Chase Ink Business Preferred Card Review: 100,000 Point Bonus worth $1,250 Towards Travel

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. Thank you for your support.

inkpreferred2018Updated with new 100k offer. Business credit cards can be used by self-employed or side-gig workers with eBay, Amazon, Etsy, Uber/Lyft, Adsense or other 1099 income that make you a sole proprietorship. The Ink Business Preferred(R) Card has a new 100,000 point bonus for new cardholders, worth at least $1,250 towards travel when redeemed through Chase and potentially more via points transfer to Hyatt hotels, etc. This is their premium travel card with 3X points on travel purchases and the ability to transfer points to airline miles or redeem at a 25% premium through their travel portal. Here are the details:

  • 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. That’s worth $1,250 toward any airfare or hotels booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal (works like Expedia or Travelocity).
  • 3X points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel, shipping purchases, internet/cable/phone services, and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines.
  • 1X point per $1 on all other purchases with no limit.
  • Ability to transfer points directly to airline mile partners.
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Free additional cards for employees.
  • Primary rental car coverage when renting for business purposes.
  • $95 annual fee.

Ultimate Rewards points. This card offers a 25% bonus on travel bookings made through the Ultimate Rewards travel website. 100,000 Ultimate Rewards = $1,250 in travel. Similar to Expedia or Travelocity, you can book flights on most major airlines, hotel chains, and car rental companies. 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 Ink Business Cash or Ink Business Unlimited, you can transfer points into this card account and take advantage of the 25% premium. However, if you happen to have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you could transfer your points over to that card and grab the better 50% premium.

You could think of this card as the small business version of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

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.

For example, I could definitely get more than $1,250 in value by converting into 100,000 World of Hyatt points.

Many people aren’t aware of the fact that they can apply for business credit cards, even if they are not a corporation or LLC. The business type is called a sole proprietorship, and these days many people are full-time or part-time consultants, freelancers, eBay/Amazon/Etsy sellers, Uber/Lyft drivers, or other one-person business owners. This is the simplest business entity, but it is fully legit and recognized by the IRS. On a business credit card application, you should use your own legal name as the business name, and your Social Security Number as the Tax ID.

Note that Chase has an unofficial rule that they will most likely 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.

The good news is that small business cards from Chase don’t show up on personal credit reports, so getting this card in itself won’t affect your future 5/24 eligibility. This it makes a “free” application if you are otherwise eligible.

Bottom line. The Chase Ink Business Preferred Card has a new, bigger 100,000 point sign-up bonus worth at least $1,250 towards travel, along with premium travel features included with the $95 annual fee. You can transfer Ultimate Rewards points from other Chase cards to increase your value. If you’d rather have a more simple cash-focused rewards structure and no annual fee, be sure to compare with the Ink Business Unlimited and Ink Business Cash.

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.

List of Free Educational Resources (and Free High-Speed Data)

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. Thank you for your support.

Here is a list of newly-available resources to help folks manage having their kids home all day long for weeks at a time! From getting free data to free lesson plans and materials.

Free Data Access

  • All four major US carriers — AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon agreed to waive late fees and will not disconnect anyone due to missed payments. In addition, their WiFi hotspots will be opened to all. Everyone can also connect to xFinity WiFi hotspots and other broadband WiFi hotspots for free.
  • AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile (including Metro by T-Mobile) customers will get unlimited data for the next 60 days, even if that is not part of their plan. This should be automatic. They also promise an extra 20 GB of free hotspot data “soon”.
  • Mint Mobile is also offering free unlimited data. See site for details, you can manually purchase unlimited “add-on data” for free through April 12th.
  • Comcast is increasing the speed of their Internet Essentials package for free. In addition, new customers of their $10/month service will receive two months of free service.

Free Educational Materials

The trickier part is finding engaging non-screen activities. Our next project is to make homemade giant bubbles (with honey instead of having to find glycerine?).

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.

Ally Bank New Deposit Promotion: Up to $250 Cash Bonus

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. Thank you for your support.

