As we approach the end of the year it’s traditional to contemplate the changes and improvements we’d like to make for the new year. As we know many new year’s resolutions barely make it through to the end of January, but it can be a useful exercise none-the-less!
Recently I read an article from American blog ‘View from the Wing‘ , with some interesting tips for how points collectors make sure their spouses spend on the ‘right’ card! It got me thinking about how, for someone so focused on racking up points, I’m actually extremely dis-organised with my own cards. I’m currently carrying 20 cards around in a phone wallet which is far too small for them. When I go to work, or the local shops, I am carrying, amongst other things, 4 Amex Cards, 2 cards specifically for foreign currency spending, 2 lounge passes and a stack of loyalty cards – none of which I’ll actually be using… (in the process of writing this article, I’ve also discovered I’ve been carrying around two used train tickets!). In my head my system for earning points is meticulously organised, but in my pocket it’s a bit of a mess. If being dis-organised isn’t bad enough, if I was to lose my wallet, I’m sure I’d be making a lot of work for myself.
Is it any wonder then that when I recently had a plan to get bonus Nectar points via an offer on my American Express Nectar card, I went into the shop, paid via contactless, walked out and realised that I’d mistakenly used a NatWest card which was a similar colour? As stupid as it sounds, I was genuinely angry with myself about that one – I’d thrown valuable Nectar points down the drain!
So, I’ve done my research (which included reading the article on ‘A View from the Wing), and I have three steps to achieve my new year’s resolution: ‘to be more organised with my cards’:
- Link all my Visa and Mastercards to my Curve Card – manage them via the App and store the cards somewhere safe at home.
I’ve written about Curve Card here before, it’s a great intermediary card which allows you to use multiple cards in one, has 0% FX fees and allows you to earn extra rewards with some retailers. It’ll soon be compatible with American Express Cards (this will have a 0.65% fee on the free Curve Card). If I had made the points mistake above on the Curve App, I could’ve gone ‘back in time’ to change the transaction from one card to another. On top of that, by using Curve more I could stop carrying multiple cards as long as they’re all linked. Find out more about Curve here (if you decide to give it a try, then use the code O2MEP for £5 credit on your first transaction).
- Use virtual loyalty cards where I can, and store the cards somewhere safe.
So many loyalty and reward cards can now be accessed as a QR code via an App, and yet I’m still carrying the physical ones around. Sometimes that’s because I’m never 100% sure whether a virtual card will be accepted in every location (for example Priority Pass e-card is accepted in some, but not all airport lounges). However, often I think it’s just because I must like cards. Although every time I see my wife swipe her Costa coffee code I think; ‘that’s a good idea!’
Related to this, there’s also a tool called Award Wallet to manage and view points totals for multiple schemes all in one place.
- Stop carrying cards I have for a specific purpose, when I don’t need them i.e. If I’m not going to the airport, I don’t need a lounge pass!
I’m embarrassed to be writing this one – there is no logical reason for me to carry all of those cards, and I know I’m greatly increasing my chances of losing them.
Have you got any suggestions for managing cards more efficiently? Or any related new year’s resolutions?
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N.B. Disclaimer: This is an amateur, personal blog. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances.