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One of mybest friends from high school is getting married this Sunday. But since I’m not invited to his wedding — it’s going to be a small family affair — I have to take the next best thing, which is a wedding party at their home the following week. Money will be tight this semester, but with my full-time job in the horizon, I’m feeling more generous. And this is probably one of two non-familial people I would fly to Timbuktu for, if need be.

The best prices for non-stop flights from Phx to Washington D.C (technically, the airport is in Baltimore, MD, but whatever) are on Southwest. Right now live.com is giving 15% cashback on all purchases on eBay, so I went searching for a Southwest travel credit, and as luck would have it, there was a buy-it-now auction in the price range I needed. So I bought the travel credit on eBay, then purchased my ticket on the SW website.

Here’s the breakdown:

SW travel credit value: $350.50
eBay buy-it-now price: $315
Live.com cashback: $47.25
Final price paid: $267.75

That’s a savings of $82.75 or 24%!! 
And, since the final price of the ticket was $319, I still have a $31.50 credit good until 7/2009.

This was my first time buying a travel credit on eBay, and I made sure to use my credit card through PayPal, in case the transaction went sour and I needed to do a chargeback. I ALWAYS use my credit card for large transactions on eBay. It’s much easier getting a chargeback from your credit card company then hassling with a refund through PayPal (which isn’t guaranteed — for example, if the seller closes his account and runs with the money you’re out of luck).  But it turned out to be super easy — I received the credit soon after payment and was able to apply it immediately toward the purchase of my plane ticket. The previous owner just had to give me his name and a confirmation number.

That 15% cashback on eBay is a really good deal for things like gift cards, travel credits, gold coins, etc. And there have been days when the eBay cashback percentage has been as high as 25%! You can do up to 6 eBay transactions per live.com account, with a maximum of $200 cashback on any one purchase. All eBay purchases must be buy-it-now, and they must be paid with PayPal to be eligible for cashback. It takes 60 days for the cashback to be available in your account, and you can then transfer it to your PayPal account. Here are the live.com terms and conditions for purchases on eBay.

5 Responses to “How I Saved 24% on my Southwest Plane Ticket”

  1. Anonymous says:


    Didnt even think to use this for gift cards, nice!

  2. kledus says:

    wow…I’d say I’m surprised but…sheesh. Can’t wait to see you!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the info on the live cashback. What a great idea for southwest credit. I was actually thinking that we might want credit for travel next year and perhaps I could buy the credit.. immediately use it for a “fake reservation” then cancel that one, so that I didn’t have to worry about the “seller” using the funds on the original ticket. Does that make sense? We are traveling in June, so those flights aren’t open yet.
    What do you think :)
    kc @
    Desert Deals Diva

  4. admin says:

    Sounds like a good plan to me. I’ve never canceled a reservation, so I don’t know how that works, but I’m assuming you get a new confirmation number? Also, I would say wait for a 25% cashback day to pull the trigger, but no one knows if one will happen again, or WHEN it will happen.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yeah I have had to change flight times or rebook to get a ding rate before. You basically end up with the credit on the old reservation number.. so similar to how you used the credit you bought. There is credit on the old reservation. I was just thinking that might be a way to prevent losing it to the original seller (if they were dishonest) because the credit would now be on a new reservation number. Thanks for the idea though!

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