I just paid off an $11k credit card bill.
Especially when said bill was about half the cash I have on hand.
Why did I have an $11k credit card bill? Excellent question.
My bill was only going to be about a thousand buckaroos, but then I put the $10k bill from my contractor on the credit card. (The new deck and stairs look amazing, btw. I wish I had a picture but I don’t live there so no updated pictures. Sorry!)
Why would I do that instead of just writing him a check?
I got 10,239 points for putting that bad boy on my credit card and paying it off 3 days later. Pretty sweet!
By the way, said credit card is my trusty Chase Sapphire Reserve card. (affiliate link, you get 50k signup bonus, I get 10k points).
Currently I have 165,873 points sitting around waiting for me to use them. This year, I have booked 3 flights. One completely with points (paid $11 in taxes and fees), one with cash, and another with cash. The first cash flight I bought was completely reimbursed thanks to the $300 travel credit the card offers. The second cash flight was partially refunded because the first one didn’t use up the entire $300 credit. I wish there were a way to see how many points I’ve ever earned, because I know it’s gotta be north of 300k at this point.
So, thanks to this credit card and it’s perks, I’ve gotten two flights effectively for free and one discounted flight. The discounted flight was purchased on Southwest through my frequent flyer number during a special, so that meant I got triple the Southwest points I’d normally get!
I’ve also gotten tons of other benefits through this card, like lounge access and Global Entry fee reimbursement. The lounge access comes through the Priority Pass perk. I’ve visited lounges in 5 countries on 3 different continents and they have saved my life. Comfy seating, free food, free alcohol, and free Wi-Fi are all lifesavers when you’re stressed out by traveling. (or like when, say, one misses their flight from London to Atlanta and suddenly has an extra 2 hours to spend at an airport and are all panicky and upset because they’ve never missed a flight before.)
Now that I am not working a 9–5 job and are living close to a Global Entry office, I can apply for Global Entry! There’s a $100 fee the card will cover, so getting GE will literally just be a matter of digging out my passport, filling out the application form, and going to the airport to get fingerprinted and such. Ironically, I’m not sure when I’ll be going overseas again, but I can attest at how awesome it is to have it when going through immigration. Well, I can attest to how much faster I would have gotten through immigration had I had it. Probably wouldn’t have missed my flight in London if I hadn’t had to wait so long in line.
So, even though I’m not taking the travel hacking thing very seriously, I’m still getting pretty awesome rewards, like a discounted flight that earned Chase points and triple Southwest points, free Global Entry and free stuff when I travel. Pretttttyyyyyy sweet!
Anyways, back to this $11k bill I paid off.
I was sorely tempted to not pay it off entirely for a few reasons. I would really feel better about having more liquid runway to sustain me until my side hustles start picking up steam. So I could either leave it on the card and pay a fair amount in interest each month, or I could try to open a 0% interest card and transfer the balance and pay it off later.
But, as my boyfriend pointed out, would a credit card company give me a 0% balance card? Technically I have no job and no verifiable income right now, so I’m not the most attractive of customers at the moment (despite having a premium card in my wallet as mentioned above). If I applied and didn’t get it, I’d have a hard hit on my credit and that might lower my score.
If they did give me a card, would it have a high enough limit on it? I wouldn’t want to get a card with a limit of say, $15k, and then put $11k on it. That would completely mess up my debt to credit ratio and potentially mess up my credit.
So, in the end, I just bit the bullet and paid it off. This eliminates a lot of hassle and potentially damaging my credit score, which is good because I am THIS close to hitting 800. I don’t particularly need the credit score for anything right now but you never know when that could change. In this case, better to be safe than sorry!
On a completely different note, I am so glad I have the time to figure all this stuff out and write about it for you guys! I’ve had the time to sit and think about all the various parts of the decision instead of quickly thinking about it and moving on to something else. $11,000 is a lot of money and I wanted to make sure I made the right decision. The transition to self-employment might be stressful, but I need the reminder sometimes that this lifestyle actually does come with some perks.
Like being able to write a post in the middle of the day, drop stuff off at the post office, and run a couple of other errands before it snows 8–12″ over the weekend!
Thanks for reading! What’s your biggest credit card bill ever? Have you done the 0% interest transfer? If so, how’d that work out?