Part II: Day Two – Buy the Dryer

This is part of a larger series called Max Performing: The $20,000 Kitchen Upgrade. Start here.

In this guide, the dryer is purchased through the Southwest Rapid Rewards portal with a discounted gift card from Day One. Two coupons are used. The buyer should save $60 and receive around $50 back plus approximately 700 Rapid Rewards.

  1. Go to https://rapidrewardsshopping.southwest.com, Log In, and search for Sears. Click “Shop Now.” Forgive the annoying snip tool in the photo below.
  2. Although the fine print says points will not be earned on purchases made with coupons not found on this site or with gift cards as payment, we’ll try it anyway.
  3. Add the item to your cart.
  4. Scroll down and click to apply coupons. From here, you can reach the Deal Center and load relevant coupons to your account, then come back to apply them.
  5. Apply coupons or visit the Deal Center for more. Use one $ or % off coupon (like those in the top row) and one points back coupon (like the one in the bottom middle.)
  6. Confirm that your coupons were applied by clicking the “You Will Save On This Order” dropdown. 
  7. Confirm you’re going to receive the points you expect! Know that this is likely to change with the number of points you redeem.      
  8. Click Proceed to Checkout; continue to the Payments & Billing page where you want to apply your Gift Card.
  9. Finish by clicking “Place Order.” The next screen will confirm the number of points you received and, usually, provide you with more coupons to load to your account.

Max Performing: The $20,000 Kitchen Upgrade

This “series” (as I don’t have the mental capacity to write it all in one post) is like the Olympics of couponing. What began seven years ago as a way to save a couple bucks on tires when I was (ironically) $20,000 in credit card debt now becomes an attempt to get about $4,000 worth of goodies for free after spending around $13,000 on the wanted luxury kitchen appliances, plus $3,500 worth of airfare just for fun. Don’t try this at home. Oh, and I apologize for the super short post but tomorrow is tax-filing day and I’m behind on the paperwork…

 

Part I – Introduction, Outline and Numbers

Introduction

A brave friend of mine has trusted me to figure this one out and I don’t take that lightly! I was provided with the new kitchen’s floorplan and set to figuring out what appliances would fit in each space. I was stunned with the 48″ slot for the range. A four foot stove? What could that be? I plugged in the allocated model number and it turns out it’s an $8,000 (on the low end!) professional range. Holy cow. At this point, I realized we had a big project to work out.

The Big Picture

My intent is to get as much as possible for free in addition to the $13,000 worth of kitchen appliances (that’s their sale price!) For fun, we’ll also accumulate $3,500 worth of airfare. My goal is to get a ‘free’ washer and dryer out of the gig. (What’s with the quotes? I’ll be shuffling around Sears Shop Your Way Rewards credits in doing my math, so please be patient and it’ll all come together.)

Three Part Process

This is a significant undertaking, so I have broken it into three parts:

Part I is the introduction, where I will also tally the numbers.

Part II is achieving loyalty status.

Part III is max performing loyalty status.

Each part will be broken into day by day steps to make this manageable for me, the author, and for you, the reader. Check back often for updates. Without further ado…

Part II – Achieving Loyalty Status

Day By Day Steps

Day One: Aquire Discounted Gift Cards for Washer + Dryer

Day Two: Purchase Dryer

Day Three: Purchase Washer

Day Four: Complete Shop Your Way Platinum Requirements

Wine, Magazines, and 1600 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points for $50

Vinesse Wine Club: $42 for 1400 Points

I think this is a good deal, since I would pay $50 for six bottles of wine, anyway. If you are hosting or need gifts (you wouldn’t show up to a holiday party empty handed, would you? New Year’s Eve is coming up!), this is an even better opportunity. As for us? We don’t need an excuse to stock up…

There do not appear to be any restrictions requiring a year long membership and the policy says you can cancel your membership immediately. For me, that means when the first shipment arrives, I’ll call to cancel. This comes out to around 32 pts/dollar, depending on your state’s tax situation. There aren’t many valuable offers out there for products you’ll actually use at this earn rate. Simply navigate to rapidrewardsshopping.southwest.com for this offer.

