Crazy Habits of a Points Collector | The Things We Do to Earn Points From Our Credit Cards


Hi there, it’s Ernest from Trip Astute. In
this video, we’re going to be doing something a little bit different. We’re
going to talk about the crazy things that we do as points and miles
collectors. (light chiming music) Collecting points and miles is an awesome hobby, and many of you here
know the incredible feeling of booking travel for free or minimal cost. In most
of our points and miles videos, we focus on a specific aspect of the hobby. Well
today, I thought we would do something a little bit different. We’re gonna talk
about the crazy habits and behaviors of points and miles collectors. Keep in mind
that this is just meant to be fun, but I’m hoping that you can relate to some
of the weird things that we do to earn points. So, let’s go through the list.
Number 1: Searching for places to maximize points.
This is especially the case when you have a broader category like Apple Pay or
Android Pay. For example, since Apple Pay was one of the bonus categories on the
Chase Freedom card for quarter 1, 2018, I actually looked for places where I could
get lunch using mobile payments. What I found was that the Chipotle near my work
allowed me to pay for my food using Apple Pay via the mobile app. As a result,
I probably ate more Chipotle than I should have! A bonus tip though — you may
already know this, but if you order a veggie bowl at Chipotle,
you get free guacamole with your order. Guacamole is usually extra, so getting
it for free while reducing my meat intake seemed like a good compromise to
me. Number 2: Offering to pay for dinner or travel. This is a common scenario for
me. I’ll be out to dinner with friends or coworkers, and we decide to try and
split the bill in multiple ways. Inevitably, one or two people will want
to pay with cash. To make it easier, I’ll often volunteer to pay for it on my card
and let everyone pay me back via cash or Venmo. This works even better if your
work is reimbursing you for travel or dining expenses. Even though submitting
an expense report can be a pain, I’ll volunteer to pay the bill to earn the
points, especially when I know I’ll get reimbursed. Number 3: Volunteering to buy
gifts. A few weeks ago, a co-worker of mine and his wife were expecting the
birth of their second child. So we decided to pick up a gift
as a baby shower present. Guess who volunteered to buy the gift card? Yeah, I
know it’s shameless, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to earn points.
And in case you’re wondering where I bought the gift card, I went to Rite Aid
since they accept Apple Pay and at the time it was a 5% bonus category on my
Chase Freedom card. Number 4: Carrying lots of credit cards in your wallet. Once
you get deeper into the hobby, you’re likely to start carrying more than one
credit card. I’m used to carrying multiple cards now, but I know my friends still
comment when they see how many different credit cards are in my wallet.
Number 5: Cringing when you see people pay with cash or debit card. As someone
who tries to squeeze points from every dollar that I spend, it hurts to see
people pay with cash or debit card when they have the option to pay with credit
card. And when people say to me: “Well, paying with a debit card is safer than a
credit card”, I really have to hold back the urge to
explain why that’s not actually true. Number 6:
Changing your auto pay cards frequently. You know the drill. You realize that you
have a new bonus category or you need to make a minimum spend requirement, so you
ask your gym to update your auto pay credit card, or perhaps it’s your phone
or internet provider. If I tracked how many times I’ve changed my auto pay
credit cards on different accounts, it would seem like I’m a crazy person.
Number 7: Obsessing about your spending and credit score. This hobby can
definitely make you a bit neurotic about measuring your spending and your credit
score. I won’t lie — I literally have a weekly reminder to check my credit score
on Credit Karma and Credit Sesame. And when I have a minimum spend requirement,
I make sure that I’m tracking every dollar toward my spending goal so I
don’t lose out on the opening bonus. Number 8: Getting annoyed with a
charge that is coded improperly. This one drives me nuts. One of my biggest pet
peeves is finding out that a travel or restaurant expense is not coded properly,
meaning that I don’t earn the extra bonus points. This recently happened to
me at a hotel in Sedona, Arizona. I charged my two night stay on my Chase
Sapphire Reserve card, but didn’t get the triple bonus points for travel since the
charge was encoded as an online, mail, or telephone transaction.
Number 9: Getting annoyed when salespeople try to push store credit
cards. This is an annoying situation in general, but it’s even more irritating
when you’re a points and miles collector. While it might just seem like another
credit card, points and miles collectors know that it means another credit pull
that can potentially prevent you from getting another card in the future, and
usually not worth the effort unless you spend tons of money at that specific
store. Number 10: Avoiding cash only businesses. This is a tough one to admit,
but I really hate having to pay cash for things. Even worse for me is when a
merchant has a sign saying that they only accept credit cards for
transactions over a specific amount. I know that merchants hate the fees
imposed by the credit card companies so I understand their frustration. However, I
do think that it really hurts their business not to accept or limit credit
card transactions, especially as we become more digital. Can you relate to
these situations? What crazy things do you do as a points collector? Please
share in the comments section below. If you’re interested in applying for a new
credit card, please check out our Credit Card Offers page. We’ve partnered with
Creditcards.com to link you to the latest credit card offers. Trip Astute
does get a commission if you use our link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra,
but it’s an easy way to support the channel and help us to continue building
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47 thoughts on “Crazy Habits of a Points Collector | The Things We Do to Earn Points From Our Credit Cards

