Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Amazing Prices to Canada!

Update 2: Total now needs to be over $1,500 in order to get the $600 off.
Update:
Site seems to be crashing. Also, lots of the prices went up. So, if you want to take advantage, hurry!

United is offering amazing Vacation Packages to Canada. Prices can be as low as $150 total for two round-trip flights to Canada including hotel stay! That's $75 per person. You also get 5,000 United miles for each person, totaling 10,000!

As long as the package prices out to over $750, you can apply coupon code GOCANADA to take off $600. Total price will very much depend on dates, itinerary and amount of days at hotel. It can take some tweaking to get the right flight/price. For instance, when I searched for NYC-YYZ the price came out quite a bit more than EWR-YYZ. Valid on travel through 4/30/10

Will not last long!

See more on Flyertalk.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Free 3-Month Trial of Amazon Prime

Here's how to get a free three month trial for Amazon Prime and get free two-day shipping on everything sold by Amazon, even if you've had a free trial in the past.

Add a book to your cart. Click through till the final checkout page. At the final checkout page, you should see an offer to sign up for a 3 month trial. You DO NOT need to submit the order, just close the page (or delete the item from your cart). You don't need to buy anything!

Once you're signed up, click here and 'turn off auto upgrade', so that you won't automatically be charged the $79 annual fee once the 3 months are up.

Alamo Car Rentals $10 a Weekend Day

Rates as low as $10 a day.
Pick up from Thursday 9am. Saturday night required. Return by Monday.
Valid from January 6th through February 10th.
Limited locations. Limited availability. Worth a shot.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Is That Really a Great Price? Deal Or No Deal.

You see a 'deal' on a deal site and wonder "is it really such a great deal?" Don't forget, most sites make money off the deals you buy when you click through their site. (Shoppers in the know use cashback sites).

I know lots of people just buy what they need when they need it, but for those that want to make sure they are really getting a bargain, here are some of the things I often do to check if it really is a deal:
  1. Search SlickDeals to see what people say about this deal. Also, search if this item was on sale previously. And if yes, how often you can get a this item on sale and for how much.
  2. If it's a deal on a Amazon item, where the price can fluctuate by large amounts, I'll check PriceTrace.com, which tracks prices on Amazon, and will tell you what the price has been lately. Like that you know if Amazon previously had this item for lower, and by how much.
    In the past, price fluctuations didn't matter that much, because Amazon used to offer a price guarantee, where if the price dropped within 30 days from when you purchased the item, they used to refund the money. They don't offer that anymore. Now, I like to know if the current price is really good.
  3. Search Google Products (or PriceGrabber.com). Like that you can see the regular going rate.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

100,000 BA Miles Posted and the $75 Annual Fee Waived

The 100,000 miles from the Chase British Airways Card Promtion posted to my BA mileage account. I will probably use them for American Airlines flights within America to avoid the hefty taxes and fees when flying with British Airways. That was one great signup bonus. Congrats to all who got it.

To make it even sweeter... Chase was kind enough to waive my $75 annual fee! Now the 100,000 miles was totally free!

You can try to get your fee waived too. When activating the card, many people were mistakenly informed that the card would be free the first year. I sent Chase a message using Secure Message Center on Chase.com, asking for the fee to be removed. A few hours later I got a response that the fee will be refunded. Write a few lines mentioning that you were told that the first year would be free, and hopefully you will get the same response.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

$20 Off $50 at Staples

Update: Expired.
Use code 61777 for $20 off a $50 purchase at Staples.com. Expires today.

Free Stuff !!!

Update: Seems to be over. The headset is still free after rebate, just not free before rebate... I'll comment if any of my orders ship.

This just seems to be good to be true, so it may very well be. Orders will most probably get canceled. Especially being that it's all over Slickdeals.


Get $20 off your order of $20 or more at Buy.com, Adorama and other sites when using Google Checkout! So, for instance, this Bluetooth headset will be free, and you can even make $20 after rebate. Mp3 player for $0.99

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Chase Business Credit Card - 30,000 Priority Club Points

After applying for the Chase Business Checking account, you might want to apply for a Chase Business Credit Card to keep the checking account free.

Chase usually only allows you to earn each credit card signup bonus only once. So if you already received the signup bonuses for the more common Chase business credit cards, like Continental and United, you should look for anther card.

I came across the Chase Priority Club Business Visa which offers 30,000 Priority Club points as a signup bonus. The points aren't such great value, unless you strike lucky and are able to use them for PointBreaks Nights which are only 5,000 points per night. But still, it's not too bad, and the first year is free. Especially now that it looks like we are nearing the end of 30,000 miles signup bonuses with Citi AA cards, we will have to settle for less...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Citi AA Cards No First Year Free - Act Fast

Update 2: Citi is once again offering first year free.
Update:
Offer was extended till February 28th 2010. The new link clearly says that it's for new Citi cardmembers only.

Citi AA offers went down to 25,000 miles from 30,000. Also, first year isn't free anymore.

There still is an active link for the Visa Cards which shows 30,000 miles and first year free. So, if you decide to apply for a Citi AA card, even if you've had them in the past, better apply for the Visa. Also, I've seen reports from some people that they were approved for the Visa cards even though they had Citi AA cards in the past. But then again, with Citi, who knows.

The Visa link says it will expire on December 31st, so act fast.

A reader emailed me that he was charged the annual fee on a Business Visa, but after calling them, they refunded the fee. Best thing would be to print out the offer page just in case.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chase Business Checking - $200 or 25,000 Mile Signup Bonus

Chase often offers signup bonuses when opening a checking account. You are limited to one personal account and one business account signup bonus per calendar year.

My wife and I opened our personal checking accounts in the beginning of the year, but for some reason didn't open the business accounts until now.

Being that it is almost the end of the year, we decided to cash in and open Business checking accounts. In January I can open another personal and business account.

There are two signup bonuses to choose from:
- $200 - you need to be logged in to Chase to see this coupon.
- 25,000 Continental Miles - If you want the miles signup bonus, you will need to get a debit card which comes with an annual fee of $65. With the cash you can get a free debit card.

Bear in mind that if you choose the cash signup bonus, you will get a 1099 for it. With the miles there is no 1099.

What's the catch?
- You have to deposit $500 during the first 30 days to earn the bonus.
- If you want to waive the $16 monthly fee, you need to either:
a. keep $4,000 in the account
b. make five purchases with the debit card every month, totaling $35 - Update: The $35 rule was what I was told in the branch, but from searching online, it doesn't seem that in needs to total any amount.
c. have a active Chase business credit card (at least one purchase a month)
d. link the account to a Personal Premier Checking (Premier is a more expensive personal checking account).

I've read that you can ask for the Chase Business Complete package, which gives you both a Checking and Savings accounts fee-free for the first year. I haven't tried it. Will let you know if I do.

My best option would be to find a decent signup bonus for a Chase Business Card. If that doesn't work, then I'll use the debit card five times a month. As far as I know, the account needs to be open for at least three months, but possibly six months, so as not to forfeit the bonus.

