Citi American Airlines AAdvantage MasterCard Review – 50,000 Mile Limited-Time Bonus

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard Art

Limited-time bonus. The Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard®, from our partner Citi, has increased their sign-up bonus with a limited-time offer. Here are the updated card highlights:

  • For a limited time, earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
  • Enjoy Group 1 Boarding on American Airlines flights*
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases.
  • Receive 25% savings on in-flight food and beverage purchases when you use your card on American Airlines flights*
  • Double AAdvantage® miles on eligible American Airlines purchases*
  • Earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back – up to 10,000 AAdvantage® miles each calendar year*
  • Annual fee is $95, waived for the first 12 months.

Note the following fine print:

OFFER AVAILABILITY
American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles are not available if you have had any Citi® / AAdvantage® card (other than a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® card) opened or closed in the past 24 months.

To clarify, you can have one of both the consumer version of this card and the CitiBusiness business version under your name. The bonuses are also separate. You can get one consumer bonus every 24 months, and you can also get one business bonus every 24 months.

This card also makes you eligible for Reduced Mileage Awards, where you save up to 7,500 miles on roundtrip MileSAAver® awards to select destinations on American Airlines operated flights. Combine this with the 10% rebate on redeemed AAdvantage miles, and you can stretch your miles a lot further.

Bottom-line. This limited-time offer is a 20,000 miles increase from the previous 30,000 mile offer. The annual fee is also waived during the first year. Since you can only get one of these bonuses once every 24 months, it it is best to wait for such a bumped-up bonus. As with most of these co-branded cards, a lot of the potential value comes when you fly on American and use the free first checked bag benefit ($50 per person, roundtrip) and also when you redeem miles.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite MasterCard® application page

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.”

CitiBusiness American Airlines AAdvantage MasterCard Review – 50,000 Mile Limited-Time Bonus

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Limited-time bonus. The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®, from our partner Citi, has increased their sign-up bonus with a limited-time offer. Here are the updated card highlights:

  • Please note this a business card, designed specifically for businesses. Click here for the consumer version.
  • For a limited time, earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation*
  • Enjoy Group 1 Boarding on American Airlines domestic flights*
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases.
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines® purchases*
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications, car rental merchants and at gas stations*
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases.*
  • Annual fee is $95, waived for the first 12 months.
  • Earn AAdvantage® miles on Employee Purchases. Receive employee cards at no additional cost and get closer to your next adventure with every transaction.

Note the following fine print:

Card Offer: This card is not available if the business already has a CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® card. Bonus miles are not available if you have had any CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® card opened or closed in the past 24 months.

To clarify, you can have one of both the consumer version of this card and this business version under your name. The bonuses are also separate. You can get one consumer bonus every 24 months, and you can also get one business bonus every 24 months.

There are some small differences between this and the consumer version of this card. This business card offers 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent on purchases at telecommunications, car rental merchants and at gas stations. The consumer version does not. I also do not see any mention of the ability to earn 10% of your redeemed AAdvantage® miles back on this business card.

However, this business card does make you eligible for Reduced Mileage Awards, where you save up to 7,500 miles on roundtrip MileSAAver® awards to select destinations on American Airlines operated flights.

Business card eligibility. Many people aren’t aware that they can apply for business credit cards, even if they are not a corporation or LLC. Any individual can be a small business. Perhaps you sell items on eBay, Craiglist, or Etsy. Maybe you do some graphic design, web design, freelancing and/or consulting. If you received a 1099-MISC tax form and filled out a Schedule C, that means you have business income, you pay self-employment taxes, and you’re a sole proprietorship. This is the simplest business entity, but it is fully legit and recognized by the IRS. On a business credit card application, you should use your own legal name as the business name, and your Social Security Number as the Tax ID.

Bottom-line. The limited-time offer for this business card includes a higher 50,000 mile bonus and the annual fee is also waived during the first year. Since you can only get one of these bonuses once every 24 months, it it is best to wait for such a bumped-up bonus. As with most of these co-branded cards, a lot of the potential value comes when you fly on American and use the free first checked bag benefit ($50 per person, roundtrip) and also when you redeem miles.

