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Tips on Dealing with Miles “Allergic” Spouse

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?

Tips on Dealing with Miles "Allergic Spouse"

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:


Author: Leana

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.

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16 thoughts on “Tips on Dealing with Miles “Allergic” Spouse

  1. My husband loves mile and points as long as I only give him one card at a time to work on. LOL. However, he will never call for a retention bonus! As far as living across from your in laws that’s the way I grew up. One set of grandparents were on one side and the other set was on the other as both my parents were only children. I loved it. I only wish we could live across from my parents or my inlaws. Enjoy the free babysitting!

    • @Michelle Every family has their own way of doing things, that’s for sure. That goes for miles and points hobby as well as dealing with in-laws. It’s not “one size fits all.” Oh, and I’m sure plenty of American women live next to in-laws! It’s probably more common in my part of the world, but it has to do with economy. Many people actually live with in-laws, LOL Being across the street is a good compromise. I do have issues with my in-laws, I’m not going to lie, but free babysitting is AMAZING.

  2. My husband doesn’t seem to mind the points. Lots of times heeven tries to be extra helpful and offer to spend extra money if we need to hit a spend. Ummm, no thanks. Last night, I was looking to send a private message to cancel a card in his name before the fee hit. He came over and said, “Why don’t I just call them?” So that was nice.

    It is good that you recognize how far to go with your husband and try to make him happy. You just got to find what works.

    • @Jennifer Wow, your husband volunteered to call!? That would never happen in my household. I have to beg and bribe mine. It is what it is. I can’t change him at this point, just like he won’t be able to change me! But we make it work.

  3. My husband isn’t crazy about all the credit cards either so I give him two for regular spending: SPG Amex & Chase Freedom (he mainly uses the Freedom card for everything). When I give him a new card with a high spend threshold, I usually have to plan large bills and schedule those on his card because he would never meet the minimum.

    I don’t think he fully understood how much all of these points were saving us until he found out that the 8th Graders each had to pay $2,800 for a DC/NYC trip during Spring Break. When we got home from DC, I tallied all of our daily spending (I track all of our daily spending while on vacation under my Notes and then enter it into a spreadsheet when we get home — oh no, I am crazy & OCD)…we spent $2,800 including airfare, hotel, all meals, transportation, and souvenirs for all 4 of us. My hubby was super impressed, and he absolutely loved the trip and wants me to plan more.

    I got my hubby to call last week to lower a credit limit…it was on our anniversary so maybe that’s why he did it 🙂 But usually, I have to call the credit card company, put them on speaker phone, write out what I want him to ask, and I stand by him to give him the answers. He hates being on the phone, and he really hates it when he doesn’t know what to ask or the answers so that’s why I have to make it as easy as possible.

    I think our husbands are very fortunate….also, I live 3 minutes away from my in-laws, and I do enjoy all the free babysitting. I usually have them stay for dinner 2 times during the week as a thank you. It’s one thing to live close to each other…it’s another thing to vacation with them (please give me the patience to get through the next 2 vacations).

    • @Stephanie LOL You have to be a little OCD in order to master this hobby! Not trying to trivialize OCD as it is a real medical condition, of course. But hopefully, readers know what I mean. :)) I need to get into spreadsheets, I’m just lazy. But yeah, if you love travel and watch out for fees, it’s an extremely lucrative hobby.
      I would pay cash regardless because I love exploring new places, so it’s a huge win for me. My husband likes to stay home, so it’s hard for him to see the upside. But he does praise me now and again, like when we got a presidential suite in a Hyatt resort few months ago. He is secretly a “fancy pants” traveler, so he enjoys a little luxury here and there. Holiday Inn? Not so much.
      Our families sound very similar. I bet our husbands would have a fun time commiserating! Oh, and I know what you mean about taking vacations with in-laws. I also have two coming up!

  4. I don’t need your tips, Leana! I have been almost doing exactly what you do for five years now!
    My husband complains about everything, like I putting gift cards in his wallet making it bulky, dragging him to buy MO or gift card, wasting his precious time to talk to the bank, etc.
    What pisses me off is when I redeemed tickets for my mom going back and forth from the States and HK, he sometimes would say were there any tickets left for ourselves?
    But this is the man I married to and I believe it is better for women (politically incorrect) to do penny or mile counting job!

    • @Sheila Haha! Sounds familiar. Miles and points hobby is most certainly not for everyone. In fact, it exists because most people are like our respective husbands. Otherwise, everyone would be doing it and the banks would lose a ton of money. It’s funny, because most of our brethren are men. Women are a rarity in this neck of the woods, especially miles and points female bloggers! 🙂

      • so true that women are a rarity. Even mommy points doesn’t play it to the hilt like most men. I still think that the women who play it tend to be more risk takers, which maybe not too many women are??

  5. I can relate to everything you said in your post. Hubby does like to fly upfront, but he does get annoyed with the credit card game. I do my best to keep it simple for him and even if he gets an Amex, he doesn’t carry it. I’m in charge of that spend requirement. He won’t call for anything…I call, put him on the line and he gives permission to talk to me. It’s worked so far, but I’m getting ready to do some retention calls, so we will see if my luck continues. Several free pre and post cruise nights in Tahiti before our PG cruise in September this year made him happy. He grumbles a bit me, but I heard him bragging about my skills to some friends at a party. Now that made me happy! I always enjoy your blog…thanks!!

    • @Tricia Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words! A Paul Gaugin cruise in Tahiti? Oh my goodness, I’m so jealous!!! My dream is to visit Tahiti one of these days.
      You know, I don’t even bother my husband with retention calls. Not happening! I just cancel the darn card rather than going through the drama. But I have heard my husband brag about my skills too. So I think he does appreciate it somewhat, especially if we stay at a nice place. I try to treat my family to a fancy hotel now and again, something we absolutely can’t afford via cash.

  6. Thanks for the laugh!! My hubby is a CPA, control freak and has OCD, but does’t have much interest in the game. I’m OCD, control freak, like to research and detailed, and am more of a risk taker than hubby. Still don’t know exactly why some of us love this game and others hate it. Hubby will now go to office max for me to get gift cards if I give him a pic of exactly what he should buy, but I need to go to walmart to get the MO. He really likes the nice hotels and business class flights I’ve been able to get to fly to Europe. So he’s become more cooperative!!

    • @Lynn Your comments made me laugh! It’s true, on paper, your husband should be the perfect candidate for this hobby. You know, the one who is obsessed with MS and spends most of his waking hours adding to his miles and points stash. But you nailed it, I forgot to mention that you have to be a risk taker too. Plus, your hubby is probably sick of dealing with numbers. Back when I worked in tax business, I didn’t do as much of this hobby as I do now.
      I’m always amazed at the terrified look people get on their face when I say they can get free flights if they apply for new credit card and spend $3,000 in 3 months. I know for a fact that they put at least $2,000 per month on credit cards already. So they don’t need to change a thing, really. But you can tell right away if the person is not cut out for this, so I immediately move on. No big deal, of course, there are more important things in life to worry about. Everyone should do what works for them.

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  8. I guess I feel lucky that my guy gets it. He helps me analyze which deal to go for and he very eloquently explains to our friends and family how much sense it makes. Now my sister…that’s another story. If I even mention “miles” I get an instant eye roll and an invisible protective barrier comes up. Luckily I’m not married to her. 🙂

    • @Amanda You are definitely fortunate! I can’t complain too much because I’m OCD about miles and points. I know it can get super annoying. I wouldn’t want to deal with me! 🙂

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