Monthly Archives: September 2018

30Sep 2018

5 Reasons You Should Get The Bank of America Premium Rewards Card – Forbes


Forbes has partnered with The Points Guy for our coverage of credit card products. Forbes and The Points Guy may receive a commission from card issuers.

Premium Rewards offers flexible spending and lucrative earning rates.The Points Guy

I usually recommend cash-back credit cards because of the simplicity they offer. For people who aren’t ready to learn the ins and outs of redeeming points, this can be a great way to still get value out of your credit card spending. But the Bank of America Premium Rewards card is a little different. With a small amount of work and planning, this might end up being the most valuable cash-back card in your wallet. Here are 5 reasons why I love this card:

Transferable points (such as Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards) are the key to unlocking fancy first class flights, but they can’t cover everything. For excursions, tours, taxes on award tickets, and those nasty “resort fees,”, cash is essential to keep your vacation running smoothly. You can even use the points from BoA’s Premium Rewards card to erase the cost of hotels and airfare if you find a low cash rate and decide to save your transferable points for a rainy day.

Now you don’t have to use these rewards for travel. You can redeem them as a statement credit for any type of purchase, or even cash them out directly to a linked Merrill Lynch investment account or 529 college savings plan.

Many credit card issuers offer some sort of travel credit as a way to offset premium annual fees and convince customers to pay $450 or more a year. These credits, if used fully, usually knock the out of pocket cost of a premium credit card down to a manageable range, such as $100-200 a year.

The Bank of America Premium Rewards card comes with a $95 annual fee, and a $100 annual airline incidental fee credit. That’s right, you’ll come out $5 ahead every year you keep this card open. And since the credit is issued by calendar year instead of cardmember year, you’ll likely get $200 in credits during your first 12 months with the card. While this credit doesn’t apply to airfare, you can use it for a range of incidental charges including seat assignments, baggage fees, lounge access and more.

You’ll also have access to a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit. These credits are becoming so common, even on entry-level credit cards, that there’s a good chance you already have one. Just remember that the credit will work even if you “gift” it to someone else. You can pay for a friend or family members application fee and be reimbursed just the same.

Of course, one of the most important considerations when looking for a new credit card is maximizing the sign-up bonus you earn. The Premium Rewards card is offering 50,000 points to new members who spend $3,000 in the first 90 days after account opening. When you add in the $3,000 you’ll spend to get the bonus, at a minimum earning rate of 1.5% back, you’ll end up with $545 in rewards. That’s among the highest cash back bonuses I’ve ever seen from a personal credit card, and when you factor in the fact that it’s basically free (thanks to the $100 travel credit) this becomes a very solid value proposition.

In addition to 2x points per dollar on travel and dining purchases, the BoA Premium Rewards card earns 1.5x on all other non-bonus spending. This is a great start, but you can potentially do much, MUCH better.

If you’re eligible to join the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, your earning rates will go up to the following amounts depending on your account tier:

Spend Categories Regular Cardholder Tier 1 – Gold ($20,000 – $50,000) Tier 2 – Platinum ($50,000 – $100,000) Tier 3 – Platinum Honors ($100,000+)
Travel/Dining Earnings 2x points 2.5x points 3x points 3.5x points
Other Earnings 1.5x points 1.875x points 2.25x points 2.62x points

In order to join you’ll need an eligible Bank of America personal checking account and a 3-month average combined balance of $20,000 or more across your Bank of America, Merrill Edge and Merrill Lynch accounts.

If you already bank with BoA I’d say this card is a no-brainer. If not, it might be worth establishing a banking relationship with them (like I did earlier this year to turbocharge your earning rates.

Diversity is one of the most important and most underrated parts of a rewards strategy. It means different types of credit cards (personal vs. business, premium vs. entry level, cash back vs. points), issued by different banks, with different redemption options. This way, if you get hit with a black swan event like Chase shutting down all your accounts or Visa’s IT systems going offline for an entire day, you’ll be in the clear.

