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"the CC's look at purchases & cash differently with VERY different rates, Can I instruct "them" to put the min where ever it is they put it and use the $500 I pay towards the cash balance?"

You can "instruct" all you want but they will put the entire payment
toward the balance earning them the lowest rate.

It would be nice to have an extra card, with no balance, to use in a situation like this. Next best, or perhaps even better, is for you to get a new card and balance transfer your entire balance to that card at the new, low introductory rate. When taking out the new card, if you phone the new company, you stand a good chance of getting them to waive the balance transfer fee, usually 3%. If you transfer only a part of your balance guess what, they will transfer the part earning them the lowest rate...
Best wishes, Chris
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