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SLOW DOWN. This is not only for all the beginners out there, but for some of us with more time in the hobby as well. Recently, we covered whether it is worth chasing status. That post raised many questions to consider before going after hotel or airline status. Continuing with the thread of carefully thinking through our actions, we share some reminders of how to responsibly participate in the points and miles game.
This hobby is a marathon, not a sprint. This may be the most important point that bears repeating. We do not–and should not–all have to move at some crazy pace trying to open every Chase card out there. Start slow, take your time, and of course, know your 5/24 status.
What works for others may not work for you. In general, there are a handful of Chase cards that nearly every traveler could benefit from and should start with. But after that, it's what makes sense for you and your travel habits. I joined this hobby in 2014 and only went over 5/24 in late 2019. Don't feel the need to sign up for multiple cards and load up on points when you have no plan. In this same vein, if you are moving at a good pace, there is nothing wrong with opening an American Express card while under 5/24. Follow what works best for your travel goals, plans, and spending habits.
Come up with a plan, but feel free to change that plan or modify it throughout the year as needed. New offers may come up that can cause you to change or deviate from your plan. That's okay too.
Many become fascinated with amassing points and miles and yet have no plan for using them. Move at the pace that works for you. There is no need to open a card just because everyone else is doing it.
There are lots of ways to be creative with spending to earn points and maximize spend to earn status. Today’s hottest spending tactic may be dead and gone tomorrow. Start slow, be patient, and do not ever spend any money you are not willing to lose tomorrow.
Most importantly, you will not learn everything in one day. You will not learn every method out there. Nobody is going to spoon feed you all the information. That said, having friends in this hobby is priceless. Many of us have a handful of friends with whom we exchange ideas and new findings. Yet sometimes, you just have to be the data point you want to see and try something yourself. No matter what, each one of us is always learning.
Chasing status is not for everyone. Even if you read about dozens or hundreds of folks raving about elite status, that does not mean it necessarily makes sense for you. Know what works for you in your plan. Getting status that costs money, time, and effort will be a waste if don't use it. Ask yourself the important questions to determine whether going after status is worth it for you.
Organization is paramount for us award travelers. Loyalty account balances, credit cards, and a sea of other numbers require disciplined organization. While you don't need the most advanced spreadsheet out there, you do need a system that is functional for you.
Organization also involves having all your cards paid off in full each month. No amount of points and miles will be worth the high interest rates and late fees that credit card companies charge for late payments. Folks rely on several resources for this, including mobile apps, calendar reminders, auto-pay, and text alerts. Being organized prevents mistakes. We all make mistakes, but it's important to learn from those and be as organized as possible.
You cannot have every card out there or chase every deal you see. It's ok to tell yourself to SLOW DOWN. We all should remind ourselves from time to time that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Have you jumped in too fast before and needed to slow down? Come over to our Facebook group and share your experience and lessons learned.