Have you ever been in a relationship that was blissful and at some point beneficial for all involved? I’m sure you can remember at least one time! Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? After so long, maybe you decide that things aren’t going how you thought they would and you break it off, in a very tactful way of course. What if, all of a sudden, the relationship does a 180-degree turn for the worst? Well that was me when I broke off my relationship with one of my credit card companies.
I got the credit card a number of years ago because a family member convinced me that the benefits were worthwhile. Hesitant at first, because I’d been overly conscious of not accumulating debt, I was easily convinced that I was already financially responsible, so getting the credit card would be great and I’d get to rack up on the benefits. So I signed up for an American Express Airline card.
The timing couldn’t be any more perfect, in my head. My fiancé and I were in the process of paying cash for our wedding so it made sense to use the opportunity to “credit card hack.” No, I didn’t literally have my credit card information stolen. If you’re familiar with the term “House Hacking,” then “Credit Card Hacking” is similar in nature. I view it as the process of benefiting from something that you would have done anyway. In our case, we were paying for our wedding with cash so building up benefits from using the credit card gave us miles to travel. It was a win-win, right?
Let me cut to the chase. It was an awesome relationship until it was time to pay the annual fees. With all my traveling, the amount of miles I accumulated depleted significantly. Needless to say, with no more wedding expenses, I wasn’t racking up enough purchases to significantly increase my accumulation of miles and part of this was also due to me using my cash back credit card more frequently since it provided better savings. So I decided to cut off my relationship with my American Express Airline card; and it hurt.
It definitely hurt since it was my first non-store credit card and I was spoiled whenever I traveled with the airline. I say spoiled but I never received any First Class traveler benefits. However, I enjoyed not paying for my first checked luggage, always boarding in zone one, and, if you were traveling with me, you also reaped the benefit of your first checked luggage being free, among other things.
Boy did I get a reality check when I flew with the airline after cancelling my card. I learned very quickly the true meaning of ‘behind the basic’ economy policy. My experience felt like I was a “Second-Class Citizen.” No longer could I complain about other passengers blocking my path to the gate while boarding because I was now in the last zone to board. Finding overhead bin space was now a reality and, during one of my trips, I was literally in row 45A. That was the last row on the plane! Despite my disappointment, this situation taught me a couple of things:
- If a business decision isn’t working in your favor, sever it and move on.
- Change will make you uncomfortable, but if you’re doing it for the right reasons everything will eventually fall in place.
- Sometimes being weird with your finances will make you do weird things.
- Don’t second-guess your decisions just because you’re uncomfortable.
- Maybe I was a little more high maintenance in some areas of my life than I thought.
Just be aware that when you make any change for the betterment of your financial journey that it won’t always be “peachy.” You may sometimes feel like you’re missing out on something, but you’re not in the long run. All good things come with planning and hard work. Remember that the next time you experience a relationship change with a lender.