Top 10 Best Small Business Credit Card Bonus Offers – September 2020

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Updated September 2020. Do you have small business income or work as an independent contractor? Freelance, Uber/Lyft, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Airbnb? You are eligible to open a small business credit card, which keeps your personal and business expenses separate. If you are not a corporation or LLC, you can apply as a sole proprietorship, with your name as the business name and your Social Security number as the Tax ID number. I did this for years successfully before incorporating my business.

Small business credit cards are offering strong perks and $500+ value for a single card during the first year to try out a new card. Below are the top offers, and with these recent changes:

  • Improved Southwest 100k, Hilton 130k, Alaska +$200 offers.
  • Added US Bank Business Leverage card.

This is a companion post to my Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers for personal cards. Notice that small business bonuses are on average even higher than those on consumer cards.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card

  • Up to 100,000 Rapid Rewards points. 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 on purchases in the first 6 months. (100,000 points is redeemable for $1,500+ in Wanna Getaway airfare.)
  • This is enough to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass in 2020 alone. Or combine with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Consumer Card.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® Fee Credit of up to $100, repeatable every four years.
  • $199 annual fee + 9,000 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

US Bank Business Leverage Card

  • 75,000 bonus points after $7,500 in purchases (on the Account Owner’s Card only) in first the 4 months. 75,000 bonus points can be redeemed for $750 in cash back. See link for details.
  • Availability may be restricted to certain states.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Alaska Airlines Visa Business Card (Bank of America)

  • 40,000 Alaska miles + $200 statement credit + Companion Fare Voucher after $2,000 in purchase within 90 days. Limited-time offer. See link for details.
  • Companion fare voucher is “Buy one ticket, get one for $121” ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from just $22).
  • Free checked bag on Alaska flights for you and up to six other passengers on the same reservation.
  • $50 annual fee for company, plus $25 per card.

Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

  • 130,000 Hilton Honors points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details and rough valuation of points.
  • Free Weekend Night Reward certificate after you spend $15,000 on purchases in a calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.

American Express Plum Card

  • $600 cash back. Earn a $200 statement credit after each $10,000 you spend in purchases, up to $600 on $30,000 of purchases, within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 1.5% early pay discount on all purchases which stacks on top of the bonus above.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $250.

Chase Ink Business Preferred Card

  • 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $1,250 towards flexible travel) after $15,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 3X points on the first $150,000 spent on travel, shipping purchases, internet/cable/phone services, and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines.
  • Primary rental car coverage when renting for business purposes.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business Card

  • Up to 75,000 American Airlines miles. 65,000 miles after $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days. Additional 10,000 miles when a purchase is made on an employee card. Limited-time offer. See link for details.
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights ($60 value per roundtrip, per person).
  • $95 annual fee.

United Explorer Business Card

  • 60,000 United miles after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Free first checked bag for both you and a companion (a savings of up to $140 per roundtrip).
  • Expanded award availability. Having this card makes it easier to redeem for that saver award economy ticket.
  • Primary rental car coverage when renting for business purposes.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

JetBlue Business Mastercard (Barclaycard)

  • Up to 60,000 JetBlue True Blue miles. Earn 50,000 miles after $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days, and an additional 10,000 miles after a purchase is made on an employee card. Limited-time offer. See link for details.
  • First checked bag free for you and up to 3 companions on the same reservation when you use your card to book JetBlue-operated flights.
  • $99 annual fee.

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business Card

  • $500 cash bonus after $4,500 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Flat 2% cash back on all purchases with no limit.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Chase Ink Business Unlimited Card

  • $500 bonus cash back after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no limit.
  • No annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Chase Ink Business Cash Card

  • $500 bonus cash back after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.
  • No annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

American Express Business Platinum Card

  • Up to 75,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $15,000 in your first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Largest airline lounge access network. Includes Delta Sky Club membership + their own Centurion lounges.
  • Additional benefits for 2020 due to COVID-19. $200 in Dell credits, $20 in statement credits per month on U.S. purchases for shipping, up to $20 in statement credits per month on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $200 a calendar year in baggage fees and more, at one airline that you pick.
  • $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit.
  • $595 annual fee.

