Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Chase Sapphire First Friday Favorites 3x bonus

Chase Sapphire has been teamed up with OpenTable for some time and now they have a new promotion called the First Friday Favorites.  When you use your Chase Sapphire card at restaurants on the first Friday of the month, Chase will award you 3x points (instead of the regular 2x points) on your dining purchase.  

These first Fridays include: May 3, June 7, July 5, August 2, September 6, October 4, November 1, and December 6,2013 before midnight.
There is no need to register for this program. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Chase Prepaid Visa gift cards with fees waived for a limited time

I know I am really behind on jumping on this deal.  I first read about Chase Prepaid Visa gift cards with fees waived from the The Points Guy.  I waited a while because I was waiting to hear reports on whether these gift cards could act as true debit PIN cards.  
I wanted to read about other user experience with transferring the money balance to their Bluebird account, or to paying for a Money Order without issue.  I also wanted to make sure that buying these Chase gift cards with my credit card did not charge a “cash advance” for making the purchase.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Feeding your Bluebird with Office Depot Bancorp Bank Vanilla Visa gift cards

As I’ve shared before you can now enable PIN code access with certain Visa and Mastercard gift cards. 
While getting groceries today, I stopped by the local Office Depot to see what kind of gift card I could purchase with my Chase Ink Business card. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Early retirement by saving and investing more: the Mr. Money Mustache way

At what age do you imagine that you will retire?  65? 60? 55? 

Have you even thought about retirement at all? 
The last Gallup annual Economy and Personal Finance survey found that the average non-retired American now expects to retire at age 67.
Our society has ingrained in us an idea that we need to work until we're 60+, only then can we get a few golden years to enjoy the rest of our days.  Why do people at most income levels continue to work, often times up to age 65 and beyond?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

3 free nights in Atlanta

We have been looking forward to visiting Atlanta, Georgia for some time.  We love marine life and are anxious to visit the Georgia Aquarium - currently the world’s largest aquarium.  Opened in 2005, the aquarium houses 120,000 animals, representing 500 species, in 8.5 million US gallons (32,000 m3) of marine and fresh water. 
Whale shark in the open ocean
We are especially excited to see the whale sharks on display.  They are the largest fish on earth, measuring up to 40 feet long.  The Georgia Aquarium is the only aquarium outside of Asia that houses whale sharks.  It also offers the only opportunity in the world where you can SCUBA dive with these gentle giants (which I intend on doing!).
Of course there are plenty of other things to do and see in Atlanta, but we are definitely most excited to see the aquarium.

How are we going to get to Atlanta, Georgia and the Georgia Aquarium for free?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Atlantis Paradise Island Trip Report Part 2

This is part 2 of our honeymoon trip review to Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas.  You can find part 1 here where I detailed our stay at the resort.

There is so much to do at Atlantis Paradise Island and surrounding areas: shopping, dining, swimming, playing, exploring.  I don’t want to bore you with all the places we went to and all the food we ate, so here are a few highlights.  

Atlantis Marine Habitat
The Atlantis Resort is like one giant aquarium.  Everywhere we went, we found ourselves surrounded by underwater ruins, lagoons, caves, and tunnels full of amazing underwater marine life including sharks, stingrays, fish, lobsters, shrimp, sea turtles, dolphins, sea lions, piranhas, barracuda, and more.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

5 free nights in Seoul

We are going to visit my wife’s family in Seoul, South Korea in November.  We wanted to stay somewhere in the heart of Seoul where we would be close to the Subway and have easy access to all the tourist spots.

We’ve been saving up and slowly accumulating Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Starpoints by paying with our AMEX SPG card whenever AMEX credit cards are accepted.  Currently we have a little over 80,000 Starpoints. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Visa and Mastercard gift cards now with PIN code

A few days ago, the frequent flyer community was in an uproar about this post from Million Mile SecretsCertain Mastercard and Visa gift cards now allow you to setup a PIN code to use these cards as “debit” cards.  You can usually find these types of gift cards at grocery stores and drugstores on the gift card rack.

