling exuberant would not last. In other words, I was becoming addicted to applying for and acquiring more of these promotional bonus credit cards.

Because I couldn’t stop, things really got out of hand. With each new card, the game I was playing became increasingly complicated as well as much less manageable. It became harder to keep track of all the rules. I kept making charts of when and how charged were due. Even with this extra effort, I still went from feeling high to feeling totally overwhelmed.

promotional bonus credit card
Roulette Table of a Casino Stock photo courtesy of


Not As Easy As It Appeared to Be
Given my history of a perfect payment record, I thought this program would work like a charm for me. I was confident that it would be an easy win. But so many complications plagued me along the way. At times, I have questioned my investment savvy even my sanity. I’ve sworn I would never get in over my head like this again.



A Bit of Each
Depending on how intensely one dives into this game determines which level of risk one plays this promotional bonus credit card offer. The more one is tempted to use this program as a gambling gambit, the more one is likely to risk.


I Had Definitely Overdosed on This Program
At times I felt very confused, even sleep deprived by the amount of time some of the transactions required. Numerous ‘unk unks’ (unknown unknowns) have taken place. In other words, I had nothing to do with certain things that happened to complicate the process.
Beware the dangers of this credit card program. Like the saying goes, ‘if it seems too good to be true, it probably is’. Sign from
credit card
Bank of America Promotional Bonus Credit Card Offer


How Do You Know Which Is which?
In total, I theoretically could net many cash rewards or statement credits. Forms of redemption were unclear. For example, the funds may be held over towards the payment of the next month’s bill. Another scenario was ‘the check is in the mail.’ We all know ‘the check is in the mail’ scenario. In that case, it can take up to several monthly cycles.
Gift Cards
Let’s not forget the gift card option. But is that a gift to me? I didn’t know who it would go to. In conclusion, none of these alternate options was optimal. Given my preference, I like my promotional bonus to be deposited right into my checking account as a cash reward. But that is not always possible. In fact, if the only option is a statement credit, the promotional bonus tool is a guarantee to the credit card company that I will continue to charge in the future to make use of their bonus.
credit cards benefits offers
‘Danger Go Slow’ sign from


A Credit Card Gets Hacked
For example, while I was accumulating bonuses, one of these new cards got hacked. I had to replace it in the middle of my promotional bonus project. In addition, I tried to cancel items that were not refunded but turned into ‘honey points’. Other charges were also counted twice. Even though I did not cause these issues, their occuring caused me to have a severe lack of focus. It became very difficult for me to concentrate on the credit card bonus offers.
citi card
The Citi Custom Cash Promotional Bonus Card Offer


New Tools Can Be Very Tempting To Use Simultaneously
In addition to signing up for these credit card bonus offers, I signed up for autopay. Making two major program changes at one time was a mistake. As a result, some bills got paid twice. It was becoming impossible to keep track of what I was doing.



Use a Reliable Map
Ultimately I realized what was wrong. It was that I had embarked on a new system that was going outside the box of familiar navigation. This new program was twice as hard to maneuver since I was exploring the unknown. Therefore I strongly advise readers to make one change at a time when adding a new element to an existing template.
credit card benefit offers
Bank of America Promotional Bonus Card


Is This Calculus or Physics? It Can’t Just Be Bookkeeping
Using credit cards responsibly and profitably is not a strictly arithmetic endeavor. As I discovered with each new profit making tool, their value is equaled by their complexity. Although the original templates are the foundation of this program, with each new component the program goes further outside the original box.



Something Smells Fishy
Along these lines, credit card companies continue to make themselves increasingly tempting to individuals who think they can stay on top of the latest innovations. This requires that individuals stay more than sharp and continue to search for new and existing credit cards. These can improve as investment tools, not just a means of delaying payments on purchases. But they become very challenging to use.



This Is Not Bookkeeping 101
As time has gone by, this project has become painfully complicated. What initially seemed like a straightforward giveaway has become a torturous maze of numbers and dates. I participated to see how far I could go outside the box. In other words, I wanted to see how much I could challenge myself. It has been several months with a total of ten new cards. But I am not yet finished with this program. I can hardly wait to be done with it.

This chart illustrates how my credit score was affected by the promotional bonus program. It was 820 before I started and went down to 800 at its lowest. It is rising again since I have almost completed the program.