Bank of America has been historically overshadowed by the “big 3” (Chase, Amex and Citi), but now is the perfect time to consider adding a new bank to your wallet. With Chase’s 5/24 rule and Amex’s once per lifetime bonus restriction, many people are going to need to start considering other banks to help fund their future reward travel. Bank of America has made a compelling case for your business with the Premium Rewards card, and earned a permanent spot in my wallet.

The Bank of America Premium Rewards card isn’t trying to wow you with flashy perks like elite status or lounge access. Instead, it does the little things very well. It offers solid cash back earning rates to everyone, but really competitive rates to its loyal banking customers. It offers a reasonably sized travel credit that more than gets the job done and entirely wipes out the modest $95 annual fee. If you’re looking to build your rewards strategy outside of hotel and airline points and outside the big 3 banks, this card might be perfect for you.

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30Sep 2018

Travel to Midcentury Modern California – Daily Beast


Mad Men may have resurrected Americans’ love of all things Mid-Century Modern, but three years after the show ended, it’s clear that the obsession is here to stay. Stores and hotels are still rolling out redesigns heavily influenced by the ’50s aesthetic.

Palm Springs in particular has seen a renaissance in its popularity fueled both by the traveling public’s newfound enthusiasm for architectural tourism but more specifically by the contemporary fascination for all things Mid-Century.

One of the best at documenting the explosion of this style in California after World War II was the photographer Marvin Rand. That’s why our latest pick for the new series Just Booked, (a twice a month showcase for a coffee-table book that focuses on some aspect of travel) is the transportive California Captured: Mid-Century Modern Architecture, Marvin Rand (Phaidon) by Emily Bills, Sam Lubell, and Pierluigi Serraino. The book overflows with Rand’s gorgeous images capturing the aesthetic in all its simple So Cal glory.

California Captured: Mid-Century Modern Architecture, Marvin Rand by Emily Bills, Sam Lubell, and Pierluigi Serraino. Published by Phaidon. $59.95 on Amazon

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30Sep 2018

United Airlines raising the bar for top frequent flyer status – Chicago … – Chicago Business Journal


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Chicago Business Journal

United Airlines raising the bar for top frequent flyer status – Chicago …
Chicago Business Journal
United Airlines customers seeking to reach the carrier's top elite 1K status in the carrier's MileagePlus frequent flyer program will have to spend more bucks to …
United Airlines Moves the Goal Post for Earning Top-Tier Elite Status …Skift

all 4 news articles »



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29Sep 2018

Crime Stoppers boosts rewards to $2500, hoping to help bereaved families of homicide victims – WCPO


CINCINNATI — Crime Stoppers, the nonprofit that allows tipsters to connect anonymously with local police, announced Friday it would — for a short time — more than double the amount of money offered for tips leading to the arrest of homicide suspects. Informants who share such information with Crime Stoppers will be eligible to receive a $2,500 reward until the end of 2018. 

Crime Stoppers chairman Gene Ferrara, who resisted City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld's push for higher rewards as recently as February 2017, said he hopes the experimental boost will help the organization finally verify whether an increase in reward money can prompt an increase in useful tips.

"If it in fact gives us better or more tips, then we'll consider making it permanent," he said. "We know (our system) works. We just want to see if we can make it work better because families deserve closure."

Hope Dudley just wants to know who killed her son so she can join the present day, she said. 

Since 26-year-old Daniel Dudley's shooting death on Sept. 29, 2007, his mother has printed his face on playing cards, formed an advocacy organization for other bereaved families and canvassed the city in search of information about her son's killer. 

None of it has resulted in an arrest. 

She feels stuck in 2007, she said, while others around her move forward.

"I think the thousand dollar reward that Crime Stoppers was offering, it's not enough to help people to move or put a deposit down on a place, so I think that has a lot to do with it," she said. 

She hopes the increased reward will tempt witnesses and insiders who have spent over a decade keeping secrets. Despite years of silence, Dudley said she believes a comeuppance for her son's killer is a matter of when, not if.