Ally Bank has a new cash deposit bonus that is offering a 1% cash bonus (up to $250) on new deposits on top of their existing interest rates. Valid for both new and existing customers. Given the holding period, this roughly equates to the same total interest paid as a 3-month bank CD at 5%+ APY. Here’s how it works:

  • Enroll by 3/20/20. You must enroll or you won’t get the bonus. Existing customers must enroll with the same e-mail as linked to their Ally bank account.
  • Fund account by 3/31/20. This means your account has to be approved, opened and funded by this date. Move at least $1,000 from another financial institution to a new or existing eligible Ally Bank account. Remember, transfers can take up to 3 business days.
  • Maintain funds through 6/30/20. Your funds need to remain in an eligible Ally Bank account through 6/30/20. Any withdrawals made during this time may reduce your bonus.
  • Get cash bonus on 7/30/20. Get a 1% cash bonus back on the money you moved, up to $250. That means $25,000 would max out this bonus.

Ally had a similar bonus in 2018, but with higher deposit limits. Note the following regarding which are eligible Ally accounts:

What accounts are eligible?
New or existing Ally Bank Online Savings Accounts, Money Market Accounts, and CDs are eligible for the cash bonus. If you have more than one of these accounts, we’ll consider all of them when calculating your bonus. Remember, the total maximum bonus you can receive is $250.

What accounts are not eligible?
Interest Checking accounts, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), accounts owned by a trust, custodial accounts, Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA) accounts, and Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) accounts aren’t eligible for the cash bonus. New money you add to these accounts, or money you move from these accounts to your eligible accounts, won’t qualify for the bonus.

Rough math. The current rate on the Ally Online Savings account is 1.50% APY, and the 11-month No Penalty CD is 1.75% APY on $25k+ balances (as of 3/15/20). Given that you can an additional 1% bonus in 3 months, the bonus itself works out to the equivalent of a 4% annualized yield. 1.5% plus 4% = 5.5%, but given the recent market volatility, the savings rate may be cut down to 1% in the coming months. However, the No Penalty CD at 1.75% would be locked in. So you’re looking at the equivalent of a 3-month CD at roughly 5% – 5.75% APY for new money deposits between $1,000 and $25,000.

Should I move money out of Ally and back in to qualify? No, it won’t make any difference as Ally has already thought of that. All new funds added after 3/13/20 will count as new money for this promotion. They’ve already set the start date in the past, so you gain nothing by delaying your enrollment.

Existing customers. As a longtime Ally accountholder, I’m happy again to see that this offer includes existing customers, even if it has to be new money.

Bottom line. Ally Bank has a new promotion to attract new money (or bring back old money). You get a 1% cash bonus (up to $250) on new deposits on top of their existing interest rates. For their savings account, this works out to a 3-month holding period paying roughly 5% annualized interest. You must enroll soon by 3/20/20 and your account must be opened and fully funded by 3/31/20 at the very latest.

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.

Costco New Membership Discount: $10/$20 Costco Cash Card

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. Thank you for your support.

costexecHere is a promotional Costco membership certificate for prospective new members. You buy a certificate for full price on the promotional page and then bring it in to Costco to activate your membership. I have done this promotion in the past. You’ll then get a gift card in the mail:

  • Gold Star Members receive a $10 Costco Shop Card
  • Gold Star Executive Members receive a $20 Costco Shop Card

Costco has two membership tiers for consumers: Gold Star membership at $60/year and Executive membership at $120/year. Executive membership comes with a 2% cash rebate on purchases (now up to $1,000 in total rebates) as well as some other side benefits. That makes the breakeven point now $3,000 annually (averages out to $250 a month).

Here are some useful details from the fine print:

To qualify as a new member, an existing Costco membership must be expired for 18 months or more. Not valid for renewal of an existing Costco membership or an upgrade of an existing membership to an Executive Membership.

The Costco Shop Card will be mailed to the address provided at the time of new membership sign up at the Costco location. The Costco Shop Card will be mailed within 4 – 6 weeks.

After joining, you may consider applying for the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi. The credit card also replaces your Costco membership card.

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.

Sam’s Club New Membership Deal for $35, Includes $35 in Gift 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. Thank you for your support.

sams200bGroupon has two new Sam’s Club membership deals. The $35 option includes:

  • One-year Sam’s Club membership ($45 value)
  • Complimentary membership card for a spouse or other household member
  • $10 gift card upfront, valid online or in-club.
  • $25 eGiftCard delivered via email after first SamsClub.com purchase ($25+) made in first 30 days of membership
  • Free rotisserie chicken ($4.98 value)

The $45 option gives you a $20 gift card upfront (so the extra $10 cost is already covered) and also adds two free premium dips ($32.94 value). I guess it all comes down to how much you want that bacon and cheddar ranch or avocado salsa!