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.”

ThanksAgain: 200 Bonus Points Promo Link, Keep Multiple Miles Accounts From Expiring

ta_app0Updated with another 100 point link. ThanksAgain is a smartphone app for frequent travelers that gives you points for buying things inside of airports. You link up your credit card number and then automatically earn miles at participating merchants when you shop at them. You don’t need to remember to show membership cards, etc.

Through this Hilton Honors-branded link, scroll down to the bottom and see that you can get 100 Hilton Honors points if you sign up before 12/31/16.

Sign up and earn 100 bonus points just for enrolling! (Enrollment bonus is valid through 12/31/16).

Added: Reader KP comments that after you sign up you should visit this link for a 1-question survey that will land you another 100 points. Easy-peasy.

To be more specific, you get 100 ThanksAgain points, which can be converted to a variety of frequent flier mile and/or hotel loyalty points programs. Here is the list along with conversion ratios. The neat feature is that you can convert as little as 10 points, meaning you can create “partner activity” on a variety of programs and potentially keep your points from otherwise expiring.

  • Aeromexico Club Premier® x 0.5 pts
  • Alaska Mileage Plan™ x 0.5 pts
  • American AAdvantage®x 0.5 pts
  • Fiesta Rewards® x 1.0 pts
  • Frontier EarlyReturns® x 0.5 pts
  • Hilton HHonors® x 1.0 pts
  • JetBlue TrueBlue® x 0.5 pts
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® x 0.5 pts
  • United MileagePlus® x 0.5 pts

In other words, your 100 ThanksAgain points can be converted to 5 Alaska Mileage Plan miles, 5 American AAdvantage miles, 10 Hilton points, 5 JetBlue points, 5 Southwest RR points, 5 United miles, and so on. Alternatively, you could save your points for later and as long as this feature remains (it might not), keep doling them out over time to keep your accounts active.

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There is a prompt for a promo code on the sign-up form, but a promo code is not required for these 100 points. I just signed up using the “Register” link on the top right corner of the page, and immediately after signing up and logging in for the first time, I saw my free 100 bonus points:

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I then promptly linked up my (almost inactive) Alaska Airlines account and transferred over 10 points = 5 Alaska Air miles. According to the website, they should arrive in 7 days. Easy.

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Overall, signing up for ThanksAgain and linking up a credit card appears to be no-lose proposition. It’s free. You don’t need to change any of your spending habits. If you do end up buying an overpriced Burger King Whopper while catching a flight, you’ll automatically get a few points that can delay the expiration of your frequent flier miles. The hardest part for me will be that I keep using different credit cards all the time.

How To Stop Mailed Paper Catalogs and Other Junk Mail

surlacatAs a follow-up to how to stop balance transfer checks, here’s all I know about stopping unwanted paper catalogs. Direct mail catalogs are like weeds. You unsubscribe from a bunch of them, but then later you buy someone a cast iron skillet and then – poof! – you get Sur La Table catalogs. I don’t need three different kitchen tools to remove strawberry stems, trim brussels sprouts, or cut grapes in half. I have a paring knife and opposable thumbs!

Unfortunately, there is no standardized way to unsubscribe from all or specific catalogs. Here’s what is available:

Catalog Choice. This appears to be the most up-to-date and thorough website, although you’ll have to do most of the work. Run as a non-profit that is unaffiliated with the direct marketing industry, CatalogChoice.org serves as a database that helps guide you on how to manually unsubscribe from various catalogs. They used to offer something call the Mail Stop Envelope that let you mail them the address labels from your unwanted catalogs, but they discontinued the service. They also used to have an app called Mail Stop Mobile, but that is also gone. Sigh.

National Do Not Mail List. You can add your mailing address to the National Do Not Mail List run by DirectMail.com here.

We can use our vast direct marketing expertise to get your name off of those lists. As direct marketers ourselves, we know that mail-order companies don’t want to waste their money sending mail to people who don’t want to receive it.