"I have peace of mind knowing that, 'One day, you're going to get caught,'" she said. "'It's going to be in a time when you think you don't want to go to jail, but the statute of limitations … there's none when it comes to homicides.'"

Dudley lay flowers on her son's grave again Friday night as she prepared for the 11th anniversary of his death. She remembers her son as a "generous and giving" young man with "a grin that could melt my heart," and she feels the person who killed him will face justice someday.

"Daniel means 'God is judge,' and when I see that, I know God will judge the people that murdered my son," she said.

Ferrara said Crime Stoppers wants two kinds of tips about unsolved homicides: Those that identify a suspect and those that tell police where to find them.

Those without information about an unsolved homicide can still help Crime Stoppers' mission by donating to the organization, he said. It costs about $100,000 annually to cover rewards and operating expenses. 

If Crime Stoppers meets or exceeds that goal, it will be more likely to permanently increase reward portions, according to Ferrara.

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29Sep 2018

Meghan Markle Has a Favorite Beauty Product to Fix Every Annoying Travel Issue – Travel+Leisure


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29Sep 2018

NERDWALLET: How to live with your first credit card's limit – Daily Local News


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Daily Local News

NERDWALLET: How to live with your first credit card's limit
Daily Local News
The thrill of getting approved for your first credit card might wear off — at least a little — when you see the news punctuating that congratulatory message: Your new credit limit is lower than you expected. So the mental math begins. Can you shop
The high price of late credit card paymentsKOMO News
What Is a Secured Credit Card? How Is It Different From an Unsecured Card?NerdWallet
What Makes Up Your Credit Score?NerdWallet

all 85 news articles »



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29Sep 2018

United Airlines raising the bar for top frequent flyer status – Chicago Business Journal


[unable to retrieve full-text content]


Chicago Business Journal

United Airlines raising the bar for top frequent flyer status
Chicago Business Journal
United Airlines customers seeking to reach the carrier's top elite 1K status in the carrier's MileagePlus frequent flyer program will have to spend more bucks to reach that tier in 2019. The Chicago-based carrier said Friday that starting next year
United Airlines Moves the Goal Post for Earning Top-Tier Elite StatusSkift

all 4 news articles »



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28Sep 2018

“Hey, I get that!”: 7 pop culture references that felt like rewards – The A.V. Club


AVQ&AWelcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences.  

This week’s question comes from reader Caleb Shively:

“As a big fan of William Friedkin, I finally got around to watching Jade, a movie I heard was regarded as one of the director’s lesser offerings. And yes, yes it is. Around the 20 minute mark, though, I remembered a line from The 40 Year Old Virgin where, when trying to pick up a girl, Seth Rogen’s Cal tells Steve Carrell’s Andy to act like “David Caruso in Jade” (to which Andy quickly replies, “I know exactly what you mean”). I couldn’t stop thinking about this line and had to watch this one scene immediately after the movie was over.

“Regardless of the merits of Jade, it did enhance this one specific joke very much and made a me love The 40 Year Old Virgin (ever so slightly) even more. What is a specific pop-culture reference that you love, made all the more special from knowing its source material?”


Erik Adams

The roundly positive response to Comedy Central’s Detroiters proves that you don’t have to be from Southeastern Michigan to enjoy Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson’s exploits as the Motor City’s scrappiest, goofiest ad men. But if you did happen to grow up in the area during the 1980s and ’90s, there’s a whole extra layer of enjoyment to be found in the show’s detailed parodies of the charmingly earnest vintage sales pitches for local businesses like DOC, Farmer Jack, and Mr. Alan’s. These are sights and sounds that are embedded in my DNA, and to see them recreated for a TV show that reaches several thousand miles beyond the ads’ original broadcast radius is astounding. It’s a savvy move, one that gives specificity and shape to the world of Detroiters, while unlocking a secret language that a lot of viewers might’ve thought they were alone in speaking—a native tongue comprising silky odes to family furriers and memories of a pro-running-back-turned-used-car-dealer’s high-flying alter ego.


