Another TBB post featuring the most eclectic links around the web such as 24 rules for 2024, million dollar homes, crime in the USA, Michelin secrets, recap of 2023 in the investment markets, how mortgages differ around the world, more ponzi crypto scams, pandemic death tolls in history, a resource for transgender families, the greatest sci-fi movies of all time, we travel to Jupiter and to Afghanistan, the end of the 90k Chase Ink card offers is finally coming, another recap of the crazy miles and points world and a lot more. See you Tuesday, enjoy the weekend.
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Welcome to my quirky original authentic blog. It all started back in 2012 focusing on my crazy
hobby addiction of frequent flyer miles, hotel and bank points. It has since evolved to a curated weekly post of the best web content I find along with my commentary. Here to Educate primarily, sometimes Entertain and if I get to Inspire you, well, that is a bonus.
This blog publishes on Fridays. This is a one man labor of love operation, enjoy it white it lasts. I may post on a Tuesday going forward whenever I get to it. Update: Next Tuesday I will post the fourth and final edition of 2023 Annual Best of lists, something I have been doing over the years around Christmas/New Year’s holidays.
This year the stock market started out going way down. But 2023: It Was a Good Year. Indeed it was. I don’t do market predictions. But if I was forced to do so , I would go with “It will fluctuate”. And I will be correct every time. And absolutely no media will want to talk to me about my “shocking” prediction lol. So, diversify 🙂
These are great: 24 Rules for 2024.
1. Ask why
2. Ponder the risks you’re taking
3. Be skeptical
4. Don’t run with the herd
5. Doubt yourself
6. Control what you can
7. Be patient
8. Embrace optimism
9. Pause before acting
10. Take a time inventory
11. Question your habits
12. Simplify your life
13. Keep striving
14. Anticipate good times
15. Give thanks
16. Be kind
17. Give generously
18. Seek new friends
19. Lose the losers
20. Don’t dwell
21. Exercise, preferably outside
22. Get at least seven hours of sleep
23. Talk honestly about money
24. Use those savings
We are lucky in the United States that we have 30 year fixed interest rate mortgages. This does not happen around the world. How do mortgages in other countries work? From Germany, to France, Russia and the US, how home buying compares to the UK.
- In France, school fees are excluded when an applicant’s outgoings are examined
- Around 50% of the property’s value is needed for a deposit in South Africa
- Russian buyers can choose to pay their mortgage in one of three currencies
Interesting table showing the consecutive years that are up in the US stock market. This means absolutely nothing for the future, I just found it interesting. No one has a crystal ball. If you listen to someone who knows what the markets will do short term, run away. Fast!
I really enjoy reading the monthly roundup of the Ponzi Scheme Blog. Mainly because it just boggles the mind how many still fall for scams like this:
They misrepresented that funds would be invested in a “Multi Currency Investment Fund” backed by a proprietary currency exchange. They claimed that the investment had never lost money and generated up to 10% compounded interest for a five-year investment. [Investments will always lose money at times. And run when you see the word “proprietary”!]
…she was running a cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme. Fernandez is a self-described “entrepreneur” and promised guaranteed returns as high as 63% from what she represented were investments in cryptocurrency, private and publicly traded companies, and luxury real estate. [Another word to watch out for is “guaranteed”.]
…claimed to make “cryptocurrency mining and trading accessible to the average retail investor through its online platform.” The scheme promised 140% returns over 140 days. [1% per day, come on, don’t be stupid.]
The defendants promised returns of 15% to 32% from raising cattle and raised at least $191 million for more than 2,100 investors. On its website, Agridime states the company “is an online cattle and agricultural products brokerage company that utilizes a proprietary trading platform to connect buyers and sellers.” [When you get ‘online cattle’ and “proprietary’ together pitched to you, the only come back is “Moooooooo”.]
…guaranteed returns of 2% to 3% monthly as well as annual returns of 30% to 102%.
When Piercey’s fraud first came to light, he unsuccessfully attempted to evade the FBI in an underwater submersible. [In a what? Unbelievable!]
