I have found that it is very common in our hobby to have one person in the relationship be all about earning and redeeming miles and points and the other be ambivalent or even anti-miles and points. In fact, it is so common that one of the sessions I am doing at the Chicago Seminars in October is devoted to the spouses, partners, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc., that are brought along to the miles and points conference, but that are not miles and points junkies themselves. And by session I really mean more of a hosted happy hour.

Since starting this blog two years ago it is one of the questions I get pretty frequently both online and in person. How do I get my partner on-board (sometimes literally)? I answered that question in a post once before here, but an email I got this week made me decide it was time to revisit the issue.

Here was a snippit from the email:

My wife and I escaped our kiddos for a trip to Warsaw (our oldest is C’s age). Managed to score LH F from DEN-FRA, and hit up the First Class Terminal. Like you, I was S.O.L. for a rubber ducky. However, my wife finally gets what all this “Miles and points” b.s. is about! Thanks for inspiring me!

If you don’t understand the reward, then keeping track of various credit cards, taking the extra steps to shop through portals, analyzing promotions, buying gift cards, spending time on the internet, etc., does just seem like “miles and points b.s.”. I mean if you take a step back our behavior absolutely looks and sounds crazy at times! However, most of us don’t collect miles and points just for the sake of collecting. We do it to use them for experiences we otherwise wouldn’t be able to have.

I think it is safe to say that flying Lufthansa First Class and visiting the Lufthansa First Class Terminal are experiences that most of us would not have without miles and points. Of course, don’t forget the actual trip to Warsaw (as well as the on-ground experiences) are even more important than the in-flight experiences.

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While some of us may not care at all about premium cabins and first class terminals, it is about finding what travel experience matters to your partner and making that happen. It may be as simple as visiting family in North Dakota without having to open up the check book, but if it is important or enjoyable to them, and miles and points made it happen, then they will get on-board…or at least won’t give you near as much grief about “your crazy hobby”. ;)

Since redemption is not usually the first step in the rites of passage of collecting miles and points, there will likely be a period of time when your partner sees the work, but not the reward. I recommend that during that time you just try to have the points collection impact them as little as possible. Don’t stuff their wallet with eight different credit cards and expect them to care about remembering which one is which. Just keep it very simple and understand why it can all seem crazy at first. Many folks have bought into the myth that miles and points are worthless, so it may take some time for them to see that doesn’t have to be the case.

Then make sure that they are a recipient of some early redemption success and see what happens. You may find that they are all smiles from there.

20130405-121656.jpgI love hearing and sharing success stories related to getting the whole family involved in miles and points, so please chime in with your own.

Posted by Mommy Points | 21 Comments

21 Responses to “How to Get a Reluctant Partner Into Points”

  1. Cliff Y says:

    Marriage is a trade off. You have to deal with rooting for the Chiefs in a Texans crazed town and he has to deal with the miles and points hobby. I think your getting the short end of the stick. It been a pretty rough few years for the Chiefs :)

  2. kate says:

    I recently got my husband to get into this miles- accumulation thing, and since we started doing daytime and short vacations, he begins to understand the “joy” that travel brings – and how points can help us enjoy more of the world together!

  3. BOShappyflyer says:

    Aww, great post and great pictures. Thanks for sharing! :)

    That’s how I got my family members into miles and points. They didn’t know why I seemed to be a bit obsessed with it, until they actually got to enjoy the benefits. Now they don’t think my hobby is so crazy.

  4. DaninSTL says:

    Great post (Even better since I’m a Chiefs fan).
    My wife has been slow to come on board even after AA F class tickets to Miami, Envoy tickets to Rome and US Air F to San Fran for the family. Not to mention the first class Atalia lounges, Delta lounges, etc. etc.
    She is slowly coming around but doesn’t quite get the credit card churning so I haven’t involved her. She also is not as responsible with credit cards as I am so that is a another topic entirely that has slowed down her points accounts (like she knows that she has an ANA mileage account :)

  5. VG says:

    If they have flown to Europe or Asia in coach a few times for $, then you take them across an ocean in First for no $ they will get it. However, you still have to keep the credit cards they use pretty simple. Try one category spend card and one card for everything else – that seems to work ok.

  6. Alanea says:

    Be sure to brag it up to your spouse. My husband was all smiles when I showed him our $13 hotel bill at the end of a big city weekend in a luxury hotel!

