Sunday, January 31, 2010

Amex Increased My Credit Line - Without Asking

I guess times are changing, which is good news.
Over the past two years, Amex has been slashing lots of peoples credit lines, and even canceling cards as well. Although my credit line was never touched, I was always a bit worried.

Well, what do you know, I just got an email from American Express that my credit line has been increased by $2,500. I don't know if it's a widespread phenomenon, but it definitely looks good.

The only issue is that my credit line is over $25,000, which according to some reports can be one of the things that might trigger a Financial Review. We'll see what happens.

If you need a higher credit line on your Amex, check online under Account Services to see if you can request a credit line increase. I've read that you shouldn't ask for more than three times your current limit. I wouldn't ask for more than twice either. It would seem that sometimes you get a hard pull, and other times not.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sale at The Children's Place

Check out the clearance section at The Children's Place.
Use code E79AA for 15% off.

Shipping is $5. I used a free shipping code that I received from a store when an item I wanted wasn't in stock. You can try calling a store and asking them for a free shipping code.

Up to 8% Cashback:
1. Click through Bing for 5% cashback
2. Then click through MrRebates for 3%
cashback.
Though it worked for me, you do run the risk of #2 canceling out #1.

Up to 40% Bonus When Transfering Amex to Delta

Get up to 40% bonus when transferring Amex Membership Reward points to Delta Skymiles.

Delta miles aren't that great, but this is a nice promotion.

If you're short on MR points, you can open a Amex Gold Card for 15,000 points.

Monday, January 25, 2010

100 Free Continental Miles

Get 100 free miles for learning about Continental Cruises.
These miles seem to be hit or miss, but why not try.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sale at Hanes.com

Hanes has 20% off the clearance section.
Use code XH3JA for $1.99 shipping or DOTOMIDSC for 10% off order.
Free shipping on orders over $50
Items were going out of stock as I was checking out, so hurry.

Save even more:
1) Sign up with MrRebates
2) Click through to Hanes from MrRebates for 8% cashback.

If you want to try something a bit more advanced, first click through from Bing.com, then from MrRebates to try double dipping for more cashback.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Manage All Your Miles And Points Easily - AwardWallet.com

I collect miles. Lots of them. I started using AwardWallet.com to help me keep track of all those miles.

Collecting miles in a range of programs is great. You can take advantage of amazing promotions and signup bonuses, and when it comes time to redeem those points, you have lots of options. For instance, if one airline doesn't have availability for the dates you want to travel, you can use points from a different airline.

Once you start collecting with many programs, keeping track of all the points is challenging. I used to maintain my mileage accounts on an Excel spreadsheet, but that required manually updating the information every time I earned points, which wasn't so easy.

That's where AwardWallet.com comes into play. It automatically tracks all your mileage accounts in one user friendly website. All it takes is a few seconds to add a new mileage program, and is so intuitive that even someone who usually shies from mileage collecting can easily use this program, and start to enjoy collecting points, miles and cashback.

The basic service is free, and includes monitoring all your points accounts and shows you the expiration date of the points for the first three accounts listed.

They also offer a premium service called AwardWallet Plus, which includes monitoring all the mileage expiration dates. The premium service requires a fee every six months. The nice thing is, they allow you to choose to pay any amount you choose, or in their words: "Please choose how much this enhanced service is worth to you". Alternatively, if you refer 5 people to use the free service, you'll be upgraded to AwardWallet Plus for free.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sweaters On Sale At Perry Ellis

Update: Most of the sweaters are gone, but if you find one, use PERRYSALE40 for 40% off.

Tricots Sweaters for $14.99. Use PED30THX for 30% off. Seen on Slickdeals

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tax Time

It's tax time. For some that means it's time to pay taxes, while for others it's time to get their refund. If you are getting a refund, why not get it as early as you can. Just make sure you have all your 1099s etc.

Here are two recommended companies to easily file your taxes online:
Read last year's review.
  • TaxAct
    They are currently running a promotion for their Ultimate Bundle, which includes State and Federal e-filing, for $11.90.
  • Tax Freedom by TurboTax
    Totally free federal and state e-filing. Does not work in all states, and your income can't be too high. If you qualify, definitely use it. Make sure to fill out the Deductions and Credits section.
If you live in a state with no state income tax, then you can use either TaxAct or TurboTax. They both have free federal e-filing.

For people with complicated tax returns, it might be worthwhile to go to an accountant. For most people though, filing online is the best option. If you've gone to an accountant in previous years, why not try out the online version. You don't need to pay anything until you actually file. So without paying anything, you can see how much of a refund you could be getting, then you can decide what to do.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lands End: Guaranteed. Period.