Wells Fargo Business Platinum Card

  • $500 cash back bonus after $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on every $1 spent, OR earn 1 point on every $1 spent + 1,000 bonus points when company spend is $1,000+ in any monthly billing period.
  • No annual fee.

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 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.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Chase Southwest Credit Cards: Up to 100,000 Points w/ Single Business Card (Companion Pass)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

New 100k offer on single card. Southwest Airlines offers a unique feature called the Companion Pass, which lets you pick one person to fly with free when you book either paid or award flights (including to Hawaii!). If you either fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 125,000 (100,000 for 2020 due to COVID) qualifying points or 100 one-way flights (75 for 2020 due to COVID) within calendar year 2020, you’ll earn the Companion Pass for the remainder of 2020 and all of 2021! You can change your designated companion up to three times each calendar year.

Points earned from credit cards count toward that 125,000/100,000 point requirement, including sign-up bonuses. You can often get very close to that magic number when you add up the potential miles from these Southwest consumer and business cards. This is on top of the value of redeeming those points for miles (75,000 points can get you $1,100+ in Wanna Get Away airfare). Right now, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business card has a 100,000 limited-time offer. Given the 6 month spending window, you can time it to either get the 2020/2021 Companion Pass for 100k or 2021/2022 Companion Pass for 125k.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business card

  • Up to 100,000 Rapid Rewards points. 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.
  • 9,000 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable and phone services and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • Inflight WiFi Credits (up to 365 x $8 credits per year).
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® Fee Credit in the form of a statement credit of up to $100 every four years.
  • $199 annual fee.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority card

  • 40,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 7,500 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • $75 Southwest annual travel credit.
  • Four Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
  • 20% back on inflight drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies.
  • Earn tier qualifying points towards A-list status.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $149 annual fee.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus credit card

  • 40,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 3,000 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $69 annual fee.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier card

  • 40,000 bonus Rapid Rewards points after $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 6,000 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $99 annual fee.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business card

  • 60,000 Rapid Rewards points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 6,000 bonus points after each Cardmember anniversary.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases.
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $99 annual fee.

Value of Rapid Rewards points. Redeeming Southwest points for flights varies in a narrow range, but a very reasonable approximation from my experience is 1.5 cents in Wanna Get Away airfare in per point. That works out to $600+ in Wanna Get Away airfare from 40,000 points or $900+ in Wanna Get Away airfare for 60,000 points or $1,100+ in Wanna Get Away airfare from 75,000 points (you are still liable for taxes and fees from $5.60 one-way). Importantly, Southwest does NOT have blackout dates or seat restrictions when you redeem with points. This means that Southwest points are much easier to use than a “saver award” on traditional airlines.

Now, if you manage to qualify for the the Companion Pass on every trip that you book with those points, that doubles the potential value of each award redemption. In other words, 125,000 Rapid Rewards, would usually get you $1,850 in Wanna Get Away airfare, but with the Companion Pass you’d get an extra companion ticket for every flight booked.

A backup option is gift card redemptions. You can currently redeem 6,750 points for a $50 a Amazon.com or Walmart gift certificate. That makes 60,000 points worth $444 in Amazon or Walmart gift cards. It’s something, but less than half the value you could get from redeeming for flights.

Southwest still includes two free checked bags per person. The fees on the other airlines have crept up to $30 per bag, each-way. That adds up.

Our family policy is to not try out a new credit card unless it offers us $500 in total value. Just the free award flights from the points are enough to satisfy that rule, and then you can add on the potential value of the companion tickets.

Card restrictions. All of these Southwest credit cards are subject to “5/24” restrictions, which means that your application will be automatically denied if you have opened 5 or more credit cards in the last 24 months (check your credit reports). Our household strategy is to have one person only apply for Chase 5/24 cards, and the other person applies for everything else. There is also this language on the consumer card:

The product is not available to either (i) current Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards® Credit Card, or (ii) previous Cardmembers of any Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card who received a new Cardmember bonus within the last 24 months. This does not apply to Cardmembers of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Card and Employee Credit Card products.

Basically, you can get one sign-up bonus from a Southwest consumer card once every 24 months. You can also get one sign-up bonus from a Southwest business card once every 24 months.

Extending your Companion Pass with Chase Ultimate Rewards points. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest points on a 1:1 basis. If you book an award flight with those Southwest points while you have the Companion Pass, you can double the value of your Ultimate Rewards points as well.

