How Me Being A Complete Moron Cost Me 28,000 Ultimate Rewards … Don’t Be Me

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How Me Being A Complete Moron Cost Me 28,000 Ultimate Rewards

Many websites, writers, bloggers will only show you their success stories.  They want you to look at them as perfection, as an undoubted expert in the field.  Well, that just isn’t honest.  People make mistakes, even bloggers (especially bloggers?).  And learning from mistakes are the best form of learning.  I loved that my parents shared their financial mistakes with me which helped me on my path to financial independence from a young age.  So here I am to show you my warts. To show you how me being lazy, unorganized and aloof cost me a nice chunk of Ultimate Rewards points.  It was a simple mistake but it proved costly.

Fun With My Ink+ Card

The Chase Ink+ is probably my favorite card.  It is an OG Chase Ink card that is no longer available to sign up for.  It works similar to the Chase Ink Cash, earning 5X at office supply stores, on internet, cell phone and streaming purchases. The Ink+ does have a $95 annual fee but that is because the 5X earning caps are twice as much as the Ink Cash.  You can rack up 250,000 Ultimate Rewards on the categories listed above each year versus only 125,000 with the Chase Ink Cash.

Most years I don’t quite max this spend out, at least not since many of my tried and true spending avenues dried up.  I would hit up the office store deals when they came around but liquidating the $200 cards was a pain so I never went super heavy on them.  That changed this year with a new liquidation method opening up to me, one I have shared in our MtM Diamond group on the spending podcast.  So I have been like a bee to honey when those deals come around.

This week’s deal was no different.  I grabbed $3000 worth on Sunday and another $1000 worth on Monday.  I was sitting there with a big grin on my face, awaiting my 20,000 Ultimate Rewards…

Realizing My Mistake

That is when it dawned on me that my anniversary was coming up next month and I knew I had to be somewhat close to the limit for the year.  I figured I would double check to see how much room I had for this deal to ensure I maxed out my earnings before my year reset.

I logged into Chase’s website and fired up the Ultimate Rewards site and that is when my heart sank.  I noticed my purchases dating back a week or two were only earning 1X and not earning 5X.  That is when I checked the tracker, something I should have done months ago, and noticed it was sitting at the full 200,000 Ultimate Rewards points for the year.  Chase even makes it easy for us, notating how many of the 4X bonus points (the 1X on everything shows separately) you have earned for the year.  I had completely ignored it up until now.  It is something I don’t normally worry about but I should have this year with my increased spending.

I tracked it back a few weeks and the total spent that I will be earning a paltry 1X on is $7000.  That is 28,000 Ultimate Rewards I will be missing out on. If I had paid attention I would have switched the spending to another Ink card or card with a welcome offer etc.  However you want to look at it I am missing out on $420 in expected value.  Don’t be me, track your spending!

Final Thoughts

This is a simple mistake that I thought that I would never make, but let me tell you that it cuts deep. I have been trying to rebuild my points stash since burning it to the ground.  I have more than replaced my Membership Rewards balance but my Chase Ultimate Rewards one is lagging about 150,000 behind were it was early in the year.  This moronic error accounts for almost 20% of that total.  That is a big chunk of the goal punted down the field.

Luckily I won’t have to wait long for my 5X earning ability to reset next month.  One thing I can tell you is that this is a mistake I will learn from and one I will not make again.

Have you made any blunders this year?  Share your pain in the comments below.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. My errors have mostly been in the burning of points rather than the earning of them. Like a $200 midnight taxi ride for ex-girlfriend in São Paulo when I didn’t notice there was an airport change. That’s how I became an ex.

  2. OK, Juan. Everybody knows by now. You have to pay to play. We know that.
    The question still remains for many readers. What is the “liquidation method.” The Diamond group?
    And where does the $15.00 fit in with all this?
    Respectfully submitted.

    • He is talking about our Diamond Facebook / Slack group which is $15 a month. I have talked about the method in there for several months. I wouldn’t join just for this since you can’t replicate it everywhere (somewhat location specific). The group is more of a social group with miles and points fanatics across the country / world coming together.

      More info on the group here –

  3. I don’t think there’s any one of us, in any of our professions, that work hard at doing our jobs diligently, don’t make an occasional mistake or do something that causes us a loss, even at something we normally do so well at. Impossible. I totally understand the grief that comes with “stupid” mistakes. Makes us over achievers cringe! You have to look at your wins vs your losses. My guess is you have 20 to 1, maybe 50 to 1. You’re a success story. Keep up the good work and thanks for your continual insights to help us all, and hope you rack up tons of points doing so, with few mishaps!

    • Thanks Frank – mistakes happen for everyone for sure. We just have to try to learn from them and improve in the future 🙂

  4. Yes, I transferred over miles to United for tickets that were 12,500 each not realizing that I still had to pay $60 for the taxes per ticket. (It was a flight from Canada.) If I had realized it before I transferred the miles, I would have paid cash and saved the UR for Hyatt.

    • Those international taxes definitely change the math on things, especially for cheaper fares from Canada and Mexico.

  5. Learning from failures is as important as reveling in our successes. I had around 43,000 Asiana miles that went away last year, which was a bit of a bummer as I would have been happy to use them for a business class Lufthansa flight to Europe.

  6. So for $15 we can join the Diamond group and find out that new liquidation method? Certainly worth $15 to me — I have a pile of $200 cards that I would LOVE to cash in.

    • It isn’t replicable for everyone so I wouldn’t join the group just for that. It is more about create a social community where people can learn from each other, get to know people around the country and come to meet ups etc. Talking about methods is just a small portion of it.

      • I think the group wouldn’t be that useful for me — I live in Montana, and chase points and miles to fly people in here to perform. I’m the only person I know who is actually interested in frequent flyer stuff. (Actually, maybe that’s a good reason to join.)

        • I do think that is what a lot of people enjoy about it – getting to know others that are into this stuff like we are because everyone in their daily lives is tired of hearing about it lol.

  7. I don’t read about the mistakes that often — I definitely agree. Cool.

    And also — people why are you begrudging him for actually trying to make $ from his strategies -_-

  8. I used to have an ink plus as well but downgraded to the ink cash. Easy enough to get two of those and no AF. At least your 1x earn was still profitable given the no fee gc sales and what I think is your liquidation method that has no fees.

  9. Yeah, the take home message of this post was “I have an awesome liquidation method but you have to be in the Diamond group to be in the know, and anyhoos I spent too much.” :/

  10. YES. When his annual fee came due in Dec., my husband downgraded his CSR to another Freedom card to save the $450 AR. Got full fee refunded. YES.
    Then we decided in March to have him apply for the CSP with a 60K signup bonus with my referral link. There was no immediate need for this card, but why not get a new bonus and get me a $15K referral bonus, right? NO. 2 days after he applied but before approval, it was announced that the bonus was going to 80K. Bonus went into effect before he received and activated the card, but Chase wouldn’t match it. Then a couple of months later the bonus went to 100K and referral to 20K. So that’s 40K points, if that’s any consolation to you.

    I did refer a friend when the bonus was $15K but he took awhile to apply. By that time the referral was raised to 20K, so I got that. Small consolation. (after all my friend got 100K). C’est la vie – it happens. As they say, win some, lose some. These days we still have so much to be thankful for, so we try to focus on that. But, yeah, those 40K UR points would’ve been very nice. 😉

    • It stinks too because Chase used to be so good about matching offers if it was in the min spending period. Not sure why they ended it, I know it happened when Covid started but that shouldn’t change anything.

  11. you allude to ‘new liquidation method’ without saying what it is. not very polite to us ignorant readers.


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