Hey everyone! Glad to see you’re still following me and if you’re new, Welcome! *Waves like a maniac*
So it came to my attention a few months ago that every time I go to a gas station, which is a lot since I’m at a con literally every weekend, they push a rewards card. Like they really try to get you to sign up for this thing. Like Jehovah’s Witnesses who don’t show up at 6am on Saturday.
But you know I got to thinking, despite the annoyance of being asked ‘Would you like to sign up for our rewards card?’ six billion times a weekend it’s actually a really good idea. I mean I am on the road a LOT. I travel upwards of 500 miles one way to a con. My car is fuel efficient thank the Gods of Gasoline but I still end up feeling like I’m literally pouring money in a hole.
I spend on average $60 to $80 a weekend in gas, with gas in my region being between $2.05 and $2.35 a gallon and my gas tank holding 8 gallon at total empty. If I get a $0.03 discount every time I fill up from empty I save around 25 cents every time I fill up. Dear Gods I sound like a math problem…
It’s true though. I save about 25 cents per fill up, It’s only a quarter sure but do this, every time you fill your tank put a quarter in a jar, in the course of a month see how many dollars you have in the jar. Congrats, you probably have enough to get a couple gallons of gas. That counts for something especially when you’re doing this full time like I am. And gas rewards cards these days are good for more than just a few cents off gas. If you go into a gas station look at the promotions on the glass cooler doors. Bet you there’s a ‘Buy one get one free with rewards card.’ sign somewhere. And it’s not just sodas. You can get chips, drinks, candy, snacks etc for a lot less with some of these rewards programs. And some like the Shell and Speedway Rewards cards let you accrue points alongside the discounts which are good for nifty swag and not all of it is cheap chinese crap with a shell logo on it. I’ve almost got enough points to buy a Kitchenaid Mixer. Granted it’s like 100,000 points and that’s gonna take a lot of trips to the gas station but hey! I’m already going aren’t I? I have cards for Pilot, Shell, Speedway, Exxon and Mobil. BP sadly only offers rewards cards to truckers but with the cards I already have I’m saving money and earning sweet swag.
Then there’s the Hotels Rewards. If you do conventions more than three hours from your home odds are you’re used to seeing the inside of a hotel room.
Again, I am in a hotel almost every weekend unless I am super lucky and have a friend in the area willing to let me sleep on their couch, (Shout out to Kitty Wynter of Wynter Arts who lets me be a bum almost once a month!). I spend almost as much time in hotel rooms as I do at home. Pro Tip: get an account with a travel site, hotels.com, expedia.com, kayak.com, whatever but get an account with them because they will save you thousands. On average a decent mid-quality hotel will have rooms priced between $65 and $90 if you book directly with the hotel. That gets expensive after a while, if you figure that the average con is 3 days and if you’re like me you prefer to set up the night before, you’ll have a 3 day stay in the hotel. At $65 a night that’s $195 before taxes which vary wildly from state to state and even city to city within those states.
The aforementioned websites do all the negotiating with the hotels for you and can save you 20 bucks or more per night and then some of them have rewards programs! I use hotels.com, I earn one free night for every ten nights I book at and stay through them as well as saving between 20 and 30 bucks a night. I also get emails with special offers and coupon codes on top of the savings and rewards nights. (Please note I am not a hotels.com spokesperson!) And if the gas rewards savings didn’t impress you this should!
Now there are a few downsides (there always are). The hotels can vary wildly, you’ll have everything from high end 5 Star Resort Hotels to pimp infested roach motels to sift through so use the filters in the left hand bar. Also as with any hotel there is the chance for bugs so read the reviews! Seriously, if a hotel has a great price and I love the amenities but they’ve had bedbugs at any point in the last six months I mark that hotel with a big fat NO. I will not bring that home with me. No way.
Now if none of that up there impressed you and you really just prefer dealing with the hotels directly that’s fine. They have rewards programs too. Wynsong Rewards has at least a dozen hotel chains affiliated with them, so does Wyndham Rewards. Red Roof Inn (a personal favorite) has a rewards program too, sign up for one of those programs and watch the savings grow.
Now if you’ll excuse me… I need to go book a hotel.