How will you remember it all? Which credit cards you’ve applied for, when you can cancel a card, when will your points expire, etc. By not keeping it in your head. Use a mile and points tracking spreadsheet or another external system. While I don’t claim my Excel points tracking spreadsheet or approach is best for all, it’s helped many. And is what I personally use:
Mile and points tracking spreadsheet. Also tracks credit card applications, cancellations, etc
Tracking points can mean the difference between success and failure in our hobby because:
- Many frequent flyer miles expire. The spreadsheet highlights cells in pink or red as a warning
- Many hotel points expire; often much quicker than miles. Again, the spreadsheet will color cells needing attention
- Frequent flyer mile and hotel points have different expiration periods and these can change over time. While I don’t guarantee the formulae will always represent the current expiration policies, you can edit these easily as they do. Always inspect calculated cells of interest to see what assumptions are made.
- Some credit cards can be churned–applied for again to get another bonus–some can’t. The spreadsheet can help with that
- People forget. Did I mention that already? It bears repeating. There comes a time in most mile and point currency collections when an “ouchie” events occurs–you inadvertently let points expire, even when using a points tracking spreadsheet; ruing the day and vowing “It Won’t Help Again, self.” This is where vigilance pays off. And vigilance is essentially free and easy when have a good points tracking spreadsheet in place.
- People forget to check their points tracking spreadsheets. But that’s on you now that you know.
Spreadsheet tabs of note are FreqFlyer, AppliedFor, Cancelled. In Excel itself–your mileage may vary using other compatible spreadsheet software–many column headings contain comments. Look for those with shaded triangles in the upper corners. Then hover-over with a mouse for pop-up explanations of the intent for those fields, definitions, warnings, gotchas, etc.
If you’re new to the miles and points hobby, you could do worse than apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card–the swiss army knife of rewards credit cards.
Please leave comments below if you’d like me to add new features or otherwise provide constructive criticism. Enjoy!