Chase might want a DBA or Tax EIN in order to open an account. It seems to vary by location. If Chase asks for a EIN, it's very easy to get, just go to the IRS website and fill out your information.

Note: I usually like signing up for things that don't require constant upkeep, and not have to worry about debit card purchases etc. but this offer is tempting enough to warrant the minor hassle.

Personal Accounts: This coupon for 25,000 miles or this one for $125.

Offer is officially only for the following states: IL, WI, MI, IN, NY, CT, NJ, OH, WV, KY, FL, LA, OK, TX, CO, AZ, and UT.

Related post: Bank Account Signup Bonuses

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another 500 Priority Club Points

Link
This link has been around for a while, but I just started with Priority Club.

Monday, December 14, 2009

500 Free Priority Club Points For Survey

I don't currently have any Priority Club points. But I figured why not start collecting.
Survey Link

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Amazon Started A Cashback Program

Update: Amazon pulled the cashback promotion. Oh well.

Amazon started a new program called PayPhrase.

Until December 31st they are offering 5% cashback at Amazon, and 10% when shopping at other sites (like Buy.com) and using Amazon PayPhrase to checkout.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Toy Sale on Amazon

Link
Some quite nice prices.
Sign up for a free Amazon Prime trial. You can then click here and 'turn off auto upgrade'.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Is Citi Churning Coming To An End???

Lots of people are reporting that Citi has been declining new Citi AA applications to people who have had a card during the last year (or maybe even earlier).

If true, that would mean the end of a fun and very rewarding game. I still have some time till I plan on applying again, and I'll let you know if I try to apply.

Did you apply and get declined for a card? Let us know.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Send a Free Postcard By Mail

Send a free postcard in the mail using Google.
Just fill out the information, choose a card and Google will print and mail your card, for free.
Limit one per person.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Two Inquiries For Three Citi Cards

I noticed something interesting while looking at my credit reports and those of several of other people. When applying for three Citi AA cards (Business Mastercard, Personal Mastercard and Amex) in one shot, only two inquiries showed up on the credit reports instead of three.

It would seem that when applying for two personal Citi cards simultaneously, there is only one inquiry instead of two. I'm not complaining. The business card runs through a different department, so that would explain why there are two inquiries and not only one.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Free Wifi on AA and At Many Airports

While flying American Airline a few weeks ago, I had my first internet in the clouds experience. It was enjoyable, and the internet speed was pretty good.

Several of their planes are equipped with Wifi. The service is around $10 per flight.
If you fly before December 31st, use the following codes for free access:
AATRYGOGO and 1939admiral70aa. I used them both. There are lots more codes floating around the internet as well.

Some of the seats also have cigarette lighter style power ports, so I was able to plug in a power inverter and keep my laptop charged the entire flight.

Other airlines also have free codes. For instance Delta: DELTATRYGOGO.

Wifi at Airports and Virgin America
Google is offering free Wifi on Virgin America and at many airports till January 15th.
Click here for a list of airports and more info.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Black Friday Deals 2009

This week is Black Friday, which means that there are lots of deals and sales going on. Here are some places to find the deals:
  • Gophn.com compiled a list of Black Friday deals and also has a Excel spreadsheet where you can search through close to 10,000 items on sale, very cool. Click here to download the spreadsheet. Also read his tips on scoring a Black Friday deal without waiting on long lines.
  • Amazon is running Amazon Black Friday Deals. It's like their 'Gold Box' that come up several times a day, but this week they're offering more products at great prices.
    If you're going to buy anything from Amazon, sign up for a free Amazon Prime trial to receive free 2-day shipping even if you're spending less than $25 .
  • Slickdeals.net
  • Fatwallet Black Friday Thread
Friday Only:
Maybe I'll leave a comment here if I find a deal I'd like to share. You can do the same.

LIVE DEALS:
20% Cashback at Dell and HP from Bing.com. Search for "Dell" or "HP"
TomTom XL340S $97 - Link to SlickDeals.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Spend $300 With Amex In NYC Get $50

Promotion for New York:
Shop at 3 or more of the stores listed here and spend a total of at least $300 and get a $50 statement credit.

$50 off $300 is about 17% cashback, which is very generous. If you live in New York, why not register; if you spend $300 at the right stores, good. If not, not.

You have to register your Amex here, and use the same Amex card for all the purchases.

Seen on Dansdeals

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Free Maps and Guides of USA and Canada

This site has a directory for ordering free maps and travel guides for places in USA and Canada. Most of the links are from government tourism websites.

The site is not visually appealing but has many useful links. I had some free guides mailed to me and enjoyed them. Some guides have a shipping charge, but plenty are totally free.

USA States
USA Cities
Canada

Seen on Flyertalk

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Logitech Stood By Their Product - I'm Impressed

Two years ago, I purchased a Logitech VX Revolution Laser Mouse. I was extremely happy with it until two weeks ago, when it started malfunctioning. I looked online and saw that the mouse has a three year warranty. I called Logitech and after a few minutes of troubleshooting, they sent me a new mouse. They actually sent the Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX which is a step up from the one I had.

All it took was a 15 minute phone call. It's good to see a company stand behind their quality products.

When something breaks, don't just throw it out. Check if you are covered by the company's warranty. If not, check if you are covered by Amex.

Related posts:
Manufacturer's Warranty – Is It Worth The Hassle?
Review: American Express - Buyer's Assurance Plan – Absolutely amazing!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Renting A Car For A Week Can Be Cheaper Than Renting For 5 Days

You would think that the longer you rent a car for, the more expensive the rental will be. Well, that's not always the case.

When renting a car from Priceline or Hotwire, it is often cheaper to rent a car for a full week, rather than five days. So if you need a car for 5 days, just rent it for a week and return it early. The rental company will be happy to get their car back early, and you will be happy to save a few dollars.

I know I wrote about this in the past, but being that I almost forgot about it, I figured everyone could use a reminder.

When I needed to rent a car for six days, I saw that Hotwire's total price for 7 days was less than the total for 5 days.

Once I saw Hotwire's price, I checked Priceline. I tried 4, 5, 6 and 7 day rentals on Priceline. When I tried the week rental, I bid a few dollars less than Hotwire's total weekly price. After a few tries, I got the rock bottom price that Priceline would accept, which was about 15% cheaper than Hotwire. It was also cheaper than Priceline's total for five days.

Sometimes Hotwire is cheaper than Priceline. So if you check Priceline, and it won't accept a bid if the total is less than Hotwire's total, then rent through Hotwire.

I stress when I say total price, and not just the daily price. The weekly price was so much cheaper per day, that the total cost was less than the total cost for 5 days. (If five days would cost $15 a day, and seven days would cost $13 a day, a five day rental would still be cheaper.)

When you try Priceline for a weeklong rental, make sure to lower your daily bid so much that the total is lower than a 5 day rental and also lower than the total weekly rate at Hotwire.

