Best Buy: 10% Off All Prepaid Phone Cards

bbprepaidBest Buy has a sale offering 10% off prepaid phone cards. The “top-up” options include Verizon Prepaid, T-Mobile Prepaid, AT&T GoPhone, Cricket, Net 10, Virgin Mobile, Boost Mobile, TracPhone, Simple Mobile, Locus, and H20.

Cricket Wireless (uses AT&T network) offers a $40 a month plan ($35 net after $5 AutoPay credit) with unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 2.5 GB of LTE data. The data speeds are throttled to 8 Mbps for LTE and 4 Mbps for 4G HSPA+, which is still pretty fast to me but is a way that they save money. With this promo, you can buy a $40 topup card for $36, theoretically taking your net outlay down to $31 a month.

If you want to buy a lot of cards, you can stack this with the previously-available AmEx Offer for $25 off $250 at Best Buy. California residents should note that Best Buy will charge the MTS surcharge (basically sales tax) on prepaid card purchases.

Pay Your Rent with Credit Card With No Fees With RadPad and Android Pay

Update: This offer was ended early, basically saying they had to break their word because they were faced with huge losses. Not a well-run promotion.

radpad0With a new promotion by RadPad and Android Pay, you can pay your rent with a credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express) and earn points/miles/cash rewards through the end of 2016. Your landlord will simply receive a check on your behalf from RadPad.

Android Pay requires an NFC-enabled Android device running KitKat 4.4+ and the Android Pay app. A partial list includes LG G4, LG G5, HTC One M9, HTC 10, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Samsung Galaxy S6 and S7, and Moto X. Here is a 3rd-party list of NFC-enabled phones.

You must log into Pay with Radpad from an Android device or use the RadPad app, and then pay using Android Pay.


If you have a compatible phone, this promo seems like an easy way to rack up some extra frequent flier miles or satisfy a bonus requirement. You can schedule payments ahead of time if you wish. The standard fee is otherwise 3.49% for credit cards and free for debit cards. (You can now search for an apartment, sign your lease using Docusign, and pay rent using your debit card for free, all through Radpad.)

Free Two-Month Pandora One Subscription

pandoraoneGroupon is offering a free two-month subscription of Pandora One personalized streaming radio service, which usually costs $4.99 per month. This upgrade from the free version offers no ads, fewer station pauses, and more skips.

This is essentially a free 2-month trial, as you the plan will automatically renew to $4.99 a month unless canceled. Still, easy to grab and no ads for two months is nice. Set a calendar reminder to cancel. Not valid for current customers. While supplies last, over 25,000 taken already. Thanks to reader Jared for the heads up.

Google Photos: Unlimited Free Photo and Video Backup + Free Up Phone Storage

Updated August 2016. I have been using Google Photos as a free online backup for an Apple iPhone for a year, and it has worked very well and saved me money on iCloud. The app has a new-ish feature called “Free Up Space” that automatically identifies which pictures it has already backed up online for you, and will delete them off your Android or iOS device in order to save space. (I’m a bit paranoid about my photos, so I do a physical backup to hard drive as well.)

You may see this commercial during the Olympics (directed at 16GB iPhone users):

Original post:


Google may already see all your search queries, have access to all your e-mails with Gmail, and now it wants to store all your photos. Why would you let them? How about unlimited space. Free. From the Google Blog:

Google Photos gives you a single, private place to keep a lifetime of memories, and access them from any device. They’re automatically backed up and synced, so you can have peace of mind that your photos are safe, available across all your devices.

Google Photos will store unlimited images for free, with a few conditions. You can choose from one of two options:

  • High quality – Unlimited free storage. Recommended for phones or point-and-shoot cameras that are 16 megapixels (MP) or less. Good for typical printing and sharing. Will be compressed using their special algorithm. Anything under 16 megapixels will have minimal degradation of quality, supposedly it is optimized so that visually you can’t tell the difference. Anything bigger than 16 megapixels will be downsized to 16 megapixels, which can be significant for DSLR users.
  • Original quality – Limited free storage: Uses your Google Account’s 15 GB of free storage. Recommended if you take photos with a DSLR camera and want to maintain the exact original quality. Recommended for printing large banners or to store your original files. Store your photos and videos exactly as you captured them.

Google Photos will store unlimited video for free at 1080p quality. This is pretty big for me, as my videos take up the most space and right now I don’t pay to back them up in the cloud – only on external hard drives. If you upload something 4K, it will downsize to 1080p.