  7. Corridor! says:

    My wife will be staying with me at the seminar but she isn’t attending the seminar. Is she able to attend your session on Saturday evening for the spouses?

  8. Sam says:

    We had earned points from the Disney Rewards Visa (the one with no annual fee) and redeemed them a few times to help pay for WDW tickets, before I really got into the miles and points thing, so I think that helped my husband get on board early. And after 11 years of marriage he’s generally learned to go along with whatever wacky interest I’m into at the time. But the free trip to New York we took for our anniversary really won him over. I try to just give him one card at a time to use. I take care of the rest. There was one time, back when you could still get the Prepaid $500 Visas at Office Depot, when I thought we might have a problem. The only cards they had left were Anne Geddes, you know the ones with the babies dressed as flowers. When I gave him that and asked him to use it to pay our son’s school tuition, it really tested our marriage. ;-) Thankfully, he’s a very understanding man.

  9. DBest says:

    Sure, but I still can’t justify mileage running to her. Did it once, and she still makes fun of “the time I flew to Kansas for no reason”.

  10. Joey says:

    I think the best way of explaining this to a reluctant partner is to first have a set goal of what you want to get out of it. Back in 2008, we went to Beijing for the Olympics but had prepared for it by collecting points 1-2 years before to save up enough for a business class roundtrip flight from NYC to PEK on United. I’ll admit she was reluctant of having this affect her credit score but having this goal helped her justify applying for the credit card.

  11. Christine says:

    One word worked in my house. Baseball -we have been able to incorporate visiting MLB parks. Worked like a charm!

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  13. Blaine says:

    Hey! I’m the Warsaw guy :) woohoo – it was awesome, by the way.

  14. mommypoints says:

    Love all the ways we have roped in our partners!
    DBest, principles are the same…they have to see and benefit from the reward. That is why I give almost all my upgrades to my husband when we travel together. ;)
    Blaine, loved your story – thanks for sharing it!

  15. mommypoints says:

    Corridor, yes the session is absolutely open to those partners who aren’t officially registered for the seminars themselves. More details to come as it gets closer.

  16. Grant says:

    As a 23 year old with 13 open cards, I have been temporarily black listed from all the banks for the next few months, so I have my parents get the good cards I can’t get. It works out really well for me. :)

  17. kb says:

    Go Chiefs !!!

  18. skwok says:

    I was only a few months in and managed to have our weeklong vacation paid for with miles I had accumulated over the past five years and all hotels paid for with points and the Hyatt cards. My wife got it pretty quick. I also showed her lounge access for international trips and that has completely changed the way she views travel even though we were still flying coach. Just imagine if she starts flying business or first. Next trip will hopefully be complementary suite upgraded at spg, then after that premium cabin to London. I have to do it slowly.

  19. Suzy S. says:

    When I met my husband 20 years ago, I almost immediately taught him cash was only for tipping (or casino gambling). I handle all the work (applying for cards for both of us, keeping track of spend and when to take the card out of the wallet, paying the bills, etc, etc) so it’s easy for him to just use the card. I take his wallet & replace with a new card and say “use this card now”. When its time to cancel a card, I get him near the phone to give the rep permission to speak to me after verifying his identity. Recently I gave him 3 cards and said use this one for supermarkets and gas stations, this one for restaurants and this one for everything else. Surprisingly, he did ok

  20. I remember Daraius at Million Mile Secrets posting how proud he was of Emily when she would choose the points amenity at a hotel check-in or when she’d say “Oh no!” when people at nearby dinner tables paid with cash.

    Similar story from this past weekend after a road trip to Pennsylvania. SO: “Should we stop in this Jersey City Duane Reade and see if they have the Vanilla reloads?”. Me: “Aww… you get it!!!”

  21. Kathy C says:

    My husband has definitely benefited from my miles and points obsession but I try to keep it simple for him so I don’t have to here the whining. I switch the cards out of his wallet and tell him what to use where, no more than 2 cards at a time. He is just too busy to keep it straight on his own. Well, I didn’t want to get into the whole “category changing every quarter” thing with him so I put a small sticky note on his freedom card that said “dining”. I figured I would change the sticky note in July to the new category. Then I put a sticky note on his ink card that said “gas, no dining”. He got a sharpie and wrote “dining” on the freedom card right at the top of the card and “no dining” on the ink card.

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