$500 Gift Cards (AmEx Gold, Moi)
$525 Gift Cards (Citi Thank You, MH)
$499 Travel Rewards (Capital One Venture,MH)
$200 Cash (WF Wise, MH)
$1,724 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*
**In addition, various monthly rewards that I will tally at 12/31.
I guess this is the flip side of managing several credit card rewards at once. It's raining rewards!
I received $500 gift cards and $200 cash in the last week or so.
Yesterday my American Express reward points showed up online. My initial feeling was getting the $250 reward last year was not very useful as it was only dining out cards. But we ended up enjoying more than I thought we would. It took us like 6 months to get through $250, but we enjoyed.
That said, if I found $250 in dining cards difficult to figure out how to use wisely, then $500 is definitely harder. I figured we'd gift most the excess but I realized yesterday the Cheesecake Factory cost way too many points, so scratched that as a gift card idea for my dad. At the end MH looked at the options and said he could use Home Depot for small things around the house (goes there to get light bulbs if nothing else) and Staples for school supplies next year.
So, we chose:
$100 Benihana (Birthday gift for my dad, we will take him and my mom out).
$100 California Pizza Kitchen (can treat the kids once or twice)
$50 Barnes & Noble (gift for FIL)
$50 Ruth Chris Steakhouse (lunch date for us)
Starting to grasp at straws:
$50 Home Depot
$50 P.F. Chang's (??? never been here)
$50 seasons 52 (restaurant)
The thing that sucks is managing all these gift cards, but we will figure it out. (I usually do just SIMPLE rewards that don't require much energy.
We aren't stockpilers in general. Just is more work. I guess also we don't have any systems in place to manage this level of gift cards).
I wish we could have found a nice gift for MH's parents. But we struck out (none of the free gift cards or anything they would really love) and MH is not being helpful. In the end, I decided to just send them $100 as a thank you for watching our kids for 10 days. Want them to treat themselves to something nice.
In other gifty-ness, MH received a $5 Starbucks gift card at work. I gave it to to a co-worker who is always very appreciative. (We don't drink coffee and so we always re-gift Starbucks gift cards).
On the credit card reward front, I was briefly dreaming of a trip to Hawaii. I have gotten more comfortable with the (super easy) travel rewards and was thinking we could do a mostly free trip to Kauai. Maybe next year? I have a weakness for Hawaii. For all the air travel that I don't care for, Hawaii is the one exception. Plus, if it's FREE, why not? I don't want to spend a lot on travel these next years as we save up for college, but this would be far below our minimal travel/vacation budget.
It was only a brief thought because the childcare would be tricky. I wouldn't mind taking the kids, except our only option would be the peak of summer. Which wouldn't be enjoyable at all. So I think we have to put it on the back burner. I tentatively brought it up to MH but talked myself out of it in the end. He was open to it but just surprised I would want to go at all. I told him we have been normalizing all this big travel, and he reminded me how happy I seemed to not want to go ANYWHERE next year. I think I need a year off just to have a quiet year at home. It's moot because it would be a lot to ask right now and not sure my kids would go for it. If we wait until Fall 2019 at least our older child should be driving. Will give everyone some time and space before we plan another adults-only trip. So yeah, thinking one quiet year off and then maybe considering a big trip to Hawaii. I am thinking I could probably cover airfare and car rental with credit card rewards. We can get a free hotel through in-laws. You see why it would be such an inexpensive trip.
Another Credit Cards Reward Update