When I first started out in this game I had a really hard time keeping track of all the offers that I signed up for. Whether it was a free 500 miles on Facebook or double miles on a particular route, I didn’t have a good system in place to make sure that I received those promotions. After a while I realized I needed to create something that would keep track of everything.
When I first started, I would sign up for the promotions without worrying about printing out terms or keeping track of dates. I think I was under the impression that if I didn’t sign-up right away the promotion would disappear and I would be out of luck! Though I realize that while mistake fares may be gone any minute, most official promotions are going to stick around. I make sure to save a copy of the terms and conditions for everything. I don’t print it out on paper, but I keep a PDF copy on my computer. Google’s Chrome browser has a built-in PDF printer, but if you use something else you can download CutePDF Writer, which installs itself as a printer. Simply select it as your printer when you print T&Cs and you’ll get a very convenient PDF file. I keep all of these PDFs in folders that are dedicated to the Airline or Hotel that the promotion is for. Beyond the T&Cs, I keep an Excel Spreadsheet with all the details of the various promotions. Start Date, End Date, Promotion, Airline, Date I Entered, Date I Particpated, etc. The spreadsheet has made it easy for me to keep track of everything that I’ve signed up for and make sure that I actually receive the bonus. A lot of times promotions don’t credit the miles until 6-8 weeks after the fact, which makes it very easy to forget about them.
When it comes to credit cards, I make sure to keep very detailed records so that I don’t miss a minimum spend. My first few cards either offered bonus after the first purchase or after a small amount of spend such as $500-$1,000 over a few months. Now though, my sign-ups involve cards such as the Starwood American Express, which requires $5,000 of spend within six months. When coupled with other minimum spends at the same time, it can be difficult to keep track of which cards have which requirements. I also make sure to print not only the T&Cs, but also the offer page and any other pages that might seem relevant. There’s nothing worse than signing up for a credit card expecting a 40,000 mile bonus and only receiving 25,000 because that bank screwed up.
With this system in place, I’ve found it much easier to keep track of everything. How do you all manage everything? Binder? Excel Spreadsheet?