Effect on My Credit Score
My credit score dropped during this project. The reason is that each credit card application was a ‘hard’ check to my score. But since I have met each charge challenge in a timely manner, my score is rising again and is recovering it’s 800+ scores. Credit score chart courtesy of American Express.

But there is one catch to building an emergency fund with this program. Money has to go out before it can come in. For a while it has seemed that I have lost rather than gained financially.

credit card benefit offers
Warning sign from readers-digest-ca



Read the Fine Print to Find Out
Besides the delay, the rewards are often available as statement credits rather than cash rewards. Since my tendency and necessity has been to buy more things, this project has not been a great source of emergency savings. Saving up for them was why I participated originally. Instead, it has also required constant vigilance with each card. Besides that, the amount that I have had to charge is requiring the use of partial payments to stay flush each month. Now I also have to keep track of the deadline on partial payments.

This is a very tricky game requiring numerous greater than rudimentary skills. It feels like the Olympic decathlon competition. In fact, I am now having to use the partial-pay 0% APR feature that comes with these cards. Therefore I am learning something else that is new. But I have been pulled deeper into this maze. I never paid attention to APR percentages in the past, nor did I need to. But now, how many months will I need to use this new tool keeping to the 0%APR?


Do What I Say, Not What I Did
I do not recommend going to the extremes I have. It has nearly driven me crazy. I may have even permanently burnt out some numerical brain cells besides spending a huge amount of time on this experiment. Has it been worth it?

Sometimes, the way I learn things is by going to extremes. It involves extending the limits of my existing skills to see what new ones I want to gain. Taking little steps would be more prudent. In fact, I suggest taking small, prudent steps for anyone who wants to sign on to this or any cash bonus program.

credit card benefit offers
A set of directional signs from



On the Plus Side
One: Paying car insurance in four instead of six payments saving money on installments.
Two: Paying home contents insurance in full annually saving about $50 dollars.
Three: Paying car registration for the next two years, early, without a pinch, and in full.
Four: Being able to afford a healthy diet and avoid illness.
Five: Purchasing pleasant necessities rather than feeling very deprived.
Six: Occasionally buying something new, even secondhand, but not completely pantry hand-me-downs.



The Tip of the Iceberg
As you can see from this blog post, there are many credit card benefit offers. But they have complications that may outweigh their worth. These benefits are like an iceberg. What they appear to offer is actually only the tip of the iceberg of what they can cost.

Were you able to navigate this obstacle course? I’d love to hear your experience. Please share with the rest of us in the comments area. I will report in with my final results as soon as I am done. Right now, I’ve got two cards to go. One is to make a claim. The other is to charge $500 and then make my claim.

promotional bonus credit card offers
Bondi Beach Australia, Bondi Icebergs, Courtesy of Marley Clovelly


1. Using Cash Reward Credit Cards for Survival & Profit
2. A Credit Card Rating System Introduction
3. The Rating System Used for Cash Back Credit Cards (Series Part 2 – June 2019)
4. Excellent Cash Reward Cards (Part 3 – June 2019)
5. Mixed Cash Reward Credit Card Benefits (Part 4 – June 2019)
6. Risky Cash Reward Credit Cards (Part 5-June 2019
7. How Many Credit Cards Is Too Many?
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Twenty First Century coupon cutting might become the next money-saving system we need to utilize for financial survival. In other words, it could become Phase Two of the financial mountain climbing challenge we face. It would start in 2020. The reason for calling this Phase Two is that we may require another money-saving financial survival system in addition to cash reward credit cards.
This would be to offset the 2020 Medicare-Medicaid crisis that we are faced with right now. This additional financial survival system would be an addition to the cash rewards credit card financial survival system I originally devised and have been using for the last 10 years, from 2009-2019.
21st century coupon cutting tool
Climbing the mountain of financial survival again. Photo from



To return to 2009 for a moment, our first major financial mountain climbing challenge was when we went ‘From Middle Class to One Day From Homeless’. We had to make substantial compromises to our lifestyle just to survive indoors.
There are actually four Amazon Kindle Ebooks that I wrote about that journey. Fortunately, I had discovered the benefits of the responsible use of cash reward credit cards. They can be invaluable in accumulating welcome bonuses as well as cash rewards. These are the Ebooks I wrote over this ten year period.
Four Ebook by Alison D. Gilbert
Our Story from 2009-2019 as told in Four Kindle Ebooks with the evolution of the Cash Rewards Credit Card Financial Survival System



