I had a brilliant idea the other day. It's been a dream of mine to fly to New York and attend a taping of The Daily Show. Tickets are free but extremely hard to come by. I had four tickets last year but instead of New York my friend wanted to go to Rome, so we did that instead. Since then I've had two or three opportunities to grab tickets but I haven't been able to because of timing or money.
My brilliant idea was this: I would save up my Amazon.com rewards points and use them on a flight to New York next year giving myself a fantastic and cheap graduation present. However, I just figured out that I need to spend $5,904 on Amazon to reach the needed 25,000 points for a free plane ticket. And that's if all that money is spent on Amazon. If I spend it elsewhere, it'll take more. If I used that card for big items like rent I'd probably get there, but I don't know of many landlords who take cards.
After realizing this, I had a less brilliant but still good idea: I'd get up to the 15,000 points needed for $150 off a plane ticket since I'm about half way there right now.
Then I remembered something else. I used that card a couple months ago to pay for 5 cruise tickets, hence the boost in reward points. Not likely I'll be spending that much again within the next year with school and what may turn out to be zero income.
Do I wait and see if I miraculously have enough points for a free or discounted flight in a year? Do I practice instant gratification and turn 5,000 of my current points into a $50 Amazon gift card? Or do I simply look at rewards programs for other cards and get one that wouldn't be so long of a wait (assuming they exist)?