So here it is – my first official BoardingArea post! After some technical issues getting my domain to forward to my new BoardingArea hub, it looks like I finally made it with very little bumps in the road and sunny skies ahead!
For those of you who have been following my posts before transitioning to BoardingArea, the last post I left you with was a promise to touch upon some of my “points”-absentmindedness. Being BoardingArea’s “newb”, there’s no better time than now to poke fun at myself. For those who are new, Hi! Nice to meet you.
First off, I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who pretends to be organized throughout the year when it comes to keeping track of my tax-deductible expenses, but… when I find myself scrambling through all of my year-end summaries on my credit card statements, I’m forced to accept that organization during tax season is not my really strong point, sadly.
Last week, I spent way too much time going through each and every expense, scattered across 6 credit card accounts, 3 bank accounts, and miscelleanous receipts that I shoved in a box throughout the year. It wasn’t pretty.
In order to make light of the situation, I tried to trigger memories related to each of the expenses, and believe it or not, I cringed when I remembered some of the mistakes I made before I jumped on the points-and-miles bandwagon. Here they are:
- Using The Wrong Credit Card: In January 2011, Kevin and I moved in together. Using money we saved for a year, we treated ourselves by furnishing our apartment wall-to-wall with brand new furniture, appliances, decor, etc. We spent thousands of dollars and used my American Express Blue Sky Traveler card. Yikes. If only I knew about the SPG Amex, Chase Sapphire, or the Amex Premier Gold card. In my mind, I thought I was “savvy” to be using a credit card that lets me earn a measly $100 credit towards travel after $7,500 spend. On the 1-10 cringe scale, this gets a 10.
- Foreign Transaction Fees: In the earlier part of 2011, I went on two international trips – a weekend in The Bahamas in March with friends, and 2 weeks in the Philippines in April. As I was skimming through my statements, I came across dozens of foreign transaction fees. Granted the total of these fees were under $40, it still makes me cringe knowing that these could have been completely avoided using a better card. Cringe scale: 7.
- Horrible Misuse of Continental Miles: In August of 2011, I was guilty of nagging Kevin and really getting on his case by
whiningsaying that he traveled too much for business and didn’t spend enough time with me. He agreed to fly me out to Orange County, CA to accompany him on a business trip (Mistake #1. Advice: ladies, never crash your man’s business trip; it’ll never truly feel like a vacation, and they won’t have enough time to shower you with the attention you deserve). Anyway, I volunteered to use my Continental OnePass miles for the trip (Mistake #2. Ladies, let your man spend his miles you). I redeemed 25,000 of my hard-earned CO miles for a round trip from EWR to SNA. During my last day in California, I literally ran into an old high school friend randomly and decided that I’d extend my trip for a few days to catch up with her. Somewhere in my nutty brain, I thought that spending 12,500 more of my miles to change my flight was a “good deal”. OMG – Mistake #3, and totally a 10 on the cringe scale. However, every story needs a happy ending, right? Since it was a “business” trip, I convinced Kevin to refund those miles to me from his corporate account. Now, its a 3 on the cringe scale.
- Staying a Week at a Marriott (and Hilton!) Without a Marriot Rewards or HHonors Account: In July/August I had the pleasure of working on an Adam Sandler film for 3 weeks that was shooting on the beaches of Cape Cod, Mass. It was one of the most fascinating experiences I’ve had in my career because in all honesty, it felt like a paid vacation. My home for those three weeks was split between a Marriott and Hilton property. Silly me didn’t think about getting points for my stays. I was on cloud 9 enjoying Cape Cod. However, it took a month or two for reality set in (and many lectures from my “points-dad”) to realize that it was foolish not take the 5 minutes to make a Marriott Rewards and HHonors account. Because I was able to go back and get credit for my past-stays, this gets a 4 on the cringe scale.
- Letting Kevin Fly Without a FF Account: I’m the first to proudly admit that I wear the points in this relationship. Hey, someone’s gotta do it. Looking back, Kevin did A LOT of travel to and from the west coast in 2010/2011 on Continental/United without even having a OnePass or MileagePlus account. Intervention needed. In early 2011, I bit the bullet and made him an account, then manually filled out the missing mileage requests using all of his ticket stubs dated 6 months back. It ended up that he flew enough to qualify for gold elite status for 2012. He thanks me regularly by giving me his first-class upgrades when we travel together, bringing this offense down to a 2 on the cringe scale. Win-Win.