More than $25 million was invested and investors were promised profits from trading programs that supposedly used an artificial intelligence automated trading bot. [When the crypto bros grift to AI…]
Ajeet Maurya, 41, a social influencer, was arrested on allegations that he was running a Ponzi scheme. Maurya is reported to have 2 wives, 9 children and 6 girlfriends. [Influencer, 2 wives, 9 children, 6 girlriends. Legend woohoo!]
…a bank manager of a Denisbank AS branch, was accused of orchestrating a $44 million Ponzi scheme. Erzan promised returns of 250%, and authorities alleged that bags of cash were changing hands at candy shops. [bags of cash at candy shops, you gotta be kidding me.]
I have seen wild crypto scams before and nothing really shocks me. And then there was this: Chief executive of collapsed crypto fund HyperVerse does not appear to exist. I am reading this and keep shaking my head, uncontrollably, wow.
A man named Steven Reece Lewis was introduced as the chief executive officer of HyperVerse at an online global launch event in December 2021, with video messages of support from a clutch of celebrities released on Twitter the following month, including from the Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and actor Chuck Norris. [Chuck Norris? Stab me!]
Investors in HyperVerse were able to buy “memberships” with minimum returns of 0.5% a day, with a 300% return over 600 days. Incentives were also offered for recruiting new members. [Dead giveaway!]
A May 2022 launch event video for HyperNation broadcast on YouTube featured masked promoters called “Mr H” and “Miss N”… “Mr H” described himself in the video as an “evangelist in the new world order” and he and “Miss N” were presented as the “official ambassadors of HyperNation”. [The article just gets even wilder. Amazing this shit has not been banned yet and instead we may get a Bitcoin ETF smh.]
This was good: Visualizing 2024: Trends to Watch. I think two of the most important and worrying trends are the digital threats to the 2024 elections and the rise of the Right in Europe.
The pandemic changed everything as I have been saying for a while. This is a relevant link: What Were the Death Tolls from Pandemics in History?
ODDZ & ENDZ
I love movies. And especially sci-fi. So I am all over this: The 150 Greatest Science Fiction Movies of All Time.
This is fantastic, a deep dive in Crime in the USA. Some of the findings surprised me.
A fantastic resource: The Transgender Family Handbook. 144 specific suggestions, from trans young people and their loved ones, that parents may find helpful.
I am not a gamer. Last time I played a video game was in the 1980s when I was a legend in Pac-Man lol. 50 Years of Video Game Industry Revenues, by Platform.
Low cost airlines keep coming. To the US to fly us to Europe. And they keep expanding. 4 Cheap European Airlines That U.S. Travelers Should Know About. And Norse Atlantic Airways is attempting to corner the Greek American community market in New York to fly them non stop to Athens, Greece.
Michelin stars are coming for hotels next. I learned a lot in this article about how Michelin does the star thingie: Secrets of the Michelin Man.
…sheds a little light on the lives of his inspectors. He won’t say how many there are, but “our team is 25 nationalities, and they are all full-time employees, not freelancers. On average, inspectors are eating out at restaurants 300 times a year. They sleep away from home 100 to 150 nights a year. The inspectors come to us from the food, beverage, and hotel industries, and they only tell their nearest and dearest what they do. They need to retain their anonymity. We have chefs, restaurant managers, hotel managers, sommeliers, different profiles from across the industry.” [Wow, eat like this and get paid. And, naturally, they keep all the miles and points too? ]
Let’s go to Jupiter next! Take a look at these astonishing new images of Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io.
Ok, one more, what an amazing picture this is!
A section where I go on and on about some stuff that happens in my life and anything else that just does not fit in another section above
Super busy first two weeks of the year for my job that pays the bills. Which is not this one blogging here thank God as blog revenues were down 30% in 2023 vs 2022, sad lol. I am going to join Mile Nerd in retirement one of these days you guys, he posts just once a month. And it’s still great writing: Wheels Up.
