Have you ever had a moment where you just flipped out about something money related? That happened to me last week. The worst part is that my financial freak out ended up being a total false alarm!
Costco Rewards Time Is Almost Near
Around the beginning part of the year, holders of the Costco American Express card receive a paper certificate, on the last page of which contains your certificate for the rewards you’ve earned by making purchases on the card throughout the year.
We use the American Express for a lot, so the 3% rewards on gas is usually a big driver, plus 1% on everyday purchases. This year, we got a big boost because travel purchases receive 2%, and so we put the entirety of the trip to Disney World on the trip, earning a nice chunk of change.
All told, our reward for the year was over $350!
The Paper Statement Memory
We also have a couple of other cash back reward cards, both through Citi Master Card. We use these cards as they often have rotating categories of up to 5%. Both of the cards that my wife and I use had amounts over the $50 threshold for which you can request a redemption.
I decided to submit the claim for the rewards around the same time, so we would have the full amount of all of our rewards available around the same time.
Even though I logged into both of our accounts, my wife still got the e-mail verification about her card, and commented about it. I told her the plan to get all three rewards piled together, at which point we could decide how to use the funds.
I remembered that a week or two prior, we’d gotten a statement from American Express. Since we do everything electronically, I imprinted a memory that it was probably the statement with the rewards certificate, as that’s the only time they ever send us a paper statement.
I casually mentioned to my wife that she just needed to take the certificate in next time she went to Costco, and get it redeemed for cash, which we could then deposit.
The Worst Two Words I Could Hear
My heart kind of sank when she said “What certificate?”
I mentioned that it was with the statement that we had received a couple of weeks ago. Still calm, I reminded her that she had even pointed out that we had a statement. I also pointed out (by this time, my voice probably raising a couple of octaves) that she always takes mail that I need to keep and sticks it in a little organizer that we use.
I went to the organizer and it wasn’t there. She had no recollection of putting it there.
Financial Freak Out: Not A Good Five Minutes
After that it was a pretty chaotic few minutes. I was blaming her for not putting the piece of mail in the right spot where she usually puts all mail. She claimed that she didn’t remember even seeing the statement.
It wasn’t a very fun conversation (if you could even call it that).
I looked online about what to do if you lose a certificate, and the answer was not good. I found a few forums that said that they don’t re-issue the certificates if they’re lost.
Basically, you’re S.O.L.
This didn’t help the tone of the conversation.
Confusion On Multiple Ends
My wife decided to find out for herself if this was correct. By now, we were past the yelling stage and trying to figure out what to do. I was even debating going out to the recycling bin and seeing if it was in there. But, she called American Express and asked what would happen if it was lost or we didn’t receive it.
The agent on the end was a bit confused and said that it hadn’t been mailed out yet. It was scheduled to be mailed out with our February 24th statement.
I got a bit confused.
But at least we calmed down.
Presenting….My Brian Williams Moment
Then, the next day it hit me. It all came down to the paper statement. See, I knew we’d received one. We received a statement because we closed a different card, and apparently they send you a final statement in paper form.
So, I had my Brian Williams moment. My financial freak out moment. Luckily for me, my ‘conflation’ didn’t cost me my job or reputation, and it didn’t even cost me any money.
Though I did have to eat a bit of crow as I apologized to my wife…who was right all along! As they usually are, of course! A lesson I just need to remember….
Readers, what financial freak out moments have you had, and have you had one recently where it was all for nothing?Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.