Monday, January 23, 2012

A Welcome Freebie

One of the things I love about living here in the Dubai is the shopping experience. You literally get the value for your money. Discounts are massive and the stores usually give further mark down to the prices nearer the end of their scheduled sale. Plus the items put on sale are almost always in good shape. That’s why it is quite easy for people here to fall into the trap of succumbing to debts because of all these tempting offers.

I have 2 working credit cards here, one of which is an emergency card that we got for free. The account is just there, sitting nicely with a substantial credit limit but zero balance all because we did not activate it…haha!  The other card I’m carrying is my first credit card here in the UAE which I have been using for most of my purchases. Earlier last year, I have requested to have its credit limit reduced to the minimum amount they would allow, which is just enough for me to purchase our family’s air tickets when going home. I had several other reasons why I requested for that but they deserve a separate blog entry.

As my card is tied to a point-generating card called Airmiles, I get to receive points every time I use it. In addition, I get to incur double points to certain stores that have partnership with Airmiles.  So if I use my credit card, let’s say at Chili’s to pay for our food bill, I get points by using my credit card plus I get another round of points if I present my Airmiles. Great, isn’t it?

my valuable card ;-)

Now here’s the best part – the redemption of points. I know people might think of me as tacky but I do use my points to get presents for family and friends. Well, I'm practical like that, haha! For instance, back in 2006, I got my best bud a hairdryer as birthday present because that’s what she wanted. So far, the Philips hairdryer is still working great and is now a staple to her everyday life. Then in 2009, I redeemed Ryan’s Kitchenaid Artisan mixer, which Airmiles gladly delivered to my office within 3 days after I've placed my order. I was heavy with Dade then and couldn’t afford to spend so much on a birthday present so I checked on my points to see if there’s any item I could snag from their catalogue. Ryan was pretty happy with his gift and was over the moon to see his dream mixer come true.  Now recently, I was put in the same scenario of finding an anniversary gift for the husband. Since my Dad gave my husband a spankin’ Beats Pro over-ear headphone, I was pressured to get him a proper iPod since our iPod Nanos are pretty old and were either given as presents or handed over as a prize at work. New Beats and old iPod Nano just don’t seem right.

wicked ear phones

But then, I have no budget for a new gadget. We just returned from our holidays and are recuperating from all the expenses. We are also saving up for our upcoming move to a new apartment plus preparing ourselves for the costs of hiring a nanny the proper, legal way. On top of that, we are looking into the prospect of selling our current car to get a bigger one in time for the arrival of the new baby. So you see, I literally don’t have the means to buy a new iPod. That is until I had a lightbulb moment.

I was cleaning up my office drawer yesterday when I saw an old statement of my Airmiles card. Curiosity hit me so I checked online how much my points are. I was so happy to learn that I have more than enough points to get me some vouchers from Arabian Centre which has a Sharaf DG 4U store. Realizing that I could get the iPod Touch from there, I immediately dragged the husband last night after work to get some vouchers. Silly goose me gave a lousy excuse that I won some vouchers so we need to drive there straight away. And because it was too cold last night, he and Dade decided to stay in the car while I made my way to the Customer Service section of the mall.

I almost jumped up and down when I was told by the sales person in Sharaf DG 4U that they have stock of the 32GB in white!  I quickly claimed my vouchers, came back to the store and took home hubby’s present.  I even got a free AED 50 voucher plus several discount coupons in Forever 21 and Sanrio stores.  I was also asked by the lovely lady from the Customer Service kiosk to go back to her after I've made my purchase so I can present my receipt and add more points to my Airmiles card.  On top of that, I got 6 raffle coupons for a chance to win some shopping money.  How cool is that?

free new gadget -- hooray!!

As soon as we got home, I gave the new toy to my husband who happily tinkered with it.  He said he knew I was up to something but couldn’t point a finger at it.  He is an unassuming person anyway so I knew I'd be able to pull it off without giving the surprise away :)

Here he is checking out his new gadget while Dade was watching Curious George in his iPad. Such techie boys!

Apple fans

So yeah, when i’m desperate, I always check on my Airmiles points.  They do come in quite handy :)

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