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Even TPG staffers make mistakes: Here are the credit card blunders they wish they could fix

March 25, 2021
6 min read
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Let's admit it -- we've all made a credit card mistake that we cringe at every time we think about it. You may have missed a lucrative sign-up bonus by a few dollars, you didn't redeem that free night hotel certificate or — the horror — you used the wrong credit card and missed out on racking up points for future travel.

Related: 3 mistakes people make when they get their first credit card

Trust me when I say that you're not alone. I got my TPG staffers to confess their past mistakes so that you don't make the same ones.

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Clint Henderson, senior news editor

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

I lost out on 60,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles. I missed the sign-up bonus on my AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard by less than $50 due to a miscalculation in spending required for the card. It was only $1,000 in spend too. They wouldn't budge on letting it slide. And that was after I started at TPG last year!

The information for the AAdvantage Aviator Business Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Ariana Arghandewal, points and miles editor

I missed the cutoff for meeting the Ink Business Preferred spending requirement — and it was totally avoidable and fairly recent, which makes it more embarrassing. I was two weeks late, so I quickly spent the required amount, called Chase begging for mercy and they credited the points.

Related: 11 ways to meet minimum credit card bonus minimum spend requirements

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Katherine Fan, senior writer

I closed my college Bank of America credit card (Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card or its equivalent) in 2015. However, I didn't consider that it was my oldest open account by far (2004). So my credit score and history immediately took a hit, especially since my next longest-held card was from 2011.

Related: Common credit card mistakes and how to avoid them

Victoria Walker, senior travel editor

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

I thought I could spend the $10,000 in three months needed to hit the 100,000-point welcome offer (no longer available) on The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. I only got to $7,000, so I missed out on all those points. As a result, I plan to cancel the card this month because I never use it and the $595 ($695 if application is received on or after 1/13/2022) annual fee (see rates and fees) is too high.

Current offer is 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first three months of card membership.

Zach Honig, editor at large

When I first started adding a bunch of credit cards, I lost track of one of my due dates and ended up getting hit with a $30 finance charge with my Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card (now the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card). I paid it right away and an agent happily removed it when I called and explained the oversight. I check all of my card accounts at least every two weeks now to make sure I don't overlook a due date again.

Katie Genter, senior reporter

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

When I started caring about points and miles, my biggest mistake was assuming a pending notice after applying for a credit card meant I'd likely be rejected. I ended up applying for, and subsequently being approved for, seven cards in one day (including the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which I still have). That meant I had seven minimum spending requirements to meet in a relatively short period. Of course, now I know to call the reconsideration line if I'm given a pending approval message when I apply for a new card.

Becca Manheimer, director of marketing and communications

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

My mistake was putting big expenses on my Chase Freedom Unlimited because I wanted the 1.5% cash back, not realizing it had a lower credit limit than many of my other cards. I also had my credit score dinged for using more than 30% of my available credit even though I pay my bills on time in full every month. So I transferred some of the available credit from another Chase card I don't often use to increase the credit limit on my Freedom Unlimited.

Related: Credit utilization ratio: What is it and how it affects your credit score

Katharine Leitch, senior associate

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Mine is probably the biggest credit card mistake you can make. When I received my first "real" credit card — the Capital One Venture — I didn't hit the minimum spend required for a 70,000-mile sign-up bonus (no longer available). I was 22 and not working at TPG yet.

Current offer is 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Bottom line

So there you have it. Even the "experts" at TPG have made credit card mistakes. Here's hoping you read — and share — these horror stories and don't make the same mistakes with your own credit cards.

Related: TPG’s 10 commandments of credit cards

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Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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