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Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers – August 2020 (Updated)

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Updated. I’m still collecting points and miles and maximizing the value of my credit card spending. Things are more quiet as credit card issuers get conservative, but that just means picking up some bonuses that I passed over previously.

That space in your wallet or purse is still valuable, and you should be the one to get that value. Selected banks are offering strong perks and $500+ value for a single card during the first year to encourage you to apply and try it out. These are the top 10 credit card offers that I would personally apply for right now, if I didn’t already have most of them. Notable recent changes:

  • Added Southwest, United, Marriott, US Bank Altitude
  • Added COVID Sapphire benefits.
  • Removed IHG, NavyFed.

If you pay off your balances every month, then you can join me and many others in funding a huge chunk of your annual travel budget with cash credits, points, and miles. You don’t need to be a “I only fly business class” world traveler. I mostly use my rewards points on domestic economy flights, mid-range hotels, and cheap car rentals. If you have credit card debt, you should focus on paying that off first as the interest charges could offset most of the perks.

This is a companion post to my Top 10 Best Business Card Offers. Small business bonuses are on average even higher than those on consumer cards.

Note: Certain Chase cards have a “5/24 rule” which is an unofficial rule that they will automatically deny approval on new credit cards if you have 5 or more new credit cards from any issuer on your credit report within the past 2 years. This rule applies on a per-person basis, so if you are new, you might want to start with those Chase cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $750 towards travel) after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Short-term COVID-related benefits.
  • 2X points on Travel and Dining at restaurants worldwide.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.
  • Alternative: Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. 3X on Travel and Dining, Priority Pass airport lounge access, $550 annual fee, $300 annual travel credit, 1-year Lyft Pink membership.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card

  • 65,000 Rapid Rewards points. Earn 65,000 points after $2,000 in purchases in first 3 months.
  • Southwest still gives everyone two free checked bags.
  • More than halfway to Companion Pass. If you can sign up for this one and also the small business version, you can qualify for a Companion Pass in 2020/2021.
  • $69 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Chase United Explorer Card

  • 60,000 bonus United miles. 60,000 miles after $3,000 in purchases within 3 months. Limited-time offer. See link for details.
  • Free first checked bag for both you and a companion (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip) when you use your Card to purchase your United ticket.
  • Expanded award availability. Having this card makes it easier to find that saver award economy ticket.
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Gold Delta Skymiles Card from American Express

  • Bonus varies. Enter your Delta Skymiles number and last name to see if you are targeted for a special offer.
  • 50,000 Skymiles are worth at least $500 in Delta airfare with “Pay with Miles” option.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights ($60 value per roundtrip, per person). Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Mastercard

  • 60,000 American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights ($60 value per roundtrip, per person).
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $99.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

  • 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Limited-time offer. See link for details.
  • Free Night after each account anniversary year (valued up to 35,000 Marriott points).
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

JetBlue Plus Card

  • 60,000 TrueBlue points after $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days. Limited-time offer. See link for details.
  • Free first checked bag for you and up to 3 companions when you use your JetBlue Plus Card.
  • $99 annual fee.

Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard

  • 60,000 American Airlines miles after any purchase in the first 90 days and paying the $99 annual fee. See link for details.
  • $99 Companion certificate offer. Earn a certificate good for 1 guest at $99 (plus taxes and fees) after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in the first 90 days.
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights ($60 value per roundtrip, per person).
  • $99 annual fee.

Citi Premier Card

  • 60,000 points (worth $750 towards travel booked at ThankYou.com) after $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 3X points for every $1 spent on travel including gas stations.
  • Must not have gotten bonus from or closed a Citi Rewards+, ThankYou Preferred, Premier, or Prestige card in the past 24 months.
  • $95 annual fee.

Bank of America Premium Rewards Card

  • 50,000 points (worth $500 towards travel) after $3,000 in purchases within the first 90 days. See link for details.
  • 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $100 annual Airline Incidental Statement Credit.
  • Up to $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee.
  • $95 annual fee.

Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard

  • 50,000 Hawaiian miles after $2,000 in purchases within 90 days. See link for details.
  • Free first checked bag for primary cardmember when using your card to purchase eligible tickets directly from Hawaiian Airlines.
  • Receive a one-time 50% off companion discount for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and The Mainland on Hawaiian Airlines.
  • $99 annual fee.

U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Credit Card

  • 50,000 bonus points ($750 value towards airfare) after $4,500 in purchases within 90 days. See link for details.
  • $325 in annual statement credits towards travel per Cardmember year (based on account opening date)
  • Up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • Priority Pass Select membership for airport lounge access.
  • $400 annual fee. (Bigger bonus, big annual fee.)

Chase World of Hyatt Card

  • Up to 50,000 Hyatt points. 25,000 Bonus Points after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. Plus an additional 25,000 Bonus Points after a total of $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. See link for details and rough valuation of points.
  • $95 annual fee, free night award upon card anniversary.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.



“The editorial content here is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. This email may contain links through which we are compensated when you click on or are approved for offers.”

Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers – August 2020 (Updated) from My Money Blog.


Copyright © 2019 MyMoneyBlog.com. All Rights Reserved. Do not re-syndicate without permission.



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Finance

Should You Have Life Insurance If You Don’t Have Children?

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The following is a sponsored partnership with Aflac. All opinions are 100% my own.

Lately, I have received many emails from readers about life insurance.

One of the most common questions I hear is, “Should I consider a life insurance policy before I have children?”

No matter your age, the necessity of life insurance can be a hard topic to consider. However, while the subject might be difficult to reflect on, it is also an insurance option that can benefit your loved ones significantly, regardless of whether you have started a family.

Whenever I am asked the above question, my answer is always the same. Regardless of your family situation, life insurance is still a product to consider.

However, I understand the hesitation — you might think there is no reason to take out a life insurance policy if you don’t have children. September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, so it is the perfect time to talk about Aflac life insurance and why you may want it!

 

What is life insurance?

Before we begin, you may be wondering what exactly life insurance is.

Life insurance is a policy that pays money to a beneficiary you designate in the event of death. Naturally, if you are the sole or primary wage earner in your family, then there are a lot of people who rely on you financially, meaning life insurance may be a necessity.

The cash benefits can be used to help pay for funeral costs, personal expenses, payment of debt and so on.

The primary reason to get life insurance is to help your loved ones or anyone who depends on you in the event of a sudden loss of income after a death.

This way, they still have help paying the bills and grieve without having to worry about their immediate source of money.

 

When do you need life insurance?

Life insurance is not only for individuals who are the primary income earners of their household. Even if you are young, single and have no children, life insurance can still help support your loved ones. For example, a life insurance policy can support your family if you have co-signed loans with your parents (such as student loans), taken out a loan to start a small business or if you are financially responsible for another family member.

If you have co-signers on your debt, you should consider getting life insurance.

If something were to happen to you, you don’t want your co-signer (your parents, partner, siblings, friend, etc.) to be responsible for paying off your personal debt unexpectedly.

I can’t help but think of an article I read about a young adult who did not have life insurance. They passed away suddenly, leaving behind their student loan debt to their parents who co-signed the loan. They were suddenly responsible for monthly student loan payments of around $2,000 and had to entirely restructure their finances as a result.

If you have a partner, it is also important to consider the benefits of life insurance. If you have credit card debt, student loans, or if your partner relies on your income for rent or mortgage payment, a life insurance plan can help relieve those you care about from unnecessary financial burden.

Perhaps most importantly to note, life insurance is often cheaper while one is younger. By enrolling in a life insurance policy before you have children, you can typically secure a policy with lower premiums than when you are older.

If you plan on getting life insurance anyway, enroll early to ensure a more affordable rate.

 

Where do I find life insurance?

One popular life insurance company to look into is Aflac.