Bottom line. Right now, you can earn up to 60,000 Southwest points from qualifying for a single credit card sign-up, which in itself can be redeemed for a lot of free Southwest flights (including Hawaii). Earning 125,000 points overall (including from credit card rewards and bonuses) in a year (100,000 in 2020 due to COVID-19) will earn you the Southwest Companion pass, which provides a free companion ticket on every flight bought with cash or points for the rest of the current year and all of the next year. Finally, Southwest still includes two free checked bags per person on every flight.

Also see: Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers and the Top 10 Best Business Card Offers.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

BlockFi Promo: $250 USDC Bonus with $10,000 Deposit + 8.6% Interest

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

BlockFi is a cryptocurrency platform that both pays interest on deposits and earns interest via cryptocurrency-backed loans. Right now, they are offering an up to $250 USDC bonus for new clients that sign up and fund a new BlockFi account by September 25th. Here are the bonus tiers:

  • Deposit $500 to $999, Get $25 USDC Bonus.
  • Deposit $1,000 to $4,999, Get $50 USDC Bonus.
  • Deposit $5,000 to $9,999, Get $100 USDC Bonus.
  • Deposit $10,000+, Get $250 USDC Bonus.

You must deposit by 9/25/2020 and hold until 12/14/2020, for a minimum holding period of just under 3 months. $50 earned on $1,000 held for 3 months is equivalent to 20% APY. $250 earned on $10,000 held for 3 months works out to 10% APY. The bonus is paid in USDC, which is a stablecoin backed by real US dollars held in a bank account.

Update: I’m in the process of doing this promo myself, and discovered that you must either deposit cash by domestic bank wire or depositing your own crypto. For example, Ally Bank charges $20 for a domestic wire. You can also transfer over from another wallet like Coinbase, which lets you buy crypto from debit cards with a fee. You can later make a withdrawal via wire back to US dollars, but with a $5,000 minimum, or transfer to another wallet address. I thought this promo would be as easy as the $25 BTC Voyager promo, but it looks like a bit more work and perhaps not worth it for smaller amounts.

The promo code will be auto-populated as “getusdc” if you use the link above. There are no trade requirements, but when you deposit USD it will be converted to the GUSD (Gemini stablecoin) by default. (You can buy USDC or something else if you wish.) The good news is that both GUSD and USDC earn interest while waiting for the bonus to post. The BlockFi Interest Account (BIA) currently pays 8.60% APY on USDC and GUSD (subject to change on a monthly basis). Their overall business model is to earn a spread on the difference between lending out money and paying interest.

To earn interest on crypto, we lend assets to highly vetted and audited institutional counterparties. The interest we are able to pay is based on the yield that we are able to generate from lending, which directly correlates to the market demand in the space (I.e. what rate institutions are willing to pay to borrow specific crypto assets, as it varies from asset to asset).

BIA is available in 49 of 50 U.S. states (excluding New York). One free crypto withdrawal per calendar month and one free stablecoin withdrawal per month. After that, additional stablecoin withdrawals are $0.25 each.

BlockFi is definitely one of the more well-established crypto sites, but you should do your own due diligence as it is not an FDIC-insured bank account nor a SIPC-insured brokerage account. I found that they were backed by some reputable firms including Fidelity Investments and Coinbase, with over $100 million raised so far. They use Gemini as their primary custodian, which is a licensed custodian and regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services. As such, they will still require your name, address, and Social Security Number to verify the identity of all accountholders.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Coinstar Promo: Redeem $30 of Coins Into Amazon Gift Card, Get $5 Bonus Credit

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Here’s a way to both help keep physical coins in circulation and get a little bonus for yourself. If you redeem $30+ worth of coins into Amazon gift cards at your local Coinstar kiosk, they will add a $5 Amazon promotional credit code (valid on products sold by Amazon). Promotion expires November 30, 2020 and the promotional Amazon credit expires December 21, 2020.

