Tahiti, Brought to You by Amex

Today I did something that made me a little bit nervous, although I’ve known it was going to happen for the past six years.  I mean, we’ve been saving them for six years.  But still…

I just used 400,000 American Express points to pay for a trip to Tahiti.

Why would I do this?  Because it’s been our goal since getting the card in 2007.  The trick, as you should know if you do this, is to pay it off every single solitary month.  It is completely illogical to charge things, pay interest, and then use the points.  The points don’t add up as like lightning, and paying interest really negates the whole purpose behind getting something for free.  Which is basically what I feel like I did when I clicked “USE POINTS” today when cashing them in.

Let me be clear:  it was not easy to click the “submit” button.  It was not easy at all.  I kept wondering if I really wanted to use the points.  I mean, I could just as well take the money out of savings and use the points for something else.  Like what?  I have no idea, but they felt like an old sweater that you got from someone right before that person died.  It felt like I needed to keep them, like a sentimental nostalgic thing.  I mean, these points had been with me a long time, after all.  They had seen me through all of the design of our building at work, all through law school, and all through raising 3 teenagers.  They were my rock, my solid fortress, and my hope of escape should things go completely haywire.  One can travel pretty far on 400,000 of Amex points.

I did click “submit”, though, and my long and faithful friends are now gone into cyberspace.  I won’t have a lot of charges to make up for them anytime soon, but I think that if, every six years or so I can cash them in for a dream trip, that’s okay.  We aren’t building anything huge anytime soon, so I won’t be getting the 150,000 or so points I got for all of those work trips we took with large groups where I footed the bills and then got reimbursed (our company doesn’t have a travel office).  But, I will still charge my groceries, my haircuts, and my necessaries over time, and they will build back up.  I mean, I have 2,731 points left, so certainly I have something to start with.  It’s like a habit I have of leaving one penny in the piggy bank when we take the change to the bank to cash it in.  It’s like seed money – it gets me started saving coins again.

The best part of this whole thing, besides the little trip I’ll be taking to the South Pacific?  The trip itself earned me nearly 11,000 points because I got double points for the dollars I spent.

So, the seed points are already working.

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