  • I normally care a few Credit card in my wallet!!! This is so funny I can relate all those tips!!! I check my Credit score all the time…but the worse is trying to get my wife to use the right Credit card during the bonus category month!!!

  • I relate to all of these! Most of all, seeking out the mobile payment or stores that give me more points. I did it at best buy the other day… I had to pay off my phone to switch to Verizon and the guy asked me to pay for remaining balance for the phone and I quickly jumped to my Freedom card and it got me the 5X! Love these fun videos about us points people!

  • I LOL'D at no. 8 .. happened recently when a 5% fast food card only got me 1% at pizza hut three times in a row before I realized that pizza hut according to VISA is a freakin restaurant !!

  • Always talking about points and miles is another annoying habit I have on top of all of these. Getting excited when that new card arrives, or that rush when the bonus points hit your account!

  • Lol I’m take a trip in June to Philadelphia and Washington DC to see two baseball games. I payed for four of us to fly, and the hotels. Everyone has given me cash! I’ll be over 100k points on my CSR shortly and I only got that card in February.

  • This is a great video. 100% true. I am online now changing one of my Auto-pay cards as I am watching this video, lol

  • My Amex gives me a bonus after making 30 transactions within a statement period. So I'll sometimes go through the self check-out and break up my purchase into multiple payments to help that out.

  • #6 changing autopay got me the most because i JUST finished that. Also just paid for vacation for 6 friends to meet MSR on SPG biz. Thanks for the laugh!

  • I can relate Ernest ! Thank you for bring this too light, I'm currently using my Discover IT card currently to maximize my cash back this month ! Have a great weekend.

    Jose P.

  • I to like cash. but I also like credit cards sometimes I go into a restaurant that's cash only. once in a while. I like to have money in my wallet just like I like to use cds . nice video. I'm disappointed that Discover only has 1 category for the 5% this category just grocery stores. wish they had 2 category's.. I have taken my discover card out of my wallet. so right now I have my Venture 1, American express blue cash basic card and my 2 gas charge cards Citgo and Exxon/Mobil.

  • #2 is me, but I took it a step further. I have to go to SF for work in October. United had the most convenient nonstop flight to and fro PHL. The price of the flight was $492 round trip. However, via transfer partners, it was 25k points + $11.20. 1.9 cents per point!? No brainer! I transferred the points and booked the flight. I edited the email to show the dollar price instead of the points redemption to show my employer. So I essentially get an extra $492 by redeeming 25k UR points! Nice come up! And I can relate to this entire video! All ten of them! And did you dispute the miscoded transaction at the hotel in Arizona?

  • Killed me when I was using a "merchandise credit" at a store to pay for something then I still owed $1.66 . Wanted to use my cc so bad but pulled out the cash for it. I try to tell myself If under $2 then cash but that doesn't always work…

  • Bro. I feel u on all of these lol. #10 is fair IMO. Sometimes I feel bad when i do $1-2 transaction at a smaller local business… the fixed fee was probably half the margin on that item.

  • #9 I say NO to ALL store credit cards. I've been doing that for years now, even before I got into the points-and-miles hobby.