Note that sometimes a five or six day rental is cheaper than a weekly rental, so do your homework. As always, buy right and spend less.

Related posts

Review: Cheap Car Rentals!
Review: How To Win With Priceline.com
Review: Car Rental Tips - Insurance
Review: American Express Car Rental Insurance

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Syms Is Having A Bash

Syms, a clothing store with good prices, is having their semi annual bash. The Bash runs till November 16th 2009.

Check their site for store locations. Additional 5% off with Syms charge card.

Monday, November 9, 2009

100 Free Continental Miles

100 miles for looking at Continental's Twice The Miles promotion.

Related post: Free Continental Miles

Thursday, November 5, 2009

100,000 Miles Signup Bonus For Chase British Airways Card

Update 2: Offer is back!
Update:
The offer for 100,000 is down to 30,000. Here is a link that still shows 100,000, but its a hit or miss if BA will give you the 100,000.

Chase is offering 100,000 British Airways miles as a signup bonus for their Chase British Airways Visa. Their taxes and fees are pretty high, but still, you are getting 100,000 miles for one card! Wow!
  • You earn 50,000 after first purchase, and another 50,000 after spending $2,000 within the first three months.
  • If you spend $30,000 within a calendar year (so it seems that you have less than two months to do it in 2009), you will get a free companion award ticket to be used on British Airways only. You will still be charged the taxes and fees, which at British Airways are unfortunately quite high.
  • There is a $75 annual fee, but it is by far worth it.
A nice thing about British Airways is that they don't charge extra fees for booking tickets close to traveling. So, say you want to fly with American Airlines within the USA. With AA miles it would be 25,000 miles, but if you book the flight close to the departure date, you will be charged an extra $50 - $75 per ticket. If you use BA miles for the same flight, it will cost the same 25,000 miles, but you won't be charged the extra money. The high taxes and fees don't apply to flights with American (even when using BA miles).

You probably won't get accepted unless you have a great report and score. So, you may want to check your credit first. In NY Chase is checking Experian.

Seen on ViewFromTheWing

Monday, October 19, 2009

Up to 95,000 Continental Miles for Chase Credit Card and Checking Accounts

Chase Continental Mastercard is currently offering 45,000 miles as a very generous signup bonus. There is an annual fee of $85, and unlike other cards, the first year is not free. Still, $85 is a small price to pay for 45,000 miles. If you fly Continental, you will also benefit from the free checked bag, and President Club Passes.
Chase cards are not usually churnable, so if you got this card previously, you probably won't get the bonus.

Chase Continental MasterCard

Here's how to get the 45,000 miles:
25,000 - After first purchase
5,000 - Adding someone as additional user (no need for social)
10,000 - After spending $1,000 before November 30th
5,000 - Mileathon Bonus (You must register here BEFORE applying for the card)

You can also open Personal and Business checking accounts for an additional 25,000 miles each (It will cost $25 for the personal and $65 for the business). This will bring your total up to 95,000 miles! You can get one bonus for each checking account once per calendar year.

Seen on
FrugalTravelGuy.

Monday, October 12, 2009

500 Free AA Miles

Fill Out Insurance Quote and get 500 AA miles.
"Offer void in CT, GA, IA, ME, MA, MO, NV, NJ, NM, NY and UT."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Free Continental Miles

100 Miles, 100 Miles and maybe another 500 miles.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

150 Free AA Miles

Watch a two-minute video and get 150 miles. Or just skip the video...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

10% Off AA Flights

Update: Promotion has been extended till December 31st.

Click here, play a game and you'll get an email with a code for 10% off AA flights.
Check your spam folder.
Tickets must be purchased by October 31st for travel till November 27th.
You can also become an AAdvantage Member and get 1,000 bonus miles.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Google Voice and More Citi Cards

Google Voice
I know this is old news for some, but just in case you haven't heard: Google started to let more people use Google Voice. Click here to request an invite. For some reason, it seems that some people receive their invite quickly, while others have to wait a while. If you need a Google Voice number urgently you can always get an invite on eBay for a few dollars.

You can use Google Voice together with Gizmo Project to create a free phone line anywhere in the world.

For more information:
GrandCentral Upgrades To Google Voice
The Gizmo Project – Free US Phone Line Anywhere In The World

More Citi American Airlines Credit Cards
I applied for 5 new Citi cards. I figured they would only approve three of them, but I tried for all five anyways. I saw on FrugalTravelGuy that some people were approved for more than three cards. However, as I thought, they approved two personal cards and one business. The other two were declined because they only allow two applications for personal cards every 60 days, and one application for a business card every 90 days.
In any case, that should be another 90,000 AA miles!
Click here to apply.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I'm Back. Some Credit Card Updates

I'm back.
It's been a while, I know. I've been out of the country and quite busy, so if anyone is still reading, you should be seeing some more posts soon. Next time I'm away for this long, I'll try and let you know.

Charles Schwabb Visa

Original post
About a week before leaving the county I applied for the Charles Schwabb visa to use while in Europe. All other cards that I currently have, charge around 3% for foreign transactions.
At first my application was declined. I later found out that was because I had frozen my Experian report and forgot to unfreeze it. I unfroze the report, then called Charles Schwabb to reapply. Once I was approved (for $15,000), I asked them if they can send it to me quickly. The very next afternoon I had the card in my hands! Quick Service!

I used it quite a bit in the UK, and the exchange rates are very good, and no additional fees are added on, and besides for that I get 2% unlimited cash back!
So far I'm very happy with the card, and any purchase that doesn't 'require' an Amex, I use the Charles Schwabb.

Citi $50 Credit
Original post
Just an update that the $50 credit posted to the card I asked them to, even though it wasn't the card that I was offered the $50 credit on.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bumping Inquiries Off Your Credit Report

For more on credit, read the Credit Education Series.

Update 07/16

A credit tip for the advanced user

Every time you apply for a credit card, you get an inquiry on your credit report. Lots of credit cards mean lots of inquiries. This can be a problem, because each inquiry lowers your score a little. Also, you don't want a potential creditor seeing all those inquiries.

That's where Bumping comes into play. Your credit report keeps a record of all your inquiries. These are called hard pulls. The more inquiries you have, the lower your score. Your credit report also keeps a record of all your soft pulls which don't affect your credit. Soft pulls occur when you check your own report or when a company checks your report in order to give you a preapproved offer.

Now, it seems that Equifax and Transunion only have a limited amount of space to record both your hard and soft pulls. So, if you manage to 'collect' enough soft pulls, it could push the older hard pulls off your report! According to people on Fatwallet who try this on a regular basis, bumping does not work with Experian.

Not all credit monitoring services let you refresh your report every day. Some only allow you to pull your report once a month. For bumping purposes, you need a service that allows daily pulls.

I bumped my inquiries from Transunion using CreditKarma and Amex's CreditSecure. I checked both services every day for about a month. It may take shorter or longer depending on how many other soft pulls come up on your report.

