I’ve mentioned many times that my husband isn’t exactly thrilled with miles and points hobby. To be more precise, he hates everything about it. “Why can’t we just pay cash for travel?” he asks. Well, because my way is cheaper… I think. Anyway, what matters is that he does what I ask of him most of the time. I told you I’m not just another repressed housewife!
He likes to joke that he is like that hippo Moto Moto from the movie “Madagascar.” You know, the one who said to Gloria: “The answer will always be Yes, unless No is required.” Don’t worry, it goes both ways. He told me that one of the reasons he wanted to marry me was because he would never be able to convince an American woman to build a house across the street from her in-laws. American born gals, is that true?
Of course, since I don’t want a marriage that is centered around me and my obsessions only, I do my best to make it as easy for my husband as possible. I would be lying if I said we don’t have any arguments about credit cards, but here are few strategies I try to stick with:
1) I don’t ask my husband to maximize bonus categories on top of meeting minimum spending on a new offer.
It just gets him confused and frustrated. He likes to focus on one card and one card only. Chase Freedom currently earns 5 points per dollar on groceries, you say? He doesn’t give a rat’s behind. He is extremely smart, it’s just not his thing.
2) I have a backup Visa or MasterCard in his wallet at all times, one that he is familiar with.
Currently it’s Chase Freedom Unlimited (used to be Chase Freedom). The reason I stick with Visa or MasterCard is because those two are widely accepted, unlike Amex or Discover. Also, my husband is a creature of habit, and would be in a monogamous relationship with one credit card if it wasn’t for me.
I told him when the banks stop approving us, that backup card will move to the top of the wallet and stay there permanently. I think seeing it peeking out of the wallet now gives him hope that someday his dream will come true.
3) I think twice before I sign up for Amex in his name, and if I do, I usually just use it myself.
Once again, it has to do with lack of acceptance. He likes to frequent mom-and-pop shops and those places usually don’t accept American Express. Don’t get me wrong, occasionally the stars align and we end up with two new American Express cards (our situation at the moment). But I wouldn’t do it unless the offer was truly outstanding.
4) I’m not opposed to paying occasional fees in order to make things easier for my husband.
It’s an equivalent of losing a battle yet winning the war. Whether it’s Plastiq service or some other way of meeting the spending, paying few bucks to keep my husband relatively happy is a wise investment in my book.
5) I don’t give him merchant gift cards.
While I like to buy McDonald’s and Walmart gift cards via third-party reselling sites for my own use, I don’t bother my husband with those. Last year we were staying with my parents in Melbourne, Fl. and I sent him to McDonald’s to pick up breakfast for everyone. I also gave him a $50 gift card. Well, he lost it on the way somehow. The funny thing is, he went to the hotel front desk and asked if someone turned it in. And guess what? Someone did. Honesty was clearly in the air that day.
Still, no more gift cards for him!
6) When we travel, I try to point out how miles and points made this or that particular experience possible.
I have to tread lightly because my husband is definitely not interested in anatomy of an award or deal. But last year I made sure to let him know that collecting AA miles via sign-up bonuses made it possible for him to fly in a comfortable first-class seat. Basically, I point out tangible benefits that matter to him personally. He is a big guy, so a big seat is a major win. It’s a much better strategy than bragging how we will be going on an umpteenth weekend getaway with kids, something he feels we need as much as the fish needs an umbrella.
So, if you are in the same boat and have a reluctant spouse, I hope my tips will be useful. I’ve said before that if it comes down to choosing between miles and points hobby and peace in marriage, the former should go (always). But hopefully, like me, you’ll be able come up with a compromise of sorts.
Just remember, it’s very unlikely that your spouse will eventually fall in love with miles and points. Ain’t happening. You have to have a certain personality in order to appreciate it. Namely, a control freak with tendency towards OCD. You either have it or you don’t.
Don’t believe me? Read some of the comments on the blog posts and forums. This is a very specific form of “crazy,” a niche within a niche. And yes, if you are here, you are a little crazy too!
I saw this video on YouTube and it cracked me up. Check it out, but watch the whole thing, it gets better towards the end. It reminds me of my marriage and how my husband and I feel about miles and points hobby. In case you are wondering, I’m the exuberant (lady?) parrot:
Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.