Things I Did To Make Easy Money in 2013


old-friends-Simon-and-Garfunkel2My old friend and CMT reader Lee suggested I do a post detailing all the booty I hauled in last year.  Here you go!

There are plenty of things that have nothing to do with credit cards.  I’ll get to those momentarily.  But… I got 14 new credit cards that gave me $2,273 cash back and 425,000 airline miles and hotel bonus points – all tax free!  I didn’t pay for a plane ticket all year.  I earmarked that cash back dough as “mad money” to make playing in the World Series of Poker not seem like frivolous idiocy.

My Strategy
I use cards because cash is handled by hobos, hookers and booger-eating morons.  Not only do I like the firewall that a credit card puts between merchants, thieves and my money – but I also like the perks.  I use a credit card to pay for everything possible, and then pay the card off in full with money I would have otherwise used to buy the stuff in the first place.

I usually only carry an American Express and a Visa in my wallet.  But sometimes, I use cards that pay me 5% cash back.  Here is a post about the 5% category cards – two of which give a $100 bonus if you spend $500 on the card in the first three months.  Also check out “252 Reasons To Do This Now” for another way to collect a nice stack o’ cheddar.

If a card has a great sign-up bonus, I get the card and then meet the spending requirement quickly,  I pay off big bills and/or use Amazon Payments or a cash back shopping portal.  I don’t dilly-dally using a card to buy stuff I don’t need.

Sometimes, I’ll get a brand new card and use it to overpay/pre-pay a utility bill.  I did that with my Citi American Airlines personal and business cards.  In one fell swoop I met the spending requirement and the miles hit my account when the statement dropped a few weeks later.  If you do this, make sure you have enough cash reserves to pay off that card in full when the bill comes.

The Gold Delta Skymiles American Express personal and business cards required a $500 spending requirement to get 30,000 miles on each card.  I got the cards, and in one click met the spending requirement using Amazon Payments.  That kept my worrying about meeting the spending requirements off my brain.

One of the best perks around came through at year’s end.  I got 110,000 Southwest airline miles and the Companion Pass – which is huge!  The offer is back, so check out my post about it.  It’s pretty sweet if you fly Southwest.

My Starwood personal and business card App-A-Loosa yielded POSH (and free) hotels in Minneapolis and San Francisco.  I saved thousands.

If this whets your appetite, check out my Credit Card Search Tool on the right side of this website

Here are some of the other 2013 offers I wrote about on Chip’s Money Tips:



  1. This column is a keeper! You turned me on to 0% interest credit cards years ago, Chip, and I’ve been using them since, never paying a dime in interest. But now I’m planning a big trip next year with my son and want to learn all about points…and here you are again, old friend. 🙂

  2. I remember being in knickers, barely out of college, and telling you I couldn’t save any money earned from our employer. You suggested setting aside $25/week. I couldn’t figure it out. The foolishness of youth! The times they are a changin’.


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