Now we may be facing an additional tightening of our belts. What this means is that another system besides Cash Rewards will need to come into play as part of our financial survival tools.
I am constantly being introduced to new money-saving apps. In fact, most of them do not require manual coupon cutting. Instead, the saving is sent electronically from one devise location to another devise location which can then register at purchase checkout to apply the savings.
To start, there are plastic tags with individual identity name and graphics on one side. Then there is a bar card on the back to identify each store. Savings are electronically registered on a store’s tag. Finally, that information is transferred to the cash register at purchase.
coupon cutting tags
21st Century coupon cutting tags with retailer image on one side and electronically activated barcode on the other



21st Century coupon cutting is a transformation of the previous century system. In fact, the new system is digital coupons. Therefore, going forward in this series, look more and more for keywords that refer to digital coupons rather than coupon cutting. But don’t throw your scissors or coupon organizer quite yet. Instead, prepare to use them less and less. Happy savings, 21st-century style!


Is there something you’d like to say about this blog post? Your comments are always welcome. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to reach the box to ‘start the discussion’.

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One Day From Homeless

Using Credit Cards for Survival and Profit

Four Amazon Kindle Ebooks on Financial Survival Using Cash Reward Credit Cards

Save Money on Groceries

Electronic coupon transfers
TopCashBack Recommended by Wallet Hacks
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How many are too many? Is there a set rule or a prescribed limit? Apparently not from what I have read. But what I have found is that when I have to spend hours almost daily to monitor them, it is too many for me.

many credit cards
How many Credit Cards Should You Carry? from

When I discovered that cash reward credit cards could be a reliable way to reduce my monthly expenses, I started applying for them as often as I could. Of course, the idea was to get the largest promotional welcome bonus, the highest % of cash rewards as well as a substantial amount of available credit. Therefore for about the last three years, gathering cash reward credit cards has become a major pastime. Well, guess what? Now I have too many cards.

credit cards
From, One Credit Card or Many? How to Decide?

It has been a tremendously educational experience collecting all the cards I have. Primarily, it has helped and still helps to reduce my expenses. In addition, I have written many blog posts and several Ebooks about this. Doubtless, there will be more. But the most significant comment I can make at this time is that right now I have too many. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I have reached critical mass.

FICO score factors
There are Six Primary Credit Card factors in the major FICO® scoring system as illustrated by Credit Karma®

For most of this time, my primary concern has been focusing on the 5 or 6 FICO® credit score factors that go into building a good credit score. Certain cards have taken priority for charging purchases. Then it recently occurred to me that if I did not start using all of my cards, some could be closed for inactivity. That could affect my credit score negatively by lowering my available credit, changing the average length of time I have had cards and flagging too many closures. Low and behold, that is exactly what happened this week. One of my co-branded cards was closed without notice for inactivity.

Credit Monitoring Alert from

I need enough cards to satisfy the FICO® score factors. Fortunately, I found a formula that I could use to determine how many cards to own, which ones to keep and those to phase out since I had surpassed critical mass. These are the factors I now consider in which cards to use:
a. the oldest aged accounts
b. those with the best credit line and lowest credit utilization ratio
c. the ones with optimal returns in my top spending categories
d. those that give me the maximum value for use with my favorite merchants, stores, airlines or hotels

straight flush credit card collection
Optimize the Credit Cards You Carry with A ‘ Straight Flush’

My sense is that I would like to have no more than ten at the most. For example, my ‘straight flush’ analogy illustrates most of them. Beyond that, I think that one or two travel cards are essential. Other than that, an additional card or two in the ‘straight flush’ formula would be OK too.

FICO® score 9/24/19
My FICO® score in September 2019 according to CreditJourney

I am at a new beginning. I have climbed the credit card mountain in excellent standing. Now it is time to descend the other side with equal care. Therefore future writings on this topic will involve reducing my load doing my best to maintain my great credit card standing while keeping also 6 FICO® score factors in balance.


How Many Credit Cards Is Too Many?
How Many Credit Cards Should I Have?
Images of Many credit Cards

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