Aflac is a Fortune 500 company that provides supplemental insurance, including life insurance, to more than 50 million people through its subsidiaries in Japan and the U.S., where it is a leading supplemental insurer, by paying cash fast to help with the expenses health insurance doesn’t cover.

For consumers who place a premium on corporate ethics, Aflac is also a socially responsible company. For 25 years, Aflac has contributed over $146 million to help children facing cancer and their families, including establishing the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center in Atlanta.* If this interests you, then you can go to ESG.Aflac.com to explore how Aflac is dedicated to being a good and decent company.

If you are interested in learning more about insurance options that are available to you, I recommend heading to Aflac’s life insurance calculator, which allows you to identify how much coverage you need. You can see a screenshot of some of the questions below. It only took me about two minutes to answer the questions, and it offered a holistic overview of my personal benefit options.

Once you’ve answered the questions, it is easy to request a life insurance quote.

According to a 2019 Insurance Barometer Study by LIMRA, a worldwide research, consulting and professional development trade association, consumers think that life insurance is more costly than what it actually is. The study asked people to guess how much a $250,000 term life insurance policy costs for a healthy 30-year-old.

More than 50% estimated that it would be over $500 per year.

However, that’s very far from the truth.

The average cost of a life insurance plan is actually only around $160 a year, or $13 a month.

If you are interested in opting into a life insurance plan, $13 a month may make it an easy choice.

There are a lot of reasons why you may want to apply for life insurance, but remember that it makes sense to take one out early and save money in the long term.

I’d love to hear from you. Do you have life insurance? Why or why not?

 

*Aflac company statistic, 2020.

This is a brief product overview only. Coverage may not be available in all states. Benefits/premium rates may vary based on plan selected. Optional riders may be available at an additional cost. The policy/rider has limitations and exclusions that may affect benefits payable. Refer to the specified policy/rider form(s) for complete details, benefits, limitations, and exclusions. For availability and costs, please contact your local Aflac agent

Coverage is underwritten by Aflac | WWHQ | 1932 Wynnton Road | Columbus, GA 31999 | In New York, coverage is underwritten by Aflac New York | 22 Corporate Woods Blvd, Suite 2 | Albany, NY 12211

Z200625 Exp. 9/21

The post Should You Have Life Insurance If You Don’t Have Children? appeared first on Making Sense Of Cents.



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Survey: Half of America Doesn’t Check Their Credit Score at All

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Credit scores aren’t just a tool to determine loan and mortgage eligibility. Monthly point differences could define whether you’re offered better interest rates or stay in the shadows of less than ideal credit-based products. And checking your credit score periodically could improve not only your chances at landing a great mortgage rate or personal loan, but improve your long term financial health. Yet, 51% of Americans never check their credit score, according to a new survey conducted by The Simple Dollar.

Survey results

  • We surveyed 879 American adults and found that over half say they never check their credit score.
  • 39.7% of respondents say they periodically check their credit score (once a month or so)
  • Credit checkers are rare in America, with only 8.6% of respondents saying they check their score more than once per month.

How often do you check your credit score?

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The benefits of knowing your credit score

There are several benefits of knowing your credit score, mainly if you use credit frequently in your financial life (personal loans, credit cards, etc).

Saves you time on loan shopping

If you search for “personal loans,” you’ll find a deluge of financial products and websites promoting themselves. It’s tough to know what you’re actually qualified for without knowing the nature of your current credit score. Are those advertised rates only for very qualified buyers? Are you one of those?

Helps you prevent frauds

A credit report is often the first place fraud victims notice unusual activity being conducted in their name. With data breaches on the rise, the average American has had their data stolen at least four times in the past year. This means keeping an eye on the accounts opened in your name is more important than ever.

Creates a course for the future

If you have a low credit score or no credit history, checking your credit score periodically is a great way to stay on course for the future. You can set goals for yourself and watch as specific actions you take affect the score. When the time comes to get that business loan or student loan, you’ll know where you’re at now and where you need to be to qualify.