DMAChoice.org. This is the big one. According to their website, “DMAChoice.org is an online tool developed by the Direct Marketing Association to help you manage your mail.” However, the Consumerist warns us that Direct Marketing Association’s Opt Out Website Is A Joke and may not fulfill its promises. While writing this post, their website didn’t even load half the time. It’s still worth a shot.

Other Direct Mail lists. Other direct mail lists that you can opt out of include ValPak and RedPlum Mail.

Phone books / Yellow Pages. You can opt out at both Dex Media and YellowPagesOptout.com to finally end delivery of those huge phone books.

Paper Karma app. I discovered Paper Karma a couple years ago, but I never could really tell if it worked or not since it takes months for catalogs to actually stop coming. The app store reviews indicate hit or miss success as well. Recently, I received reports that new users were being asked to pay $20 per year. That’s too bad as the fact that you just take a smartphone picture of the address label makes it so appealing. I just snapped another address label picture using their app (December 2016) and it went through without asking me to pay, but perhaps I am in some sort of grandfathered free account (or they give out a certain number of freebies?). If you can get it to work for free, this may also be worth the effort.

Amazon $5 off $15 of Print Books Coupon

amazonbook5Amazon has a new promotional code GIFTBOOK that gets you $5 off any books purchase of $15 or more. Must be print books (can be multiple), shipped and sold by Amazon. Offer expires Sunday night at December 4, 2016 at 11:59 PM Pacific. Here are four recent books on my to-read list that you may consider as gifts or for yourself (I bought one of these with this coupon):

Here are (again) my recommended books about early retirement and financial freedom:

Here are all my book reviews in reverse-chronological order.

Finally, I’m just going to slip this in here because it’s probably not worth a separate post… This 3-pack of Amazon Anytime Gift Cards are currently on sale for $3. There is also a promotion on the page where you get $2 promo credit for each Anytime Gift Card activated for $10 or more. So buy the 3-pack, activate all three for $10 each, and get $6 in promo credits. You’ve now spent $33 and gotten $36 in Amazon credit.

Target 10% Off Gift Cards on Sunday, December 4th, 2016

targetgcTarget is planning to offer 10% off Target Gift Cards on Sunday, December 4th. This was announced in a Target press release.

Popular promotions from 2015 will return, including 10 Days of Deals, which will feature a distinct offer each day for 10 days. Target also will extend its free shipping promotion by a full week this year, waiving the shipping fee for all digital orders from Oct. 25 through Jan. 1, 2017. Cartwheel, Target’s digital savings app, is bringing back popular holiday deals, including 50 percent off one toy per day between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24, and on Dec. 4, guests will save 10 percent on Target GiftCards. Guests also will save with free returns and an extended Price Match Guarantee, which enables them to price match any purchase made Nov. 1 through Dec. 24, excluding Thanksgiving through Cyber Week.

Update: Additional details posted at Target Corporate.

  • Valid at Target stores from open to close 12/4, or log on to Target.com to buy Target GiftCards from midnight PT Dec. 4 to 11:59 PT Dec. 4.
  • Target GiftCards purchased on Sunday, December 4th may be redeemed beginning Monday, December 5th at 10am CT.
  • Each household can buy up to $300 worth at the discount price (for $30 in savings). Limit One transaction up to $300 on Target.com. Quantities are limited (sorry, no rainchecks).

Offer excludes Target Visa® Gift Cards, Target MasterCard® Gift Cards, Target American Express® Gift Cards, gift cards issued by other merchants, reloads of previously purchased Target GiftCards, Target GiftCards given in exchange for electronic or prepaid trade-ins, Target GiftCards provided for merchandise returns and Target GiftCards provided as free promotional card with qualifying purchase.

Free Limited-Edition Gund Teddy Bear with $100 Amazon Gift Card

gundEach year, Amazon teams up with Gund to create a limited-edition teddy bear. Gund is known for their stuffed animals and they do everything from Elmo to Curious George to Boo the Dog.

Amazon Prime customers can now get a free 10″ 2016 Gund Teddy Bear with the purchase of $100 Amazon gift card. It’s a nice little bonus that you can either give them together or just keep the gift card and give the teddy bear to a child. If it goes out of stock now, it is also available in $150, $200, and $250 gift cards. You can also check back later as they usually come back in stock a few times. However they do eventually sell out every year.