As you might expect with Google, they have also tried their best to make searching through your huge image library as easy as possible:

VISUAL SEARCH: Your photos are now searchable by the places and things that appear in your photos. Looking for that fish taco you ate in Hawaii? Just search “Hawaii” or “food” to find it even if it doesn’t have a description.

There is even facial recognition that groups photos with the same face. The app automatically creates collages of similar photos, albums of photos taken at the same time and place, and even animations.

Amazon Prime members can get free unlimited photo storage, but only 5 GB of free video storage.

Here are the links for the Web interface, Android app, and Apple iOS app.

By $10 Starbucks Gift Card, Get $15 Value with Visa Checkout


Starbucks is selling $5 boost on a gift card purchase of $10 or over if you buy them using Visa Checkout instead of credit card directly. If you can still buy a gift card at the link, the promotion is should still be alive. Otherwise ends 8/18/16. See terms:

Buy a $10+ Starbucks eGift Card using Visa Checkout and get an extra $5, courtesy of Visa Checkout. Your bonus won’t be reflected during checkout, but you’ll see it in your email receipt. Limit one per person, between 8/4 – 8/18, while supplies last.

The bonus will NOT be reflected in your checkout experience but will be confirmed in your email receipt. Limit one per person. See Terms and Conditions.

Free Airport Lounge Pass with LoungeBuddy and Visa

loungepass0Update: LoungeBuddy ended the offer really early. Sorry!

LoungeBuddy is a smartphone app that helps you navigate airport lounges around the world. Their new promotion offers a free airport lounge pass (up to $40 value) when you book with LoungeBuddy and pay with your Visa card. Valid until 10/31/2016 or until supplies last. One per customer.

Be sure to book online through and not through their app. You will be limited to select airport lounge partners. For example, I only see one lounge for Los Angeles International (LAX):


Here are the full terms and conditions.

I keep the LoungeBuddy app on my smartphone, and have found it very handy if you participate any sort of lounge access program and want to optimize your usage.

Google Play Promo: 75% off any Movie Rental


Here’s another small but easy promotion. Get 75% off any movie rental on Google Play with code PAYPALCAUS. If you click on the link, it should already be applied. So a $4 rental will only cost you a $1. Redeem by 8/31/16 and rent by 10/31/16. Hey, it’s easier than dealing with Redbox.

Enjoy a discounted movie rental, compliments of Google Play and PayPal. Choose from thousands of titles in the Google Play Movies Catalog. Redeem your offer by August 31, 2016 and complete your movie rental purchase by October 31, 2016.

SPG 20% Transfer Bonus: 20,000 Starwood Points = 30,000 American Airlines Miles


American Airlines (AA) has a new promotion on transferred Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Starpoints, where they will add a 20% bonus on any transferred AA miles from 8/1 to 9/14/16.

Starpoints are already quite flexible and transferrable to multiple airlines on a 1:1 basis (which is why everyone likes their credit card). Even better, when you convert a minimum of 20,000 Starpoints to miles, you get a 5,000 mile bonus. (If you only convert 19,999 Starpoints, then no bonus.)

Therefore, combining the two gets you this:

  • You ask to convert 20,000 Starpoints to 20,000 American Airlines miles.
  • Starwood will add 5,000 miles, and the miles will arrive in your account in 3-4 days.
  • American Airlines will add another 20% (5,000 miles) in 7 business days.
  • 20,000 Starpoints is now 30,000 American Airlines miles.

From the terms and conditions:

To earn the 20% conversion bonus, member must convert points from the Starwood Preferred Guest program. This offer is non-transferable and non-reversible.

Bonus miles will be posted by American Airlines to the qualifying AAdvantage® member’s account within 7 business days after the initial conversion activity has been posted by Starwood Preferred Guest. Bonus miles earned in this promotion do not count toward elite status qualification.

American Airlines also recently updated their award redemption rules so that they are less valuable in many instances, so be sure to check first before transferring. Also, note that you are allowed to place a free 5-day hold on award redemptions. Therefore you can hold an award first and then transfer over Starpoints, although the 20% American bonus portion may not arrive in time.

Download Free App, Get Free $10 AppStore Amazon Credit

haydaySeems easy enough. If you have an Android device including Amazon Fire Tablets, download the Hay Day app for free and get $10 Amazon appstore credit. I have no idea what the game is about, but if the credit is indeed only for apps then I can buy an educational app for my preschooler. (We like the Endless series by Originator, and Endless Alphabet is free with Amazon Underground.)