CreditKarma is free, but only checks Transunion. Amex's Credit Secure has a fee, but is a good credit monitoring service which I use (besides for myFico for Equifax) to stay on top of my credit. Amex allows daily refreshes of your reports, and CreditKarma can also pull your report daily.

You need a different service to bump Equifax inquiries, as CreditKarma only checks Transunion. If the inquiries on your Equifax shouldn't be there however, they can easily be disputed online...

Don’t get your hopes too high. Even if you managed to bump your inquiries from your report, it doesn’t mean that they won’t show up again. Sometimes they do. That’s referred to as choppage. If your inquiries reappear, you can always try to bump them off again.

Related posts:
CreditKarma.com - Free Transunion Credit Score
Where To Check Your Credit Reports And Scores
How many credit scores does each person have?
Free Experian and Transunion Credit Reports

Monday, July 6, 2009

Free Sippy Cup or Water Bottle

I got their free sippy cup a while back. A few weeks ago it broke. So I ordered another one, along with a water bottle. They both arrived after a few weeks.
Click here, fill out your info and pick your free gift.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

ZenniOptical.com: Cheap Glasses

Do you wear glasses? I do. I always felt that paying $200+ for a pair of glasses is expensive, but when you need glasses, you get them.

A couple of years ago, I started using ZenniOptical.com. Their glasses cost a fraction of retail prices. Overall, I've been happy with the glasses I got from them and just placed my 3rd order.

Their glasses start at $8! Even if you chose a more expensive pair, which you probably will, it will cost way, way less than retail. I even 'splurge' and buy prescription sunglasses as well.

Each pair of glasses is a different size. The site specifies all the measurements. The best thing to do is to measure a pair of glasses that fit you now and use that for reference. Obviously, there is a risk involved, as trying on a pair of glasses is the best way to see how it fits your face. But at these prices, you really can't go wrong. You can even buy a few pairs of glasses for less than the price of one pair at regular retail price.

Shipping takes two weeks. I just ordered a few pairs, and will update this post when they arrive. Shipping is $4.95 per order, doesn't matter how many pairs of glasses you order.

About a year ago, I purchased a pair of glasses. Last week, one of the arms from my glasses broke. I called Zenni, and they sent me out some screws along with a tiny (very fancy) screwdriver to fix it. While I was on the phone, I asked for new nose pads as well. They sent me those too, all free of charge! It took just a few days to arrive. I was really impressed by their efficient service. Here's a link to their Repairs/Returns page.

Note: You need to know your Pupillary Distance, the distance between both eye pupils. Next time you get a eye checkup, ask your eye doctor for it. If that's not an option you can try to measure it yourself. Everything else that you need should be on the prescription. If you want, you can print out the page from ZenniOptical and ask your eye doctor to help fill out the information.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Some More Free Money From Citi

Sorry for the sporadic posting. I am still around...

Citi really doesn't want me closing their credit cards!

Two months ago, I called Citi to cancel my Citi AA Amex card. I was offered a choice of rewards to leave the card open and chose 3,000 miles. The other day, I called Citi again to close the same card. This time they offered me $50 credit for leaving the card open, even though I told them clearly I have no use for the card.

I will try to apply the $50 statement credit to a different AA card, as the first year is almost up with this card, and I don't want to be charged the annual fee. I'll let you know how that works out.

It's amazing how much free miles and money one can get from Citi...

Related Posts:
Citi AA Cards 30,000 Mile Signup Bonus - Time To Start Churning
Opening Citi Cards - Strategy To Get Lots of Miles!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Another 100 Free Continental Miles

Click here, enter your Continental OnePass number, and get 100 free miles.
Offer expires 07/31/09.

Related posts:

100 Free Continental Miles
300 Free Continental Miles

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Upgrade Your Starwood Status

Solve a riddle and get your Starwood status upgraded.
If you can't figure it out, send me an email.
Just an extra hint, the two letter code is not in alphabetical order.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Protect Your Computer - Free AntiVirus Programs

I haven't posted anything for a while, as I have been quite busy. Also, my computer has been attacked by a virus and I spent some time trying to fix it.

Here is my virus story, how I solved it and what you should do do if your computer becomes infected by a virus. I also listed several free recommended anti virus programs.

The virus: Somehow, a program called WinBlueSoft installed itself on my computer. It messed up my computer. Then, it wanted me to pay them to clean my computer!

It's extremely 'smart'. It wouldn't allow me to run most anti virus programs. It actually wouldn't let me run any program at all. It wouldn't even let me open Notepad! Also, every 5 minutes, it logged me out of Windows. I could actually see the cursor moving to the Start menu but I couldn't do anything to stop it! It also filled the screen with a scary message about viruses and spyware. WinBluSoft is an extremely annoying and sophisticated virus.

It's a long story, but basically I tried all different anti virus programs but nothing worked. Some I couldn't run, while others just couldn't kill the virus. I started copying my files off my computer, but took a long time to copy everything to an external hard drive because this virus kicked me off every few minutes. I was about to reformat my whole computer.

The solution: I came across a program called HijackThis and some helpful forums.
HijackThis is a program that runs a diagnostic on your entire computer. It logs everything about your computer into a notepad document.

Then, there are forums where you post your log from HijackThis and people on the forum will try to help you clean your computer. The forum I used is GeekPolice.net. It's totally free! The guy there was extremely helpful. After a few tries, my computer is once again totally clean and virus-free.

Warning: HijackThis is an extremely powerful tool. It is not meant to be used unless you know exactly what you are doing, or someone is directing you exactly what to do.

Free Anti virus Recommendations:
There are a few good free anti virus programs out there. I don't claim to be a pro at which one is better. This is based on what I have been recommended.

To help keep your computer clean you should have one (and only one!) anti virus program installed. AVG and Avira are both good free anti virus programs. Avira is supposed to be better than AVG. If you already installed AVG, I don't think you need to switch.

You should also install a program called Malewarebytes. This program keeps spyware out of your computer.

Another program that I have been using, but shouldn't be needed once you have Avira and Malewarebytes, is Spybot.

You can download all these programs at the top ten download list at Cnet.

Bottom Line:
Choose one anti virus program (either Avira or AVG) and Malewarebytes. Make sure to keep them updated and watch what you install on your computer.

And if you have a virus on your computer that your antivirus programs can't get rid of, first try and backup your files , then download HijackThis and go to Geekpolice.net or bleepingcomputers.com.

In general it's a good idea to keep your files backed up on a regular basis.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cheap and Free Hotel Stays Through Expedia's Refer-a-Friend Program

Update 2: Now over.
Update:
This offer was changed by Expedia. Now the £20 is only off £200...

Expedia.co.uk is running a Refer a friend promotion. If you refer someone to Expedia, the person you refer will get £20 (around $30) off their first purchase, and you'll get a £40 voucher for future use on Expedia.

Send me an email to dealreviews@gmail.com with your name, and I'll email you a £20 voucher code.

