Is this card the real deal that all these travel bloggers are going crazy about the last few weeks? I have read countless posts on how you can go up to an Office Depot and BUY a Vanilla Reload card with a credit card then go over to a Walmart to buy a Bluebird card and use that Vanilla.com site to load up the Bluebird card in increments of $500 or so. If you do this you end up making 1% to 5% on some credit cards in rewards. This is great if it proved to be true it would help me pay on my taxes without writing checks directly. This being because you can use the Bluebird card to pay bills or even get the money out at ATM’s but they may charge a fee if you go out of their network or not initiate direct deposit within 30 days.
I gave in and brought myself up to a Office Depot location before close one night. I was almost nervous just asking about it. I noticed that they had no more cards out but they did have a not that said “Vanilla Reload” as if it went there where it was supposed to hang on the display. I then asked about it and they dug them out from somewhere and I put $500 on my American Express Simply Cash Card. This is quite different than Noob Traveler and Million Miles Man and all the travel bloggers have you do which is use their INK PLUS (by Chase) Business Card to get 5% back. I figured that I will get the same 5% back either way.
I then walked over to Walmart and purchased a Bluebird starter kit. It was easy to find it was right in the middle of the aisle when I walked in the store. Talk about great placement.
I tried to pay the $5 starter kit fee with my Discover Card and it would not let me. It also indicated I had to load it with $1 or more to take the box out of the store. I then gave the cashier $6 in cash (since I was not sure what a debit card would do on this transaction).
My new U.S. Bank Cash Plus Card came in the mail this week and I have been uber excited. This is the card I told you about a few months ago that gives you 5% cash back in 2 categories you choose. I just activated my card then signed on to their Cash+ site to select my categories. I picked the 2% category for groceries which I may not really use. I already have a 2% back card that gives a FULL two on everything so that is not really needed but just in case it happens to be in my wallet at the grocery store.
The two 5% categories I picked were
Although I was surprised that it did not combine the restaurants with fast food. Discover and Chase and other bank credit cards let you put the category with everything under Dining which would include Fast Food and Restaurants. Since I had to choose one or the other I decided it was best to choose the one that I would benefit more from in higher spending. I definately spend more money at restuarants than fast food. REstaurants hopefully still incude bars and nightclubs as well which is a big expense of mine of around $1,500 a month at least.
How to redeem these quarterly rewards from the Cash + Visa? It is best to wait until you reach $100 in rewards so you will get the $25 bonus! Then do the following-
This seems to be an offer that is targeted but I am sure if you call in to Citi they may be able to sign you up if you have an AAdvantage (American Airlines) rewards card. The deal is that you get 3X AAdvantage Miles on Eligible Holiday Shopping Purchases. That’s when you ask what qualifies for a holiday purchase?
You earn 2 AAdvantage bonus miles per $1 spent on eligible purchases made with this card account at toy, electronics, computer and apparel stores, up to 5,000 AAdvantage bonus miles, through 12/31/12. Just when I was about to stash this card away for no further purchases this year I got this email. I think I will use this card for purchases at apparel stores which I hope includes Hollister, PacSun, Express, Armani Exchange, Guess Clothing, and American Eagle. Places I will be shopping for the Holidays when it comes to apparel and maybe Urban Outfitters and shoe stores such as Foot Locker. If this 3x works at Armani Exchange or AX it will be the only true way to get cash back from them since they have no online partners to earn back money. I may also use this card at Sony Store and the Apple store since that would fall under electronics I would think.
If you are looking to shop at Best Buy use the Chase Freedom card because they are doing a full five percent cash for this quarter. I just wish that American Airlines would get their act together or we will not even have our hard earned miles we earned from things like this. Hopefully the bankrupt airline will be able to survive into 2012 because I plan on earning lots of miles with this card. Read below for more terms on this:
The best way to maximize your spending when it comes to rewards is to make out a plan and look up all of the promotions while you are paying bills for the current billing month. I make a spreadsheet or in this case I just decided to write it out for this blog post and go back to remind me what cards I should be using for what purchases. I plan on using two credit cards from Chase and Discover the most the final quarter of the year starting October 1st. The Discover More Card is offering 5% Cashback Bonus on up to $1,500 in purchases at Department Stores and for all Online Shopping from October through December. Chase is offering through it’s Freedom branded line of cards a 5% back at airline and hotel purchases and on retailers Best Buy and Kohl’s. I liked it much better last year when it was 5% at Amazon.com. I will just use my Discover More for Amazon since it covers all online up to $1,500 supposedly.
Discover is also offering a targeted offer on some cardholders where they asked me if I wanted to earn an extra 2% back on Saturday, October 6th. I believe this is in addtion to the already 5% or up to 1% you are getting on these purchases. “Sign up to earn 2% Cashback Bonus on any purchases made on 10/6/12. These purchases do not count towards annual purchases eligible to earn 1% Cashback Bonus. These purchases must post to your account on 10/6/12″.