You also don’t have to pay any fees using the Amazon gift card option, whereas the cash option hits you with a big 11.9% fee (the last time I checked it was under 10%!). I would have a hard time paying that fee… I’d rather pay the money directly to my kids for rolling up those coins! There are still some banks and credit unions that offer free coin counting services for customers.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

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

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Updated.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 (or have applied for already). Notable recent changes:

  • Improved Sapphire Preferred 80k/$1,000 value bonus, Alaska 65k, United 60k.
  • Added Freedom Flex.
  • Removed Southwest, 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 Freedom Flex Card

  • 20,000 Ultimate Rewards points (can be $200 Cash Bonus) after only $500 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 5% cash back on grocery store purchases on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. That’s up to $600 cash back the first year. Remember that you can buy gift cards from many retailers (like Amazon or Apple) at grocery stores.
  • 5X points (5% cash back) on rotating quarterly categories.
  • 3X points (3% cash back) on dining out, take-out, and eligible delivery services.
  • Cell phone insurance via Mastercard World Elite.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.
  • No annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $1,000 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.

Alaska Airlines Visa Card (Bank of America)

  • Up to 65,000 Alaska miles + Companion Fare Voucher. 40,000 miles after $2,000 in purchases in first 3 months. Additional 25,000 miles after $8,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. See link for details.
  • Companion fare voucher is “Buy one ticket, get from $121” ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from just $22).
  • Free checked bag on Alaska flights for you and up to six other passengers on the same reservation.
  • $75 annual fee.

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.
My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Chase Freedom Flex Review: $200 Bonus, Special 5% Cash Back Offer

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

The new Chase Freedom Flex Card application is now live, including the notable addition of 3% cash back on dining out and drugstore purchases. All of the popular features from the old Freedom remain as well: Up to 5% cash back on select categories throughout the year, no annual fee, and the ability to earn Ultimate Rewards points (useful in combination with Chase Sapphire cards). There is also a limited-time intro offer available:

  • $200 cash bonus (20,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after $500 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target(R) or Walmart(R) purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year. That’s up to $600 cash back the first year (and you can buy many gift cards at grocery stores).
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases.

Here are the ongoing features of the Freedom Flex:

  • 5X points (5% cash back) on rotating quarterly categories.
  • 5X points on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
  • 3X points on dining out, take-out, and eligible delivery services.
  • 3X points on drugstore purchases.
  • 1X points on all other purchases.
  • Cell phone insurance is one of the noteworthy World Elite Mastercard benefits. “Up to $800 per claim and $1,000 per year in cell phone protection against theft or damage for phones listed on cardmembers’ monthly bill.”
  • 5% total cash back on all Lyft rides through March 2022.
  • Complimentary DoorDash DashPass for the first three months*, followed by a 50% discount price at the current rate for the next nine months.
  • No annual fee.

From October 1st through December 31st, 2020 you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in the following categories:

  • Walmart (both in-store and at Walmart.com)
  • PayPal

Activate each quarter in your online account or at ChaseBonus.com. As long as you activate by the end of each quarterly window, the rewards apply retroactively.

Remember that these cards earn Ultimate Rewards (UR) points, which can then be redeemed for cash at 1 UR point = $0.01. Therefore, you can either view a category as 3X points per dollar points, or 3% cash back. When UR points are transferred to a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card, they can become much more valuable when converted to frequent flier miles or hotel points. For example, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, 5x points = 5 United miles per dollar spent, 5 Hyatt points per dollar spent, or 7.5% value back towards travel redeemed at the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.

This is a new card (different than the regular Chase Freedom Visa), so everyone should be eligible for the bonus, but Chase does have 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 (aka the 5/24 rule). This rule is designed to discourage folks that apply for high numbers of sign-up bonuses. This rule applies on a per-person basis, so in our household one applies to Chase while the other applies at other card issuers.

If you have an existing Chase card like the original Freedom card, you may be able to convert to this card by calling them directly. You won’t get the sign-up offer, but you will get the new ongoing features.

Bottom line. The Chase Freedom Flex Card application is a unique rewards card that lets you earn 5% cash back on select categories each quarter, in addition to a constant 3% cash back on dining out and drugstore purchases. If you have a Chase Sapphire card, the “flexibility” is even greater.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: 80,000 Points = $1,000 In Travel (Highest Bonus Ever)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Highest bonus ever. Looks like Chase is getting serious again. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a premium travel rewards credit card that has gotten very popular, now with an improved offer that is the best highest bonus ever. The card earns points that can be redeemed for cash, travel credits, or transferred to airline miles. Here are the highlights:

  • 80,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
  • 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. That means 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel. No blackout dates. As long as there’s a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out. 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Free year of DoorDash DashPass. Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • $95 annual fee.