Allows you to qualify for emergency or personal loans

Sometimes we don’t know what the future will hold for our financial lives. You may not think you’ll need a personal loan in an emergency, but if you do, you’ll want to make sure your credit is in good shape. There could be fraud or inaccuracies on your record that prevent you from obtaining that loan in an emergency. Knowing your credit score can help make sure you have access to those types of loans at any time. That being said, even if you have poor credit, you could still obtain a loan.

Possible reasons for not checking your credit score

We spoke to several office mates, friends and family members about how they check their credit score. Anecdotally, the 51% non-checkers number held up within our circles. When asked why they don’t check their credit scores, here were some of the answers:

  • “I don’t use credit cards or plan on taking on loans anytime soon.”
  • “I already know I have horrible credit.”
  • “Didn’t know it was that important”
  • “My spouse does that stuff.”

Survey methodology

We surveyed 879 Americans over the age of 24 (conducted Aug. 26-31, 2020). Respondent’s age, location and gender data was also collected at the time, but we found no statistically significant differences worth noting in our report. The survey was conducted in conjunction with Google Surveys.

We welcome your feedback on this article. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

Image credit: Pavel Bezkorovainyi / Getty Images

The post Survey: Half of America Doesn’t Check Their Credit Score at All appeared first on The Simple Dollar.



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How to prepare for a natural disaster

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My world is on fire.

As you may have heard, much of Oregon is burning right now. Thanks to a “once in a lifetime” combination of weather and climate variables — a long, dry summer leading to high temps and low humidity, then a freak windstorm from the east — much of the state turned to tinder earlier this week. And then the tinder ignited.

At this very moment, our neighborhood is cloaked in smoke.

I am sitting in my writing shed looking out at a beige veil clinging to the trees and nearby homes. The scent of the smoke is intense. My eyes are burning. After everything else that’s happened this year, this feels like yet one more step toward apocalypse. So crazy!

Fortunately, Kim and I (and the pets) are relatively safe. We’re worried, sure, but not too worried. Our lizard brains make us want to flee. (“Fight or flight” and all that.) But our rational brains know that unless a new fire starts somewhere nearby, we should be safe.

Here’s a current map of the fire situation in our county. (Click the image to open a larger version in a new window.)

The areas in red are under mandatory evacuation orders. (And the red dots are areas that have burned, I think. They added the dots to the map this morning.) Residents of areas shaded in yellow need to be prepped to leave at a moment’s notice. And the areas in green are simply on alert.

See that town called Molalla? That’s where my mother and one of my brothers live. My mother’s assisted-living facility was evacuated to a city twenty miles away. My brother and his family voluntarily moved from their home to our family’s box factory. But even that doesn’t feel 100% safe. (The box factory is located just to the left of that cluster of red dots at the top tip of the yellow area around Molalla.)

Kim and I live near the “e” in Wilsonville. We’re more than twenty miles from the nearest active fire. We should be safe. But, as a I say, we’re worried. So, I spent much of yesterday prepping for possible evacuation.

Update! As of Sunday afternoon (September 13th), things have calmed for us. The evacuation notice has been lifted for our area. The weather is changing. Rain is only a day or two away. So, we’re standing down. Now, having said that, there are still many people in our country who remain evacuated, and there are others who have lost their homes. (My brother’s town and home will probably emerge unscathed. Probably. For now, though, they’re still evacuated and living in an RV at the box factory.)

Natural Disasters

We Oregonians don’t have a protocol for emergency evacuations. It’s not something that really crosses our minds.

While the Pacific Northwest does have volcanoes, eruptions are rare enough that we never think about them. And yes, earthquakes happen. Eventually we’ll have “the Big One” that devastates the region, but again there’s no way to predict that and it’s not something we build our lives around. (Well, many people have been adding earthquake reinforcement to their homes, but that’s about it.)

In the past fifty or sixty years, the Portland area has experienced four other natural disasters.

Now, in 2020, we’re experiencing the worst wildfires the state has ever seen. That’s roughly one disaster every ten or fifteen years, and it’s the first one during my 51 years on Earth that’s made me think about the need for evacuation preparedness.