The 14″ version of the 2016 Gund Teddy Bear costs $15 to $20 all by itself.

DirecTV Now Review + Free Apple TV or Fire TV Stick Promotions

dtvnow0Attention cord-cutters! DirecTV has gone live with their new streaming TV service called DirecTV Now. This join existing competitors Sling TV and Playstation VUE. Here’a an image that breaks down the $35/$50/$60/$70 per month tiers (click to enlarge). HBO and Cinemax can be added on for $5 a month each. Below are a list of current promotions as well as brief pros and cons.

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Current Promotions.

  • Free 7-day trial for everyone. Credit card is required, they will auto-bill you at the end of the 7 days.
  • “Go Big” Package is $35 a month for a limited time. Regular price is $60 a month. Here is their exact wording on future pricing: “Customers who sign up for this offer will continue to enjoy this special price for as long as you keep the package, subject only to future reasonable programming price increases applicable to all packages.”
  • Free 4th-gen Apple TV ($149 retail) with 3 months pre-paid of any DIRECTV NOW package. You’d basically be paying $105 for 3 months of service and an Apple TV.
  • Free Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa ($40 retail) with 1 month pre-paid of any DIRECTV NOW package.

Pros.

  • Competitive price, more niche channels. The channel line-up does differ from Sling and VUE – check this CNET table for a specific network. DirecTV in general includes more niche channels in its packages.
  • Simplicity. No installation fees, satellite dishes, annual contracts or credit checks required.
  • Cancel anytime. You can cancel or pause your subscription online without calling in.
  • AT&T Wireless customers get free app streaming that won’t use up mobile data limits. This is a handy feature if you have AT&T service already, but such favorable treatment is not good for net neutrality.

Cons.

  • Limited local network broadcasts. Depending on where you live, you may not get live local network broadcasts from ABC, FOX, or NBC. However, you can see some network shows on demand the next day. CBS is not included anywhere.
  • No DVR capabilities. You can’t pause live TV or record anything. DVR features are supposed to arrive “sometime in 2017”. To mitigate this, DirecTV has added in video on demand from many networks after a 72-hour delay. In other words, you can still watch a bunch of shows later on at your convenience, but not everything.
  • Sling TV has a basic $20 a month level. Sling TV’s lowest tier includes 30 of the more popular cable networks (ESPN, CNN, TNT, TBS, Food Network, etc) but is only $20 a month. The lowest tier for DirecTV Now is $35 a month.
  • DirecTV Now limits you to two simultaneous streams on different devices (ex. TV + iPad). Sling and Playstation limit you to three simultaneous streams. This may or may not affect you.

Compatibility. Works with the following for now. Notably, Roku boxes and Samsung Smart TVs are not yet compatible.

  • Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
  • Android mobile devices and tablets
  • iPhone, iPad and Apple TV
  • Chromecast (Android at launch; iOS in 2017)
  • Google Cast-enabled LeEco ecotvs and VIZIO SmartCast Displays
  • Internet Explorer, Chrome and Safari web browsers

Commentary. A little preview of the future. DirecTV differentiates itself with volume, offering more channels than streaming competitors. The current promotions basically get you a free streaming unit from either Apple or Amazon. The free data allotment for AT&T customers is unique and ideal for those who watch TV away from WiFi. (AT&T now owns DirecTV.) If I’m going to cut the cord, $35 a month is probably close to the max I’d pay for live content given I’m likely also paying for NetFlix. Personally, the lack of DVR capabilities continues to be a deal-breaker for me.

Starbucks App: Load $10 with Visa Checkout, Get $10 Bonus

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Promotion back again starting 11/29. A recent study found that free pizza was a better motivator than cash. How about some free coffee?