COVID-19 Note: Chase has added a number of new flexible benefits to this card on a temporary basis to compensate for the effects of COVID-19. This includes the ability to redeem your Ultimate Rewards points towards grocery store, dining out, and home improvement purchases until 9/30/20.

Note the following text:

The product is not available to either (i) current cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card, or (ii) previous cardmembers of any Sapphire credit card who received a new cardmember bonus within the last 48 months.

Chase has 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 (aka the 5/24 rule). This rule is designed to discourage folks that apply for high numbers of sign-up bonuses. This rule applies on a per-person basis, so in our household one applies to Chase while the other applies at other card issuers.

Ultimate Rewards points. This card offers a special 25% bonus on travel redemptions made through the Ultimate Rewards travel website. For example, 60,000 Ultimate Rewards = $750 in travel. Similar to Expedia or Travelocity, you can book flights on most major airlines and hotel chains. This makes it much more flexible to spend your points. You can even buy something more expensive and pay the difference.

If you have other Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points like the Freedom Flex, Freedom Unlimited, Ink Business Cash or Ink Business Unlimited, you can transfer points into this card account and take advantage of the this higher premium. In other words, your existing Ultimate Rewards points balance could be increased in value by getting this card.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is the “ultra-premium” rewards card that offers a bigger 50% bonus on travel redemptions, along with more perks and a higher annual fee.

Prefer airline and/or hotel points? This card also allows you to transfer Ultimate Rewards points into hotel and/or airline miles. Transfer to United Airlines, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Korean Air, Southwest, Hyatt Hotels, IHG Hotels, and Marriott Hotels at a ratio of 1 Ultimate Rewards point = 1 mile/hotel point. Miles redemption continue to offer great value for savvy travelers, especially for last-minute travel and business class seats. I personally use the transfers to “top off” my account to reach a free coach ticket or free hotel night when I don’t have enough points otherwise. My favorite options are United miles, Southwest miles, and Hyatt hotel points. In this manner, I can often get close to 2 cents per point value.

Cash redemptions are a simple and easy option, but the conversion is a straight 100 points = $1.

Sharing points. Ultimate Rewards points are instantly transferable to other accounts like family members, as long as they have their own Chase card with Ultimate Rewards as an authorized user. This way, you can pool points together for transfers and redemptions if you like.

Additional card benefits:

  • Premium, dedicated customer service line with a live person, 24/7. A real person picks up after a couple rings, no phone trees or typing those darn 16 digits over and over. You can use this feature to redeem cash rewards over the phone for free, although booking rewards tickets over the phone costs $20 (doing so online is free).
  • Primary car rental collision damage waiver insurance. Decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card. Coverage is primary and provides reimbursement up to $75,000 for theft and collision damage for most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad. Most other cards only offer secondary coverage that kicks in only after the deductible of your individual insurance policy is used.
  • Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance. If your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels.
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement. If your common carrier travel is delayed more than 6 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket

Bottom line. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a popular premium travel rewards card. The sign-up bonus is very generous, with 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points worth 80,000 United miles, 80,000 Hyatt points, or $1,000 towards travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. The 2X points on travel and dining out is attractive (although the new Freedom Flex now offers 3X on dining out).

You can only get one Sapphire bonus every 48 months, so compare with the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, which offers a bigger 50% bonus on travel redemptions, along with more perks and a higher annual fee.

I will be adding this improved offer on my list of Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Total Wireless 25% Off Coupon For Phone + Plan Purchase (Verizon MVNO)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Total Wireless is an Verizon MVNO that while not the overall cheapest, can be the best value to remain the Verizon network if you don’t require unlimited data. $25/month gets you unlimited talk, text, and 1GB data. $35/month gets you 5 GB. Right now, if you visit their website and look at the bottom right, you should see a form to submit your email for a unique 25% off coupon code (max discount of $100) when you buy both a phone and a plan card. This can result in some very cheap prices on select new and used phones including the iPhone SE, iPhone 8+, and other Android phones.

