How I Missed Out on 150,000 Points — Reader Mistake Story

May 1, 2019

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Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Alex, who neglected a lucrative payment option for years:

For the last four years I’ve been living in an apartment and paying my rent by check.  Last month, I asked if there was any chance I could pay the rent with a credit card, and they said yes! What’s more, they said there wouldn’t be any fee for paying with a credit card. 

Rent for my apartment gets charged though a local hotel, and I was able to earn 3 points per dollar by paying with my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. My rent is $1,050 per month, so in those four years I’ve made over $50,000 in rent payments. That means I’ve missed out on over 150,000 Ultimate Rewards points. I always say “It never hurts to ask.” In this case, though, I asked four years late.

Housing is among the largest monthly expenditures for many households, so paying your rent or mortgage with a credit card is a way to earn a lot of extra rewards. When you can make payments with no added fee like Alex did, it’s an easy win even if your spending doesn’t qualify for a bonus category. However, rent and mortgage payments typically do incur a fee, and in that case you have to evaluate whether the points you’ll earn outweigh the additional cost. You can also use a credit card to pay for other major expenses like taxes and tuition, and I encourage you to research your options for all of them.

The greater lesson here is to not overlook opportunities staring you in the face. Paying rent with a credit card won’t be viable for everyone, but other tactics will. Perhaps you could boost your earnings by crediting flights to an airline partner, or registering for a hotel promotion before an upcoming stay, or timing a major purchase with a shopping portal bonus. Approach your purchases with a maximization mindset (especially the big ones), and ask yourself how you can leverage each dollar spent to pad your loyalty accounts. If you don’t earn something, you’ll probably learn something; the biggest mistake is to not even try.

I appreciate this story, and I hope it can help other readers avoid making the same mistake. In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending Alex a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own travel mistake stories to, 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.

Feel free to also submit your best travel success stories. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. Due to the volume of submissions, we can’t respond to each story individually, but we’ll be in touch if yours is selected. I look forward to hearing from you, and until then, I wish you a safe and mistake-free journey!

Featured photo by Dan Gold / Unsplash.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.