In the travel hacking world, I would say most of us typically have more credit cards than the average person. I think of it as somewhat analogous to me telling people that I have SIX children – it’s just not something that you hear very often, and most people just assume that you have the standard 2.3 kids
I thought of a few scenarios the other day where it has been a little awkward when I have to tell someone that I have 30+ cards. I want to share one such scenario that happened to me, and I’d love to hear any stories you’ve got
Awkward moment: Returning a car battery
So in an unrelated and completely uninteresting story, I was trying to return a car battery at a local store. I did not have my receipt, and so the lady suggested that they could look up my purchase by swiping the credit card I bought it with. I told her I wasn’t sure which card I had bought it with, to which she replies:
That’s okay, we can try them all
My first thought was “Lady, you have NO idea how many credit cards I have”. To humor her, I swiped the 3 that were in my wallet, but of course none of them were the ones she was looking for. Because I have a giant spreadsheet that I use to track all my purchases, I was able to actually figure it out later in the day (it was a Citi ThankYou Premier card that I was meeting minimum spend on)
I’d love to hear your story about when you’ve been the most embarrassed about having tons of credit cards. Leave your stories in the comments
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I’ve never been embarrassed by credit cards. I sometimes feel out of place on the redemption side of things when I redeem my miles for first class and whatnot and am sitting next to someone who probably paid $10,000 for their ticket.
LOL – that’s a good point – maybe that’s a whole separate post 🙂
Actually, after thinking about it more, I do have one. I’m constantly using cards with my wife’s name to meet minimum spending, get AMEX offers and other things like that. She can’t be bothered to keep track of these things, but she enjoys the trips! It can be mildly embarrassing when people actually look at the card to call you by name! Your order is ready “Lisa”. Haha!
I use her cards so much that I’m frankly shocked at the lax security practices. Nobody ever checks a name or signature, even on big purchases at department stores. Most websites don’t actually verify the name on the card either.
I always assume that people that fly in first class never pay full price. Either their company does or they use miles, upgrades, etc.
Can you imagine if you had all of them with you? Luckily, I don’t think I’ve had any embarrassing situations yet because of how many credit cards I have. Most people (other than close friends, family and my readers) don’t know.
I have way more than 30… but why not use mint.com rather than spreadsheet tracking all these purchases? I can’t possibly do this without a tool like Mint which will gather, filter and group the purchases I want and even produce spreadsheets if I want to. when ever I am to return something and/or check to see if credit has been posted, I just type in the amount and let mint go through hundreds of transactions from 30+ cards.
Mint proved to be very useless to me. They were flooding me with e-mail about scary “bank fees” I was getting. They were really plain transactions.
I used to be able to carry all my cards in my (thin) wallet. Later, I had to store some unused cards in an old wallet at home. And later, replaced old wallet with a pouch. Today? Fanny pack.
I’m totally waiting for the day I have to use a Rolodex!
I have a particularly interesting and somewhat related story.
Being part of the points game I’ve convinced many of my friends and family to get specific cards. The family and a few close family friends all recently got together for dinner. It was about 15 of us all adults eating and drinking at a nice pub bar catching up.
Well when the check we all reach for our cards and one-by-one the chase sapphire preferred cards started hitting the table. It was absolutely hilarious, some in our group started to pull a different card out of their wallets but seeing the mountain of CSP cards stacking up they fell in line. We ended up with a total of 11 CSP cards on the table when the waitress came back ground.
I think she thought we were doing something illegal when she lifted the massive pile of metal cards off the table. Best part, it was a first Friday!
That’s hilarious – it’s always fun to see what cards people pull out at a miles and points meetup 🙂
Wallets and fanny packs are cumbersome and expensive. Old school rubber bands work fine and allow you to keep stacks of cards in the various pockets of your lucky fishing shirt.
I’ve never been embarrassed except when asked how many different cards I have. A buddy and I actually did the comparing cards like “Up in the Air,” which I won.
I only keep a few main ones with me these days, rest are in an old wallet. One day I’ll move them all to Apple Pay or Samsung Wallet and then I can play Rodney Dangerfield from “Back to School,” pick a card, any card.
I have a binder like you would use for collectible cards – transparent slots so it easy to see. I keep my cards, my husbands cards, and my son’s (22 years old) cards there. It is more than sixty, plus we are often each others authorized users. I put three cards in one slot, marking one with a sticker who is a primary holder. I manage them all. In my wallet, I have max 5 cards, one is the I am “working on” and the rest just in case. I hunt for opening bonuses so I concentrate on one card until I meet a required spending. Once this is done, I move to another card. I do not keep track of my purchases. I log in to my cards account to check on them. I works for me. At least two major trips a year, all with points or cash back.
My embarrassing moment are not about having too many credit cards, they are about not having enough cash. I hate to spend and carry cash. It is easy to live without it in America. But even here, there are places that do not take credit cards. Then I am in trouble!
Haha, I just ordered a card protector binder from Amazon to hold all my credit cards. It’s the kind used to hold collector cards but fits credit cards perfectly. I thought 160 slot would be sufficient but looks like it’s filling up rather quickly!
I, too, use a binder with baseball card sheets inside. In my wallet I carry maybe 2 or 3 cards. My husband and I are AU on each other’s cards, so on the back of each one I write a small “L” or “M” with a Sharpie to know which card is which.
My husband carries the thinnest wallet in the world, so he only carries one card with him at a time. I switch them out when needed.
I have never been embarrassed by the number of cards I have. It’s hard to explain to people though. I am surprised by the number of people who just don’t “get it”. When I tell people I can get 50,000 miles by spending $3,000 in 3 months on a card they usually say “But you have to pay that $3,000 back. With interest. You could BUY the ticket for less than that” SMH. I usually tell them, “But I spend the $3,000 and pay it off within the first month or two…and I never pay interest.” Then I give up trying to explain. 🙂
On 2 separate occasions TSA opened my carry on when the noticed my w binders full of cards and went through page by page as I had to explain who’s they are and why I am carrying so many ! This is more than just embarassing, it makes me look criminal !
LOL – that’s funny. I like to tell people that the stuff that I do is not illegal, but it DOES share some of the appearances of illegal behavior (money laundering, fraud, etc.)