Credit 
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Best Airline Credit Card Bonuses

One of the ways you can use credit cards to your advantage is to choose rewards cards that offer travel bonuses. You can do even better if you get a credit card associated with one of the airlines. Most of these cards are through major issuers, so you can use them for everyday purchases, while building up miles at a specific airline. If there is an airline that you prefer, you can use an airline credit card to boost your frequent flier miles, and enjoy other perks.

However, you do need to think twice before getting an airline credit card. Airline credit cards often come with high interest rates, so they are not for those who carry a balance. If you carry a balance, it won’t take long for the interest charges to effectively negate the benefits of your airline rewards. Also, keep an eye out for annual fees and other costs. These cards are usually best for the frequent traveler.

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 Personal Finance 
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Southwest Freedom Awards Permit Mileage Dilution

Southwest Airlines WallMileage dilution is when an airline starts asking for more miles for the same ticket. What used to cost 30,000 frequent flier miles would then cost 35,000 miles. It’s a bit like inflation, secret stealing pennies out of your wallet. I always proudly proclaimed that Southwest doesn’t play those games, it’s 16 credits for a flight and a one-way flight is worth a credit. If anything they make it easier by offering bonus credits out of particular airports.

When I was in college, the Rapid Rewards frequent flier tickets had blackout dates but no seat restrictions. You couldn’t use it on the crazy high traffic times like the holidays or Thanksgiving, but you could use it any other time a seat was available.

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 Credit 
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AMEX Membership Rewards Offers Southwest Credits!

Southwest Airlines WallI have The Gold Card from American Express as my business credit card and have always had difficulty finding things to spend the points on. I’m not a huge fan of gift cards but fortunately AMEX doesn’t play the game of diluting point values at lower gift card prices. For example, Citi’s ThankYou Network turns 6,000 points into a $50 gift card, diluting the value of a point by a small percentage. $100 gift cards are 10,000 points though, giving you a true “penny a point” conversion. Anyway, with AMEX’s Membership Rewards I’ve just converted them into either Home Depot cards or Roy’s Restaurant cards (Roy’s is a Hawaiian fusion restaurant that my wife and I absolutely love).

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 Personal Finance 
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Roundup: McCain vs. Obama, Taxes & Other Good Stuff(tm)

If you want to compare the economic policies and plans of Presidential hopefuls John McCain and Barack Obama, CNN Money has a good comparison between the two on a variety of issues from Social Security to Personal Taxes.

Jeremy at Generation X Finance has a very good explanation of why the GAO report of 2/3rds of companies paying zero tax is political hogwash. Besides Jeremy’s good points, famous United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit judge Learned Hand once said – “Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.”

SVB tackles the question of saving for college, a question I’m going to put off for a little while.

Nickel’s favorite cashback credit card is the Blue Cash from American Express, a card I don’t have. It seems to have a lot of great features, like a comparison of your cashback performance, and good cashback categories as well.

The Consumerist confirms once again why I love Southwest in publishing it’s top 3 most and least “fee crazy” airlines. Southwest was they’re #1 least fee crazy airline.

Flexo wrote about a study that says sleep makes you smarter.

Have a great long weekend!


 Personal Finance 
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Week in Numbers: Financial Turmoil! Sky Falling!

-1917: Dow Fall In First Half of 2008 The Dow opened on January 2nd, 2008 at 13,261.82 and opened on July 1st, 2008 at 11,344.64 – for a spectacular fall of over 1,917 points. Don’t calculate the percentage, it’ll just make you throw up.


145: Oil Tops $145 This Week This week, a barrel of oil (NYMEX Sweet Crude) topped $145. A barrel of oil cost an average of $15.70 ten years ago (adjusted to 2007 dollars). I will be investing in a Flintstone-mobile. Here are the latest energy prices on Bloomberg. *sigh*


5.5%: Unemployment At 5.5% Can someone with better math, or better descriptive skills, explain why a 50% difference is only considered “slight?” We expected 40,000 fewer jobs in June, there are actually 62,000 fewer jobs… but it’s only slight. “Job losses in June were slightly worse than the 40,000 expected by economists surveyed…”


600: Starbucks Closing StoresStarbucks to close 600 stores with 12,000 affected workers. Stockholders rejoice as SBUX jumped 4.6% and MBA professors sob as one of the most referenced marketing case studies gets a black eye. At least there’s always Southwest.


$1.24B Project Genesis Cruise Ship by Royal Caribbean
Royal Caribbean’s Project Genesis, a cruise ship yet to be named, will be the most expensive and largest cruise ship ever constructed and will cost a mere $1.24 billion dollars. It will carry 6,400 passengers, weight 220,000 gross registered tons, and displace more water than a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. (it wasn’t announced this week, in fact it was announced over a year ago, but it was worth putting in this week just because!)

Have a great Fourth of July Weekend!

(I’m going to start doing Week in Numbers [WIN] every Friday afternoon, please let me know what you think!)


 Frugal Living 
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comments

$25 Southwest-Visa Gift Card Promotion

Southwest Airlines WallUntil June 30th, get $25 off a future $100+ Southwest Airlines round-trip flight when you purchase a $100+ Southwest gift card from Southwest.com using a US-issued Visa card. The Southwest gift card has no fees and no expiration date, so you can buy it now and use it whenever.

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 Personal Finance 
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comments

Changing Your Maiden Name After Marriage

One of the tricky things about being “recently married” is that the missus was in name limbo. “Technically,” she’s my wife with my last name (that’s right!). “Legally,” she still retains her maiden name until she goes to the Social Security Administration to change her SS card name and the DMV or MVA to change her license name. So what happens when we get a check written out to her new name? Trickiness! Headaches! But not to fret, I’ll try to capture everything we’ve done so that it can be as painless as possible for all you newlyweds out there.

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 Personal Finance 
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Wow, Another Reason I LUV Southwest

Right now we’re sitting on a two hour layover in Oakland, CA on our way to Hawaii for our honeymoon. Our trip thus far has taken us through Kansas City on Southwest and we were reminded once again why Southwest is easily my favorite airline. We were the only two people on the flight from Baltimore to Kansas City that would continue on to Oakland and we arrived ten minutes early so we had some time to chat with the flight crew. They asked us where we were going and my wife said we were flying onto Honolulu for our honeymoon. They said their congratulations and we thanked them, everyone smiling all around, and we thought nothing of it. A new flight crew came on board to help the first flight crew clean up and then we were on our way. About five minutes before we were to land in Oakland, the a member of the flight crew came on the PA and said “We wanted to congratulate two of our passengers who recently got married, everyone please give them a round of applause!” There was clapping all around, some more congratulations, and then one of the crew walked over and gave us a bottle of Korbel champagne!

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