The reason having a PIN code with these gift cards is a big deal is that now you may be able to use these cards as debit cards.  You can load your Bluebird account with a debit card, up to $1,000 per day at Walmart locations (up to $5,000 load limit per month per Bluebird account). 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

JP Morgan Palladium card: changes and hidden benefits

The JP Morgan Chase Palladium card is definitely a unique card.  It’s beautiful to look at, hefty to hold, and exclusive to own.  According to wikipedia, there are only 5,000 current cardholders.  The card comes with a unique set of benefits and tops it off with a ridiculous annual fee ($595).
You can see my original review of the card here.  It’s been fun owning this card for the last year.  Reading different forums on flyertalk and creditboards, cardholders have discovered and shared hidden benefits they were able to receive, often times just by calling the concierge and asking.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

April 15th is the last day to invest in your IRA for 2012

Although 2012 has come and gone, you can still contribute money into your IRA for the 2012 tax year.  But the deadline is nearing fast.  For all you procrastinators, you have until Monday, April 15th, 11:59pm Eastern time to do it!

For the majority of readers here, a Roth IRA will be the way to go.  I’ve previously written about opening a retirement account and investing with Vanguard.  

Since Dec 1st, 2011, I’ve been regularly plugging away at my Roth IRA (and other investments like my 401K).  With today’s new market highs, my total returns (in less than a year and a half) are doing pretty well:   
Sure these aren't life changing returns, but the returns have been stable and consistent.  I don’t expect the market to always do this well.  In fact, there will likely be ups and downs in the next few months.  However, each time the market drops, I’ll use those opportunities to pick up more shares on sale.

For 2012, you can still contribute up to $5,000 ($6,000 if age 50+).  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Atlantis Paradise Island Trip Report Part 1

This is part 1 of a 2 part series on our honeymoon trip to Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas.  This post will detail our stay at the resort as well as other hotel options on Atlantis.  Part 2 will detail our activity and dining experiences.  
Atlantis Paradise Island is a mega-resort located on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.  The theme of the resort is the legendary and mysterious lost city of Atlantis.  This resort first opened in 1998, and it is constantly being updated and improved upon.  The resort itself is incredible.  There are aquariums and marine habitats everywhere you go and a 141-acre waterpark that includes many slides, pools, and lazy river rides. 

For many people, their idea of a great tropical vacation includes laying out on the beach, watching the waves, and sipping on a mojito.  

Not for us.  

Sunday, April 7, 2013

My favorite personal credit cards

I get asked this question all the time: “What is the best credit card for ME?”

Well, there isn’t an easy answer for this because there isn't a best credit card for everyone.  There are pros and cons with every credit card.  Personally, I benefit from a mixture of different credit cards used for different purchasing situations.

Some credit cards offer cash back.  Other credit cards offer airline or hotel points.  Some credit cards offer 0% intro APR for 12 or more months.  Some credit cards have low rates, but don’t offer any rewards.  Most of the really premium credit cards have annual fees (they also have some of the best sign up bonuses).  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Applying for credit cards

Whenever possible, I always pay with my credit card Credit cards offer an incredible amount of protection, benefits, and rewards.   

Earning credit card sign up bonuses is one of the fastest and easiest ways to earn the most cash back, miles, or points.  Sign up for a card, meet the minimum spend requirements, and earn the big bonuses.  
One of the best credit card deals out there is the Chase Sapphire Preferred
Airline miles and hotel points will let you travel all over the world for next to nothing.  BUT, you have to be wise about your credit decisions.

When deciding to apply for a new credit card, the first thing you need to check is your credit report and score. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Just received my Bluebird checks

I received a large white plastic sealed envelope this afternoon that contained my new Bluebird checkbook and checks.  If you don't know what Bluebird is, read this post first. 
I haven’t been this excited to receive a checkbook since I opened my first checking account ages ago!   

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Use Amazon Payments to earn points

As you likely already know, Amazon is a huge reputable and successful online company.  You’ve probably previously purchased something from Amazon.com and had a great experience.

I’ve been hesitant to publish an article on Amazon Payments for a while because there’s already so much information about it available online.  But since April just started and I just finished using Amazon Payments, I thought I would go ahead and detail the process. 

Amazon Payments is a payment system similar to PaypalYou can use Amazon payments to make purchases on Amazon.com as well as send money to other users and receive money from other users.

If you want to Paypal someone money with your credit card, there is a 2.9% fee plus $0.30 per transaction.

There are currently no fees for sending credit card payment (up to $1,000 per month) to other individuals with Amazon Payments.

How is this handy?

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