For a limited time, customers who download Hay Day from Amazon Appstore between August 1, 2016 and August 31, 2016 will receive a $10 credit toward purchase of digital content in Amazon Appstore. Only customers who have not previously downloaded Hay Day from Amazon Appstore are eligible for this offer.

Update: This is showing up for me as a $10 Amazon credit towards anything shipped and sold by Amazon. Just add any items over $10 that is shipped and sold by Amazon to your cart, and you should see this. I just added some enzymatic dental chews for my dogs for $12.08 and saw this:


As of 8/3, they added the following sentence to the terms and conditions: “Please note, it may take up to 48 hours for you to receive an e-mail confirming that the $10 Amazon credit has been applied to your account.” As of this day, the credit also appears to be limited to App Store purchases as well.

Citi Prestige Card Review: New 40,000 Point Offer, Feature Changes

Citi ThankYou Prestige Card Art

Our partner Citi has relaunched the Citi Prestige® Card, their premium ThankYou point rewards card. The sign-up bonus is now 40,000 bonus points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Here are the updated highlights:

  • $250 Air Travel Credit each year
  • Receive a statement credit, up to $100 every 5 years, as reimbursement for your application fee for Global Entry or TSA Pre ?®
  • 4th night hotel benefit for any hotel stay at hotels booked through the Citi Prestige® Concierge.
  • Earn 40,000 bonus points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
  • Points are redeemable for a $532 flight on any airline or $400 in gift cards.
  • Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
  • Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
  • 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on Purchases.
  • $450 annual fee, not waived the first year.

What’s different than before? While many features remain, there are a few notable changes from the previous offer.

  • The sign-up bonus was previously 50,000 bonus points after $3,000 in purchases.
  • Citi and American Airlines connection appears to be going away over time. For example, the application does not mention the previous ability to redeem at 1 ThankYou point = 1.6 cents in American Airlines airfare. There is now only the claim that you can redeem 1 ThankYou point = 1.33 cents in airfare from any airline. Thus, 40k ThankYou points are redeemable for a $532 flight on any airline or $400 in gift cards.
  • Existing Citi Prestige cardholders have been told that the ability to obtain complimentary access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges will be ending July 23, 2017. Free access to the Priority Pass Select program and its affiliated airport lounges will remain.

What’s the same as before?

  • $250 Statement Credit for Air Travel each year. Unlike other cards, airfare counts as well as baggage fees, lounge access, and other incidental purchases. This renews every calendar year, so it can be used to help offset the annual fee every year. Specifically, “This statement credit is an annual benefit available for purchases appearing on your billing statements from December through the following December. Pending transactions that do not post in your December billing cycle will count towards the next year’s Air Travel Credit.”
  • Citi ThankYou points also transfer directly to certain airline mileage programs on a 1:1 basis including Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Etihad, Flying Blue by Air France and KLM, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways.
  • $100 Global Entry application fee credit details. Citi will cover the $100 application fee on a one-time basis when you charge it to the card. Global Entry allows you to get through international customs faster when entering the US. Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck as well. The $100 application fee credit will reset once every 5 years.

My personal bottom line. As an existing cardholder, there is no doubt the card has lost some important features. I’ve gotten my $100 Global Entry credit and $250 annual airfare credits without issue. But my most often-used feature, the Admiral Club lounge access will last until July 2017 but will disappear after that. Unless the annual fee drops significantly, that single change will probably make it not worth paying for another annual fee.

Overall bottom line: This card still offers a pretty good package during the first year of cardownership. Assuming you fly enough on any airline to make the airfare purchases, you can redeem the $250 annual airfare credit in both later 2016 and again in early 2017, for a total of $500 statement credit. (The $250 annual credit resets every December billing statement.) Then you have the $532 in airfare redemption value from the 40,000 ThankYou points, good on any airline. That’s $1,032 of flexible value, minus the annual fee of $450, for $582 minimum net value in the first year. Then you add in whatever value you place on the other perks like $100 Global Entry fee reimbursement, 3/2/1 rewards tiers, and the 4th night free benefit.

In addition, if you have a big stash of Citi ThankYou points, getting this card could increase the value of your existing point balance due to the special 1.33 cents per ThankYou point conversion rate towards airfare.

“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.”

Comcast Internet Essentials Review: Affordable Internet Access For Low-Income Households

comcastieComcast offers an affordable internet access program called Internet Essentials that provides high-speed internet service for $9.95 a month + taxes, a subsidized $150 computer with Microsoft Office, and free digital literacy training to eligible groups. Over time, they have expanded their eligibility rules and also added new features. Specifically, you now get:

  • XFINITY Cable Internet Service
  • 10 Mbps download & 2 Mbps upload speeds
  • No credit check
  • No activation or installation fee
  • No contract
  • Free modem + WiFi router rental

Here are the current ways to qualify for this program.