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$7 for 200 points (oh, and a magazine subscription…)

I’m not a big magazine reader – but paying $7 for 200 points is a rate of around 28 pts/dollar. This is actually slightly less than the price to buy points (36 pts/dollar) – but these count toward your Companion Pass and you get the magazine subscription out of it.

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Here’s a snapshot of the cheapest subscription offers. Note that there does not appear to be a 1 per household limit, so you could stock up on this. Price is going to be somewhere around $35/1000 points. If you’re close to that Companion Pass or in need of topping off for an award flight, it’s worth considering.

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What do you think?

Are these offers worthwhile to you? Which magazine did you choose?

$1 for 1,100 Southwest Rapid Rewards Points

My fabulous sister-in-law found this one on her pursuit to close out her Companion Pass this year. I had to jump on it! 1,100 points are worth $10-20, depending on whether you have an active Companion Pass.

Locating the Offer

Just log in to Southwest Rapid Rewards and navigate to “All Online Offers” (mid way down on the left.) Sort by highest earn rate and you’ll find The Wall Street Journal at 1100 points. You’ll want to hover your mouse over the name until the “Store Details” icon pops up. Click there to get access to the screen below.

1100 Points

Just select one of the radio buttons that offers 2 months for $1 (two month subscription) and you’ll be on your way. My advice is to set a reminder to cancel the subscription in about a week, or as soon as you see the purchase track through your account. How do you check? From the top right corner of the Rapid Rewards Shopping site, click your rewards number under your name. You should see recent transactions and visited sites.

What do you think?

Is this a deal you’ll participate in? I wish it was always $1 for 1,100 points! This offer certainly takes a minimal amount of time and money to complete – just don’t forget to cancel that subscription!

The Southwest Companion Pass: Two Years of Buy One, Get One Free Airfare

Every single travel blogger has written about this, so I’ll point you here, here, and here if this post is incomplete.

How It Works

  1. Sign up for not one, but two new credits cards at the exact same time (open two browser windows and hit “Submit” at the same time).
  2. Meet the spend limits and earn 50,000 points per card.
  3. On your way to the spend limit ($2,000 per card), earn an additional 4,000 points, or one point per dollar.
  4. Pay additional wedding and living expenses for a maximum total of $6,000, thereby earning an additional 6,000 points.

Add it up: 50,000 + 50,000 + 4,000 + 6,000 = 110,000

In other words, of the 110,000 points you need for the companion pass, 100,000 come from credit card sign up bonuses.

The Companion Pass

Once you hit 110,000 miles in a calendar year OR travel blahbity blah number of segments (something like one segment every three days…who does that?) you’ll earn the coveted Companion Pass. With it, you can designate a travel companion (and may change this companion two or three times per year) who will get a free ticket (YES! Just pay the $10 security fee or whatever it is these days!). The pass is valid for the remainder of the current year and the entire following year, so you may want to hit that 110,000 mark in January to maximize the amount of time you have to use it.

Note that points generally post just after your billing statement closes, not after a purchase is made. So, if your statement closes Dec 15, your points will post in December. Points through Rapid Rewards Shopping (more on that later) could post the next day. Be careful!

Booking A Free Companion Ticket

You add the companion after you book your flight from your Itinerary page. There’s a great guide here.

How do I apply for the right credit cards?

Please know that both cards have to go in the same name (you can’t get one and have your fiance(e) get the other – use the same name and Rapid Rewards number on both cards).

If Chase wants to know why you’re asking for two cards, that’s an easy answer! You are planning a wedding and want to separate those expenses from your daily expenses.

My suggestion is to get the Plus and Premier cards. Yes, $69 and 99/yr fee. It’s worth it (and you’re going to cancel once you get the Companion Pass anyway, so you only have to deal with the fees once). If those links happen to give you trouble, hit up Bing.com (why not Google?) and scour the internet until you find both links. It’s incredibly important that you sign up for both on the same day, else you will not be able to get the two bonuses…and you will make it almost impossible to reach the Companion Pass target of 110,000 without a LOT of work.

10,000 points?! 