A few points:
- Even though the promotion is from expedia.co.uk, you can book hotels anywhere in the world. The price though will be in British pounds.
- The voucher codes seem to work once per credit card and email address. If you get more than one referral code, they won't work with the same email address and credit card...
- You can earn up to ten £40 vouchers.
- The voucher won't take off more than one nights stay. So hotel nights close to or more than £20 a night will give you the best value. (Or £40 for the £40 voucher)

Here are the terms and conditions.

If you use your imagination, you can be getting lots of cheap/free nights...
Especially considering, based on what I gather, your "friend" doesn't actually need to stay in the hotel in order for you to get the £40 voucher...

I will update this post as more information comes to light. See more on Flyertalk.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Citi AA Cards And My Fico Score, Plus US Mint is Speeding Up

In the past week, my Fico score dropped twice by a few points.

My score dropped because Citi AA credit cards don't report the credit limit to the three credit agencies. As I wrote about previously, the percentage of your credit that you’re using is one of the things that make up your credit score. Now, being that Citi AA cards don't report the credit limit, (being that they are “no preset spending limit’ cards), any balance is considered 100% of your available credit on that card. Now, using too much available credit on one card, is not as bad as using too much of your overall credit from all your cards, but it still does hurt your score. Ideally, you shouldn’t use more than 10% of your overall available credit.

On one of these occasions, my bill was $500, which dropped my score by 8 points, to 765, and the other time my bill was $10, which dropped my score by another 5 points. Even though the bill was only $10, it’s still 100% of my available credit on my credit report, which for this months bill is $10....

The drop is only temporary. Next month, once I pay my bill, I won’t have any debt on these cards, and I won’t be using any of my available credit, my FICO score will go up again. If you have a low credit score to begin with, or you need to keep your score high, then you might want to avoid even a temporary drop in your score.

Here’s how to make sure that your FICO score doesn’t drop when you spend on a card that has no preset spending limit: Pay the bill before the statement closes, so that when the statement closes, the balance will be reported as $0.

Although often, when there is no limit being reported, the highest past balance is considered your credit limit for calculating your debt–to-credit ratio, it didn't work for me, as my 'High Balance' was reported as zero, even though I had a $750 bill a few months back.

Note to advanced users:
There is a massive benefit to the fact that the AA cards have no preset spending limit. Which is that you can often go way, way over your limit. For instance, on one card that I've had a $15,000 limit, I was able to spend up to $50,000!

Update To US Mint Ordering:
It seems like the Mint started speeding up their order processing times. While in the past it has been taking a few weeks to receive an order, lately it’s been arriving in just a few days!
My shipments are also being sent via UPS Next Day Air!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Credit Card News: Chase Freedom, Advanta And Statefarm Gift Cards

Chase Freedom Card:
It seems, that as of June 30th, Chase Freedom will no longer be offering $250 when you reach $200 in spending, in essence cutting the cashback down from 1.25% to just 1%. Also, they will no longer offer 3% on your top spending categories (actually 3.75%). I currently use the Chase Freedom card for most of my non-Amex purchases. Perhaps now I will get the Charles Schwabb Visa, which offers a flat 2% cashback on all purchases.

Advanta:

Advanta is closing down! You won't be able to use their credit card anymore as of June 10th.
Lots of my readers have benefited from their 0% APR offers, so I figured I'll let you know its over. If you already have the card, you shouldn't have a problem waiting to pay back the money till the 15 months are up though.

Statefarm Gift Cards:
Oh well. It looks like Statefarm no longer accepts Citi cards when purchasing Statefarm gift cards. I wrote about how it's an easy way to spend the required $750 on Citi AA cards, without actually spending it. Now it seems that Statefarm caught on. So, the US Mint seems like the best place to spend that $750 for now.

My latest gift card purchase was interesting. I bought two $500 Statefarm gift cards on a Citi AA card. The charge went through for $1,009.90, then I was refunded twice $500. So I ended up being charged $9.90. Once the statement closed I was pleasantly surprised to see that the 25,000 signup bonus still posted, even though I only got 10 AA miles for the $10 charge.

It would be nice to know if other refunded purchases qualify for the $750 you need to spend before receiving the sign up bonus...

And once we're talking about Citicards: Be careful when you use your Citi card overseas, you will be charged an extra 3%, even if the actual charge is in US dollars.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Another Free Customized Paper Card From Hallmark

Hallmark is again running a promotion for a free paper card. You customize it on their site, and they will print it and mail it for you, for free.
Use promotion code: ICTCARD
I tried it out last time, and it worked perfectly.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Open Lots Of Credit Cards? Get an Amex Card

For those that churn cards, one of the things that can affect your score, is that by opening new cards, you are shortening the average age of your credit history.

One way to counter that, is to open a Amex card. Opening a new Amex card can actually help your score, because, in my experience, and from what I've read, Amex seems to report your new card as if it was opened the year when your oldest Amex card was opened! So, if you opened a Amex card 10 years ago, and lately you have opened lots of cards, then opening another Amex card can actually raise your score, as now it will count as if you have another 10 year old card! This obviously only applies to personal cards, as business cards don't get reported.

I wouldn't recommend applying for a bunch of Amex cards right now though, as Amex seems to be very trigger happy these days. And I wouldn't do anything that might make Amex close my account.

Related post: Credit Reports and Scores Explained

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Citi AA Cards 30,000 Mile Signup Bonus - Time To Start Churning

Update: See this post.

Citi is now offering 30,000 mile sign up bonus for the Citi AAdvantage cards, instead of the usual 25,000. This is great for those who churn cards. I'll be signing up for them soon...

If you get all three cards, you'll get 90,000 miles! (Instead of the usual 75,000). If your spouse gets all three as well, that's 180,000 miles!

If you sign up for all three cards again in three months, you can get 180,000 miles, or 360,000 for two people... Now that's a lot of miles! Depending on your credit score though, you might not want to apply too often. Read this post for more info on churning Citi AA cards, along with suggestions on how often to apply.

Here's the link to the Visa cards. Also 30,000 miles.

Monday, May 4, 2009

100 Free Continental Miles

Click here, enter your Continental OnePass number, and get 100 free miles.
Offer expires 06/30/09.

Note: It might only work if you have a Continental credit or debit card, but it couldn't hurt to try in any case.

Related post:
300 Free Continental Miles

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Western Digital 1TB External Hard Drive - $75

I just bought myself one, and figured I'll share it with you.

Staples has the Western Digital 1TB My Book External Hard Drive on sale for $99.99 with free shipping.
Now, you can either use a $25 off $75 coupon (Buy on e-junky for as low as $1.50), or add something to your cart to raise the total to over $100. (i.e. pens, sticky notes, or a notebook, each of which cost $1, or an eraser for $0.59), and use a $25 off $100 coupon (on e-junky for $0.90).
I added the label maker which is free after easy rebate.

Total price should be around $75 plus tax.
If you click through a cashback site, it will be even less...

