A few things have happened in the last month or so that have really made me question my competency with miles and points – and even made me wonder whether it’s still worth it? In the end, I don’t think I’m quitting, buuuut I am getting a bit old (or baby brained) and making mistakes that I shouldn’t be. This is happening concurrently with the miles and points game changing (read: devaluations) – can I keep up? Here are some reasons I considered getting out and the solutions that I’m implementing to keep myself IN.
Reason 1: I forgot to cancel a card before the annual fee was due
This one is kind of embarrassing on two fronts. Before we left for Germany I noticed my Chase Sapphire Preferred card was missing. Embarrassment #1. THEN when I went to check online to make sure there had been no fraudulent charges, I noticed that my annual fee had already hit and I hadn’t cancelled the card yet. Embarrassment #2.
I had decided months ago to downgrade to a regular Sapphire (keep line and credit history, get rid of annual fee), but I was really shocked that I hadn’t cancelled before the fee hit. Even though I have a detailed spreadsheet I check two or three times a week, I missed it. Yes, it was still waived because I cancelled soon enough, but still.
Solution: Set up auto reminders through gmail
If I start paying annual fees by mistake I’m going to cut into the money I save really quickly and painfully. I’ve now set up calendar reminders for 11 months before each annual fee is due – my spreadsheet is too long to not miss something every once in awhile.
Reason 2: One of my credit cards went missing
See above. I know my CSP is in my house somewhere, I just don’t know where. Since I downgraded it doesn’t matter (change in expiration date) but still…embarrassing.
Solution: Create a system that is a little more organized than my sock drawer
I need to do this, but I’m terrible at organizing. Anyone have suggestions?
Reason 3: Infant taxes have the potential to become painful
Even though we had a great agent help us book our lap infant below what it should have cost, it’s not something I can really count on. When flying premium cabins internationally a lap infant is supposed to cost 10% of what the cash ticket would cost – or $2000 in the case of our current trip. That’s…a lot. Yes, M will be old enough for her own seat soon, but that’s going to cost miles so costs are rising either way.
Solution(s): Start flying coach, stick to domestic vacations, or start manufacturing more spending
I haven’t decided which of these solutions to pursue yet. Flying coach would cut costs by quite a bit (both miles and cash wise) and we’d still be saving money. We just wouldn’t be flying as comfortably as in the past. I’ll have to do some thinking about whether M is “worth” the miles to fly in premium cabins. Another option is to stick to domestic vacations and shift our earning strategy to saving money on hotels.
After the German mountain landscapes I’m curious to check out the Rockies or the Appalachian mountains, which I’m sure are equally impressive. Finally, I think it’s time I need to step up my manufactured spending game. If you don’t know what that is, here is a primer. Saverocity has some of the most skilled MS people out there – it’s about time I caught up.
Reason 4: Playing the game takes up too much time
One thing preventing me from really ramping up my manufactured spending is time. I already spend so much time looking for award tickets (either for my family, friends, or clients) – that’s the part of the game I really enjoy and most enjoy helping people learn about.
But I can do that from the comfort of my home when my daughter is sleeping – manufactured spending requires a real time commitment – and time is money. So sometimes I really do think about quitting because I just imagine what else I could do with my time. Write the greatest American novel composed entirely of run on sentences, perhaps?
Solution: Stick to pursuits that are the most efficient timewise
I’ll have to evaluate what that entails exactly, but in the spirit of German efficiency, I’ll need to learn to maximize my time better. Which leads me to the fifth and final reason that really made me think about this:
Reason 5: I dreamt about booking an award ticket the other night – it was super intense
Solution: Get a life
No, I’m not really going to quit the miles and points game. Still, I think it’s important for all of us to evaluate where we are from time to time – there is no point in earning miles just for miles’ sake, or becoming unbalanced in the rest of our life, or turning the hobby into a pursuit where we lose money. As I’ve said before, my goal is to expose my family to new experiences in as much comfort as possible – all these things that have been happening lately have just reminded me I need to take stock of the means by which we will get there. The game keeps changing but the goal stays the same.
Anyone else notice “slip ups” in their game, have ideas for how to combat them, or ever feel the same way?