I made the last tuition payment to the University of Michigan for my daughter who is on track to graduate in May 2024. Got a bit emotional, two kids college graduates with zero debt. Mission accomplished mom and dad #payitforward. Hopefully all this tuition goes to the school celebrating a national football championship next Monday. I am going to try to stay up to watch the game but it starts at 7.30 pm so I would not bet on succeeding lol.
My mother in Greece got Covid. For the first time. And showing very few symptoms, thank God.
I am trying to eat less and healthier in 2024. Five days into the new year, so far so good. I would not bet on a long streak here due to prior experience over the years lol. I am also trying to devote one hour a day in taking care of my body, like walking and/or going to the gym, including the swimming pool. MRI on my left foot on January 14. I forgot what running feels like and I sure miss all the sweat and calories burned!
It will be amazing if the Detroit Lions play the Los Angeles Rams in the first NFL playoff game in Detroit. Playing against former Lion QB Matt Stafford after these two teams swapped quarterbacks!
This blog started with a focus on miles and points and travel. It has evolved since then. Everything below deals with the hobby of collecting frequent flyer miles and points and maximizing your travel experiences. If you are not interested, you can stop here, thank you.
MILES & POINTS NEWS/PROMOS/MY ACTION
I am going to try separating this Section this way:
Good post on Shortcuts to Hyatt Elite Status.
And there goes the minibar: IHG Removes InterContinental Royal Ambassador Minibar Benefit.
I had forgotten that Chase was not allowing this. Until now. Chase Now Allows Family Referrals Between Sapphire Reserve & Sapphire Preferred Cards.
The date of the end of the 90k bonuses for the two Chase Ink Business cards has now been finally set, it is January 18 at 9 am. The personal referral links for the 90k offers are now dead and I have deleted them from my blog.
Always check my TOP THREE TRAVEL REWARDS CREDIT CARD OFFERS RIGHT NOW below. At this point, the two no brainer cards are STILL the two 90,000 NO Annual Fee Chase Business Ink cards, by far! Available HERE. Chase will give you around $1,000 for free, come on!
My own Chase Ink Business Unlimited 90k signup bonus points posted. And another 40k points referral posted as well.
Still waiting on Chase to mail my wife’s new Chase Ink Business Cash card to go for another 90k Signup Bonus. And Chase has been repeatedly emailing my daughter to get a Chase Ink Business Unlimited card (three emails in less than 24 hours!) when she already has the Chase Ink Business Cash card, which is not being used much. The rampant approvals by Chase of these Ink cards have appeared to slow down. And we now have the ending of these amazingly lucrative 90k Signup Bonus offers as mentioned above. Maybe some manager in the bank hit the quota for a juicy bonus?
I have cut way down on my hobby activities. I mean, I don’t need more miles and points at this point, I am just collecting the low hanging fruit nowadays. Which shows you how far your travel can be enhanced if you devote a little bit of time in this. I am not like others in this hobby who have numerous Amex Platinum cards shuffling 50 plus credit cards. It can be done of course but when you see bloggers posting about that you need to remember that this is their job! To me, this has always been a hobby.
If this turned into a job my blogging would be entirely different. You would be seeing posts like “The best cards for dining/groceries/restaurants/gas/etc” and “My top 69 reasons to get this credit card” and “Best Ever Offer for xx card, it won’t last, click it to fly for free like me, look at me in First Class sipping champagne and eating caviar” and I could go on and on. So, the few clicks of support keep this blog going I guess waiting for that that one day this blog will be discovered lol. If I needed the money I would not be here since 2012! It is what it is…
My reduced hobby activities also have to do with the much different landscape after Covid entered our lives. I had plans for another trip to Asia this year to see more places in Thailand, maybe hit Vietnam and Bali. But my wife’s three sisters are visiting from Singapore mid October to mid November so there goes the Asia trip. And because of that my wife is not going to Malaysia for her school reunion. So I do have Hyatt Globalist and the confirmed suite upgrades and in danger of wasting them. Having second thoughts now that requalifying for Hyatt Globalist elite status was not the smartest idea. Other than a trip to Greece to see my mother and treating family friend a trip to the US, at this point, my travel goals are kind of non existent. Developing…
I need to keep simplifying my life which includes dealing with US banks. After an inane back and forth with Barclay Bank’s “customer service” maybe it is time to say goodbye to the two Barclay American Airlines Aviator cards and just take this bank out of my life. I guess at some point I will circle back to Citi AA cards but no rush until Citi gets its act together and decides to compete again in this space. In the meantime, they are busy with layoffs.
