US Airways Premier World MasterCard: Limited-Time 40,000 Mile Bonus (Success!)

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Update: Successfully got my 40,000 bonus miles. Details following, as I certainly like knowing these things before applying for a card. Applied on 7/14. Approved on 7/21. First statement closed on 8/12, in which I charged $10 and also paid the $89 annual fee. I read some stories about other people making only a single purchase (the minimum technically required) but having to call in about the bonus. Thus, I put on another 4 small charges during the second statement period which ended 9/12 totaling about $49. My 40,000 bonus miles posted 9/13, one day after the closing of my second statement period. Here is a screenshot:

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The card is issued by Barclaycard, which means you also get a free FICO score every couple months.

Original post with review of card details below:

usaircardI think I’ve only flown US Airways once in my lifetime, but I still included the US Airways Premier World MasterCard® in my latest round of credit card applications.

Why? American Airlines and US Airways are in the process of merging and once that is complete, the only Citibank-issued American Airlines cards will be left available. That means this one issued by Barclaycard will no longer be accepting applications and you won’t be able to get its sign-up bonus or other unique perks ever again. Card highlights:

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles after your first purchase and payment of the $89 annual fee
  • First checked bag free on eligible bags for you and up to four companions on domestic US Airways operated flights
  • One companion certificate good for up to 2 guests to travel with you on a US Airways operated flight at $99 each, plus taxes and fees
  • Priority boarding Zone 2 on US Airways operated flights
  • Redeem miles for award travel on US Airways and American Airlines booked through usairways.com or US Airways Reservations
  • Earn miles on every purchase with 2 miles for every $1 you spend on US Airways purchases and 1 mile for every $1 on purchases everywhere else
  • Please see terms and conditions for complete details

The eventual merger also means that the 40,000 US Airways miles you get from this card will turn into 40,000 American Airlines miles, which I do fly often and often get me cheap last-minute award flights. The miles won’t disappear but the card will, so I might as well get this bonus now while I can.

Note that 40,000 mile bonus does not require any minimum purchase amount and that there is an $89 annual fee that is not waived for the first year. 40,000 miles for example is enough for a roundtrip from the US to Hawaii, so that is worth it for me. The US Airways companion certificate is also a unique feature which would be awesome if it eventually applied to American flights (though it probably won’t).

Viggle App Review: Surprise, You Can’t Make Good Money While Watching TV

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vigglescreenPapa John’s sent me a code for a free song download the other day. It was really a way to introduce me to the Viggle, a smartphone app which allows users to “check in” when listening to songs or watching TV shows. Similar to Shazam, the app listens for a few seconds and figures out what is on. When you match a show or song, you get Viggle points that can be redeemed for rewards. For example, you get 25 points for a song match and 60 points for watching a standard hour-long TV show. Certain promoted TV shows will offer bonus points.

The standard rewards structure breaks down to getting a penny for matching a song, and 2 cents for watching an hour of TV. A song download is 3,500 points and a Redbox 1-day DVD rental is 4,000 points. This means 25 points is worth a little less than a 1 cent. Even if you watch tons of TV you still have to keep checking in on your phone (exposing yourself to even more ads) so they know you didn’t just leave your phone by the TV all day. The rewards won’t even be cash as the only gift cards offered are to Redbox, Windows Store, and 1-800-Flowers.com.

Here’s my lightning review: Don’t bother. I try to keep an open mind about some of these programs, but this one just sounds awful. From reading various reviews, even the loyal users say the rewards have gotten steadily worse over time. Make money while sitting on the couch and watching TV? Honestly, how did you think it would turn out?!

Free Rideshare Promo Codes: Uber, Lyft, Flywheel, Gett, Sidecar, Silvercar

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uberscreenAdded new Summon app $20 bonus for rides in San Francisco. $20 Flywheel bonus is back. Summoning a car with your smartphone is all the rage. Most of these startups are offering some form of bonus credit for first-time users. If you live in a major metro area, this can quickly add up to a decent amount of free rides. I’ve only used Uber up to now, but it was a very easy experience.