Laura Adamczyk

Often one needs to experience the origins of a reference to get it at all. Throughout much of my childhood, my mother would, at what seemed to me random times, reply to something I’d said with “And don’t call me Shirley.” “I didn’t,” I’d say or only think, confused and annoyed. I chalked up her not making any sense to being a parent, specifically my parent. It wasn’t until finally seeing one of the greatest comedies of all time that I got it. “Surely you can’t be serious”/“And don’t call me Shirley” is only one of Airplane’s many great running gags (see also: “I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue,” etc.) The whole thing is so incredibly quotable that it’s reasonable to assume that for many people who weren’t yet alive when the movie was released that the jokes came to them before the film did. What a joy, and a relief, to finally get it, and to realize that the gag is, of course, funnier when a deadpan Leslie Nielsen delivers it instead of your mom.

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Gwen Ihnat

The 1972 film The Poseidon Adventure is in my top-five films of all time: I consider the “ocean liner flips over” movie the standard that all disaster films should be measured against. So I was both shocked and delighted by Chandler’s impersonation of Shelley Winters in The Poseidon Adventure on Friends. As Ross and Rachel embark on the first of many breakups, Chandler flashes back to the trauma of his parents’ divorce, and even starts smoking again. Eventually, he starts flailing about in a truly bizarre fashion in an attempt to distract them from bickering, causing Phoebe to yell out “Look what you’re doing to Chandler!” His strange antics stop the squalling, and he only explains himself in a short offhand comment, failing to elaborate that he was actually acting out the part where Winters’ Mrs. Rosen swims underwater to save Gene Hackman’s Reverend Scott. It’s hard to imagine anyone who would appreciate that strange reference as much as I did, except for the genius in the Friends writers’ room who came up with it.


Clayton Purdom

I could’ve probably filled this with any number of MF Doom’s byzantine internal references, but that’d also be fronting like I understand even a 10th of them without first poring over his Genius pages. (Here are a few fun threads of people freaking out about them, though.) A pop culture reference that clicked for me on a more instinctual level came from Danny Brown, an acquired taste I’ll still cite as the most interesting rapper alive, if pressed. Seemingly on the far other end of my taste spectrum is Persona 4, a 2008 video game about teenagers in rural Japan solving a series of disappearances and stumbling upon an inter-dimensional otherworld. And yet Danny Brown is a huge, noted fan of the series—he named his cat after Chie, the game’s spunky, ass-kicking romantic interest—so much so that he sampled one of its many great, moody backing tracks on “Hell For It,” from 2016’s Atrocity Exhibition. It’s the closing track after a tense, dissonant album, and serves as a brief reprieve, made all the sweeter if you’re in the slim Venn intersection of people who are fans of both of these works.


Danette Chavez

I was still typing up papers on a word processor (the machine, not program) in the early ’90s, but even I knew about the massive flop that was Apple’s Newton. The first “personal digital assistant” (in design, if not actual functionality), the Newton was, ostensibly, an innovator in handwriting recognition technology. But in reality, your stylus-aided scribblings could turn into utter gibberish on the screen of this high-end gadget. The Simpsons immortalized Apple’s technological misstep in the season-six episode “Lisa On Ice,” with Kearney telling Dolph to make a note on his Newton to “Beat up Martin” for applauding the school’s new academic alert system. The Newton turns Dolph’s scrawling into “Eat up Martha,” so Kearney loses his patience and simply chucks the expensive paperweight at Martin’s head. “Lisa On Ice” is chock full of insanely quotable moments, but this bit of typo-related humor is one of my favorites, in no small part because we can imagine that frustrated bully as every pissed-off Apple devotee. And “Eat up Martha” is the gift that keeps on giving—Apple engineers were so haunted by those three little words that they devoted years to getting the keyboard just right.

