Credit Cards

It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at the credit card market. While I was never once the type to churn a bunch of credit cards, for a period of time during the college years – I was one of those guys that dabbled in 0% balance transfer cards. Thinking back, my time spent probably would have been more productive if I had applied it towards school or business – but alas, you have a different mindset when you’re in your late teens or early 20’s.

These days, because my credit cards are all essentially all on auto pilots, I hardly ever log-on to check the account unless I spot in my email an Amex offer I should add to the card, or a Chase reminder that a new 5% spending cycle is about to commence. After logging into American Express due to one such prompt, I was surprised when I was faced with a $1,600 cash-back balance.

Uhhh that’s a lot of cash back just sitting there.

Cash Back That’s No Longer “Cash”

Thinking I just found a big wad of cash under the proverbial sofa, I quickly went to claim my new found fortune.

Bad news: Blue Cash from American Express no longer lets you request a cash-back checks. All “cash-back” are now requested via a statement credit method only. And thus this $1,600 will simply  get stuffed back into the next billing cycle.

Of course, the idea is the same. There’s an extra $1,600 laying around that I didn’t factor into our budget. But there’s something different about having that cold hard cash (or uh, check) in you hands. Since my current balance with this credit card is zero, I’m not quite sure if American Express will wait for the balance to start incurring and then debit/credit accordingly. If I’m lucky, perhaps American Express will just refund the excessive credit in the account to me in the form of a check.

Points That Aren’t Worth Redeeming for Cash

Finding the “random” $1,600 got me thinking. Do I have a bunch of other points sitting at some other accounts doing absolutely nothing?