I guess we are back to starting at $0 working on the $15k minimum spend on the World of Hyatt Visa and Amex Hilton Surpass cards to earn them free nights. I have 4 Free Night certs in my Hyatt account and 1 Free Night cert in my Hilton account already as of today. First wold problem.
Very funny: 2023 Travel Hacking as told by GIFs.
MILES & POINTS
HOT CREDIT CARD OFFERS: 90k CHASE Ink Business Cash, 90k CHASE Ink Business Unlimited, 75k CAPITAL ONE Venture X, 150k CAPITAL ONE Venture X Business, 75k CAPITAL ONE Venture Rewards, 100k CHASE Ink Business Preferred, 60K CITI Premier, $1,000 Cash Back CHASE Ink Business Premier, 140K CHASE IHG Rewards Premier (with $100 Statement Credit), 60k CHASE Sapphire, 60K CHASE Sapphire Reserve, 60k US BANK Business Altitude and many more including many AmericanExpress cards such as Delta Airlines, Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors cards! Please check out my Affiliate links. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more. If you do not see a credit card with my affiliate links, perhaps I could refer you?
This section is about my
hobby addiction of collecting frequent flyer miles and hotel points since the early 1990’s! SKIP if you are not into it!
As of today, I have burned 0 miles/points year to date (1,148,286 in 2023) and have 4,494,301 miles/points in the bank. Some do drugs, I do miles lol!
Thanks to US banks, very lucrative travel rewards credit card offers come and go all the time. This section will act as a reference point on the best CURRENT offers. I will designate new material preceded by NEW.
TOP THREE TRAVEL REWARDS CREDIT CARD OFFERS RIGHT NOW
ENDING JANUARY 18, 2024. Ok, the amazing 90k Chase Ink Business Cash and Chase Ink Business Unlimited card offers are back! These are NO ANNUAL fee cards. The Ink Business Cash earns 5% on office supply stores and internet/cable/phone services and 2% on gas and restaurants. Why don’t you go to Office Depot and buy gift cards of the stores you usually buy from, hello 5% Amazon! The Ink Business Unlimited works differently, it just earns 1.5% on everything…so if you were going to use a card to earn 1% why don’t you pull this one out instead? Bottom line, I think these are the BEST business travel rewards cards out there right now! The 90k Signup Bonus can be earned after $6k of spend on the cards in the first three months. you can apply HERE to support this blog, thank you (they can be found under Category/Business).
The Capital One Venture X card offers a 75,000 point Signup Bonus after a minimum spend of $4k in the first three months. If you like simplicity and looking for one (premium) card, I highly recommend this card (and yes, I have it myself!). It has an annual fee of $395 but it comes with an easy $300 statement credit for travel booked on its excellent travel portal, essentially turning it into a $95 annual fee card. But wait…there is more! On each card anniversary you earn 10,000 points essentially making it FREE! Every dollar of spend earns 2 points and flights booked on the travel portal earn 5 points per dollar. You get access to Capital One and Plaza Premium airport lounges and a Priority Pass Select lounge membership and, this is important, you can add FOUR authorized users FOR FREE who can also have their own Priority Pass Select airline lounge membership. You can transfer your Capital One points to up to 18 Transfer Partners. No foreign transaction fees. Free Hertz President’s Circle rental car top elite status. Cell phone protection and PRIMARY rental car coverage. Awesome seats at baseball stadiums for just 5k points each. And lots more. Available with my Credit Card Links, thank you for your support!
Remember, you are NOT allowed to ever carry a credit card balance if you ever get a credit card here!
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Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.