This deal is for new memberships only, as defined as follows:

Offer valid for new Sam’s Club Members only; not valid for membership renewals, for those with a current membership, or those who were Sam’s Club members less than 6 months prior to March 1, 2020.

Some folks like to rotate a year with Sam’s Club and a year with Costco, as both usually offer new member deals regularly.

Save even more on your Groupon with a cashback shopping portal. Many offer new customers bonuses if you make a qualifying purchase, including MyPoints ($10 bonus), Rakuten (formerly eBates) ($10 bonus), TopCashBack (varies), and BeFrugal ($10 bonus). So you could sign-up and stack this Groupon to pickup the bonus. I have cashed out of all of these in the last 12 months.

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.

Webull App: $0 Stock Trades, $0 Options Trading, 2 Free Shares Bonus

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. Thank you for your support.

Updated March 2020. Webull is a brokerage app (PC and web version also available) that has unlimited free stock trades with no platform fees, free real-time quotes, and no minimum balance requirement. As of March 2020, it has now added $0 options trades with $0 per contract fees. (Fidelity, Schwab, and TD Ameritrade all still charge $0.65 per contract.)

The free stock and options trades make it similar to Robinhood, but Webull seems like more of a full-featured traditional brokerage shrunk down into an app. Robinhood has a sleeker minimalist feel, while Webull has a ton of options for real-time stock quotes, technical indicators, charting, etc. Webull has traditional margin accounts that allow shorting. You can’t short stocks at all on Robinhood. Most importantly to me, Webull has customer service available via 24/7 Live Chat or phone number. Robinhood only has an e-mail address. (Robinhood also crashed all day last week Monday…)

Free stock bonus and transfer fee reimbursement. New users who are referred by another user can now get two free shares of stock:

  • First share worth between $2.50 and $250 for opening an account.
  • Second share worth between $12 to $1,400 for depositing ANY amount (even $1).

Here is my Webull referral link. It’s like a lottery where most people will get an $8 stock like Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA), but you also have a small chance at something better. The referrer gets 3 free shares of stock under the current promotion. Thanks if you use it! I have received shares of TEVA, SNAP, SBUX, VG, and even one AAPL. After you get the new user bonus, you can refer other people as well.

Webull will also reimburse you up to $100 in transfer fees if you move at least $2,000 worth of assets over to them.

Here are the full odds for the opening share bonus:

$2.50 to $10 value, odds are ~1:1.02
$10 to $50 value, odds are ~1:52.63
$80 to $100 value, odds are ~1:1111.11
$100 to $20 value, odds are ~1:10,000

Here are the full odds for the opening deposit bonus:

$12 to $30 value, odds are ~1:1.02
$30 to $100 value, odds are ~1:52.63
$100 to $200 value, odds are ~1:1111.11
$1,000 to $1,400 value, odds are ~1:10,000

You will need to sign-up initially either with a phone number or e-mail address, and then open an account after downloading the app (Android or iOS). Webull is a real SIPC-insured broker, and the application is the same (name, address, SSN, work questions, investing experience questions, etc).

Bottom line. Webull is a new entrant to the world of free stock trading apps, and now offers free options trading as well with no contract fees. The feel is more of a full-featured traditional brokerage account in app form as compared to competitor Robinhood. New users who open an account and deposit any amount can also grab a 2 free shares of stock. You can get $100 in transfer fees reimbursed if you move over at least $2,000 in assets.

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 – March 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. Thank you for your support.

The Federal Reserve just cut their target Fed Funds Rate by 0.50% in response to the market volatility brought on by the coronavirus. This will likely result in many rates drops this month for savings accounts and certificates across the board. (Lower rates may also make it a good time to refinance your mortgage with rates at all-time lows.)

Here’s my monthly roundup of the best interest rates on cash for March 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 3/4/2020.

High-yield savings accounts
While the huge megabanks make huge profits while paying you 0.01% APY, 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.

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 11-month No Penalty CD at 1.90% APY with a $500 minimum deposit. My eBanc has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 2.00% APY with a $100,000 minimum deposit. Ally Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 1.90% APY with a $25,000 minimum deposit. CIT Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 1.70% APY with a $1,000 minimum deposit. You may wish to open multiple CDs in smaller increments for more flexibility.
  • Andrews FCU has a special 13-month certificate at 2.15% APY. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization. Ally Bank has a special 13-month certificate at 2.10% APY. CIT Bank has a 12-month CD at 2.06% APY ($1,000 min).