  • Uber – Hail a car, taxi, black car, minivan, and more with your smartphone. Lots of cities. Get $30 off your first ride via this special link or promo code uberMYMONEYBLOG. UberX involves individuals driving their personal cars, the rest are professionals.
  • Lyft – Hail a pink-mustached car driven by a private individual in their private car. Cities. Get $50 off your first ride with promo code SLICKDEALS. If that doesn’t work (some report expired), you can get a $25 ride credit via my referral link. If you live in a city where they are just starting out, you may also get a bunch of additional free rides for being a “Lyft Pioneer”.
  • Flywheel – A taxi app that only hires “fully licensed, insured and professional” drivers. Cities. Get $20 off your first ride until 10/1 (usually only $10) with this special link or promo code 27A8AP.
  • Gett – Black car service in NYC only plus some international cities (yellow taxi coming soon). Get $20 free credit with promo code GTJONAT17. For the rest of 2014, all Gett rides within Manhattan are a flat $10 plus tip. Any time, any day.
  • Sidecar – “Sidecar allows riders to choose the vehicle, the driver
    and the price, tailoring every ride for any occasion.” Cities. Get $10 free ride credit with promo code jdhmd. If that doesn’t work, get a $5 ride credit with my promotion code JONATHAN931.
     
    When you use Sidecar from 6am–1pm on weekdays, a $2 Trip Token will be dropped in your account to automatically discount the next ride you take that day before midnight.
  • Summon (formerly Instacab) – Taxi and community driver service in San Francisco and East Bay currently. Get $20 free credit by entering referral code JPING after you download the app or use this special link ($20 credit should be noted on the page). Flat fares to SFO ($35), OAK ($50) and SJC ($120).
  • Silvercar – Rental car app, with the only choice being a silver Audi A4. AUS, DAL, DFW, LAX, PHX, SFO. Get a $25 Visa gift card after your first rental if you use this sign up form with promo code JPING.

I have tried out all of these codes myself as of mid-2014. Where the best deal is a referral code, I have included my own and will usually get a bounty of whatever you get (you get free ride, I get free ride). If my code isn’t the best deal, I posted the better deal instead. Thanks in advance if you use any of them.

Bonus: Get $25 credit towards any hotel stay booked through the Hotel Tonight app. Sign up online at this link with promo code JPING2 for $25 in credit (new customers only). Then download the Hotel Tonight app (Apple or Android). More info here.

Discounted Gift Cards: Extra $5 off $100 on Select Brands

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Update: The code below for existing users has expired, but new customers can still get $5 off $75 using code RAISE75AF.

hdgiftRaise.com sells discounted gift cards to various retailers. Right now until 09/18 at 3 pm CST they have a coupon code 5RAISE100 that will take an extra $5 off $100 order of gift cards from Home Depot, JCPenney, Starbucks, iTunes, CVS, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods and Bed Bath and Beyond. Good for both new and existing customers.

I have bought used Home Depot gift cards multiple times. Most sites (including Raise) sell them at very close to a 10% standard discount. Why not get another 10% off purchases that can get pretty big when fixing up a house? I’ve even bought them electronically on my iPhone while waiting in line. With this coupon you could theoretically get another 5% off if you found a $100 gift card, for a total 15% discount. I looked but those close to $100 are already sold out at this moment, although their inventory changes constantly. Even so, code could still be worth and additional 2 to 4% off.

American Express Twitter Promotions (Updated)

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twitter-bird-white-on-blueUpdated with Walmart promo. American Express and Twitter offer unique limited-time discounts for specific stores. You may also be able to access these discounts via the AmEx smartphone app or by logging into your account and scrolling down to the “Offers For You” tab, but I’ve found Twitter to be the most reliably available to everyone with an account. Highlights include:

  • Walmart.com. Get a one-time $5 statement credit by using your connected Card to spend a total of $15 or more online at Walmart.com by 11/30/14. Tweet using #AmexWalmart to add this offer to your connected American Express Card. You can buy gift cards from various retailers at Walmart.com that you can then use in a physical store. Here is a link to buy a $15 Walmart gift card with free shipping.
  • Courtyard Hotels by Marriott. Get a one-time $20 statement credit by using your connected Card to make a single purchase of $100 or more on all charges to your room, including your room rate, when you pay for your stay with Courtyard Hotels between 8/1/14 and 9/30/14. Tweet using #AmexCourtyard to add this offer to your connected American Express Card. Reservations must be made online at Courtyard.com or by phone at 1-888-236-2427. We stayed at the Courtyard Maui Airport and found it clean, updated, and central for sightseeing.

