In late February I wrote about culling my credit card inventory, a project I had begun weeks before. As I was settling my bills this weekend, a now weekly activity of mine, it occurred to me that I’d been exclusively using one credit card for all my non-cash spending for a month. That’s a statement I haven’t made for well over a decade as I first started hitting the bonus points game in roughly 2003.

using one credit card, credit cards, personal finance

The Verdict

I am surprisingly at peace with the fact that I haven’t gotten every last little point I could have if I were actively targeting spend towards certain cards. The ease of tracking just one credit card for spending is a bonus point that can’t be valued. Of course, that’s because I’m more focused on personal finance and liquidity at the moment, and not on building my miles and points cache. There is one other benefit that I cannot guarantee will continue, but I feel like I must mention it.

I’m Spending Less Money

Yes, I said it. Just 30 days is not a real trend, but for no apparent reason, my spending has dropped. Could the fact that I’m not pursuing every possible point be behind that? Or could it be that I’m recovering some discipline I’d lost? The kind of discipline one really needs to maximize the benefits of the credit card bonus game. Could be a combination of both, but it is something I’m going to keep an eye on. Most of all, it’s something I’m happy to see – a little more money in the bank is a good thing.

The Bottom Line

It’s easy to jump into maximizing credit card bonuses for “free” travel. Heck, it’s fun. It’s also OK to step back from the game every once in a while and refocus. For me, this was about regaining some focus, culling card inventory, and being ready to jump back in with both feet at some point in the future. If I keep traveling at the rate I have been in Q1, I’m going to have to think about some elite qualifying mile opportunities with credit cards which could push me over the next elite status threshold. We’ll see. For now, I’m happy with my decision to tone things down.

-MJ, March 14, 2016