Gas Purchases for the last few months of the year will be with my Chase Ink Plus Cash Card. I will get 3% back with this card up to $2,000. I will also be using this Ink Cash Business card for my restaurant, nightclub, and bar purchases since they all count towards the 3% on dining cash back with Ultimate Rewards.
Chase Freedom – Air Travel (AA.com), Hotels (Marriott, Starwood)
Best Buy and Kohls
Discover More Card – Amazon.com or any online purchases – I may just use this to pay all my paypal bills if that will work.
Chase Ink Business Cash – Gas and Dining (clubs)
Here’s a great way to save money on something we all dislike paying for and that is fuel. The Fuel Rewards Network is offering for you to spin a wheel to score either a $0.05, $0.10, $0.20 or $0.25 per gallon reward. Once you lock in your number you will need to register. After you put in your name and address, your FREE Shell Fuel Rewards Card will be mailed to you and can be used at participating Shell locations to get your discount right at the pump.
It took my Mom the longest time to get a Chase Freedom Card which is one of my favorite credit cards because of the 5% cash back and 1% back on everything else. One of the biggest obstacles is that you have to go in manually and get your cash back. Chase does not automatically give it to you. Hey, it’s free money and at 5% so you have to work a little for it right?
I put together a How to guide in redeeming your cash back from Chase Ultimate Rewards from the Freedom Visa or MasterCard. The first thing you do is make sure you have signed up for the rewards program for that quarter then after a month or more in some cases check to see what your rewards balance is by logging into Chase.com. Once you are ready to redeem your rewards you sign in and scroll down to your Freedom branded credit card.
Click “Goto Ultimate Rewards”
I almost fell for this scam today while opening up one of my emails from who I thought was American Express Credit Cards. The email looked real with the traditional American Express logo and blue and white colors. The email then went on to say that the bank had new safeguards to protect my online security while on their site and that they require me to confirm my login details. I thought that was strange they used the word “confirm” but thought at first it was some additional security add on such as my pet’s name or grandfathers middle name type thing. It turns out while I looked over the viewable link by mousing over the link to log on to my account it did not goto an https: version of the site nor did it go to American Express. The scammer tried to take me to a site with the url starting with ecommsultor.com.br while they tried to fool me with “americanexpress-amexupdate-logonpage.asap.com/update/account/index.html” in the same link. Notice the .com and the .br in the site name and American Express would never send anyone to a Brazilian owned domain name unless you lived in Brazil. Do not fall for this scam. Continue reading
This only took about 5 minutes although it seems complicated it really is not. First, you have to sign up with this link for a BMI Diamond Club loyalty account. Make sure that you fill in the space that says voucher and enter 1JA1KD. Click over to the statement and you will see that you have 1,000 points in your account. If you did not enter it correctly like I did the first time you will see a zero balance. The voucher code is what gives you the 1,000 Avios. You then sign into your British Airways Executive Club account here. Once you sign in you goto “Manage My Account” then “Combine My Avios”.
Stubhub is now testing out a pilot rewards program. StubHub Fan Rewards is the first program designed to reward fans for buying tickets through their site. It’s free to sign up for this new program and you get some of these benefits:
• Get up to 3% in rewards on every eligible ticket purchase
• Receive a $10 StubHub FanCode every time you earn enough rewards
• Superstar members can earn complimentary seat upgrades and one-of-a-kind fan experiences
After I signed up they even gave me a welcome gift. An free electronic delivery FanCode for you to use in the next 30 days. Not to put any presure on me or anything but 30 days.. Yikes! Ok, I better find me a concert to attend soon and prove to them I am the master of rewards!
How does this program work? You can earn rewards on every eligible purchase and as a StubHub Fan Rewards Star member, you’ll earn 2% in rewards toward a $10 FanCode on every eligible purchase. An eligible purchase is any purchase you make on StubHub.com, including service and delivery fees, but excluding any FanCodes, gift certificates, or account credits you apply to that purchase. When you make 10 purchases or spend $2,000 in a calendar year (January 1 – December 31), you’ll automatically qualify as a Superstar member and start earning 3%.
We are excited about this new contest and easy way to earn free points each day. This started this week from Club Carlson. In case you are not familiar Club Carlson is the loyalty program under the umbrella of Carlson Rezidor Hotels including Country Inns and Suites, Park Inn, Radisson, and Radisson Blu. Radisson Blu being one of my favorites. You can enter the sweepstake to win 5 nights at a Club Carson hotel for two people, business class airfare, and $5,000 in spending money. While doing all of this you each day you can earn 100 points just for viewing beautiful hotels and resorts that Carlson Club has to offer for a minute or so until September 24th.
Every week between August 14 and September 24, 2012 Carlson Club is giving away an amazing getaway that includes five nights at a Carlson Rezidor hotel, roundtrip business-class airfare for two, and USD $5,000 in spending money.