The best way I’m aware of to keep track of new hashtags is via the Favorites list for @AmericanExpress.

Haven’t signed up yet? Link your American Express card and Twitter account at sync.americanexpress.com. You can also link up your Facebook and Foursquare accounts for similar (usually identical) offers. If you wish to change your linked card (useful for checking which one is linked), go to sync.americanexpress.com/unsync.

Finally, don’t forget to follow me @mymoneyblog!

Obihai Free Monthly Home Phone Service; VoIP Adapter Deal for $30

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obi200If you still have landline phone service and are looking for a cheaper alternative, Obihai is officially supported by Google again (it ended back in May 2014):

Obihai is excited to announce official support for Google Voice. With a Google Voice account and a companion OBi device you can make and receive VoIP calls on a regular telephone. To get started, just login to the OBiTALK website, add your OBi device and select Google Voice as your service. You’ll then confirm your account with Google, and within minutes, you will be making and receiving calls from the comfort and convenience of your home phone.

An Obihai VoIP phone adapter is a little box that will allow you to plug in any standard landline telephone and use Google Voice to make free phone calls within the US and Canada. You can also make cheap international calls starting at 1 cent a minute. Many people have been doing this happily since 2011.

To celebrate, Obihai is running a promotion where you can get a Obihai OBi200 VoIP Telephone Adapter from NewEgg for only $29.99 with free shipping (also works with Shoprunner) after using coupon code EMCPAWW99. Promo ends 9/14/14, or while supplies last. Retail price is $49.99.

Even though I am still quite happy with the quality of my Ooma VoIP phone service, it is really hard to beat 30 bucks upfront and no ongoing monthly fees or taxes. (Note: It is up to Google to continue offering free domestic calls, which they usually only promise a year at a time.) I just bought my first Obihai box just so I can tinker with it and maybe send it to my parents.

Google Hangouts App Update: Free Voice Calls Over Data for Android and iPhone

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hangoutsGoogle has just announced better integration between Google Voice and their Google Hangouts smartphone app. Both iOS and Android apps can now make domestic and international calls through a Wi-Fi or data connection (like 4G). You can also receive calls if you have a Google Voice number. Calls to the U.S. and Canada are currently provided by Google free of charge from all countries where Hangouts calling is available.

What does this mean exactly?

  • For the frugal minimalist, as long as you have a data connection like WiFi, you can now make and receive unlimited domestic voice calls using a basic Apple or Android device. You can pay for a cheap prepaid option as a backup, or simply go without any cellular plan. You can also use voice over data to complement T-Mobile’s $30 plan which offers 5 GB of 4G data but only 100 voice minutes (this plan isn’t heavily-advertised, but scroll down and you’ll find it).
  • For the international traveler, as long as you have WiFi in a supported country you can call back home to the US for free using your phone. No foreign SIM card or even Skype account required.
  • For the international caller, you can more easily use Google Voice’s discounted calling rates which have recently been lowered again. For example, rates to India (mobile or landline) and Mexico (landline) are only 1 cent a minute.

iPhone / Apple iOS. Download the Google Hangouts app and the calling functionality is built-in.

Android. Download both the Google Hangouts app and the Hangouts Dialer app. If you need help, here are directions straight from Google: Make calls with Hangouts on Android.

SMS text message support is also supposedly coming, first to Android devices “in the next few days” and then to iOS devices “soon”.

1 Year Free Identity Protection and Credit Monitoring from Home Depot

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hdallclearidHome Depot has admitted they were recently hacked and customer information was compromised and stolen. If you have shopped at any Home Depot store after April 1, 2014, you are eligible for one free year of identity protection and credit monitoring at homedepot.allclearid.com (press release).