New iPhone SE 64GB and $25 plan card for $287.49 total:

New iPhone 8+ 128GB and $25 plan card for $250 total:

I personally would lean toward the iPhone SE 2020 with fast internals, or maybe the iPhone 8+ if you want the bigger screen. Shipping should be free as well.

Alternatively, you can try the promo code FALL15 for 15% off a phone + plan purchase.

Visible is another Verizon MVNO where if you are willing to do some legwork and maintain a “Party”, you can get unlimited data for $25 a month. If you need that much data yet, one option would be to use these discounted phone prices and stay on Total for 12 months, at which point they will allow you to unlock your phone to use on any carrier, and then you can move to Visible.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Mint Mobile New Unlimited Data Plan $30/Month (Stack w/ $45 off $90 AmEx Offer)

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

In my own phone, I use Mint Mobile to keep my cell phone costs low. They use the T-Mobile GSM 4G LTE and 5G networks, which means most phones are compatible and switching just requires swapping in a new SIM card. I don’t use a ton of data (even less nowadays), and I’m fine on their $15 a month 3 GB LTE plan.

Need lots of data? Mint now has a new Unlimited Plan for $30 a month, which includes:

  • Unlimited domestic talk and text
  • Unlimited calling to Mexico and Canada
  • 5 GB of mobile hotpost
  • High speed LTE/5G speeds reduce until 35GB of usage, capped at 128 kbps after that.

All of their plans offer the slower 128 kbps speeds after you use up your LTE data, which is nice as you can still check your email and access some emergency services. Most other providers throttle or “de-prioritize” their unlimited data after some threshold, and the key number here is the 35 GB of LTE data. Some other popular MVNOs charge more than this for only 5 GB of data!

As with all of their plans, you can get their lowest pricing for 3 months as an introductory offer. After that, you must renew for 12 months at a time to get the $30/month price. That’s their “gimmick”, you buy in bulk and save. After 3 months, you should have a much clearer idea of whether you want to commit to another year of service.

Be sure to use their phone compatibility checker first to see if you can bring your current phone over and just pop in the Mint Mobile SIM card. They also offer a 7-Day “No Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee” (starts upon SIM activation) so you can test them out before making any commitment. This should get you past any activation issues – for more guidance see my previous Mint Mobile SIM Activation and Number Port Transfer Review.

If you’re not happy with your plan. You can say “no thanks” at any time during your first 7 days of activation and we’ll refund you what you paid (minus S&H). You don’t even have to send it back.

Bonus tip #1: If it does not automatically apply, use the promo code IRFREESHIP to get free shipping as well on your SIM card kit.

Bonus tip #2: Check out your American Express offers to activate a limited-time $45 off $90 offer. This would cover 3 months @ $30 a month or 6 months @ $15 a month. Mine expires 11/9/2020. Here’s a screenshot:

Also see:

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase through the links above, I may be compensated.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Amazon Audible: Two Free Audiobooks with Prime & Free 30-Day Trial

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

If you are an Amazon Prime member, check if you are targeted for a free 30-day trial to Audible Premium Plus which will include 2 free audiobook credits. This promotion appears to work even if you are a past Audible member (trial or otherwise), but not if you are an existing active member. If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you could start a 30-day free trial. Here is a screenshot:

My favorite feature of these Audible trials is that once you get a book, it remains available permanently. You can go back an listen whenever you want, even if your membership is not active. Additional features include the ability to swap out audiobooks if you don’t like it after listening for a bit, and discounts off the list price of additional audiobooks. You can even have Alexa read your audiobook to you.

If you don’t want to continue your membership at $14.95/month after the 30-day trial ends, you will want to redeem the audiobooks credit first, and then cancel your membership before the trial ends. Canceling is easily done online, although they will try to offer you some discounts to stay.

I’ve listened to over 10 books by utilizing every free trial offer that comes up. Here are a few of my past purchases:

My two new picks will likely be The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel and Atomic Habits by James Clear. I am also gradually collecting the Harry Potter series.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Amazon Prime Video: Watch Select TV, Get $5 Cheez-It Credit + $5 Prime Video Credit

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Promo reset for September. Get compensated to watch TV through Amazon Prime Video with Cheez-it and Prime Video Credit. The time commitment of has increased to 8 hours this month.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Best Interest Rates on Cash – September 2020

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards and may receive a commission. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

Here’s my monthly roundup of the best interest rates on cash for September 2020, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. I track these rates because I keep 12 months of expenses as a cash cushion and also invest in longer-term CDs (often at lesser-known credit unions) when they yield more than bonds. Check out my Ultimate Rate-Chaser Calculator to see how much extra interest you’d earn by moving money between accounts. Rates listed are available to everyone nationwide. Rates checked as of 9/9/2020.