Check out this slickdeals thread for more items on sale from Staples.

$25 off $100 coupon:
I have one extra $25 off $100 coupon: 1147264006894251
Please let me know or comment if you use it.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

In Review: Retention Bonus From Citi Plus Small Amounts Add Up

Canceling Citi Card:
I called Citi to cancel another Citi AA card, and unlike last time when I was offered 5,000 miles to leave the card open, this time I was offered a choice of one of the following four bonuses:
1. A certificate which I would mail in to get $50 statement credit.
2. Two miles per dollar on the first $5,000 spent during the next six months.
3. 5 miles per dollar on gas, drugstores and supermarkets for the next 12 months, I believe a maximum of $6,000, but I'm not sure.
4. If I spend $500 in the next three months, I'll get 3000 miles.

I took option #4. I would have taken #1, but I wasn't interested in the headache. We'll see what happens when I call next month to cancel... As a general rule, if you don't like what you are being offered, ask them if they can offer you something else.

Free Miles and Money:
I figured I'd share the latest small things I've gotten lately. As you can see, it all adds up. Some of the promotions expired already and some are still going on.

Delta Miles
500 for linking Delta and Northwest. Plus Delta added an additional 500 miles, making it 1,000.
500 for survey.
1,000 for registering and buying something through Delta's Shopping Portal.
400 for taking four short courses.
I also transferred some miles from a friend who won't be using theirs, with Delta's double miles promotion. (Note, if you first transfer the miles to Northwest, the fee will only be $25. If you do the transfer straight from Delta, the fee is $30)

Continental Miles
200 Miles for looking at their website.

Rebates and Free Money
$14.97 from the Diaper deal.
$25 Amex Prepaid Card for signing up with Verizon Autopay

This is besides for all the free miles and money from credit cards and bank signup bonuses, especially from Citi... Totaling thousands of dollars a year! It's really a shame that there are people who could benefit from it, but don't take advantage!


Anyway, the point is that small amount do add up. I wouldn't spend much time on small amounts, but if all it takes is a few clicks, then why not!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Free Customized Paper Card From Hallmark

Hallmark is running a promotion where you can customize a card and they will mail it for you, for free. Enter CARD4MOM at checkout. Only one card per account. If you want to send a second card from the same account, place a second order and use APRILCARD.
Card does not need to be a Mother's Day card.

Monday, April 27, 2009

400 Free Northwest/Delta Miles

Simple enough. Go to Northwest's Worldperks University, take four short courses and get 400 free Northwest miles, which in turn can be instantly transferred to Delta Skymiles.
If you haven't yet linked your accounts, you can get an additional 500 miles.
And in case you want to know the answers beforehand, check out this fatwallet thread.
All these small amounts add up...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

USPS Hold Mail

USPS has a free service called 'Hold Mail' where you can request them to hold on to your mail for anywhere from 3 to 30 days. You don't need to go to the post office, as it can all be done online, and it takes just two minutes to set up.

I tried it now for the first time as I was out of town for a few weeks, and it worked beautifully. Somehow a few pieces of mail did make its way in to my mailbox, but almost all the mail was held.

The day after I arrived back, the mailman delivered all my mail from the past few weeks.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Amex Delta Credit Card - Up To 50,000 Miles Signup Bonus

Apply for either the Personal or Business Gold Delta Amex Card and get 25,000 miles after first purchase. Then use the Pay with Miles feature on Delta.com for any Delta or Northwest flight by 8/24/09 and Delta will refill your account with the miles you used - up to 25,000 miles, totaling 50,000 miles!

Pay with Miles lets you use miles to pay for flights. 5,000 miles takes $50 off a flight. So if you use 25,000 miles to take $250 off a flight, Delta will give you back 25,000 miles.
  • The card is free the first year, after which it costs $95 a year.
  • Be aware: If you use miles to pay for a flight, you won't earn miles on that flight, even if you are only paying for a small portion of the flight with miles.
From the terms and conditions:
This offer is valid for first-time Delta SkyMiles Cardmembers only. If you already have or had any other Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express Account(s), you are eligible to receive only the incremental difference between the Welcome Bonus miles offered herein and the amount offered with such other Account(s)

Friday, April 17, 2009

United Still Has Extremely Cheap Flights To Europe And The Rest Of The World!

Two months ago, I wrote about getting real cheap tickets to Europe with United. Well, just so you know, it still works! And its not just from New York, and not only to Europe! Read this post for more details on how to get the real cheap prices.

Try different dates and itineraries. Choose Multiciti and . The only thing you have to make sure, is that the last flight should be NYC-YYZ.

Remeber, DO NOT call United about this! If you need help, send me an email. Calling United will just make this 'deal' end sooner.

You can seriously find some amazing fares if you try different dates etc.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Free Experian Report And Score For Amex Cardholders

Are you looking for another free place to check your credit report, and have an Amex card? Here is a link to check your Experian report and score for free.
Note, the score is not Fico, so don't rely on the score too much.

Amex also has a credit monitoring service called Credit Secure, which costs $11.99 a month, where they give you access to all three credit reports and non-Fico scores. I'm actually currently using it. You can get all three reports and scores refreshed every 24 hours. I am experimenting with 'Bumpage', which is why being able to refresh the reports every 24 hours helps. I'll be writing up an article about that in the future.

Related Posts:
Where To Check Your Credit Reports And Scores
How many credit reports and scores does each person have?
CreditKarma.com - Free Transunion Credit Score, Plus Fico Score Estimator
Quizzle.com - Free Experian Credit Report and Score
Free Experian and Transunion Credit Reports
And if it interests you, here is the original post on Fatwallet.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

500 Delta Miles For Survey - Hit Or Miss

Take this Delta survey and get 500 miles. It's a targeted promotion, so it may and may not work for you. It couldn't hurt to try.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Computer Headset For $3.99, Plus A Bluetooth Free After Rebate

Update: Both items are currently out of stock.

I saw these two on SlickDeals.

OOS Plantronice Computer Headset - $3.99, with free shipping. Use code HEADSET413 to lower the price from $6.99 to $3.99.
Make sure to switch to free "Egg Saver" shipping at checkout.
This headset uses the headphone and mike jacks, not USB.
I currently use this headset as headphones and a mike and like it. $3.99 is an great price for it.

Nokia Bluetooth Headset - Free after $15 rebate
Use code:
EMCLRLP22 for free shipping.
I'm not sure it makes sense to have a junky bluetooth headset even if it's free after rebate, but hey, it's free. By the way, the rebate is a Prepaid Visa card.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fly From California To New York For $14!

JetBlue is running a sale today. Probably won't last too long.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Check Out These Useful Web Sites

Sorry for the long delay... Thanks for being patient!

I once compiled a List Of Useful Sites, and over time I posted more sites to check out as well.
I prepared a few more. I'm sure you will find at least one of them new and useful.

Here they are:

DoNotCall.gov
This site lets you register all your phone numbers on to the 'Do Not Call' registry, which is supposed to stop telemarketers from calling you. It might not block all spam, but it sure does help.

