This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
We often publish stories from readers that illustrate how points and miles can help you get where you want to go. However, it’s important to learn from our mistakes as well as our successes, so I’m calling on you to send us your most epic travel failure stories. Email them to email@example.com and put “Reader Mistake Story” in the subject line. Tell us how things went wrong, and (where applicable) how you made them right. Offer any wisdom you gained from the experience, and explain what the rest of us can do to avoid the same pitfalls. If we publish your story, we’ll send you a gift to help jump-start your next adventure!
Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Joel, who lost one of his oldest accounts after leaving his card unused for an extended period. Here’s what he had to say:
I’ve had two Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Cards for years — one Mastercard and one Visa, each with a credit line of $20,000. They’ve never been my primary cards, but I like having them since they have no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. I’ve never missed a payment or had any issues with them whatsoever.
You may have several reasons to keep an account open even if you don’t use it often. One is if your card has strong benefits but doesn’t offer the best return on spending (like the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card). Another is to protect your credit score, since canceling a card could impact important factors like your average age of accounts and credit utilization ratio. As Joel learned the hard way, card issuers may close accounts after periods of sustained inactivity. To keep your cards open, just make a small purchase from time to time (and remember to pay off the balance).
On the other hand, if your account no longer serves any purpose, don’t just wait for your card issuer to close it for you. You may be able to change to a more useful product, and you could get a retention bonus offer when you call to close the account yourself. If you get a closure notice for a card you still want, you can often get the account reinstated by calling customer service. Then you can explore your options and decide what to do with it in the long term.
I appreciate this story, and I hope it can help other readers avoid making the same mistake. To thank Joel for sharing his experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending him a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels.
I’d like to do the same for you! If you’ve ever arrived at the airport without ID, booked a hotel room in the wrong city, missed out on a credit card sign-up bonus or made another memorable travel or rewards mistake, I want to hear about it. Please indulge me and the whole TPG team by sending us your own stories (see instructions above). I look forward to hearing from you, and until then, I wish you a safe and mistake-free journey!
Featured image courtesy of Tom Merton via Getty Images.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards