First off, some news on the Road Warriorette homefront….the Warrior Twins have arrived! They were each a little under seven and a half pounds (which makes me feel justified in all of my complaining in June—that’s 15 pounds of baby!). They are super sweet and love to snuggle with us and each other. 🙂
With two newborns and an almost three year old, there are a lot of things we just never have enough time for these days. One of those things is laundry. No matter how hard the Home Warrior and I try to keep up with dirty laundry the loads just keep piling up. Before the twins arrived we had a washer and dryer that dated back to around 2007. The washer required you to slam the lid at the beginning of a wash to get through the cycle without locking up, and our lovely dryer required a wrench to start because knobs would no longer turn the dial. The Home Warrior had these startup techniques down to a science, but I never could slam the lid hard enough, and could never find that sweet spot on the wrench turn of the dial so that the dryer would run a full cycle. Oh the joys of life on a budget!
A few weeks ago, the Home Warrior and I had a conversation about how realistic it would be to take two newborns and a three year old with us on a vacation, using all the rewards we’ve saved up. It could be done, but the work involved to make it happen sounded daunting, to say the least. The only nice part about a vacation like that would be the change in scenery, but since we would most likely be locked down in our hotel room much of the time there’s no guarantee that a change in scenery would be better than our own home.
So what to do with our points? Do I keep them and hope that they aren’t devalued in some way in the next year or so? We all know that’s possible, even likely, based on what we’ve seen over the past two years. Or do I make a bigger decision and cash them in for something other than travel?
I started looking at our options for non-travel reward redemptions, but was not too impressed with the options or the conversion rate. Then I heard the Home Warrior slam the washer lid and my eyes focused on the Lowe’s gift card option. What about a new washer and dryer? After doing some calculating I determined we could get a nice front load washer and dryer from Lowe’s for little out of pocket.
Honestly, though, it felt….wrong. I traveled all around the world to be rewarded with a washer and dryer?? I had to remind myself that points are there to spend. They don’t gain interest. If anything they lose interest. The value of these points are all in the eyes of the beholder. To us, a family with two newborns and a washer and dryer almost a decade old, the points were way more valuable providing immediate relief with new appliances than the potential of some future rewards based vacation. Sure, there was probably a better way to spend these points, but now that I have the new washer and dryer I can say I have no regrets. The conversion rate on the gift cards was worse than buying a plane ticket, but the money I’ll save in water and energy should offset that over time (not to mention we didn’t have to dip into savings to make this purchase and the washer and dryer work in about half the time). So my advice to you as it always is: don’t hoard your points. Make a plan to spend them and don’t overthink it.
There are a few things I would like to point out if you decide to do a bulk gift card buy with points. There are sometimes limits on how many points you can spend on gift cards–luckily we were just under the threshold. Find out how many gift cards you will be sent for this bulk buy, and if you plan to make a large purchase make sure the store can accept multiple gift cards on one transaction plus a credit card if needed. We were sent Lowe’s $50 gift cards using Rapid Rewards and $100 cards using Advantage Miles, with no option to change the denomination. We ended up with a ridiculous amount of gift cards. Luckily, Lowe’s had no limit on the number of gift cards and just asked you enter gift cards before credit card so they know how much to charge the credit card. One final thing—it took a couple of weeks longer for the gift cards to arrive than we expected, and we missed out on a really good sale because of that. However, while the process was time consuming it was overall relatively simple.
Readers, what’s the strangest way you have redeemed your points?
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