Hotel Building Cartoon

Two New 100,000 Point Hotel Bonus Offers (Limited Time)


Comments

Hilton Hotels rolled out a 100,000 point bonus offer which prompted Marriott Hotels to do the same (and then some).

If you like your plumbing and sleeping quarters inside, these great opportunities are for a limited time.

Under “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website – click “Hotel Rewards Credit Cards” for more info.  Email me if you have any questions about which card might be right for your situation.

The Highlights:

  • The American Express Hilton Surpass card has increase its bonus offer to 100,000 Hilton Honors points if you spend $3,000 on it in the first 3 months the account is open. There is a $75 annual fee that is not waived.  Earn a free weekend night on your anniversary date of card approval.
  • This is not to be confused with the American Express Hilton Honors card that has an offer of 80,000 Hilton Honors points when you spend $2,000 on it in the first 3 months it’s open.  It has no annual fee, but also no free stay after keeping the card for another year.

If you are looking to build up points, you could get both (I’m guilty of that).  Keep in mind that you can only get an American Express sign up bonus once in a lifetime for each different card.

Starting in April, a total of 11 people can pool Hilton Honors points together for redemption.  That’s huge!  If you can meet the spending requirements, this is an excellent for friends and families to get these cards and travel in style!

Use Hilton’s calculator to figure out how far you can stretch your points.

  • Marriott Rewards card increased their offer to their highest ever:  100,000 Marriott Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in first 3 months the card is open.  Add an authorized user and get another 7,500 points.  Get a card for anyone (you don’t have to actually give it to them).  $85 annual fee is not waived.  Enjoy 1 Free Night Stay at a Category 1-5 hotel every year after your account anniversary date.

Hotel aficionados know Marriott Rewards points can be transferred to Starwood Points at a 3-to-1 ratio.  This option gives you a way to build up Starwood points by getting a Marriott card.  More on Starwood here.

Keep in mind that you must put 24 months between receiving sign up bonuses on the same Chase card.  This Marriott card is a Chase card.  If you have had this Marriott card previously and cancelled it, make sure it has been 2 years since you got the bonus.

Looking for a quick way to meet spending requirements?

Taxes are due April 18thPay1040.com charges a fee of 1.87% of the payment amount to pay your income tax with a credit card.

Click here to read my post about paying your State and Federal Income Taxes with a card online.

I don’t normally suggest paying a fee to use a card.  I just make that suggestion as an easy way to meet the spending requirement.

Case in point: I owe the Feds $3,105 by April 18th for my 2017 taxes.  I’m going to use my new American Express Hilton Surpass card to pay it.  The spending requirement on that card is $3,000 to get 100,000 bonus points.  The 1.87% fee for paying $3,105 with a credit card will come to $58.06.  In one fell swoop, I will meet the spending requirement and get 100,000 Hilton points.

Of course, check out 11 Ways To Meet A Spending Requirement for more ideas.

Under “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website – click “Hotel Rewards Credit Cards” for more info.  Email me if you have any questions about which card might be right for your situation.

Usps

See What Mail Is Coming Before It Arrives


Comments

The Post Office is rolling out a cool new FREE service called ”Informed Delivery”.  Sign up and you’ll get an email every morning containing images of the front each letter-sized piece of that day’s mail.  You can also login online to see the mail.

We live in a time when young toughs steal mail.  This way you’ll know if something important is coming that didn’t reach you.

  • Ever not receive a check that someone sent?
  • Maybe you got one of those $500 red-light speeding tickets but never received the notice – now the fine has doubled.
  • Your order of new checks never arrived and now some punk is writing checks you can’t cash.
  • We are in tax-refund season. Bad guys like being able to grab those obvious envelopes and nefariously take your money.
  • Maybe you have a nut-job roommate who poaches your mail.

It’s handy if you go out of town for a day or two, but don’t want to stop the mail for the 3-day minimum.  This way you can alert someone to grab your mail if there is an important piece.  See if it has hit your area here.

Read More
Babytooth Sm

They Call Me “Babytooth”


Comments

Here’s a Dental Money Tip: If you get oral surgery, sell the pain pills to recoup your deductible.  This is a great way to pick up some extra cash.  If you get busted, it’s a felony that could cost you nine years in prison and a $20,000 fine – but think of all the money you will save on rent, food, and everything else in stir.  It’s totally worth it.

Okay…  That’s not the real Dental Money Tip.

I’ve been hauling around a babytooth since my babyhood.  There wasn’t an adult bicuspid underneath it, so I made do.