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William Hughes

John Hodgman’s wonderfully surreal tomes of fake trivia (The Areas Of My Expertise, More Information Than You Require, and That Is All) are chock-full of references designed to reward the sort of careful, deeply nerdy readers who might naturally flock to almanacs of carefully curated bullshit. But I can still remember the “Oh god, my head is gonna pop” feeling that hit me the first time I read this passage from the joke-packed page-a-day calendar Hodgman stuffed into the margins of his second book: “December 4: I complete my controversial shot-by-shot remake of the film Pierre Menard, Author Of Don Quixote.” Given the thematic similarities, Hodgman could probably have counted on his readers being (as I was, having consumed his short story collection Ficciones back in college) nerds for the meta-textual delights of Jorge Luis Borges. But that particular joke—trading on familiarity with Borge’s short story “Pierre Menard,” which presents itself as a literary review of another author’s attempt to recreate Don Quixote, word for word—is so ridiculously dense with specific layers of meta that it still fills me with giddy, nerdy delight, more than a decade after first encountering it.


Sam Barsanti

I’ve always loved April saying her favorite rockstar is Jeff Mangum on Parks And Recreation, because like a lot of good references, it works on different levels depending on whether or not you know who Jeff Mangum is. If you’re not familiar with Neutral Milk Hotel, then the scene—which involves April and new husband Andy playing a knockoff of The Newlywed Game—reads as a joke, because Neutral Milk Hotel is a ridiculous band name that sounds just like the sort of crazy nonsense that April would be into. If you know Mangum, though, it’s a fun and unexpected nod to a band that is just a hair too obscure for the regular NBC sitcom audience. Plus, Andy’s annoyed dismissal of Neutral Milk Hotel as “sad, depressing, weird art” is right on the money. It’s not the funniest scene in Parks And Rec history, but I have to appreciate the completely dumbfounded reaction Chris Pratt’s Andy gives at the mention of one of my favorite bands.

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28Sep 2018

Google now makes it easier to keep track of your travel plans – The Verge


Google knows that people use its various search and software tools to plan trips, and that’s why it’s rolling out some new features to help users organize their travel plans better across several areas of the company’s services.


There are now relevant trip-related suggestions directly in Google search. So if you booked a trip to Austin and then do a Google search for that city, Google will pop up a new prompt with additional trip-related things like flights, things to do, restaurants, and more.

Next month, Google is updating its Your Trips feature so you can track flights and hotels you’ve booked as well as organize trips that are still in the planning progress all in one place.


Additionally, Google is adding a new hotel location score, which ranks the neighborhood a particular hotel is based in by factoring in things like proximity to bars, landmarks, or public transportation. Google is also adding details on getting to and from the nearest airport, which seems extremely useful for less familiar travelers.

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28Sep 2018

How to Freeze and Unfreeze Your Chase Credit Card – Lifehacker


Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

If you’ve ever temporarily lost your credit card and panic-canceled your account, Chase is now offering credit card users an alternative: You can lock and unlock the card from your phone or computer. The feature is live now for credit cards and will debut later in the year for debit card holders.

Locking your card will, per the press release, block transactions, cash advances and balance transfers, but it will not affect recurring transactions (like auto-bill pay). If you find your card, you can simply unlock it via the app or the desktop site—and you can request a new card if it is, indeed, lost.

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To lock your card on the desktop site, you simply:

  • Log into your account and click on your credit card on the lefthand side of your user page under “Credit cards & products.”
  • Then, hit the “Things you can do” menu, and click “Lock & unlock your card” under account services.
  • Click the lock/unlock toggle and you’re set. This is also where you can unlock your card if you find it.

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On the mobile app:

  • Log into your account and find the credit card you want to lock (it should be listed on the main page of the app).
  • Click the three dots under the card.
  • Select “Lock & unlock your card.”

And that’s it. Chase says it will email you if a purchase is declined while your card is locked, and in the meantime you have some peace of mind. If it takes you more than a few days to find your card, you should cancel it and request a new one.

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Amex recently announced the lock/unlock feature, and Bank of America, Capital One, Discover and Wells Fargo offer something similar.

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