Starbucks is again offering a free $10 bonus Starbucks eGift card if you use the Starbucks smartphone app to load a minimum $10 onto your Starbucks Card using Visa Checkout as your payment method. Details:

Download the Starbucks® app and create a Starbucks Rewards™ account.
Existing Starbucks® app users: Simply go to the “Pay” section of the app to get started.
Reload $10+ in the Starbucks® app with Visa Checkout (sign in/sign up link below).
Receive your $10 Starbucks® eGift within 1 day courtesy of Visa Checkout.

Valid between 11/29/16 and 12/22/16, or while supplies last. Usually if they run out of free codes, they will take down the offer page. However, if you’re interested I’d take advantage of this offer as soon as possible.

Qualifying customers will see the $10 Bonus Load in the form of an emailed Starbucks eGift card within 24 hours. (Update: I got my $10 bonus within 8 hours.) You will not see any mention on your initial $10 load receipt. You can check which Visa card is linked to your Visa Checkout by going through the “Add card with Visa Checkout” button.

Target 15% Off Everything 11/27 and 11/28, Online & In-Store

targetcyberTarget is offering a flat 15% off your entire purchase on Sunday 11/27 and Monday 11/28, both online at Target.com and in-store. This is a nice and easy way to save some money on your everyday shopping at Target, and it stacks with the 5% off with Target REDCard.

Alternatively, you can try to buy something specific that rarely goes on sale otherwise. Examples of eligible items include Apple iPads, Apple Watch, Beats headphones, and Kitchenaid appliances. There restrictions include no gift cards and no prepaid phone cards (though you can get 10% off select phone cards as part of a separate ongoing sale):

*Offer excludes all gift cards, prepaid cards (airtime, entertainment, iTunes, and online gaming), Beauty Advent Calendar, Elf on the Shelf, LEGO, Cards Against Humanity, Joking Hazard game, Vitamix, Simple Human, Weber, DSLR cameras and lenses, LG TVs, Samsung TVs, Google products, Bose, Sonos, GoPro, alcohol, dairy milk, Tylenol, CVS pharmacy, clinic, Target Optical, and Portrait Studio. Target.com orders also exclude Traeger and Company Store purchases.

Finally, if you shop online, you can use a cashback shopping portal. Many offer new customers bonuses, including eBates ($10 bonus), TopCashBack ($10 bonus, you see it after entering e-mail), and BeFrugal ($10 bonus). I have cashed out of all of these before.

Amazon Black Friday Weekend Deals: $10 off $25 of Books Coupon, Special Prices on Echo, Fire Tablets, Fire TV

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Amazon has started their Black Friday Weekend deals. They are offering $10 off $25+ in book purchases with promo code HOLIDAYBOOK. Here are some recommendations for those looking to give or receive some financial inspiration:

Here are all my book reviews in reverse-chronological order.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Fire Tablets

Amazon Fire TV

T-Mobile Black Friday: Free Apple iPhone 7 with Trade-In and $200 Per Line Switched

Here are the details of T-Mobile’s Black Friday deals. Three separately available offers:

  • Free Apple iPhone 7 32GB, or Samsung Galaxy S7 32GB, or LG V20 64GB with trade-in. Free when you trade in a qualifying device with T-Mobile ONE or Simple Choice Unlimited, after 24 monthly bill credits. This deal is available until Sun., Nov. 27 at 11:59pm PT. Details on Apple iPhone 7 qualified trade-in devices here.
  • Get $200 for every line you switch to T-Mobile (up to $2400) with trade-in. For a limited time, when you switch a number to T-Mobile with T-Mobile ONE, we’ll give you $200 per line to spend however you want on a prepaid Mastercard. Valid 11/24-12/31/16.
  • Free hour of In-Flight Wi-Fi for Everyone – even AT&T, Verizon & Sprint Customers. Starting today through Sat., Nov. 26, the Un-carrier is giving everyone a free hour of Wi-Fi for their smartphone on Gogo-equipped domestic flights. Now, everyone can enjoy one of the perks T-Mobile customers already enjoy during one of the busiest travel weeks of the year.

If you prefer to set up your service with T-Mobile over the phone, you can call 855-407-3034 and ask for this offer.

Supposedly, Verizon Wireless will be matching these deals as well. It should be shown on this Verizon Wireless Black Friday deals page.