Jody sent me a note regarding how I keep records of my credit cards. Although she made me sound organized and fairly intelligent, I think it is more just a matter of habit and of knowing where to go when I need something.
I have a three-ring binder where I keep everything. To look at it you would think I am the most unorganized individual in the world. In fact, it is the backbone of my record-keeping. It all goes in one place.
When I apply for a credit card, I print a copy of the offer as seen online. When I get the approval letter, I keep a copy. When I get the card, I mark on the letter the card is attached to:
1. the date I received the card
2. the person I talked to at activation
3. the time I talked to them
4. and I verify the amount of sign up bonus.
When I use the card for those that award the points for “first purchase,” I staple the receipt to the letter I got with the card. I save this stuff until the points post to my account.
Jody also asked me about how I knew that my Platinum card expired on such-and-such a date so that I could apply again and expect a new sign up bonus. That one is easy. I called American Express with the phone number on the back of one of my other credit cards. They know everything about my past history. I am sure Citi, Chase, B of A, Barclay’s and the other card issuers do as well.
Sometimes we just get caught up in all this thinking stuff and don’t realize that the answers are right in front of us. I do it all the time: I over think the situation, or believe it is more complicated than it is. I know some of you have elaborate spreadsheets with all your dates, spends, points posting dates, etc. The answer is whatever works for you.
I do know this for sure: You only need one incident where a frequent flier miles or points provider shorts you and you don’t have the proper documentation to get a system that works for you. I’ll bet I get at least one or two emails per week from people hoping I kept a certain document that they need. It really doesn’t work that way very often as the documents are specific to you and your transaction.
I hope this helped, Jody, and I hope none of you get caught short on documentation. Please feel free to share your system in the comments section. It may help a fellow traveler someday.