Low-income Families. You are eligible if you have at least one child who qualifies for the National School Lunch Program. If I read the income guidelines for the NSLP correctly, a family of 4 within the contiguous 48 states can’t make more than $31,590 a year to get free lunches during the 2016-2017 school year.

HUD Housing Assistance Households. You are eligible if you receive HUD housing assistance such as Public Housing, Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8 Vouchers) or Multifamily Vouchers (Project-Based Section 8).

Seniors Pilot Program. You must be 62 years old and live in one of the current eligible areas. You must also be enrolled in an eligible state or federal public assistance program. As of mid-2016, the list includes Boston, Palm Beach County, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Community College Student Pilot Program. You must be enrolled in an eligible community college, and also be a Pell Grant recipient. As of mid-2016, the list includes select community colleges in Colorado and Illinois.

In addition, for all groups, you must not have any outstanding debt to Comcast that is less than a year old. Families with outstanding debt more than one year old may still be eligible. You must also live in an area where Comcast Internet Service is available but have not subscribed to it within the last 90 days.

Problems and controversy. If you are already a low-income family that stretches to pay for Comcast internet access, you would need to cancel your existing service and then wait for a full 90 days before signing up for Internet Essentials. If the idea is to give your children the educational benefit of internet access, then it may be difficult to go without internet for 90 days.

This program is not supported with government taxes. Instead, it is a way for Comcast to make happy with various government regulators when they want to merge with another huge company. Indeed, Comcast as a monopoly or part of a duopoly in most areas may be the reason why average people are being charged $40 or $60 a month for basic internet access in the first place.

In any case, it exists, millions more households are eligible that aren’t signed up, and I think it is worth spreading the word. Apply online at or over the phone (1-855-8-INTERNET or 1-855-846-8376).

Ally CashBack Credit Card Review: 2% Cash Back on Gas and Groceries + 10% Relationship Bonus

allycbccIf you have an Ally Bank savings or checking account, you’ve likely been pitched their new Ally CashBack credit card recently. Here are the highlights:

  • $100 bonus when you make $500 in eligible purchases during the first 3 billing cycles.
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and grocery stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No limits on rewards categories.
  • 10% boost on earned rewards when you deposited into an eligible Ally Bank account.
  • No annual fee.
  • Intro 0% APR for 12 billing cycles on balance transfers. (No 0% APR on purchases.) Balance transfer fee is either $10 or 4%, whichever is greater.

As with all the big banks, Ally is working on their cross-marketing. They want you to keep your checking, savings, IRAs, brokerage, and credit cards all at the same place. Ally’s strong in the online banking side (named best online bank by Money Magazine for the fifth year in a row). Credit cards are here, and a brokerage arm is just around the corner (TradeKing). I am personally interested in such convenience, as for years Ally Bank has been my primary checking, savings, and CD accounts.

Including the 10% relationship bonus, this Visa Signature card would get you 2.2% cash back on gas stations and grocery stores and then 1.1% on all other purchases. While this structure is better than the traditional 1% flat credit cards, the competition has heated up in the last few years. Consider:

The best program to compare against is Bank of America. The BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and now at wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas up to the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter. Bank of America also offers a 10% bonus on rewards earned when you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America checking or savings account. However, they also have premium relationship tiers that offer up to a 75% bonus on rewards that would work out to 1.75% cash back on every purchase, 3.5% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 5.25% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter. To me, this made it worth it to build up a “relationship” with them, including opening up a new brokerage account and new credit cards.

Ally touts this new card as “simple”, but what would have really been simple is a flat 2% cash back card on everything and then a small relationship bonus on top of that. That way, when taken together with an Ally Bank account, the card would have been the best in many respects. Combined with their high-interest deposit accounts, you’d have a combo that could shake up the industry. The weakest point of my Bank of America combo is their piddly 0.05% APY on savings accounts and sad CD rates, whereas one of the strongest points of Ally is the 1.00% APY of their savings account and highly-competitive CD rates.

Bottom line. The rewards are above-average overall, and might be worth a look for Ally-centric customers. However, there are top cards in the marketplace that offer close to a flat 2% on everything, and better gas and grocery-specific cards as well. I personally prefer to pick things à la carte unless the sum is greater than the parts, as is the current situation with Bank of America.