If you need identity repair assistance during the next 12 months, starting on September 8, 2014, we have a team of dedicated fraud resolution investigators available to assist you. They will do the work to recover financial losses, restore your credit, and make sure your identity is returned to its proper condition.

For additional protection, we are also making available at no cost to you a service that includes credit monitoring, identity monitoring, and an identity theft insurance policy.

It appears you get AllClear Secure identity repair service and a 12-month AllClear PRO subscription (retail price of $14.95 a month, though I’d never actually pay that). Call 1-855-252-0908 for identity repair assistance. You’ll have to provide them with your Social Security number. Keep in mind that with all major credit card issuers, you have zero liability for any unauthorized charges as long as you report them in a timely manner.

Reminder: Everyone can get free daily credit monitoring from all three major credit bureaus through the following sites: Credit Sesame for Experian, Credit Karma for TransUnion, and Quizzle for Equifax (I got offered this last one, but it may be targeted).

Fandango Movie Ticket for $7 (Up to $14 Value)

Amazon Local has a Fandango Movie Ticket code for $7. Voucher is valid for 1 movie ticket up to $14. Service fee still applies (varies). Limited quantities. Promotional value expires 11/30/14, paid value never expires.

Expedia $100 off $400 Coupon Code – Today 9/4 Only

Expedia has a promotion for their new table app where you can get $100 off a $400 hotel booking. That’s up to 25% off. Pretty simple… go to link, enter mobile phone number, receive unique coupon code. Says for today only 9/4… sorry if you don’t see this in time.

Hotel stay must be $400 before taxes and fees. Coupon must be redeemed on Expedia.com by 11:59 PM (Pacific Time) on September 4, 2014, for travel between now and December 31, 2014. Limit one (1) coupon per user account and per qualifying hotel booking. Full terms and conditions.

I can’t quite parse the terms and conditions, but it may only apply towards hotels with an “Expedia Rate”. You must book today, so I would make sure your rate is refundable if you aren’t 100% sure.

$15 iTunes Gift Card for $10 – Groupon (Expired)

Pretty straightforward. $10 for a $15 iTunes Code from Groupon, limited quantities available, limit one per person. If you buy iTunes music, iPhone apps, Mac apps, or even TV shows or books in the App Store, save yourself five bucks. Code arrives within minutes, ready to apply to your account.

From 8/29-9/1 also get an extra 10% off Groupon Goods with coupon code LABOR10.

TopCashBack: Shopping Portal That Promises Highest Payout + $10 Bonus

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Updated with $10 bonus for new users. When you shop online these days, it’s become habit to search out a coupon or go through a shopping portal that gives a percentage back on purchases made through their links. Well, talk about a race to the bottom. Instead of rebating you part of their merchant commission, TopCashBack.com promises to rebate you all of it (and make money via ads on their website). In addition, they even have no minimum payout threshold. You wouldn’t think that would be a viable business model, but the company is already the #1 cashback site in the UK so apparently it works for them.

For example, get 0.5% back on eBay purchases and 12% back at GNC.com.

I just got an e-mail that for the next two weeks, new customers can get a $10 bonus once they reach $10 in earned cashback if they are referred by a new user (who also gets $10 if/when the new numbers reaches $10 in cashback). See full terms and conditions. I’ve been a member since 2012 and have already cashed out successfully multiple times. Here is my referral link for the $10 bonus. Thanks in advance if you use my link, and you can also leave your own referral link in the comments.

If you aren’t already a member, some other portals also offer sign-up bonuses:

  • eBates ($10 new user bonus after any $25+ purchase, $5 mininum cash-out)
  • Mr. Rebates ($5 new user bonus, $10 minimum cash-out)

Sometimes one of these sites may privately negotiate a higher payout temporarily, so TopCashBack may not always be the highest. Also, if you use miles or points, you may prefer getting 2 points/miles per dollar back as opposed to 2 cents per dollar back. For example, I’ve been warming up to the UltimateRewards Mall (must first have a Chase Sapphire, Chase Freedom, or Chase Ink card) as 1 Ultimate Reward point is worth 1.25 cents towards travel or converts to 1 United or British Airways mile.