It's a breath of fresh air when a company stands behind their products all the way. Land's End is one of those exceptional companies. They will refund or exchange any item that you are not happy with and it doesn't matter how long ago you purchased the item. In general I have also been very happy with the quality of their products.

Keep an eye out for their sales of 25% off or more, and you can often get free shipping codes as well. If you are looking for sales, you should check out their Overstocks section.

Additionally, you can often buy discounted Lands End gift cards on eBay. With a return policy as generous as theirs, I don't feel the need to purchase the items on a Amex card, so I feel at ease using gift cards.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Using Paypal for UPS Shipping - Get Cheaper Rates

Whether you ship something a few times a day or a few times a year, knowing your options makes all the difference.

A while back, I put together a Shipping Guide, which goes through all the steps on how to ship things easily. I recently came across a new method of lowering shipping prices and want to share it.

One of the main ways to ship is through UPS. Anybody can sign up for a UPS account, even to just send one package. When you go to Paypal to create a shipping label, you can link your Paypal account to your UPS account. You then get shipping rates that are much lower than the regular UPS shipping rates. For example, I shipped a box weighing 43 pounds. The regular UPS shipping cost was $44, but being that I linked UPS with Paypal, I paid $28.

Once you link your Paypal and UPS accounts, you don't need to go to Paypal to print labels, you can do it directly from UPS.com. This differs from USPS, where you can use Paypal to print Parcel Post, Media Mail or First Class Mail postage, but in order to do that you need to go through Paypal.

The reason why it is better to print the labels from UPS.com, and not Paypal, is because when you print a UPS label using Paypal, it will only work if you have money in your Paypal balance. You won't be able to use a credit card, or even your bank account. When you print the label at UPS.com, you will still get 'Pyapal rates', but you will be able to pay with a credit card.

In general, one of the things you have to be careful with when using Paypal, is that the default payment method will always be your bank account. It doesn't matter how many times you change it to your credit card, if you leave the page and come back, make sure to check that it didn't change back to the default method. Also, if you have money in your Paypal balance, you have to use up that money before using a credit card or bank account for payments.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sprint Sent Me a New (Refurbished) Phone

If you use Sprint and have TEP (Total Equipment Protection) on your plan, you can have your phone replaced even if it's over a year old.

I called Sprint because my phone was not working too well. They did an 'advanced exchange'. They sent me a replacement phone and now I have to send back the broken phone. Being that I didn't go through Asurion (Sprints insurance company), there was no fee for the replacement.

Call Sprint and ask to be put through to Technical Support. They should be able to set up an advanced exchange once you help them understand that they can't fix your phone over the phone.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Citi Bank To Start Charging Monthly Fees

If you have a Citi checking account, be aware that starting Feb 1st 2010, the monthly fee will no longer be waived, even if you have direct deposits or two monthly bill payments.

Unless you have $1,500 in the account, you will be charged the monthly fee of $7.50 - $9.50.

If you currently bank with Citi and keep less than $1,500 in the account, you should probably switch to Chase, and earn some cash or miles in the process.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

British Airways Visa 100,000 Miles Signup Bonus Is Back

Update 3: Looks like it's down again. Got to move quick on these offers.
Update 2: Back at 100,000
Update: Offer is back down to 30,000. Again.

Get 100,000 miles for signing up for a Chase British Airways Card! This extremely generous promotion was available for a short time several weeks ago and is alive again now. If you missed it last time around, here is another chance to get the card. You will earn 100,000 miles after spending $2,000. I doubt you'll be able to get the $75 fee waived this time, but it's still a very small price to pay for 100,000 miles.

I recommend using the miles for domestic flights on American Airlines within the USA, as you can then avoid the taxes and surcharges that are imposed on British Airways flights. When redeeming BA miles for trips from the US to Europe, you need to redeem for British Airways flights. BA miles are especially good for last minute tickets, as unlike AA, British Airways doesn't charge late booking fees (Although it is possible to get out of the fee with AA too).

Think of it: 4 tickets anywhere within America for a credit card application and $75! Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Prepaid Phone Service Review - Some Amazing Deals

Prepaid cell phones have evolved in recent months. They used to be considerably more expensive than contract plans, but have now dropped their prices and are a viable option for many.

Below is a list I compiled of the best current prepaid services. I've included the relevant links for more information and, where applicable, possible methods of further lowering the price.

