Another TBB post featuring the most eclectic links around the web such as investing in stocks at all-time highs, the Crypto pastor, the Fentanyl epidemic, best romantic getaways, the Delta cards get worse, the US economy is again leading the world, update on the Ukraine Russia war, we learn about tardigrades and legal immigration, cruising on the Icon of the Seas ship, drive in the desert, some aviation and weather links, all the important developments in the crazy world of miles and points and a lot more. Enjoy the weekend and get started on your taxes now!
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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 if I get to it, most likely not this month.
I have been praising for a while the state of the US economy. I don’t understand the negativity that persists. Anyway, this is a much deeper issue, I stick with the facts. Why the US economy is doing so much better than the rest of the world. I like how the article ends like this:
It’s easy to say, “What comes up must come down.” That’s why Gagnon told me he’s not expecting 3.3% GDP to continue.
But here’s the thing, when it comes to the US economy lately I’ve learned that the only prediction one can get right is that something unpredictable will happen.
Thankfully, it’s been to the upside for the most part. Let’s hope it stays that way
With repeated all time highs in the US stock market, we are getting this question a lot lately: Should You Invest in Stocks at All-Time Highs?
Unfortunately, the difficulty in these decisions lies in not knowing the future. You could avoid buying near all-time highs and the market doesn’t have a major crash for a decade. On the other hand, you could buy when markets are 20% off their highs only to see them go 30% off their highs (or more) in the future.
Investing your life savings into 100% stocks at an all-time high isn’t the scary part, investing your life savings into 100% stocks is. If more people actually understood this (and what their actual risk tolerance was), then they would be more open to investing now, but in a lower risk portfolio.
From the same article, another guru to avoid ok?
Remember last Friday I posted about that pastor who said God told him to start a crypto thing, moron followers sent him money and you know what happened next. Finally: Judge orders Colorado crypto pastor’s bank accounts frozen. The scammer even posted a video online admitting he stole the money…because God told him to lol. I feel for the people who were separated with their money. But I can’t stop myself from shaking my head:
“The red flags were their expenses for personal purposes,” Ioana Dobra, a fraud investigator with the Colorado Division of Securities, said of an audit of the Regalados’ bank accounts. “Jewelry purchases, vacations, airline tickets, clothing, and home remodeling.”…At least $1.3 million of that went directly to the Regalados, who spent it on a Range Rover, jewelry, luxury handbags, cosmetic dentistry, home renovations and an au pair, according to a lawsuit the Division of Securities filed Jan. 16.
“I said, ‘Lord, I don’t want to do this, I don’t know how to do this, I don’t have experience in this industry, I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t want to be caught up in something,’” he said. “One of two things have happened: Either I misunderstood God and every one of you who prayed and came in (did) as well, or God is still not done with this project.” In the video, which was played in Goldberg’s courtroom Monday afternoon, Regalado urged his followers not to blame the Colorado Division of Securities for suing him. “If you think about it, we sold a cryptocurrency with no clear exit. We did. We took God at his word and sold a cryptocurrency with no clear exit,” he said. “So, the prosecutors have to take that and say, ‘These people willingly sold a cryptocurrency with no clear exit.’ Now, we’re going to go to court, we’re going to argue our case, we’re going to say, ‘Here’s why we did it.’” “God is not done with this project. God is not done with INDXcoin,” the pastor told parishioners. “Join us, believe, and receive everything that God has said about this project.”
Another follow up. Remember the Hyperverse scam, the one where they hired an actor to pretend to be the new CEO? Anyway, the law is knocking on their doors finally, lock them up! “Bitcoin Beautee” is pleading guilty to her role in a $2 billion crypto Ponzi scheme.
Here is the January 2024 Ponzi Scheme Roundup. And it is dominated by crypto of course. Dear readers, NEVER fall for this crap, investments are inherently risky and no one can guarantee/promise you a specific return. Also, run if your return is dependent upon referring others too.
…promised investors a 100% return on their investments
…promised returns of 10% every 30 business days
Investors were promised profits from purchasing BTC Packages or by earning commissions from referring others to purchase investment packages
The scheme involved a non-existent bitcoin mining-based investment company and promised daily rewards of .5% to 1%. [This is the Hyperverse scam mentioned above]
…had an exclusive investing and lending platform that generated up to 50% returns per month
…promised guaranteed returns from cryptocurrency trading and mining
…promised returns of between 10% and 30%
…promises that he could generate returns of up to 20%
He told his clients that he was investing in algorithms and high-performing companies. [I guess these algorithms were inferior and the companies were not that high-performing to save this dude from getting 8 years in prison]
…investors were promised 120% per year
…promised returns of up to 50% from his crypto bank
…promised returns of one and a half times within 40 days
I was expecting better results to come out of the Ukrainian counter offensive last year. I was wrong along with many others. How Russia Stopped Ukraine’s Momentum. We all found out that A Deep Defense Is Hard to Beat.
