5 Habits Every Million Mile Secret Agent Should Develop
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Have you noticed that politicians and lawyers wear the same outfit most of the time? One of the reasons they do this is because they’re human (for the most part 😉 ). And they only have a limited amount of time and energy to make decisions. So the habit of not thinking about what to wear gives them more energy to put toward important decisions.
As a Million Mile Secret Agent, you can develop similar habits to make it simpler to collect miles and points!Habits are how we stay healthy. If you want good teeth, you should brush them daily and regularly floss.
But what should you be doing to maintain healthy miles and points balances? If you follow these 5 habits, you’ll be well on your way to Big Travel with Small Money.
1. When You Don’t Know the Answer, Ask!
There is too much fine print in the world for anyone to know it all. So you’re going to need to learn to ask questions.
I often run into situations where I’m not sure what the right answer is. That is one of the reasons I have experts from other blogs write posts for Million Mile Secrets!
The more questions you ask, the faster you will learn! Airlines, hotels, and banks are constantly changing and updating their rules. So the ability to learn is more important than ever.
But when I have a question I can’t find on the internet, I’ll give customer service a call.
Team member Jason recently learned more about Hyatt award redemptions when he was having an issue using a suite upgrade on an award night. He knew that when Hyatt recently made some changes to their loyalty program, they added the option to use suite upgrades on award redemptions. But he didn’t realize the upgrades could only be applied to award bookings made with points, NOT bookings made with a free night certificate, like he was trying to use.
2. Meet Your Minimum Spending Requirements Early
Credit card sign-up bonuses are the best way to stock up on points. But most of the time you have to meet big minimum spending requirements to earn the bonus. And you have a limited amount of time to do it – usually ~3 months.
I’ve written about ways to meet your minimum spending. And it’s best to do this as soon as possible to avoid any issues. For me, it’s much less stressful when I see the sign-up bonus in my account well before the deadline.
Team member Harlan likes to use bill pay services like Plastiq to meet his minimum spending requirements in only minutes. They charge a 2.5% fee to pay with a credit card, but having one less decision to think about can make it worth the cost.
3. Learn When to Say No!
In order to say yes to the best opportunity, you’ll have to say no to the wrong ones. This is especially true when it comes to credit cards.
Banks limit the number of credit cards you can have and how frequently you can apply. Chase has some of the best travel cards. But if you’ve opened 5+ credit cards in the past 24 months, you likely won’t get approved for a new Chase card (with some exceptions).
AMEX has gone one step farther, and limits you to earning the sign-up bonus on their credit cards to once per lifetime per card! So the sign-up bonus you’re earning now could be getting in the way of a great opportunity in the future.
4. Keep Your Ducks in a Row
As a Million Mile Secret Agent, you’ll probably have lots of hotel, airline, and bank accounts to track. And if you’re not organized, the Small Money you were using for Big Travel could become Big Money!
I like to use a spreadsheet to keep track of my accounts, due dates, and credit card annual fees. That way I don’t miss any payments. And I can decide whether or not it’s worth it to pay the annual fee on my credit cards before they are due.
Team member Harlan simplified his life by changing the due dates on his credit cards to around the same time. Now he can pay all of his bills in one shot!
It’s also important to monitor your credit report, and to keep track of your credit score. I like to use free services, like Credit Karma. And you are entitled, by law, to a free credit report from all 3 major credit bureaus each year.
5. Share Your Love With Others
Miles and points are like money – they are only as valuable as what you exchange them for.
Lots of folks are able to use points to afford experiences they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. And more often, I’m seeing folks use their points to share travel experiences with friends and family.
This can not only make a richer experience for you, but you can earn extra points in the process!
Some credit cards offer bonuses when you refer someone and they are approved for the card. Team member Keith has earned bunches of Chase Ultimate Rewards points this way by referring his family to the Chase Ink Business Preferred card.
Habits can make you or they can break you! So you want to make sure you’re practicing habits that will help you achieve your travel goals.
So do your best to stay organized. Because you don’t want to accidentally pay interest or damage your credit score. Ask questions when you don’t know the answer. And learn to say “no” to the deals that aren’t for you.
If you love being a miles and points fanatic, then don’t be afraid to share that with someone else!
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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)