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This week, Friday Five is going to cover how to stay on top of expiring miles, cheaper house reno buys and some potential Southwest expansion routes!
Sometimes, it can get a little difficult to keep track of the different miles and points programs that you’ve collected points with over the years. This can be an issue because most miles expire if they don’t have activity. That’s where AwardWallet comes in, and it’s a handy tool I use to stay on top of everything. How it works is you link your awards programs to it and they will send you updates depending on changes – so if you get more miles, use your miles or most importantly, your miles are getting ready to expire.
It’s important to know that you don’t have to fly in order to save your miles. Miles can be “renewed” by making even a small $1 purchase through an Airline’s online rewards portal – it’s a great option that I’ve used on multiple occasions. One thing to note about this, though, is to not wait until the last minute. Sometimes that point or two can take a month to post to your account.
Side note: I have a bookmarks folder containing all of my travel rewards programs in it, just so I don’t forget who I have points with!
I just wanted to do a quick shout out to eBay, given the money-saving option it has been for me recently. As you probably know, we are doing two bathroom renovations of our new house and they have required a lot of random fixtures and not very glamorous behind-the-scenes items. One example is the valve that connects the hot and cold pipes coming into the tub to the nice shiny trim that people see. This valve runs for around $30 at Home Depot, but I was able to find it on eBay for $20. Now, that isn’t huge savings, but when you factor in a bunch of those little things, they can add up pretty quickly.
In the past, eBay was the place that I went when I needed something small, random and cheap. Amazon is usually most people’s go-to for online shopping, but it’s a good reminder that free two-day shipping comes at a cost. Smaller items with smaller margins have to get marked up to cover that expensive shipping. In the past, I would use Amazon as my go-to with items under a certain price coming from your traditional box store. eBay has really infringed on Amazon in my life, and especially with house reno materials. For example, the materials that we used to waterproof our tub retails for $220 (plus tax), but I got all the pieces separately on eBay for a total of $174.
I just wanted to throw this out there, because of course, everyone knows about eBay, but maybe you (like me!) had just bypassed it before as this complicated bidding marketplace. Next time you are doing a project or need something, run it through eBay before heading to Home Depot or Amazon – you might be surprised what you find!
Wait, what!? Southwest is flying to Canada?! All I can say is, it’s about time, eh? According to this report, Southwest is looking at Baltimore as a potential hub into both Europe and Canada. And honestly, it just makes too much sense. Canadian airfare is notoriously expensive, and Southwest would absolutely disrupt the market and drive prices down. Competition is usually good for consumers, and I can see Toronto and maybe Montreal or Quebec as potential route options. Having a direct flight on an airline like Southwest would be a tourist boon on both ends, so here’s hoping that happens!
Sarah and I have been talking about doing a quick trip down south to Mexico or the Carribean via our Southwest points, and we might try a Groupon or LivingSocial getaway to an all-inclusive for a long weekend. We’ve heard good things from friends who have done them and a short trip with points + a Groupon (reminder: Groupon usually has killer Ebates cashback). Has anyone done one of these, or is interesting in coming along with us!? Let us know!
Kind of a renovation-centered ending here, but Sarah has done a great job keeping our Instagram up to date with our bathroom renovations. Check them out here and look in our story highlights for the full recap!
The Simple Summary
Well, the bathroom is calling my name… to tile it, just to clarify. This is a wrap for the last two weeks of news and savings – happy eBay shopping!