Yes. Proceed with caution! If you only get one point per dollar, that means $10,000 in expenses! If you miss a payment or carry a balance, you’ll very quickly wipe out the benefits this card has to offer. I am an advocate for NO debt. If you aren’t able to pay off these expenses, you’ll need to do the math and determine whether the interest payments make sense. I can’t decide that for you – my blanket answer is always no. Keep reading, though, to learn how to spend as close to $4,000 as possible in order to get 10,000 points…and, even better, how to do so without spending money you weren’t already planning to.

Here are a few ideas as to how you can hit those spend limits – which is effectively $4,000 to get the bonuses and as little as possible beyond that to get the Companion Pass.

Many of these require that you pay for something with your card, only to have a family member or friend pay you back. In normal circumstances, maybe that would make you uncomfortable. But, if you tell them what you’re doing, I suspect you’ll have their support (and envy!).

  1. Pay your venue deposit. They may request a check, but you should ask about charging it. If they require a 3% fee to run a credit card, that is your decision. Personally, if I have a $10,000 expense, 3% of that would be $300. I’d be done the spend requirements and that might be worth saving the trouble. Just be aware of how that affects when your points (and, therefore, Companion Pass) are going to post. And, do you have the cash to pay off the balance immediately?
  2. Pay off your wedding dress. If mom and dad are paying, are you comfortable asking them to let you charge it? If they understand your really smart plan for the next two years of travel, they’re more likely to say yes.
  3. Buy all of your bridesmaids’ dresses and cover the initial tux rental. Yep, insurance, too. 🙂 This could easily be a $500 expense, and they’re going to pay you back.
  4. BYOB! Does your venue allow you to provide the alcohol? More on that in a future post.
  5. Pay for your florist/coordinator/transportation/photographer/decorator/hair stylist in advance (or, at least the deposit since you may want to have some leverage in case of trouble).
  6. Buy American Express gift cards ($2,000 will run you less than $15 in fees) and hang on to that card until you need to spend it. In other words, convert your cash to gift cards via the credit cards for points.
  7. Buy your thank-you stationary or, if you want to use photographs and can’t order now, buy gift cards to where ever you intend to purchase.
  8. Pay normal living expenses, such as your rent, via Redcard or Amazon payments – especially if your landlord is hip.
  9. Buy all of those other thank you gifts (bridesmaids, parents, etc) in advance.
  10. I won’t recommend paying for your hotel, because I think that should be done via rewards, but you’re going to have to eat, drink, and entertain yourself on your trip. Buy gift cards to the restaurants you intend to visit or find out what gift cards the pool bar accepts…and stock up in advance!
  11. Stock up on other gift cards you know you’ll use, such as gas cards and grocery store cards.

Reducing the $10,000 to $4,000

You’ll have to spend $4,000 no matter what, because you have to meet the $2,000 requirement on each card. But, there are some clever ways to get the additional 6,000 points.

Remember that our goal is to spend $4,000 and earn 10,000 points (you got 100,000 from the bonuses and need 10,000 more for the Companion Pass). Hypothetically, if you spend $4,000 and earned three points per dollar, that would be 12,000 points, right?

Enter Shopping Portals.

Rapids Rewards Shopping is your gateway to more points for fewer dollars. Today, for example, you can get 6 points per dollar at Macy’s. That means if you spend $1,000, you’ll get 6,000 of those 10,000 points. Your remaining $3,000 in spend (to hit the two $2,000 limits) will earn you at least another 3,000 points…and it’s almost done! 110,000 points! (No, I don’t think you’re going to spend $1,000 at Macy’s…but what if you find your bridesmaids’ dresses? Tuxes? Gown? Mother of the bride dress? Be creative!)

Here is a snapshot of the current highest earning options from the portal. Anyone up for a year of DirecTV? Might be worth it!

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Reducing $4,000 to Nada

I post regularly about how you can buy stuff and get all of your money back, so just keep an eye on the blog. A few weeks ago, it was $44 worth of paper at Staples that you ended up profiting $10+ on. While I’m unlikely to strike gold and find $10,000 worth of free stuff, every little bit helps. Talk to your family and friends and see if they support the charge and pay back idea. Weddings are one of the most expensive events in a lifetime – get the absolute most you can in free travel and rewards!

Wait, what?

I’ve been doing this for a long time, so there’s a good chance I’ve left out a vital detail that seems obvious to me. Please leave your questions and comments so that I can improve on this entry!