When people get exposed to the world of points and miles, it can seem like you’re able to earn points hand over fist with no effort. I mean, just do a few Google searches and you can find documents showing techniques on how to earn hundreds of thousands to millions of miles a year. Here’s where having the most important thing to earn points and miles comes in handy:
I don’t want to sound like a prude but I just can’t help but shake my head when I read a post online asking “I just signed up for a card and met the $10,000 spending requirement in 8 days by buying money orders and gift cards. When can I cancel the card?”
Of course, there’s also the posts “I cycled $25,000 through my CC with a $5,000 CL by cashing in gift cards for money orders in one month. Chase just shut down my account, WHY??? Who can I complain to?”
Really? What are you thinking!?!?!?!? You wonder why you got shut down? Did any of what you did seem like “normal” in any way? Even more so because you just received the card 1 week ago. What should a bank think?
I’m expecting two responses to people who made it this far into the article.
- The group who is asking “Do people really do this?”
- The Manufactured Spenders who are getting ready to type angry replies to this post.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a post about (MS) Manufactured Spending; I really consider it to be the “Dark Arts” of points and miles. I appreciate it takes talent, time and knowledge to learn how to do MS right so it doesn’t blow up in your face and I’d rather be over here, learning how to make feathers float.
Why Common Sense?
This isn’t Monopoly money. This is real money with real world consequences. If the only reason you care about your credit report is to get a new credit card, this might not matter to you. However, if you need a car, a house or apartment, any type of insurance or a job, all of those places will pull your credit too. How will it look if you have 20 credit cards you’ve maxed out and cancelled in three months?
Forget about how you look to a bank. If you keep gaming them, they will catch up to you. Either the AMEX RAT Team or the new Chase and Citi application rules are going to bite you in the @$$. You might think, “who cares? I’ll just go onto the next thing. There’s plenty of cards or checking accounts out there. I’m smarter than the banks and Credit Card companies.”
What’s The Right Way?
I don’t think there’s a right way to approach points and miles. That’s one of the main reasons Sharon and I started Your Mileage May Vary in the first place. What’s right for one person might not be right for another. However, being irresponsible with your finances isn’t the right approach for anyone.
- If you’re new to the game, start slow. Learn the ropes. Look before you jump.
- Focus on things you know. If you like Marriott, learn about Marriott. You can branch out later. No harm in maxing out benefits from the things you know.
- Don’t jump into every program at once. Having small balances in every program isn’t worth anything. Learn to have focus and stick to a few programs.
- DON’T DO ANYTHING THAT WILL PUT YOUR FINANCIAL SECURITY AT RISK!
I can’t stress that last one enough. If you don’t have good credit or lack financial discipline (there’s a big difference between having $500,000 in credit available and using $500,000 in credit). If you don’t think you’re responsible enough, set yourself some limits. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary
Feature photo from Frits Ahlefeldt