What if the western aid to Ukraine was granted earlier and given the weapons they were asking for? Well, it could have been different, we’ll never know. Finally, the Europeans came together: EU agrees $54 Billion in new aid for Ukraine as Hungary falls in line.
“The message is clear: Russia can’t count on any fatigue from the Europeans in their support to Ukraine,” said French President Emmanuel Macron.
If only the US dysfunctional Congress got its shit together and decided to send another loud clear message…
ODDZ & ENDZ
So depressing to read this: Fentanyl, The Portrait of a a Mass Murderer. And seeing all the people on fentanyl in their own world. My God, what a waste.
I suffer from intense curiosity syndrome ICS, I just made that up by the way, please laugh. I had never heard of these things! Why Tardigrades Are So Badass: 7 Secrets of the Only Animal That Can Survive in Space. All hail the toughest organism on (and beyond) Earth: the weird and wonderful water bear.
That diagram and the tables in this post are very educational. Why Legal Immigration Is Impossible for Nearly Everyone. I am so glad I became a US citizen right before 911.
For the Valentine’s Day genes in you: The Most Romantic Weekend Getaway in Every State.
This is a behemoth wow! World’s largest cruise ship, “Icon of the Seas,” which includes the largest swimming pool at sea and an “Ultimate Family Townhouse” costing $100,000 per week, sets sail on its first voyage.
Amazing photography: Driving in the desert: Surreal images from the Dakar Rally.
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
For my aviation geek readers, this is for you: Nuuk Airport on YouTube live camera. From the capital of Greenland. Whenever I complain about too much snow, I hop on here and I immediately feel better lol.
Ok, one more for the aviation geeks, maybe I should add a separate section? The Missing Piece of the D.B. Cooper Story.
In recent years, I wonder, how many more weather phenomena will we learn? What’s an atmospheric river? A pineapple express? AP explains the weather phenomenon. Personally, I am still traumatized experiencing Polar Vortex some years ago! Anyway, it is February and another pretty mild winter in Michigan. Spring is coming! Oh, speaking of Pineapple Express the movie, it was hilarious.
If you ever get a music recommendation from me here, you can be assured it will be something you never heard of. Discovering new music has been a passion of mine. Not as strong as it was when I was younger, but still. I discovered this new artist after reading about him in my Greek hometown Larissa press online. He moved to Los Angeles and is doing some innovative stuff, I really enjoy this one:
This weekend I am about to start efiling client tax returns, the race is on! I still get a rush doing this for thirty years, wow!
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 separating this Section this way:
I think this is a great idea and I will wait to see its execution first: Hilton to Enable Guest Requests by Text at All Hotels.
Register for the latest lame Marriott Bonvoy promotion HERE.
5,000 points per stay is definitely not a lame promotion. But it is being offered by Best Western Rewards. Do NOT go out of your way for this okay? But if your employer sends you out on business to somewhere where the hotel establishments are not that strong, well, go for it. You can register for this promotion HERE.
I agree with this post: It is not a travel rewards credit card, surprise! It is the Charles Schwab Debit Card you get from opening a checking account. I always leave some cash in there and whenever I need cash I get it from an ATM using this debit card. I get ALL ATM fees reimbursed. And it comes especially handy when I am traveling abroad because it gets fantastic exchange rates too. The linked post has more details.
Every blogger just loves to pump how you can get free travel in this hobby. Which is a load of BS. Nothing is free. And when it comes to tax time Uncle Sam awaits for you to pay your share of taxes. It means when it comes tax time…banks send out 1099 tax forms. And it appears more banks are doing this for all kinds of “rewards”. So, here is a collection of posts:
My wife has received a Chase 1099 for four Chase Ink card referrals. I think me and my daughter may have one coming as well. I don’t understand why these are not posted online, they are always a surprise! I did get a 1099 from Amex for that 60k Membership Rewards business checking account as well, which was expected. Update: My wife received another 1099 from Chase for the bigly amount of $10, wtf! So, I guess we are in the mercy of the US Post Office to deliver these 1099s to us. Imagine if some are lost and you get that nasty IRS letter telling you “hey buddy, you missed something, here is the tax plus interest”. Come on Chase, post these online and don’t take so long to mail them out too. I think I bitch about this every year, good luck to us all.
These deals have been dwindling in the past several years the more these
blogs online businesses write about them and pushing their credit card affiliate links: 9 of the Best Deals in the World of Points and Miles.
