WARNING: The following article is meant for people who have a laser-like focus about paying off their credit cards each month.  We’re serious. If you are unable to do this with ease, please stop reading this article and pretend that it does not exist.  It would be a horrible mistake for you to try and emulate the actions we describe here. For those of you who have a stupid amount of discipline like we do at Club Thrifty, please read at your own risk.

Since writing this piece, we’ve traveled all across the world on credit card rewards. You can read about some of our travels here:

If you're disciplined and able to pay off your cards each month, credit card rewards can be a great way to earn cash back and travel for free!I LOVE credit cards!  I love them for their convenience, the “expense tracking” qualities, and – most of all – the rewards!  I have had many rewards credit cards over the past few years and seem to keep adding another one a few times a year.  Of course, we NEVER pay interest or carry a balance, so our credit cards are just for fun.  Recently, however, I began to wonder how much credit we actually had available to us.  After getting all of our cards out and adding up their available credit lines, I realized that we had over $70,000 in open credit.  Yikes!  That cannot possibly be a good thing, especially since we only put about $1,000 per month on them.

Our Credit Cards and Their Limits

Home Depot Card $12,000

Menards $6,000

Kohls $5,000

Chase Freedom $6,000

Chase Freedom $6,000

Chase Sapphire Preferred $10,000

Chase Sapphire Preferred $10,000

Upromise Visa $10,000

Kroger 123 Rewards Mastercard $10,000

As everyone knows from our story a few weeks ago, I don’t give a hoot about my FICO score anymore.  So, we decided that it was time to close some cards.  First, we canceled the Kroger 123 Rewards Mastercard, mostly because I don’t use it anymore.  The Upromise Visa got cut too because it only pays a measly 1% of our spending towards our kids college fund.  We also nixed the Home Depot and Menards cards.  We haven’t been there forever!  Plus, I cannot imagine needing them for any reason….so they had to go.

We called and cancelled all of them and luckily weren’t given much trouble for it.  Then we cut them up into little tiny pieces.

Moving On…

We decided to keep our Chase Freedom cards, because we love the rewards!  They pay 5% on certain categories during each quarter of the year.  For instance, July-September of this year we get 5% back on gas and restaurants.  We definitely buy gas and eat at restaurants, so that was a no brainer.

We also kept each of our Chase Sapphire Preferred cards.  I actually just signed us up for them recently because they had an awesome sign up bonus.  It goes like this: spend $3,000 in the first three months and get 40,000 points to spend at Chase Ultimate Rewards.  I have never “bought” anything with my rewards points in the past. I always take a statement credit.  Amazingly, 40,000 points equals a $400 statement credit!!!

Now, all we have to do is spend $6,000 between our two cards in the next 3 months to get a combined reward of $800.  It shouldn’t be that hard.  We are about to book a spring trip to Aruba which will cost a little over $3,000 so that takes care of one of them.  With the other card, we will buy 3 months groceries, gas, expenses, and all of our spending on our vacation in September.  I think we will make it.

Having our Chase Sapphire cards will also be great for our trip to Aruba in April since there are no pesky foreign transaction fees.  All I have to do is cancel both of our cards by the end of next June because there is no way in hell that I am paying the $95 annual fee.

Find Your Rewards Cards Here!

Beating the Bank at Their Own Game

I feel a little guilty sometimes about my credit card addiction.  I feel like I just take and take and take from them and never give them anything in return.  Sure, I know that they make a certain percentage from retailers, but I still can’t help but feel a little greedy.  I never pay them a cent of interest or an annual fee.

Sometimes, I  wonder when the credit card reward gravy train will end.  Just this year, we have gotten over $600 in credit card rewards.  I took them all in statement credits and paid for Les Miserables tickets, a new grill for my husband for father’s day, and some evenings out on the town.  How can they possibly be making enough money to finance all of this when there are people like me who never give them anything in return?  I don’t know….and I guess I really don’t care.  Until things change, I will still be “card hopping” and milking it for all it’s worth.

If you’d like to compare some of the best credit card offers, check out our Best Credit Card Rewards page! We can also help you create your own personalized travel plan using rewards. Just visit our “Travel Coaching” page to get started for FREE!