High-yield savings accounts
While the huge megabanks still pay nearly zero, it’s easy to open a new “piggy-back” savings account and simply move some funds over from your existing checking account. The interest rates on savings accounts can drop at any time, so I list the top rates as well as competitive rates from banks with a history of competitive rates. Some banks will bait you with a temporary top rate and then lower the rates in the hopes that you are too lazy to leave.

  • Affirm has the top rate at the moment at 1.00% APY with no minimum balance requirements. I wonder how long this will last, as the rate is high but Affirm also charges really high interest to let folks buy jeans on a payment plan. There are several other established high-yield savings accounts at a little below 1% APY for now.
  • If you want some upside potential, HM Bradley is still advertising a 3% APY top rate for those that spent the previous quarter saving at least 20% of your direct deposit. It’s likely to drop next quarter starting 10/1, but if you can make a real direct deposit by 10/1 (and not withdrawal more than 80% of it) you’ll earn at least 1% APY in September and gain the possibility of a rate greater than 1% after 10/1.

Short-term guaranteed rates (1 year and under)
A common question is what to do with a big pile of cash that you’re waiting to deploy shortly (just sold your house, just sold your business, legal settlement, inheritance). My usual advice is to keep things simple and take your time. If not a savings account, then put it in a flexible short-term CD under the FDIC limits until you have a plan.

  • No Penalty CDs offer a fixed interest rate that can never go down, but you can still take out your money (once) without any fees if you want to use it elsewhere. Marcus has a 7-month No Penalty CD at 0.75% APY with a $500 minimum deposit. AARP members can get an 8-month CD at 0.85% APY. Ally Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 0.75% APY for all balance tiers. CIT Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 0.35% APY with a $1,000 minimum deposit. You may wish to open multiple CDs in smaller increments for more flexibility.
  • CommunityWide Federal Credit Union has a 12-month CD at 1.00% APY ($1,000 min). Early withdrawal penalty depends on how early you withdraw. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization ($5 one-time fee).

Money market mutual funds + Ultra-short bond ETFs
If you like to keep cash in a brokerage account, beware that many brokers pay out very little interest on their default cash sweep funds (and keep the difference for themselves). The following money market and ultra-short bond funds are NOT FDIC-insured and thus come with a possibility of principal loss, but may be a good option if you have idle cash and cheap/free commissions.

  • Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund (note the upcoming changes) currently pays an 0.03% SEC yield. The default sweep option is the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund which has an SEC yield of 0.08%.
  • Vanguard Ultra-Short-Term Bond Fund currently pays 0.82% SEC yield ($3,000 min) and 0.92% SEC Yield ($50,000 min). The average duration is ~1 year, so there is more interest rate risk.
  • The PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Active Bond ETF (MINT) has a 0.51% SEC yield and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR) has a 0.64% SEC yield while holding a portfolio of investment-grade bonds with an average duration of ~6 months. Note that there was a sudden, temporary drop in net asset value during the March 2020 market stress.

Treasury Bills and Ultra-short Treasury ETFs
Another option is to buy individual Treasury bills which come in a variety of maturities from 4-weeks to 52-weeks. You can also invest in ETFs that hold a rotating basket of short-term Treasury Bills for you, while charging a small management fee for doing so. T-bill interest is exempt from state and local income taxes. Right now, this section probably isn’t very interesting as T-Bills are yielding close to zero!

  • You can build your own T-Bill ladder at TreasuryDirect.gov or via a brokerage account with a bond desk like Vanguard and Fidelity. Here are the current Treasury Bill rates. As of 9/8/2020, a new 4-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 0.10% annualized interest and a 52-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 0.15% annualized interest.
  • The Goldman Sachs Access Treasury 0-1 Year ETF (GBIL) has a 0.08% SEC yield and the SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) has a -0.04% (!) SEC yield. GBIL appears to have a slightly longer average maturity than BIL.