AMEX has been on a tear increasing the annual fees on its credit cards. And adding annoying coupon like credits that ensure breakage. Along with taking away benefits. So, suddenly, Amex comes out with a bunch of changes on its Delta personal and business Gold, Platinum and Reserve cards. And they are awful across the board: It’s True, Amex and Delta Just Coupon Book’d You. Here are the annual fee increases, barf.
- Amex Delta Gold – From $99 to $150
- American Express Delta Platinum – From $250 – $350
- Amex Delta Reserve – From $550 to $650
- Amex Delta Gold Business – From $99 to $150
- American Express Delta Platinum Business – From $250 – $350
- Amex Delta Reserve Business – From $550 to $650
The credits that were added are a bunch of crap. The enhanced earning structures went from awful to very bad. So, I tweeted this:
If you are reading a blog that says Delta credit cards are great and you gotta have one, RUN AWAY the opposite direction. They don’t have your best interest in mind, they are just selling plastic products for the banks for the fat sales commission. WAKE UP!
So, with so many other travel rewards credit cards with excellent signup bonuses, why you would go for these Delta cards? Yes, they have higher signup bonuses and I guess you could consider them if you are totally invested in the Delta sphere, have a “spending plan” to Skymiles Gold elite status and/or you know what you are doing and fully invested in getting as many miles as you can and maybe you do find good value in some Delta redemptions (Flash sales?). So, you have been warned. If you decide they are for you, please consider getting them with MY LINKS to support this one man blog, thank you!
Best credit card offers remain the same, see below:
The Signup Bonus for the two no annual fee Chase Ink business cards is down to 75,000 points. It is shocking the 90k Signup Bonus that just expired lasted so long. The 75,000 point Signup Bonus is still excellent. I think I am going to keep them both in my Top Three Travel Rewards Credit Card Offers, see below. Referral Link.
The TOP offer NOW is the 75k Capital One Venture X card. It is amazing what you get for free with this card actually. And knowing the stingy history of Capital One bank it amazes me this offer is still alive.
Always check my TOP THREE TRAVEL REWARDS CREDIT CARD OFFERS RIGHT NOW below. Available HERE.
I was thinking to plan a trip to Machu Picchu later this year with my wife. But I am reconsidering for several reasons. A local friend who is from Peru told us it is not that safe these days. Also, you get things like this that could really mess the trip up big time: Machu Picchu Access Blocked as Locals Protest New Ticketing Policy. And was looking to get the new Chase Marriott Boundless card that is offering free five night certs to stay in the most convenient hotel, the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco. And then I read above that Chase is sending 1099s for them free five nights certs, can someone confirm this? Maybe we put this travel target off another year or two hoping the same card offer returns.
Off by two days, the latest Chase Ink 100k points will appear here in the next blog post. I need to burn and I ain’t got time for dat #firstworldproblems.
Chuck over at Doctor Of Credit gives us an update now that he is back applying for travel rewards credit cards. And he has a great tip imho:
One thing I’ve done which might help with getting automatic business approvals is trying to have all the information mirror that of previous applications so they bank’s system finds it familiar. With each application, I try marking down the exact details on how I signed up (business address, business industry, phone, etc) to try keeping things consistent.
I remember the good old days visiting Walmart establishments. And then the scammers took over, yikes. How Walmart’s Financial Services Became a Fraud Magnet. Scammers have duped consumers out of more than $1 billion by exploiting Walmart’s lax security. The company has resisted taking responsibility while breaking promises to regulators and skimping on training.
Good post on the subject: How To Avoid Phantom Award Availability.
Amex promised that it will “refresh” 40 cards. And if there is any indication from the just announced Delta card changes, brace for impact, sad lol.
It will be interesting to see what happens: American Airlines is sued for seizing cardholders’ frequent flier miles. What I found interesting was how their miles were almost equal, hmmm.
Ari Nachison said he lost 564,463 miles, while Shanna Nachison said she lost 550,664 miles.
Wait, there is more here on this lawsuit: Couple Files Class Action Lawsuit Against American Airlines For Terminating Their AAdvantage Accounts With 1 Million Miles. Yes, it involved them Citi mailers. #Developing.
MILES & POINTS
HOT CREDIT CARD OFFERS: 75k CHASE Ink Business Cash, 75k CHASE Ink Business Unlimited, 75k CAPITAL ONE Venture X, (up to) 300k 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 One Rewards Premier, 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 27,829 miles/points year to date (1,148,286 in 2023) and have 4,479,897 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
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!
The Chase Ink Business Cash and Chase Ink Business Unlimited card offers are back down to a 75,000 Signup Bonus! 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 still the BEST business travel rewards cards out there right now! The 75k 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).
Remember, you are NOT allowed to ever carry a credit card balance if you ever get a credit card here!
Let me leave you with this:
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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.