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.
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49