I first dipped my toe into PMs (we’re going to be using the words “Points and Miles” a lot, so for my typing sanity, lets abbreviate) with Choice Hotels.  Choice Hotels consists of many brands, for example, Sleep Inn, Econo Lodge, Clarion and Quality Inn to name a few. You can see the complete list at Choicehotels.com.  I checked-in at a Quality Inn, signed up for something and they sent me a membership card in the mail.  Apparently,  I earned points.  Now I’m curious, mildly.  Let’s see, I got this many points for staying and I need HOW many more for a free night! seriously!? and into the junk drawer the card went (you keep them because they are excellent for opening doors that don’t have a deadbolt lock).  And so it goes…

Jump ahead a couple of years, I have one credit card and very little debt.  I’m still traveling, a lot, and putting it all on this…one…card.  The card was simple, a MasterCard, no Fee and 1 point per dollar spent, wherever, whenever.  The points could then be used at their on-line shopping mall.  Ignorance is bliss.  Such a waste.

So here we are!  Now that I have tortured you with the backstory, let’s move forward to today.  My world consists of at least a Bakers Dozen in various credit cards and about two million +- miscellaneous Hotel and Airline PMs.  How did I get here?  Well, the hard way.

My first mistake was to take an adversarial position with the Hotels and Airlines.  They had Points and Air miles and I wanted them.  My teachers were Sun Tzu (The Art of War) and Machiavelli (The Prince).  So with that in mind, I pounced, without a plan of course, you know, Half a League, Half a League, into the Valley of…and so on. The result, countless phone calls and a huge amount of well…whining.  So much for my master plan.

Lesson One:  Both the Hotel and Airlines WANT you to have their PMs and will go to great lengths to help you obtain them.  Hilton Hotels called one day and simply wanted to give me 10,000 pts just because I was a Hilton Honors member and I answered the phone. I literally interrogated that poor soul as to his motives and was dumfounded when I found nothing amiss.  I almost talked myself out of the points.  I clearly had a great deal to learn and an attitude change was definately in order (don’t think that it escaped my attention in the abbreviation I used for Points and Miles).  I’m a real peach now.

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