Why That Mistake Isn’t A Huge Deal
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I am not perfect. I am not a perfect husband, a perfect father or a perfect traveler. Much of my life has been learned “the hard way” through making honest old fashioned mistakes. Through those mistakes I have improved in all aspects of life.
This hobby works the same as everything else. It takes time, work and a lot of effort to become “good” at it. Then, even when you are supposedly “good”, you screw up. You make a mistake that is so dumb that you are embarrassed even thinking about it.
Usually when I write posts like this it is because I have made a mistake and am writing as a cautionary measure. Fortunately that hasn’t happened today (yet), but for some reason this topic came to mind, so why not write about it?
Common Miles and Points Mistakes
These certainly don’t represent all of the mistakes people make, but these five mistakes are common and not a huge deal in most cases.
Missed the due date on a credit card – I have dozens of credit cards and I have made a late payment exactly once. The good news is the banks are generally willing to credit back the late fee if you are a good customer. Doing this is also a great incentive to improve your organization methods. Also remember that late payments only hit your credit report after more than 30 days, so the worst thing that happens is you pay a late fee.
Made a terrible award redemption – It happens. Even the expert award bookers have done it at some point. This is the type of thing that tends to happen less often with experience. Don’t sweat a mistake like this. Just earn more points! There is no scarcity in miles & points and maybe that mistake will provide knowledge that will later help you with an amazing redemption.
Also, sometimes bad redemptions really aren’t bad. For example, a couple of years ago my wife wanted to go to Maui. I burned 22,000 points per night at the Hyatt Regency (my review) when the rates were only about $275-$300. At the time I didn’t want to spend that money, but I had plenty of UR points, so I did it. The trip was fantastic, but obviously I didn’t get the most value for my points. Still worth it though. What a great trip!
Got hit with a hard inquiry when opening a bank account, television subscription, cell phone account – Darn them! Always running my credit. There is not much you can do about this and remember a hard inquiry in and of itself is not a mistake. For example, if I switch television providers and save $20 a month for two years, but they run my credit, is it worth it? Yes it is.
Lost track of how much in gift cards I have to liquidate – This is one that I have not personally done, but I know others have. One time I did find an old Vanilla Reload buried in a drawer, but thankfully it had been redeemed. Even if you make a mistake that costs hundreds of dollars, you are still coming out ahead in the end. Consider your mistake an “investment” in a new system of organization so it doesn’t happen again.
Didn’t verify documents after applying for an offer – This mistake happened to someone I know. (Not me.) This person was applying in branch at Citi for the ThankYou Preferred offer that paid 5x at grocery, drug stores and gas stations for the first 12 months. (No longer available.) They brought in a print out of the offer to the banker who acknowledged it was available. When the person returned home they realized they were given the normal 20,000 TY point bonus and nothing else. After escalating to Citi, nothing was done. That was a HUGE LOSS, but this person was able to get multiple Citi AA Executive cards last year to make up for it!
Everyone makes mistakes and no one bats 1,000. This hobby can get complicated and things are constantly changing so you are bound to make a mistake at some point. When it happens, get up & brush yourself off and stop focusing on what you lost and instead focus on all that you have gained. At least that is what works for me.
Feel free to share your mistakes in the comments!