Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Capital One, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.
One of the easiest ways to double your miles and points balances is to have your partner apply for credit cards with you. Of course you shouldn’t do this if you plan on getting a big loan in the next two years or if you can’t pay off the balances, in full, each month.
But often times, your partner will reluctantly use the credit card you ask him or her to use, but doesn’t want to make calls to the reconsideration line or to activate the card, or to ask for a retention bonus.
Emily looked at me suspiciously the first time I asked her to apply for a credit card just after we moved in together. 5 years later, she now calls me up when she’s shopping and forgets which card to use.
But she still won’t make calls to the bank! Or maybe she reluctantly will, but doesn’t quite know what to ask for and how to get what I want from the call.
Over the years, I’ve used the following methods to chat with the credit card companies on Emily’s behalf.
1. Impersonating. In the beginning, I would sometimes say that I was Emily (*cough, cough* I’m not feeling too well today *cough*) and verify all the personal information. For obvious reasons, I memorized her social security number and her mother’s maiden name much before she memorized mine!
I’m reluctant to use this method any more, because, well, I’m not Emily. And I don’t want to lie on a recorded conversation.
This wasn’t my finest hour, but it got the job done.
2. Answer Truthfully. Occasionally, the telephone representative won’t ask you for your name, but will ask for the “..name as it appears on the card.” In that case, I’m happy to say “Emily…” and verify the personal information and move on with the call.
But sometimes the representatives ask: “To whom am I speaking with” in which case I introduce myself as her husband.
And then the reps ask if Emily is around because they can’t speak to me.
3. Partner Calls & Authorizes. In this scenario, Emily will call, say, the Chase reconsideration line and answer all the identification questions (social security number, address etc.).
Then the telephone representative asks: “What can I help you with today?”
And Emily will reply “My husband handles the finances and has some questions about the card. Will you please talk with him about it?”
But this isn’t the most efficient way because I have to give Emily the number, and she has to make the call and then come and get me.
4. Both Call & Partner Authorizes. The most efficient outcome for us is when I ask Emily if she’s got a minute to spare.
We (I) then put the phone on speakerphone and I call the bank. If prompted, I enter in the credit card number or last 4 of Emily’s social security and wait for a representative.
I say “Hi! I’m Emily’s husband, and we’re both on speakerphone, and she’d like to authorize you to speak with me about her credit card. She’s on the phone with me to confirm her account and identity.”
The representative will then ask Emily a few questions and if she authorizes me to speak with the rep. I then continue the conversation.
This way, I dial the number, talk with the representative and Emily only has to answer the personal identification questions or read the number from the credit card.
Bottom Line: It is easier to collect miles and points when your partner is on-board with you. But, in my experience & observation, partners don’t want to call the banks. So make it easy for them by making the call and having them answer only a few questions before handing the phone back to you.
What do you say when you call banks on your partner’s behalf? Any tips?
* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 6,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in a RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another credit card tip!