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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Using Credit Cards for Survival and Profit


financial survival tools
My two published eBook on Amazon.com

My second eBook, USING CREDIT CARDS for Survival & Profit is now available on Amazon along with my first, The Poor Middle Class Crisis. The second eBook temporarily is available in the older version entitled, Mastering Credit Cards for Survival & Profit.


I am The Credit Card Maven. I have learned ways to use credit cards for survival and profit. This post is designed to share these techniques with my friends and followers.

I started using charge cards many years ago. I never abused them. The bills were always paid on time. But they were not credit cards. They were charge cards for department stores. At one point, I decided to eliminate most of them.

credit card maven

The Credit Score Scale from Shutter Stock®
Credit Cards Replace Charge Cards

My FICO score has always been in the excellent range. In spite of that, I had no idea how FICO scores worked. It was just one of those mysteries of life. I continued to carry a limited number of cards as well as having a credit score of over 800. When our financial situation changed in 2008, credit cards took on a totally new meaning for us.

Credit Cards Become Currency

Due to circumstances which I detail in my first eBook, The Poor Middle Class Crisis Introduction, our financial profile changed drastically. Our equity was gone as well as our income. We no longer had savings. Suddenly credit cards became a way to earn money and derive other benefits from them, as well.

The biggest incentive to use credit cards as currency was our need to take a trip to Colorado to visit our families. Because of that, I signed up for a total of four travel rewards cards. One of them was the airline travel rewards card. I signed up during a promotion. If I spent $1,000 in three months using this card, I would get 30,000 bonus points and $100. off the airfare. I have earned enough points for a free trip to Colorado and back, again. Hopefully it won’t take six years to see our families again.

credit card maven
The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card Offer from Creditcards.offers.com
Mastering Credit Card Use

As you can imagine, using so many cards can become very confusing. I am still perfecting my system. But I can tell you what I have learned so far. We are fortunate enough to have excellent credit. So we were easily able to secure all the cards we wanted. If you don’t have great credit, do everything you can to improve it. There is a link to an article from NextAdvisor.com in the Sources and Resources section about paying down if not getting out of debt. Do read it.

Treasure An Excellent FICO Score

For the person with excellent credit, you want to keep it. Great credit is precious. Here are some golden rules on how to train yourself to use your credit cards wisely.
• Sign up for cards that best meet you needs and spending habits. There are websites that show you which to use.
• Always pay bills in full and on time.
• Make a chart of closing and payment due dates for all your cards.
• Keep an accounting of how much you spend each month so that you do not exceed your budget.
• Use no more than 30% of the credit limit you have on each card.
• It is better to charge larger amounts on a few cards than to charge small amounts on many cards.
• For cash rewards cards, write on the card itself the cash back % you get on each category of purchases.
• Do not close old credit card accounts. It is best to have as long a credit history as possible.
• Avoid fee based cards unless the benefits greatly outweigh the out-of-pocket expense.

Credit Card Myths and Tips
credit card maven
‘Treat Your Cards Like Your Best Friends’. Man Holding A Credit Card from 123RF.com

Myths about credit cards abound. So here are some tips to dispel them.
• A credit score will not necessarily be lowered by having numerous cards. But don’t sign up for too many too close together. That can appear to the credit card score companies like you are in crisis.
• Almost every credit card company has a ‘Check Your FICO score’ feature. You can use it without negatively impacting your score. This is a ‘soft’ check.
• A ‘hard’ check can negatively impact your score. That could be checking by a loan company, a future employer,etc.



There is so much more that can and will be said about credit cards, their use and mastery in future posts. Credit cards can be like a loaded gun. They can be dangerous, even deadly if you do not know how to use it. On the other hand, they can be a lifesaver when properly trained.

Sources and Resources

0% Interest Card Offerings Now, from NextAdvisor

Getting the Right Card for Your Balance Transfer
Credit Cards Dos and Don’ts

The Ten Best Cash Rewards Cards from CreditKarma.com

How To Pick The Best Credit Card for You from NerdWallet.com

Find The Best Credit Card Offers for You

5 Money Problems You Can Solve With A Good Attitude

There are so many invaluable posts on the WalletHacks.com site, I am linking to their archive

Using Credit Cards from The Alison D. Gilbert Blog

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