Starwood Amex has increased the sign-up bonus to 35,000 points on both the personal and business cards until 4/5/17.
A trip across the country is now affordable – assuming “free” is in your price range.
Here’s how to get flights and multiple nights in a swanky hotel for zip, zilch, nada.
Seriously! How about two round trip tickets + 5 nights in Disneyland? You can pull this off with Starpoints. I love Starpoints as much as a man can love any reward!
At the right side of this website under “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offer$”, click “Hotel Rewards Credit Cards”. You’ll be taken to another page. The Personal card is the 5th card down. The Business card is the 26th on the list. The journey is worth the reward! Email me if you have ANY questions.
You could get both cards. Or… if you and your significant other, gal-pal or homeslice each get a card and meet the spending requirement – you’ll have enough Starpoints for two round trip flights and multiple hotel nights. I type from experience. I’ve done it!
People living at the same address can combine their Starpoints. This is ideal if one is an organization freak and the other keeps misplacing his toothbrush. So, if a husband and wife got their own cards… do the math!
Remember, you can only get the bonus once in a lifetime on these American Express cards. If you have the personal card you can go for the biz card, and vice versa. You could get a business card even if you don’t think of how you make money as a typical “business”. The screen capture below to shows you how to fill out the biz form.
Maybe you are not a Starwood aficionado but loves you some Marriott points. Starwood and Marriott have merged. You can link your accounts here and transfer Starwood Points at 1:3 ratio. So… 35,000 Starpoints = 105,000 Marriott points.
Starwood “Nights & Flights”
This is a fantastic use of your Starpoints for a
If you would like something that automatically collects your statements in PDF for free, well FileThis! I got yer file right here. Fuhgettaboutit.
But seriously, there is a free service called FileThis. It securely fetches all your online statements, bills and other documents from last three years and new statements whenever they’re ready.
Your PDFs are delivered to their secure FileThis Cloud, your PC or your preferred cloud storage provider, such as Evernote, Evernote Business, Box, Personal, Dropbox or even Google Drive. You can switch where your PDFs are stored at any time.
It’s not limited to collecting bank and credit card statements. It picks up Health, Auto, Utilities, Communication and Retail to list a few.
- Free for up to six connections. Fetches weekly.
A “connection” is a company. If you have Checking, Savings, CD, credit card all at one bank – that counts as one connection. That may be all you need!
- $2/month ($20/year or $50 for 3 years) for up to 12 connections. Fetches weekly.
- $5/month ($50/year or $125 for 3 years) for up to 30 connections. Fetches daily.
If you sign up using my referral link, we will both get an additional free connection. So you’d start with 7 free connections. Check it out. It’s pretty cool! Well, as cool as statement collecting can be.
A few weeks ago I suggested that you should cancel DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket to increase the chances of getting it free next season. That’s a savings of up to 360 bucks!
The regular season was over and the rest of the games were on free broadcast TV. I was able to cancel mine, but a few of you reported back that you got the Heisman stiff-arm. DirecTV said “Nah-baby-nah” – that you couldn’t cancel until the season is over.
Well, it’s over.
If you have NFL Sunday ticket, even if you got it free this season, DirecTV will automatically charge you full price for it for next season in August. To avoid this, you need to pick up the phone (1-800-531-5000) and cancel it.
If you have not cancelled it, you will not be able to get it free next season. What’s this about getting it free?
Check out my post Get NFL Sunday Ticket for FREE in which I tell how I got it free four years in a row. Last year I negotiated it down to $49.98 for Sunday Ticket MAX (normally $359.94) – and that was after getting $600.00 off my bill! Not too shabby! It’s all in my post.
The final thing on my annual To Do list is to make sure my “Snatch File” is up to date. There may be a time when you need to snatch your important papers and make a quick getaway. Maybe your home is on fire. Maybe your spouse surprised you with a restraining order. Or maybe The Man has finally tracked you down, you one-armed bastage! Whatever the case – Are you ready to snatch & skedaddle ASAP?
Ever think about what you’d grab in a fire? In my case, I’d grab my photo albums, my computer, and my cats Mr. Tibbers and Mimi Fah-Foo of Charmaine. Okay, I don’t have cats. But if I did, that’s what they’d be called. Oh, and I’d grab my snatch file.
A snatch file serves another purpose as well. It can inform your loved ones where all your stuff is in case you can’t. This is very handy especially if you are a geezer who is circling the drain. Let’s not forget that people of all ages get into accidents and never come home. If you die tomorrow, what chance does your family have to figure out your stuff?
I hear some of you out there, “What do I care about all that stuff? I’ll be dead!” Well, maybe you prepaid for your funeral arrangements. Who is going to know that? Maybe you have union, pension or other benefits that you want to pass along to your family. Maybe you had an account no one knew about, or some get-a-way money in a fireproof box under the floorboards. Why send them on a scavenger hunt when they may not know exactly what it is they are looking for or when to stop looking?
Is there something that you have to do every year? Mine involves making sure I take advantage of this $300K tax loophole. Does your city have one?