Think of your typical cell phone usage and calculate which prepaid service matches your needs. Keep in mind that although all information is current at time of publishing, prices may have likely changed by the time you are reading this.
  • Net10
    This plan is excellent for short term use or if you use only a couple hundred minutes a month.

    It has a starting price of under 4 cents a minute, which lasts for up to 600 minutes and 4 months. Beyond that, it is 10 cents a minute, which is not that cheap, unless you get a new phone every time your minutes either finish or expire.

    Using the current promotion, the total is under $24, after taxes and shipping. For that price, you get a phone, 600 minutes and a leather accessory kit.

    • Click Here (or Fatwallet for 10% cashback and MrRebates for 15%)
    • Enter your zip code.
    • Choose the LG300 that has a picture of a 300 minute card next to it, for $30. Note: If it doesn't have a picture of a 300 minute card next to the phone, you won't get the extra 300 minute card!
    • Enter the following coupon codes: 44477, 34567 and 88125 88121.

    The accessory kit will automatically be added to your cart, and the total should be $22. Choose the $4.95 shipping. Don't worry, the shipping will come off at checkout.
  • Pure Talk USA
    You can order a phone with 150 minutes included for $10. Choose the free phone located towards the bottom of the page. Great for real short term use. More on Fatwallet.

  • PagePlusCellular
    PagePlusCellular.com
    Costs $29.95 a month for 1200 minutes and 1200 texts. There is also an unlimited plan for $39.95.

    It works on Verizon network so it there is good coverage. You can either get a PagePlus phone, or use any Verizon phone. If you buy a Verizon Prepaid, don't activate it on the Verizon network, activate it only on PagePlus. (See here for more details.) Activate the phone easily through KittyWireless (A PagePlus dealer).

    Update February 2010: Verizon has locked all their prepaid phones, so they cannot be used with PagePlus. Be aware. Click here to check any ESN to see if it can be activated on PagePlus.

    Any time you add money, it extends your minutes by four months. You cannot extend it to more than four months in the future.

    Note: You can get the monthly cards even cheaper from PagePlusDirect.com (A PagePlusCellular dealer).
    More on Slickdeals and Fatwallet.

  • Straight Talk
    $30 a month for 1,000 minutes and texts. $45 for unlimited talk and text. Taxes are added to the total, unlike most prepaid phones, which include taxes in the advertised price.
    This service runs on Verizon network. Straight Talk branded phones are necessary and are available at Walmart and Straighttalk.com
    Every time you add $30, the month and the minutes reset. This differs from PagePlus, above, which waits until the end of the month before extending service for another month. More on Slickdeals.

  • MetroPCS
    $30 a month for unlimited minutes. Cell phone reception is limited to specific metropolitan areas and people complain about the quality. Click here for their promotion page. It seems that you need to buy their phone.

  • T-Mobile
    Last year, when I wrote a review on T-Mobile Prepaid, it was the best deal around. But now, with prices lower with other companies, I only recommend this service if you want to keep the phone for a long time and rarely use it. For example, it's great if you live abroad but want a cell phone when visiting the US.
    Once you add $100, every $10 will extend your minutes by a year.
    Click here, or get 35% cashback with Bing.com - search for "t-mobile". Or $9 with BigCrumbs.

  • Low Income Households
    Check AssuranceWireless and SafelinkWireless.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

ING Quick $25 Signup Bonus

Update: I refreshed the signup bonus links, they should be working now.

Open an ING Online Savings Account, which is a good account to have, and make a quick $25 (potentially up to $525).

They are offering $25 as a signup bonus provided you deposit $250. The $25 signup bonus is available after 30 days. There are no fees for the account, and there is no minimum you need to keep in the account after the 30 days are over. There is also no credit inquiry when applying for an ING savings account, so it won't lower your credit at all.

If you don't have an online savings account, it is a good idea to open one because:
a. Interests rates are higher than a regular bank
b. If you open a checking account which requires direct deposit to waive the fee, you can usually fulfill the requirements by depositing money from an online bank account. And you can even set it up so it should automatically deposit $1 a month, and take out a $1 a month as well...

Below are some one-time-use links for $25 opening an ING account with a $25 signup bonus. If the link has already been used, you will see a message to that effect as soon as you click the link. If that happens, come back here and try a different link. I will refresh the links each time they are used (So, if they are both used, just come back soon and try again). You can also email me to request a link.

$25 Signup Bonus Link #1
$25 Signup Bonus Link #2

Once you sign up for ING, you can refer up to 50 people to open their own accounts. You receive $10 per person who signs up.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

250 Free Priority Club Points

Agree to receive paperless statements and instantly get 250 points.