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Reward Points Big Boo-Boo

February 6th, 2012 at 10:09 am

I made a big mistake at Christmas time when I redeemed rewards points. I had 50,000 pts on Chase Sapphire and was expecting, at any moment, 50,000 pts on Chase Southwest. I was saving the Sapphire pts to use on airfare to Hawaii, as that yields a 25% bonus. Half of the Sapphire pts belonged to BF as it was his purchase which earned them. But the Southwest pts were mine, all mine, and I planned to use them for Best Buy gift cards to buy J's iPad2 (his Christmas gift).

Well, Christmas was approaching and my Southwest pts kept not showing up. I was beginning to worry they would not arrive in time. So I thought, I'll just use the Sapphire pts, then the Southwest pts will go towards airfare. So that is just what I did. And it might have worked beautifully. But guess what? Southwest doesn't fly to Hawaii. Did I bother to check before using the Sapphire pts? No, I did not.
Frown

My next thought was to cash them in for gas cards. They do have Shell gas cards, but only $25 cards. $25 cards cost 3,000 pts each. $50 gift cards cost 5,000 pts each. I'm not too excited about losing 500 pts on each $25 gas card. If I cashed in all of the pts, I would receive 16 $25 cards, or $400 worth of gasoline.

So, today I cashed Southwest pts in for Wal-Mart gift cards. I bought 10 @ $50 each for 50,000 pts. Once I receive the gift cards, I will close the credit card account. I will sell the Wal-Mart cards on Plastic Jungle and take a loss on the face value (3.4%). The transaction should net $483. That is $241.50 each for BF and I.

I suppose it isn't too awful since we ended up buying a travel package including airfare. I had priced tickets, and they are running $850 each including taxes. Our whole package is right at $1800 per person, for air, 9 nights lodging, and rental cars while on the big island. (Our 2 days on Oahu, we will not have a rental car. We do have shuttle service to and from the airport included in that price.)

Previously I said $1850 each person, but that was based on the first resort we booked. (My cousin has narrowed it down to two resorts. One was almost booked solid, the other was not. She booked the one which was almost full, and we had a time window during which we could switch if we wanted with no penalty. We did decide to switch to the Mauna Lani Point resort, which is the link I posted in my last entry.) There was a small price difference and our total went down. We are actually staying in condos, and will have a kitchen with a stove, fridge, pots and pans, dishes, and utensils. This will be nice as we will not need to eat out for every meal. We will do a grocery shopping trip shortly after arrival. We will eat some meals in and also will pack lunches to take with us on outings. And I want to try the local farmer's market. I wonder how freshly picked bananas taste? I'm going to find out! Smile

3 Responses to “Reward Points Big Boo-Boo”

  1. EarlyRetirementJoy Says:

    Just an idea here, but when we took our first trip to Hawaii, food sticker shock fear inspired me to check a cooler loaded with frozen meat, rice and pasta, and secured close with a bungie cord. Since the luggage area on a plane is generally pretty darn cold during flight, the meat arrived in Hawaii as frozen solid as when I checked it in.

    We used the emptied cooler all week to hold our lunch fixings, and then loaded it up with pineapple and chocolate for the return flight home. Worked like a charm, and prevented us from having to pay about twice what grocery food runs for here on the mainland.

  2. EarlyRetirementJoy Says:

    Oh, and a happy-coincidence note that we are leaving for a two week trip to Hawaii next week ourselves. We're on a cruise, or I'd be pulling out our cooler for sure! :-)

  3. frugaltexan75 Says:

    I agree - food prices in HI are outrageous. I was there in 97 and still remember them!

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