US Savings Bonds
Series I Savings Bonds offer rates that are linked to inflation and backed by the US government. You must hold them for at least a year. There are annual purchase limits. If you redeem them within 5 years there is a penalty of the last 3 months of interest.

  • “I Bonds” bought between May 2020 and October 2020 will earn a 1.06% rate for the first six months. The rate of the subsequent 6-month period will be based on inflation again. More info here.
  • In mid-October 2020, the CPI will be announced and you will have a short period where you will have a very close estimate of the rate for the next 12 months. I will have another post up at that time.

Prepaid Cards with Attached Savings Accounts
A small subset of prepaid debit cards have an “attached” FDIC-insured savings account with exceptionally high interest rates. The negatives are that balances are capped, and there are many fees that you must be careful to avoid (lest they eat up your interest). Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others do. There is a long list of previous offers that have already disappeared with little notice. I don’t personally recommend nor use any of these anymore.

  • One of the few notable cards left in this category is Mango Money at 6% APY on up to $2,500, along with several hoops to jump through. Requirements include $1,500+ in “signature” purchases and a minimum balance of $25.00 at the end of the month.

Rewards checking accounts
These unique checking accounts pay above-average interest rates, but with unique risks. You have to jump through certain hoops, and if you make a mistake you won’t earn any interest for that month. Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others do. Rates can also drop to near-zero quickly, leaving a “bait-and-switch” feeling. If you want rates above 2% APY, this is close to the only game in town.

  • Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking (my review) still offers up to 4.09% APY on balances up to $10,000 if you make $500+ in ACH deposits, 12 debit card “signature” purchases, and spend $1,000 on their credit card each month. The Bank of Denver has a Free Kasasa Cash Checking offering 2.50% APY on balances up to $25,000 if you make 12 debit card purchases and at least 1 ACH credit or debit transaction per statement cycle. If you meet those qualifications, you can also link a savings account that pays 1.50% APY on up to $50k. Thanks to reader Bill for the updated info. Find a locally-restricted rewards checking account at DepositAccounts.

Certificates of deposit (greater than 1 year)
CDs offer higher rates, but come with an early withdrawal penalty. By finding a bank CD with a reasonable early withdrawal penalty, you can enjoy higher rates but maintain access in a true emergency. Alternatively, consider building a CD ladder of different maturity lengths (ex. 1/2/3/4/5-years) such that you have access to part of the ladder each year, but your blended interest rate is higher than a savings account. When one CD matures, use that money to buy another 5-year CD to keep the ladder going. Some CDs also offer “add-ons” where you can deposit more funds if rates drop.

  • Greenwood Credit Union has a 5-year certificate at 1.50% APY ($5,000 min), 4-year at 1.00% APY, 3-year at 1.20% APY, and 2-year at 0.90% APY. The early withdrawal penalty for the 5-year is 6 month of interest. Anyone can join this credit union by maintaining $5 in a share savings account.
  • You can buy certificates of deposit via the bond desks of Vanguard and Fidelity. You may need an account to see the rates. These “brokered CDs” offer FDIC insurance and easy laddering, but they don’t come with predictable early withdrawal penalties. Vanguard has a 5-year at 0.50% APY right now. Be wary of higher rates from callable CDs listed by Fidelity.

Longer-term Instruments
I’d use these with caution due to increased interest rate risk, but I still track them to see the rest of the current yield curve.

  • Willing to lock up your money for 10 years? You can buy long-term certificates of deposit via the bond desks of Vanguard and Fidelity. These “brokered CDs” offer FDIC insurance, but they don’t come with predictable early withdrawal penalties. At this writing, Vanguard has a 10-year at 0.85% APY. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs from Fidelity.
  • How about two decades? Series EE Savings Bonds are not indexed to inflation, but they have a unique guarantee that the value will double in value in 20 years, which equals a guaranteed return of 3.5% a year. However, if you don’t hold for that long, you’ll be stuck with the normal rate which is quite low (currently a sad 0.10% rate). I view this as a huge early withdrawal penalty. But if holding for 20 years isn’t an issue, it can also serve as a hedge against prolonged deflation during that time. As of 9/9/2020, the 20-year Treasury Bond rate was 1.22%.

All rates were checked as of 9/9/2020.

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and Credit-Land for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. MyMoneyBlog.com is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.