Kim and I have been asking ourselves lots of questions.

If we were to evacuate, where would we go? What route would we take? What would we carry with us? How would we prep our home to increase the odds that it would survive potential fire?

Let me share what we’ve decided and what we’ve learned. (And please, share what you know about emergency preparedness, won’t you?)

Evacuation Preparedness

The first thing we did was brainstorm a list of things that were important to us. Without reference to experts, what is it that we would want to do and/or take with us, if we were to evacuate.

  • Our animals (and animal supplies).
  • Phones, computers, and charging cords.
  • Important documents from our fire safe.
  • A bag for each of us containing clothes and toiletries.
  • Sleeping bags and pillows.
  • Sentimental items. (We have no “valuable”.)
  • Create a video tour of the house for insurance purposes (be sure to highlight valuable items).
  • Move combustible items away from the house.

After creating our own list, we consulted the experts.

In this case, we looked at websites for communities in California. California copes with wildfires constantly. (And, in fact, Kim’s brother and his family recently had to help evacuate their town due to wildfires!) For no particular reason, I chose to follow the guidelines put out by Marin County, California. I figured they know what they’re talking about!

The FIRESafe MARIN website has a bunch of great resources dedicated to wildfire planning and preparedness. I particularly like their evacuation checklist. While this form is wildfire specific, it could be easily adapted for other uses, such as hurricane preparedness or earthquake preparedness.

The ready.gov website is an excellent resource for disaster preparedness. It contains lots of info about prepping for problems of all sorts. You should check it out.

Creating a Go Kit

FIRESafe MARIN and other groups recommend putting together an emergency supply kit well in advance of possible problems. Each person should have her own Go Kit, and each should be stored in a backpack. (In our case, I have several cheap backpacks that I’ve purchased while traveling abroad. These are perfect for Go Kits.)

What should you keep in a Go Kit? It depends where you live, of course, and what sorts of disasters your area is susceptible to. But generally speaking, you might want your kits to contain:

  • A bandana and/or an N95 mask or respirator.
  • A change of clothing.
  • A flashlight or headlamp with spare batteries.
  • Extra car keys and some cash.
  • A map marked with evacuation routes and a designated meeting point.
  • Prescription medications.
  • A basic first aid kit.
  • Photocopies of important documents.
  • Digital backup of important files.
  • Pet supplies.
  • Water bottle and snacks.
  • Spare chargers for your electronic equipment.

That seems like a lot of stuff, but it’s not. These things should fit easily into a small pack. Each Go Kit should be stores somewhere easy to access. Kim and I don’t have Go Kits yet, but we’ll create them soon. We intend to store them in the front coat closet.

Writing this article reminds me of one of the first posts I shared after re-purchasing Get Rich Slowly. Almost three years ago, I wrote about how to get what you deserve when filing an insurance claim. This info from a former insurance employee is very helpful (and interesting).

Final Thoughts

I spent much of yesterday prepping for possible evacuation. This isn’t so much out of panic as it is out of trying to take sensible precautions. I gathered things and put them in the living room so that we can be ready to leave, if needed. If authorities were to upgrade us from level one to level two status, I’d move this stuff to my car.

Also as a precaution, I moved stuff away from the house and thoroughly watered the entire yard. (Not sure that’d make much difference, but hey, it can’t hurt.) I created a video tour of the house that highlights anything we have of value. And so on. This took most of the afternoon.

This morning, I can see that the neighbors are doing something similar. We’re all trying to exercise caution, I think.

Kim and I will almost surely be fine. Although the smoke is thick here at the moment — it’s like a brownish fog, and it’s even clouding my view of the neighbor’s house! — there aren’t any fires super close to us. And barring mistakes or stupidity, there won’t be any threat to our home.

Still, it’s good for us to take precautionary measures, both now and for the future. And it’s probably smart for you to take some small steps today in case disaster strikes tomorrow.

Here’s a terrific Reddit post about what one person wishes they’d known when evacuating for wildfire.



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