CreditMattersBlog.com
A blog dedicated to everything related to credit. If you want to stay up to date on all credit related news, and like to really understand credit, its a great blog. I discovered it a short while ago, and like it.
If you are looking for practical credit advice, read the Credit Help articles, and the Credit Education Series, right here on my blog.

YouSendIt.com
This site lets you e-mail large files, up to 100MB each (Gmail allows up to 25MB). You can only download the attachment for 7 days from when the email is sent. After that, the link expires. It's free and it works.

ToAndFromTheAirport.com
This site was made by a pilot. He lists transportation options from all different airports around the world. If you are looking for the cheapest or best way to get to or from an airport, check it out! Some of the content seems a bit dated, but it's still a great resource.

TrafficLand.com
This site has cameras positioned at thousands of locations around the world. It lets you check the traffic situation for yourself. Many news stations use their cameras for their traffic reports! It only covers certain major roads though. You might find it easier to just listen to the radio, but it still is quite nice.

SpeedTrap.org
This site lists where there are police cars and cameras for speeding and red lights. I haven't really tried it much, but it looks cool.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

300 Free Continental Miles

Continental has three offers of 100 free miles. Go to Continental.com/cardmembers and click on each of the three links and enter your Continental OnePass number.

Officially the offer is to get 200 miles if you have a Chase Continental Debit Card and 300 miles if you have a Chase Continental Credit Card. I would click all three links in any case. Couldn't hurt. It hardly takes any time.

I got my Chase Continental Debit Card while signing up for a Chase Checking account for 21,000 miles. By the way, I ended up getting 23,500 miles, instead of 21,000. For some reason they threw in an extra 2,500 miles.

Offer expires 04/30/09

Monday, March 16, 2009

Freezing Your Credit Reports - Why And How?

Freezing Reports
Everyone has three credit reports. Freezing your reports means exactly that. New accounts cannot be opened based on frozen reports. If all three reports are frozen, no one will be able to open a new account in your name until you unfreeze your reports.

Reasons To Freeze One Or More Of Your Reports:
1) It's the best protection against identity theft. If you're not planning on opening an account that requires a credit check in the near future (think: credit card, mortgage, cell phone plan etc.), or if you're going abroad for a year and are worried about identity theft, it's a good idea to freeze all three reports. The only issue with freezing, aside from the cost, is that depending on the state and agency, it may take a few days to unfreeze. If all three reports are frozen, you can't get instant credit. For example, you can't apply for a card in a store.


2) If your Fico score is lower on one of your three credit reports (because of something negative or too many inquiries). Freezing that report can help you when applying for new credit. The credit card company won't be able to check that report. If the company tries to make their inquiry using the frozen report, they will either decline your application (because they can't access your report), or they will just try to make an inquiry at one of the other two reporting agencies. Even if you are declined, it won't affect your credit, as you won't get an inquiry on a frozen report.

3) If you are applying for a bank account or for a credit line increase on a credit card but don't want it if it comes with an inquiry.

4) Now that you cannot get your Experian Fico score, some people want to freeze their Experian report because they have no way of knowing their Experian Fico score. (Besides, Experian is the only report where inquiries definitely cannot be bumped off. But bumping inquiries is another subject, which will be tackled in another post.)

No Effect On Credit Score
Placing a credit freeze has no effect on your credit score. Also, even with a credit freeze, your current credit cards will have access to your reports. You also won't have a problem getting your own credit reports and scores.

How To Freeze Your Reports And Costs:
Freezing and unfreezing credit reports can generally be done online. Every state has different fees, so check the details for your state.

Transunion - Free for all states if done online. More info on freezing.
Experian - click here to see state specific details.
Equifax - click here to see state specific details. More info on freezing.

If you were a victim of identity theft, it's free to freeze and unfreeze as often as you wish with all three agencies, in most states. You may need to send proof in the mail though.

Costs For New York:
Transunion is free to freeze and unfreeze.
Experian and Equifax are free to freeze the first time. Subsequent unfreezes and freezes cost about $5 each, and can be done online.

Unfreezing Your Reports
Whenever you want to apply for credit and you want that company to be able to check the frozen report, you can either temporarily unfreeze it, or permanently unfreeze it.
When you freeze your report, you pick a pin number. You will need to remember you pin number when you want to unfreeze your report/s.

Freezing vs. Fraud Alert:
Freezing one report does NOT automatically freeze the other reports. Only a Fraud Alert on one report should automatically alert the other two. A credit freeze is better than a fraud alert for blocking identity theft. A Fraud Alert is a note placed on your report warning new companies to verify your identity, but there is no guarantee that a company will read and follow through with that note. Fraud alerts are generally free though.

Important: Even with a credit freeze you are not 100% immune from identity theft. Some accounts may be able to be opened, such as some phone lines and bank accounts which don't require a credit check. But a credit freeze is probably the best prevention there is for identity theft.

And on the lighter side...
Freezing Your Credit Card
Take your credit card and freeze it in a block of ice. Like that you will have to think a while before actually spending anything...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

GrandCentral Upgrades To Google Voice!

Update 2: Google now DOES have free calls to Canada.
Update: Someone just pointed out that Google Voice does not offer free calls to Canada! So, if you call Canada often, you might want to hold off on upgrading for as long as possible, as GrandCentral does offer free calls to Canada.

As you probably know, I really like GrandCentral. Like many people, I was starting to get worried as Google hasn't upgraded GrandCentral for almost a year. The update finally arrived in the form of Google Voice!
As of now, Google Voice is only available to current GrandCentral users. It should be available to the general public within a few weeks. I will most definitely keep you updated. You can request a invite here.

Google Voice is an upgrade to Grand Central. This service gives you a free local number, and you can forward calls that come to your Google Voice number to whichever phone you want. It has lots of great and useful features. Read my review here.

They will be keeping all the old features of GrandCentral. Plus, here are some of the new features they added on:

Read Your Voicemail

Google will transcribe and email your voicemail, so you can read them! I tried it, and it wasn't too accurate, but still really cool. Google will actually gray out words that they're not sure about.

Text Messaging
You can receive and send text messages to your Google Voice number.

Make Calls Direct From Your Phone
Until now, you could only make calls by clicking online. Now, you can also call your Google Voice number from your regular phone and then press 2 to call any US or Canadian number. For free.

International Calling
Not free, but very cheap. So, you can call your Google Voice number from your cellphone and call international! Comes preloaded with $1 credit to call international. Calling within the US is staying free! International calling rates.

No More "Press 1 To Accept The Call"
Some people don't like having to press 1 to accept the call. With Google Voice you will be able to disable that, and just answer the phone like a regular call.

One Contact List
When upgrading to Google Voice, you will need to use a Google account. If you use a Gmail account, then Google Voice will integrate your Gmail contacts. So you can have all your contacts in one place. This feature still has some kinks, as when you look at your contact list, you don't see if the person's name has an email address or a phone number, unless you hover over their name with the mouse.

