Licensing Questions

So alittle about myself. I have over well over 1080 12 hr days on board a vessel slightly under 100 tons. Most all my time is inland, but about a 1/3 is near coastel. I currently hold a 100ton inlands masters license, and want to upgrade and get on larger vessels and continue further into my maritime carreer. Im paid to be engineer on the vessel im on, but essentially im a 2nd ticket (captain). On sea service forms i claim 1st mate to try and use that to upgrade for a 200ton license. Ive received a letter stating since my time on on 100 ton vessels and smaller i would only receive 150ton master near coastel license. Is this worth the schooling money and headaches to spend a couple thousand dollars to just increas my license 50 tons??? I want to eventually get onto Offshore vessels or tugs. Although i need to aquaire my AB and Bst (which i plan to do this winter)

Someone made the comment to me that i should get my AB with oiler cert and pursue the engine dept, and another person told me not to waste my money on the 200 ton upgrade (150tons) and pursue the 1600 ton mates license, work it for a few years than test out and convert the tonnage for a captains license.

Not neccesarily looking for “loop holes” im just looking for people with knowledge whove been here and can help me get the best bang for the buck as far as training, that will resut in a better job. I currently make $408 a day, and want to get on larger vessels and make the same to start, and eventually, more… Either in the engine room, or wheel house. Any help would be appreciated. n