Fun Fact, the bicuspid babytooth is larger than the adult one.  It looked like a tooth and walked like a tooth.  See below.  Alas, it started to crumble.  I opted to yank it and get an implant.

Even though I have some dental insurance, I was going to have to reach into my coin purse for a couple grand.

Ask and you shall receive.  There was no elaborate negotiation.  I simply asked the office manager if there was any wiggle room on the price.  She got back to me saying, “We can take $400 off.”  Done!

The moral of the story is:  If you are a dental mutant like me, or about to plunk down a lot of cash for a big ticket item – it doesn’t hurt to ask if there is any wiggle room on the price.  Wiggling goes down.  Jacking goes up.  Don’t ask if they can jack the price. Stick with wiggling.

Read More

Do You Like Dog Food?


Comments

dogfoodlady2

Is Future-You sleeping on a cot eating kibble?

If you figure Social Security will tide you over in your Geezer-dom, see how much you have socked away at SSA.gov.

The 2016 EBRI survey revealed that 26% of Americans have virtually nothing saved for retirement (less than $1,000 in savings and investments).  Those 26 percent-ers probably assume Social Security will cover them.  Or maybe they figure they won’t live that long, like the folks on Sugar Mountain or in Logan’s Run.

When you check out your SSA stash, keep mind that your estimated benefit is a future-dollar that will not stretch as far as today’s dollar.

For example, let’s say that in 20 years, you were going to collect $2,000 a month as an old fogey.  Not too shabby.  You may have to forego your country club membership, but that’ll cover your apartment and some biscuits and gravy to chomp on, right?  Maybe.  First,  you gotta factor in inflation.  The average annual inflation rate since 1913 is about 3%.

$2,000 in 20 years at 3% inflation will buy what $1,107 does today.  How far does $1,107 go for you in 2017?  Will that keep you in the lifestyle to which you have become accustomed?

I say this not to bum you out, but to motivate you to squirrel away a few bucks into an individual retirement account (IRA).

April 18th is the last day to make a contribution to your IRA for 2016.  You can decide what you want to invest in at a later date.  The important thing is to open an account and put some money in your IRA.

Read More
15 Dollar Bill 15 Only

When You Have Only $15 To Your Name


Comments

Are you prepared to uproot your life so you can have a roof over your head and food on the table?

Is this Wall Street Journal article on Kathleen Wolf really about Future-you?

I give this lady credit.  At age 68, she realized she lived beyond her means.  She left her life and her friends in Northern California to start over in a small town in Iowa where she knew no one.

“I was just playing being a rich person, I wasn’t rich,” Ms. Wolf said. “What you’re supposed to do with your money is sock it away. I didn’t.”

This is obvious, but only 20 years ago, this 68 year old lady was 48.  I can tell you that when you are 48 you aren’t focused on the older, Future-you.  Her choices put her in a tough spot.

If you are lucky, Future-you is coming fast.  Get ready, that geez will be here in a blink.  Technically, “Future-you” will be here in one millisecond – but you catch my drift.  At 48, you are thinking more about whether you want a big shindig on your 50th birthday than when to start taking Social Security.

Her story does not have to be yours.  Spend much less than you make.  Start saving.  Future-you will be much happier with options.

Read More
TaxPayment3LogosBetter

Is This A Smart Way To Pay Uncle Sam & The Governor?


Comments

TaxPayment3LogosBetterTax Day is 41 days away (April 18th this year).  Some will get refunded a portion of the free loan they gave the government.  Others will be scrambling at the 11th hour to come up with cash to pay The Man, man.

Whatever your situation, making your payment(s) via three IRS Approved websites can be very profitable! Yes, make money paying your taxes.

Pay1040, OfficialPayments and PayUSATax allow you to pay personal and business taxes by credit or debit card.  All three accept Federal tax payments. OfficialPayments accepts State as well as Fed. You might think paying the fee to do this is a waste of money vs. writing a check. Pay1040 charges the least to use a credit card (1.87%). For every $1,000 paid in taxes, they take another $18.70 scoop in convenience fees.

