I have a very good memory. Ask my husband, my friends and they will tell you that also. It’s at times a little irritating that they will say to me “How do you remember that” and I’m thinking “How do you NOT remember that”. No special trick. It’s a blessing and a curse because I just can’t forget, particularly if I have been hurt.
Back to the subject at hand. When I first began this hobby of collecting credit cards, points, miles I never wrote anything down. I just remembered when I signed up for a card. For those that are unfamiliar when you sign up for a credit card you are given so many days in which to do a minimum send to get the points/miles that they are dangling in front of you enticing you to sign up for the card in the first place. What I didn’t know then was that it was the date you were approved for the card, nor the date you received the card nor the date you activated the card. Also at that time, if you had closed a card, you could reapply for a new card and new bonus after the card had been closed for a year or two. This is where I got myself into trouble.
I had an American Express Gold card. I did the minimum spend, received the points, kept it open for eleven months and then closed it. A year later I applied again, did the minimum spend and never received the bonus points. I called AmEx up and asked “What’s up , why no points?” Turns out that when I reapplied I was ten days short of it being two years since I closed the account. I was angry but more at myself. I wasn’t quite still a rookie but just relied on my memory – which let me down this time. Vowing to never, ever let that happen to me again I knew that I had better come up with a system so I could record everything.
I developed, with the help of Blogger Hubby, an Excel Spreadsheet. Going down the first row I listed the credit cards I had, the next row over I wrote the date I was approved for the credit card. I then had the card number, security code and the expiration date. The next row was in red and it was the close date. The next rows were the different point currencies I had like UR (Ultimate Rewards), MR (Membership Rewards), UAL, SW, Delta, AA, Alaska, Flying Blue, etc. I then began with the Hotels like Hyatt, Hilton, Radisson, Marriott, etc. Finally, it was the credit cards that gave me cash back such as Arrival. When that section was down for all my cards with the information we did another section for Blogger Hubby’s cards. We listed his, date approved, card number, etc. Through the formula that Blogger Hubby came up with excel was able to combine all the UR points that Blogger Hubby and I had individually and together. The same for the other currencies. At the far right corner Excel was able to total all the points and miles we have across the board. I know that Award Wallet can do a lot of it for you but for me this works great. I can see both of our accounts at once, I see totals for the individual points (like United) as well as the points combined for United. I also like seeing the combined points that we have for all of our cards and loyalty accounts – makes me feel rich. Here is part of my spreadsheet with my information deleted (hopefully).
Never again will I not be eligible for a bonus due to a mistake I made. What do you do to stay organized?