Note: You will need export your contacts from GrandCentral and import them to Google Voice.

Links to check out:
Short video clips explaining the different features.
Article at New York Times about Google Voice
Exporting your contacts from GrandCentral, and importing them to Google Voice
And... Google Voice: Press "1" to invade your privacy

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In Review - Iberia Overcharges For Infants And Lifeline Update

Iberia and Infants
The sale to Europe is over, but I figured I'll share this anyways.


I was checking flights to London on Iberia.com and noticed, that when I added an infant, the price of the regular tickets went up by $10! At first I thought that maybe the surcharge was only for one adult, and it's some sort of additional fee for bringing along an infant. So I tried pricing a few adults with one infant. It didn't matter how many tickets were on the itinerary, the price for ALL the tickets went up by $10 each. Crazy!

Here are ways around it: Book only one adult with the infant, and book the other tickets separately, so that you only pay the extra $10 once. Or maybe call Iberia to add the infant after purchasing the adult tickets.

Lifeline Update:
Just wanted to let people know, that Lifeline (I wrote here about the $1 a month landline for low income households), is not only a basic line for $1. You can pay $10 a month for unlimited local calls instead if you want. You can also add on Caller ID for $9 a month.

Free GPS Software For Cellphones:
Link. I never used this software as my Centro doesn't have GPS. So I can't comment on the quality.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Amex Delta Credit Card - Up To 35,000 Miles Signup Bonus

Apply for either the Personal or Business Gold Delta Skymiles Card and get 30,000 miles after first purchase. Add two additional card members and get an additional 5,000 miles. Their standard offer is 20,000 miles after first purchase, so this one is an extra 10,000 miles. The promotion is officially only for those that never signed up for a Delta Skymiles card.

I would think twice before adding someone as an authorized user on the personal card, as it might hurt their credit, as they will have a new account show up on their report.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Free Equifax Fico Score For First 10,000

Fico is offering a free Equifax Fico score to the first 10,000 people.
Will only work if you never got your free Fico score from them before.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Prepaid Cellphones: Short Term vs Long Term. Net10 and T-mobile On Sale.

Prepaid cellphones are great for those who need a phone short term, like if someone is visiting the US or just needs a phone for a few months. Another great use for a prepaid phone is, if someone wants a phone long term, but doesn't use too many minutes, say, under 200 minutes a month. If someone uses much more than 200 minutes a month, a monthly plan is usually cheaper.

Short term use:
Net10 has the LG 300 for $22 with free shipping after coupon code: 34567 and 44477. The original price is $30.00. It comes with 300 minutes on the phone, and another 300 minute card. The minutes will last for four months. Comes out to under 4 cents a minute! Click here for original post.
Make sure you are getting the phone with the extra 300 minute card!

Long term use:
For long term use, I recommend T-mobile. (Unless you don't mind changing your number when the Net10 runs out...) Read the review here. They currently have the Nokia 1208 back in stock for $19.99 and their free $25 refill card is back as well. See original sales post here.
Update: I just checked, and they took off the free $25 card.

If you will be calling international, then Tracfone is nice, as they have free international calling. But it will only be worth it if you get a good promotion for it.


For low income households, there's a free cell phone plan too.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cheap Flights From NYC To Spain And Other European Countries

Update 03/09: Seems to be over.

For those that missed out on the United deal, here's another chance, but hurry!

Iberia is running a sale on flights from New York to Europe. The cheapest flights are to Barcelona for $206!

Place a check by "My dates are flexible" to see the cheapest dates.

Sample itineraries I checked:
NYC - Barcelona 03/11 - 03/17 $206
NYC - London: 03/31 - 04/28 $303.80
NYC - London: 04/06 - 04/22 $347.80

Click here to see all sales out of New York.

Check this Flyertalk thread for sample itineraries and different routes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fidelity Amex 2% Unlimited Cashback Credit Card Vs. Charles Schwab Visa

Update: Here's a working link.


Here's a card that I missed when writing the Credit Card Rewards post the other day. I updated that post as well, so make sure to read it.

The Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express Card, a no annual fee credit card, offers 2% unlimited cashback on all purchases! The way you get the cashback is, once you spend $2,500 dollars, they will deposit $50 into a linked Fidelity account.

If you don't have a Fidelity account, then you can open the mySmart Cash Account for Fidelity to deposit the cashback money into. The account is totally free. There is no minimum opening amount and you don't need to maintain a minimum balance. This account is very similar to a checking account. They give you free checks, and postage paid envelopes if you want to make deposits. They even pay (very low) interest on money in the account! You can transfer money online back and forth to non-Fidelity bank accounts as well.

You also get a free debit card, which you can use to take out money from most ATMs anywhere in the world for free, as long as the ATM has a Visa or Plus logo. Fidelity will even automatically reimburse any fees you are charged by the other bank at the end of every day!

Now, at first I got real excited. An Amex card that gives 2% unlimited cashback?! I would jump on it! But, don't get too excited, because this card is not really an Amex card. It is an Amex branded card, but the benefits of the credit card (car rental insurance, extended warranty, disputes etc.) are not handled by Amex, so for all intents and purposes you won't be getting an Amex. You will only have the downside of Amex cards, which is that the card won't be accepted anywhere that Amex isn't accepted.

There is another card that offers 2% unlimited cashback, the Charles Schwab Visa, which I wrote about in the Credit Card Rewards post. So, if you are looking for a great credit card to use for purchases that you don't need the benefits of an Amex, then get a 2% cashback card! You will just have to decide between this card and the Charles Schwab card. Here are the benefits of both cards, so you can make a decision as to which card to get.

Both cards give you unlimited 2% cashback, which is great!
They also both reimburse any fees from other banks for withdrawing money with the debit card. And they both make you open a second account to have the money deposited into.

That being said, here are the main differences I found between the two cards:

Fidelity:

Pros:
- Opening the mySmart Cash Account does not take a second credit inquiry.
- ATM fees are reimbursed at the end of every day.
- I like the way the mySmart Cash Account looks.
Cons:
- Has the problems of Amex (not accepted all over) without the benefits.
- When using the card overseas, you will be charged a foreign exchange fee (anywhere up to 3%, I'm not sure exactly how much. I will let you know when I find out)
- You get the cashback only once you spend $2,500.

Charles Schwab:
Pros:
- Its a Visa, so accepted almost anywhere.
- No foreign exchange fees.
- The 2% gets automatically transferred every month, no minimum required.
Cons:
- Opening the brokerage account takes an additional inquiry (besides for the inquiry for the card).
Could be an issue for credit card churners. They seem to be checking Experian.
- ATM fees are only reimbursed at the end of every month. Might be an issue for you, if you make lots of ATM withdrawals a month.

Bottom Line:
In my opinion, Charles Schwab is the better choice for most people. If you don't want the second inquiry, or you already have a Fidelity account then you might prefer the Fidelity card.