But… here are 5 Ways using a credit card can be a GOOD (and profitable) idea:

  1. Paying taxes this way is not a cash advance.  So if you are tapped out, but know you are going to have money to cover it later, you could slap it on a card that has a 0% introductory interest rate up to 21 months.  Then pay the card off when you have the cash. Consider Citi Simplicity (21 months), BankAmericard (18 billing cycles), Chase Slate (15 months), Chase Freedom (15 months), Wells Fargo Platinum (15 months), Discover it (14 months), American Express Blue Cash Everyday (12 months), Citi Thank You Preferred (12 months), and Chase Ink Business Cash (12 months).
    >>> At the top right side of this site, under “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” click “O”% APR Credit Cards” for up-to-date info on these cards.  Email me any questions. <<<
  2. If you have a credit card that pays you 2% cash back (Citi DoubleCash & Capital One Spark Business), you’d actually profit $1.30 per $1,000 paid.  Under “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” click “Cash Back Credit Cards”
  3. Using a card might be worth it for the convenience and knowing the payment got there.  The IRS considers it paid when you charge the payment.
  4. You can make partial payments on more than one card.  This is handy in case you have different airline, hotel and rewards cards.  This way you could top off those accounts to get to the next level for a free flights, hotel stays, and what-have-you. Delta, American and Alaska will give new cardmembers 30,000 bonus miles if you spend $1,000 on their respective card in the first 3 months. Southwest and United have 50,000 mile bonuses for $2,000 and $3,000 spending requirements respectively. You could get rack up some nice bonus mileage for an $18.70 fee.  Under “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” click “Travel Rewards Credit Cards”
  5. You can pay someone else’s taxes with your card.  Maybe you need to meet a big spending requirement to get a sweet, tax-free credit card bonus.  Some of my personal favorites: Chase Sapphire, Ink Bold, and Ink Plus come to mind.  With those cards, it would be worth paying someone’s taxes + the convenience fee.  They write you a check for what they owed the IRS.  You eat the $18.70 convenience fee per $1,000 in tax.

Look under “Chip’s Favorite Credit Card Offers” at the top right side of this website for up-to-date deals, terms, and conditions on these cards and more.  Email me if you have any questions about which card might be right for your situation.

If your brain is firing with possibilities, here’s a nice scenario to haul in hundreds in tax-free cash.  Right now (3/9/17) with Chase Sapphire Preferred’s personal credit card sign-up bonus, you can earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases (and/or tax payments) in the first 3 months from account opening.  You get an additional 5,000 bonus points if you add an authorized user and make a purchase in that first 3 months.  Those 55,000 bonus points alone can be redeemed for $550 in tax free cash. Plus you’d get 4,000 more points, redeemable for $40, for spending $4,000.  Just like that, you have points redeemable for $590 in tax free rebate cash!

If you used Pay1040 to pay $4,000 in taxes, they’d tack on $74.80 in fees.  You’d meet the Sapphire spending requirement instantly.  You’d still be ahead of the game $475.00 – tax free!  That’s a pretty good reason to use a credit card to pay your taxes.

You don’t have to use any of these cards to pay your taxes.  I suggest using them to pay your taxes as a way to quickly meet the spending requirement for the huge bonuses.  You could get the cards and meet the spending requirements for the bonuses however you’d like!

Read More
Quicken Payroll Companies

Quicken Detected $508.70 In Lost Checks


Comments

While doing my 2016 taxes, Quicken helped me discover that two checks totaling $508.70 never got to me.

When I’m not doling out Chip’s Money Tips, I’m trotting the boards as an actor.  Every year I get residual checks from over 50 different TV shows and movies I‘ve shot.  In 2016, 13 different payroll companies handled those payments.  That’s a lot to track.

Quicken makes it easy to organize my biz. There is a Mac version and five PC versions.

When I get the W2s from the payroll companies, I compare the totals on the W2 to what I received and entered in Quicken.  I easily discovered that Entertainment Partners’ W2 said I received $508.70 more than I actually did.

I asked and they emailed me a list of all the checks they had sent me in 2016.  I compared that to what I’d received and had entered in Quicken.

I quickly realized that two residual checks from my Anger Management appearance never got to me.  They were sent in November and were never cashed.  Entertainment Partners offered to reissue them.

If I had not been keeping track of what I received from whom, I would not have been able to discover the missing $508.70.

This is the 3rd occasion where Quicken has made me aware that I had checks missing.  I’ve retrieved over $1,500 total.

I have been using Quicken for years.  Check out my review I Feel Like Quicken Tonight.  It’s pretty handy.

CostCo No Chip

Costco Membership Fee Hike


Comments

My buddy Blake sent me this photo from his spree at Costco.  Evidently they don’t cotton to me not having a membership yet still being allowed to shop there for alcohol and Rx.  Read how you can too.

Costco is raising the price of its membership for the first time since 2011.  According to Fortune, Costco’s lifting its Gold Star membership $5 per year to $60, and its Executive membership fee $10 a year to $120 as of June 1.

Fortune said Costco has 86.7 million card holders.  Even at only $5 a pop, that’s a cool infusion of $433.5 million!