Hundreds of the “early adopters” of Chip’s Money Tips are show-folk. You know the triple-threats and hyphenates of which I speak. This is my annual shout-out to the buskers, minstrels and long-hairs; the thespians, scribes and head-honchos who live and/or work in Los Angeles.
This is a reminder that if you received money via 1099 (not W2 income), the City of Los Angeles wants a taste. You can have up to $300K in 1099 earnings and have all of that money avoid the tax via the Creative Artist Exemption. Here’s the catch: You have to sign up for it every year to get it every year. Otherwise, you owe this tax!! Some people choose to fly under the radar and hope not to get caught. You have through February 28, 2017 to register.
Click here to read more about the $300K Creative Artist Exemption. Talk to your accountant and watch my video about it from a few years ago (below). You actor types should also check out my posts on How I Found $3,200 MIA (Missing in Acting) and How to Move Money to Qualify for SAG Health Insurance.
“YOLO” is your credo. Over the past two months, you shopped, merried and rang your credit card to its limit. The card’s been swiped so much the stripe on the back is hot to the touch.
You’d like to pay off the card to avoid paying interest, but you’re out of cash. YOLO!!! Yes, I remember. Please don’t shout. You Only Live Once – so why cramp your style digging yourself a hole paying 10, 15, 25% interest on your purchases?
If you are a YOLO dude or dudette, don’t start the New Year paying interest on a credit card. That is soooo 2016. You need a new card that allows you to transfer your current balance onto it. You can save yourself hundreds to thousands, depending upon what kind of hot mess you YOLO’d yourself into.
Think about it. Carrying a $5,000 balance on your credit card at 10% interest is $500 a year that you are wasting.
Here’s the nitty-gritty on how you can STOP paying interest for the next 15-21 months. It’s very easy!
You apply for a 0% balance transfer credit card, and have them move your current card’s balance over to the new 0% card. To keep the 0% rate on the new card for the term, all you have to do is pay the minimum amount due every month. Done and done!
Click on this li’l widgetty display thingy right here to check out the best cards:
Email me if you have any questions. Full disclosure: I may get a commission if you apply using my link, so… Thanks! Don’t cancel your old card. YOLO!!!!!!!!!
Yolo image sparklers
My New Years To Do List item #3 begs the question: Do you have a bank account or credit card that you don’t use much, or at all anymore? The banks may come to the conclusion that you have abandoned your accounts and will close them on you if you don’t play with them once in a while.
If you let your bank account go dormant, then you’ll have to chase down your money in banking’s Lost and Found Department aka the Unclaimed Funds I wrote about here. If you let a credit card go dormant, you will hurt your credit score.
To avoid this, every January I do two things:
- I sign in to all my bank accounts online. I have found this keeps my visitation privileges. Why don’t I just close an account if I don’t use it much? Banks have promotions all the time offering a higher interest rate on new deposits. Since I already have the account open, it is just a matter of a couple clicks to start collecting a higher rate.
- I take my credit cards on a field trip to the gas station. I charge $2 on each card. A couple days later, I sign into each card’s account online and pay it off from my linked bank account. Why TWO BUCKS? A lot of my cards are free versions of airline frequent flyer mile cards. They give me one mile for every two dollars I spend. Not only does this put activity on my cards, but it also refreshes my frequent flyer mile expiration dates. Pretty handy!
Instead of the gas station, you could go to the self-checkout at a grocery store and load up on Dinty Moore Mystery Meat Pot Pies. Another option: stay in your PJs and
I kick off every New Year by grabbing a free credit report. That explains my joie de vivre.
AnnualCreditReport.com is actually free, unlike FreeCreditReport.com which costs almost $200/year. As I say in my video below, what’s next? A Free Lexus for $30,000? An ALL cotton shirt made of 100% polyester? Vegetarian chili…with Chicken!??? It don’t make no sense.
Anywho… AnnualCreditReport.com is the result of 2003 federal legislation. It gives you one completely free credit report annually from each of The Big 3 credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and EquiFax. You can pull all three reports at once, or space ‘em out. I pull one every few months to make sure everything’s kosher.
There are billions of dollars in unclaimed funds in the US. Well, billions minus $59 that my recent annual perusal found waiting for me from Home Depot.
Because I track like a Navajo bloodhound, in previous years I came across something for my dad, a couple pension payments for my mom, and some dividend from some railroad thingy that was my grandfather’s.
This year I found over $500 waiting for family members. But will they get it? Well, they didn’t get it LAST YEAR WHEN I TOLD THEM ABOUT IT!!! But when you think about it, who has time to fill out a form to get $500 when you’re experiencing a Cute Emergency?
Give these free sites a whirl. I hope you find some gold in them thar hills!
- MissingMoney.com – state and provincial
- Unclaimed.org – State-by-state unclaimed property listings
- PBGC.gov – Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (U.S. Government Agency)
- TreasuryDirect.gov – Treasury Hunt
- USA.gov – A slew of various categories of unclaimed government money, from bank failures, unclaimed property, credit unions, benefits, pensions, HUD/FHA mortgage refunds and more.