  • Off the top of my head, I can think of a few instances where using debit is reasonable from a rewards standpoint:

    The PayPal business debit card earns 1% cash back when run as credit. When you use the PayPal Cash back CC as the backup funding source and have $0 in your PayPal account, you effectively get 3% on all credit charges and 2% on debit charges. They have a personal debit card called the PayPal Cash Card, and unlike the business debit card I think it might not restrict you to the use of a PayPal credit card for backup funding. I'm waiting for this debit card in the mail and will try setting it up with my Freedom Unlimited for now. I'm getting the Spirit Air card for general category spend so I am good on skipping the 3%.

    I have a Kasasa cash back account. Mine has a particularly high rate: 5% back on up to $200 in purchases per month. But a more common rate is 2 or 3%. Not too shabby still.

    For some institutions, you may have to use your debit card for your interest bearing Kasasa accounts. With consumers CU, I get 3.09% apy on up to $10k with the most difficult stipulation being 12 debit transactions per month. This sucks cuz for this account I'm not earning cash back on those transactions so there's opportunity cost involved here. I find 50 cent amazon wallet gift card reloads qualify, so I just do 12 of those in a month and I get my 3.09% for a "cost" of $6 which is really the opportunity cost of 5% back on $6 so 30 cents. But some institutions may be more scrutinizing and not let you do this kind of thing, requiring…more organic (and costly) transaction activity.

    The Target Red debit card gets 5% off at Target, including 5% off at Starbucks in Target.

    The Chase Disney Debit gives 10% off at the Disney store and other Disney perks.

    Lastly, the Discover debit card gives 1% cash back on everything for up to $3k spend per month.

    I seem to usually carry 3-5 credit cards and 2-4 debit cards, depending on rotating categories, sign up bonuses, etc.

  • When I go out to bars near where I live, I see so many people paying with debit cards. Using a debit card at a bar is too risky in my opinion. That is giving up an opportunity to earn 2 or 3x the points on some credit cards like the Chase Sapphire ones. I do relate to most of these habits though.

  • Oh and I also cringe when I see people using costco cashback cards for everything… or the wrong credit card like just the co-brand American Airlines card for dining and everything. One more, it just kills me when people redeem their points for gift cards!!!! 85K amex MR can get me round trip in business from US-Japan and they are happy with a $400 Home Depot gift card! Ahhhhhhhhh

  • This made me laugh as I do all of these things. One thing I do, I'll order something online from my phone, while in the store to earn extra points from portals. πŸ™‚

  • Spot on brother, if I am not working towards a miles or points bonus, I feel like I am wasting my life. My hilton Aspire(great card by the way) points just hit my diluted hilton points account, and my Alaska 30K is going to hit in 2 weeks…sweeeeeeeeet. On to the next my AAdvantage miles……lol.

  • OMG…I relate to all of these points!!! Its funny, when my friends pay me back, the majority of them give me cash. Now I have a wallet full of cash, I still use my credit cards for the points. I refuse to use cash.

  • Hello,
    If I product change my boa credit card,will my upgraded/downgraded new card have the same credit limit like the previous one or it will be less or more than the previous limit?
    Thank you!

  • Great video. I do the cash cringer. Where did you get the zipper wallet and how many cards does it hold?

  • On my UniCreditCard Flexia Gold Miles & More I get 1 mile for every € 2 euro spent and that is calculated for each expense with a round down mechanism therefore I get frustrated every time I miss a rounded even price for just few cents: i.e. a € 17.95 earns as many miles as a € 16 expense and it is just 5 cents short of a € 18 expense.

    It may not seems much, but since the miles are calculated for every single transaction, those round down losses accumulate through the month.

  • I'm relatively new but I've already changed my autopay 3 times. After the 3rd time, my wife asked, honey… Do u really think it's a good idea to keep changing cards!?"

    I looked at her and said, "Get behind me, Satan!"

  • And I thought I was crazy haha.I barely started getting into the credit card game but I already have all these habits.

  • I force my wife to make reconsideration calls and she hates talking on the phone. Anything for the points and miles!

  • πŸ˜‚ I also cringe when people pay stuff with cash. It’s like if you only knew what you’re missing out on. πŸ’―

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