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401k and Personal Finance Travel

Earn up to 75,000 AA miles for new Citi AAdvantage card holder

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(Update 02-10-2011) The previous link expired. Try this new link if interested. One difference is they requires one spend $4000 in first 6 months to get the full 75,000 miles. Good luck!

(Update 09-17-2010) I got the 75,000 AA miles.

(Update 8-19-2010) Received the Citi Platinum Select /AAdvantage Visa Signature card today, called and verified the “spending $1500 in first 6 months, receive 75,000 AA miles” is good.

(Original 8-16-2010) Got the offer from my AA membership letter. Choose one of the three cards:

Citi Platinum Select /AAdvantage Visa Signature card, Citi Select /AAdvantage American Express card, or CitiBusiness /AAdvantage Visa card.

Here is the link www.away5.citicards.com.

I applied the card before getting the mail, via another link. Today I received the letter says my card got approved. I hope the 75k miles offer applies to my application (and I got a free round trip ticket back to China 😀

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401k and Personal Finance

SPG Starwood Preferred Guest AMEX credit card special offer

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First I want to thank everyone who used my referral enrolling in Ohio College Advantage 529 plan, esp. those of you who kept quiet after using my referral code. My daughter (although she can not understand what is college these days, being 3 months and 3 weeks old) and my wife also want to express their thanks.

Saw this Starwood Preferred Guest AMEX credit card special offer from dealsea.

SPG has a new promotion – free 30,000 Starpoints after you spend $1000 in 3 months. No annual fee for the first year (then $45). Offer expires 7/6/10.

Here is a review for the card. And another review which talks about points redemption. Quote:

Starwood Preferred Guest program was the first program that had no blackout dates, which meant that if they had a room, they will give it to you. You need 2,000 points for a weekday stay at a category 1 hotel and 3,000 points for a weekend stay. You could also use a combination of points and paying cash. For example, you can use 1,250 points and $25 for a category 1 hotel stay. Starwood also allows you to get a fifth night stay free at category 3,4,5 and 6 hotels. The minimum points required is 28,000 points for a category 3 hotel. Room upgrade requires a minimum of 1,000 points. You can also get 50% off regular rates by using just 1,000 points for any category hotel. Points can be used to redeem for an entire vacation – with hotel stays and flights as well.

Starwood hotels include brands like Four Points, Sheraton,Westin and W Hotels. It seems to me Starwood program is better than HHonors program (Hilton family hotels), and SPG points worth more than HH points. For instance, 3,000 points can get one free night stay at Four Points Daning in Shanghai. So I took the bait: applied the card just now, and got approved 😀

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401k and Personal Finance

Credit card series I: Amazon Visa Card

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link here. This is the new card I got this year. I got the $40 first statement credit, and am very pleased to get the extra points for my Amazon purchase (quite a bit after our new baby born).

With your Amazon.com Rewards Credit Card, you will earn points for every dollar you spend on the card.

Earn 3 points on eligible Amazon.com purchases
Earn 2 points on eligible gas, dining, and drugstore purchases
Earn 1 point on purchases everywhere else

This is probably the most straightforward reward card.

Sample rewards
2,500 points can get you $25.00 Amazon gift card;
5,000 points can get you $50 check;
……
90,000 points can get you an air ticket to any where in the world (disclaimer: worth about $1,600).

One point is roughly 1 cent ($0.01).

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401k and Personal Finance video

New Credit Card Rules by NY Times

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Via YouTube.

It seems the card companies are not happy. Today I saw a big drop of stocks of American Express (NYSE: AXP), Capital One (NYSE: COF). Are the golden days of credit card industry over? We shall see.

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401k and Personal Finance Business

My view on Credit Cards: from both sides

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(Update 23Apr09) It seems Obama administration is going to make credit card more consumer friendly (marketWatch). So are they going to socialize the credit card: I mean, you and me (i.e., honest guys) pay the credit cards on time each month, will bail out the deadbeats, after we bailed out the Wall Street ??? We know the credit card companies (the wall street) are not charities. This thing looks more like dumber and dumber.

(Original) Yesterday I mentioned credit card when talking about recurring revenue. Credit card is the live blood of our consumer society. Like commerical paper for business, we (consumers) use (more precisely borrow from) credit card for our daily purchases. At the end of each billing period, we either pay off the whole balance or pay the minimum payment (not recommended from personal finance perspective, but so many people do this nowadays. The customers who carry balance (and pay >10% interest) also contribute the profit of credit card companies. But it appears now credit card companies started to upset their best customrers, amid the credit crisis.

Business
American Express (NYSE: AXP) and Citibank (NYSE: C) pay customer to go away

JP Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) charged monthly fee to customers, then gave refund under pressure from NY AG Cuomo (CNN Money story).

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China

Student Credit Card

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I got my first credit card, a Master card from Citi Bank, back in 1997 when I was a graduate student (and assistant) in Rolla. At that time I had part time job in school. I used the card to pay grocery, books (things I need to buy anyway), and I paid off the balance each month.

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Stocks

Cashback Credit Card is Sweet

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But not all of them are equal. I am using the Citibank Dividend and the Discover Cashback card. The Citi card used to give 5% (now 2%) cash back for gas, grocery and 1% for everything else, with an annual limit of $300.

The Discover card is more complicated. It has a “ladder” rate and does 5% promotion every three months. Each year (start from the day card being activated), it gives 0.25% for first $1000, 0.5% for the second $2000, 1% for anything afterwards. Every three months or so, e.g., Jan 1 to March 31, it gives 5% cashback for airlines, trains and buses; and the 5% category could change to restaurant from April to June. Also Discover has more redeem options, in addition to cash, it can be converted to gift cards from various vendors.