My goal from the start has always been to paint a realistic picture of this hobby. The truth is, it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. There are many pitfalls and hidden dangers to watch out for. If you are just starting out in the miles and points world, make sure to read Is it best not to discuss credit card bonuses with family and friends? Even though the post was written almost a year ago, the info is still completely relevant today.
This blog is here to record my triumphs and mistakes. As far as the last one is concerned, there are aplenty. So, in this post I will tell you about my latest faux pas. Enjoy!
I’ve made no secret that I’m totally disorganized. This spills into many areas of my life, including blogging. As you can imagine, it presents a problem when it comes to tracking my multitude of credit cards. I try to record information and payment details, but invariably forget to follow up. And so it goes with my new Hyatt credit card.
When I get a new offer, I make a point of setting up automatic payments right away, and of course, choose “Pay in full” option. That’s what I thought happened with my Hyatt card. Except, when I got my first statement, there was an $18 interest charge. Huh? I went to my online profile, and sure enough, I selected “Minimum payment due” option by accident.
I have no clue how I would make such a stupid mistake, but I did. Of course, the charge is pretty small, and I probably could call Chase and beg them to remove it. But I’m not going to do that. There are a couple of reasons:
- Chase has given me lots of bonuses over the years, and this one is totally my fault.
- I don’t want to draw attention to myself and my “churning” history. This may be paranoia on my part, but imo it’s better to be safe than sorry.
An update: My reader Erik has convinced me to call and ask for refund of $18 interest charge, and so I did. It took 5 minutes an now I’m $18 richer!
So, what can you learn from this? Obviously, you have to stay organized and “on top” when it comes to this hobby. It’s so easy to lose track of payments, but it’s crucial to always follow up on all of your accounts. That also includes checking statements to make sure there are no fraudulent charges.
You can create your own spreadsheet, but there are also free tools available to help you, like CardWatchDog (not an affiliate link). I finally went ahead and signed up for it because, clearly, I need all the help and watchdogs I can get. It is very easy to use, and I recommend you give it a shot.
When you click on the card, you can see more details on the sign-up bonus and payment due date. This is the perfect app for IT simpletons like myself. If you want to get all fancy, check out this tool on Milesfortrips blog.
The eternal debate on “free”
I know some people hate hearing this, but miles and points are not free. There is work and time involved and yes, there is risk. It’s important to make sure you are in control and understand the risks before you sign up for 10 credit cards at once.
That said, paying $18 isn’t going to kill me, and I’m still coming out ahead, all things considered. This bonus will give me $50 statement credit (well, $32) and 2 nights at a beachfront property that goes for $400 per night (not that I would ever pay that much). I choose to look at this incident as “glass half full” kind of thing. I’ll just make sure to be more careful next time. Side note: According to Doctorofcredit, Hyatt card offer that comes with $50 incentive is now only available to those who stayed at a Hyatt property since May 1st 2015. Check this post for more info and relevant links
Readers, what hobby flops can you share with me?
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