Optometric Management Tip # 18 - Wednesday, May 22, 2002
Are you getting the miles?
Everyone knows that major credit cards offer premiums of various kinds – airline frequent flyer miles is one of the most common. Generally equivalent to 1 mile per dollar spent, this is a nice perk but it would take a while to earn a free trip based on your gas and grocery purchases. But if you were to pay your lab bills and other office expenses with a credit card – the miles become significant very quickly. It would not be difficult at all to accumulate thousands of miles per month - some practices could rack up 25,000 miles per month – which often equates to a round trip ticket anywhere in the U.S. Miles can also be used to upgrade to first class.
Many suppliers now accept this form of payment, although you may have to ask about it. My practice pays with credit cards whenever possible with contact lens vendors, buying groups, frame companies, optical labs and office supply firms.
Here are some tips if you decide to pursue this:
With a little effort – you may be flying first class all the time.
- The supplier will automatically charge whatever credit card account you give them - either as charges occur or in one lump on a certain day of the month. This requires that you have a large enough credit line approval to handle the amount – especially if you use one card for multiple suppliers.
- You may wish to take out multiple cards with the same bank if you want to earn miles for a specific airline. We have MasterCards and Visa cards in my name, my wife’s name, and the corporation’s name. We then designate certain cards to be used for certain suppliers – and a card for general business use and a card for personal use. We never mix business and personal cards.
- You may have to work at building your credit line for each card. Just call the credit card company periodically and ask to have it increased.
- The smart use of the card is to pay the balance in full every month, avoiding interest charges. The point is to earn miles – not finance your regular monthly expenses.
- Most credit card companies have excellent web sites so you can log on and view your account activity or pay online (register your bank account and the credit card company will electronically transfer on command or auto debit).
Best wishes for continued success,
Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management