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, but may be a good option if you have idle cash and cheap/free commissions.

  • Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund currently pays an 1.60% SEC yield. The default sweep option is the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund which has an SEC yield of 1.49%. You can manually move the money over to Prime if you meet the $3,000 minimum investment.
  • Vanguard Ultra-Short-Term Bond Fund currently pays 1.89% SEC yield ($3,000 min) and 1.99% 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 1.77% SEC yield and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR) has a 2.00% SEC yield while holding a portfolio of investment-grade bonds with an average duration of ~6 months.

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.

  • 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 3/3/2020, a 4-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 1.12% annualized interest and a 52-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 0.73% annualized interest.
  • The Goldman Sachs Access Treasury 0-1 Year ETF (GBIL) has a 1.46% SEC yield and the SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) has a 1.38% 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 November 2019 and April 2020 will earn a 2.22% 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-April 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.

  • The only notable card left in this category is Mango Money at 6% APY on up to $2,500, but there are many 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. I don’t use any of these anymore.

  • Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking (my review) has up to 5.09% 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. Elements Financial has 3% APY on balances up to $20,000 if you make 15 debit card “signature” purchases or other qualifying transactions per statement cycle. 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.

  • Hiway Federal Credit Union has a 5-year certificate at 2.61% APY ($25k minimum) and 2.50% APY with a $10,000 minimum. Early withdrawal penalty is 1 year of interest. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization ($10 one-time fee).
  • Navy Federal Credit Union has a special 17-month CD at 2.25% APY ($50 minimum + add-on feature up to $75k), but you must have a military affiliation to join (includes being a relative of a veteran).
  • Andrews FCU still has their special 84-month certificate at 3.05% APY. They also have a 55-month at 2.60% APY. $1,000 minimum to open. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization.
  • 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. The rates are not competitive 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. I don’t see anything noteworthy. 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. You could also view it as a hedge against prolonged deflation, but only if you can hold on for 20 years. As of 3/3/2020, the 20-year Treasury Bond rate was 1.44%.

All rates were checked as of 3/4/2020.

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.

Simple Bank Bonus: $400 Bonus + 1.75% APY for $20,000 New Deposit

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. Thank you for your support.

Bonus back again 3/3/20. Simple is one of many fintech startups adding fancy tech and smartphone app sprinkles to your vanilla checking account. They were acquired by the big European-based bank BBVA in 2014. They just updated their $200 and $400 new customer bonuses with new expiration dates.

$200 Bonus Details ($10,000+)

  • Open a new Simple Account by 3/15/2020 at 4:59 PM PT.
  • Deposit(s) totaling $10,000 or more must post to the new account by 4:59PM PT within 15 calendar days after the account is opened.
  • Maintain a balance of at least $10,000 through 5/31/20 4:59 PM PT.
  • The combined balance between your Simple Account and Protected Goals Account counts towards this bonus. The Protected Goals account currently pays 1.75% APY while the primary checking only pays 0.01% APY, so I would recommend opening one of those as well. Note that balances in *Shared* Accounts and *Shared* Protected Goals Accounts do not toward this bonus.
  • Qualifying customers will receive the bonus credit into the eligible Simple account by 6/15/2020 at 4:59pm PT.

$400 Bonus Details ($20,000+)

  • Same as above, except you’ll need to deposit $20,000+ within 15 calendar days of opening, and you’ll get a bigger $400 bonus.

This works out to a 2% bonus after 60 days, which makes it roughly 12% APY annualized. The bonus is on top of the variable interest rate of their Protected Goals account, currently 1.75% APY (as of 3/3/20). That is a pretty good return on FDIC-insured cash in this current rate environment.

Note that this offer is for new accounts only. They’ve been running this on and off since July 2019 (thus the old comments below) so many of us are no longer eligible. Here is their full fee schedule.

Note that for some reason Simple limits ACH transfers to/from an external account to $5,000 cumulative during the first 30 days, when initiated on the Simple website. However, you can simply initiate a transfer from another bank (Ally Bank, Marcus, CIT, etc.) and there are no transfer limits.

Bottom line. Simple is offering a $200/$400 bonus on $10,000/$20,000 of new money into a new account. This works out to a very high APY for a 60 day holding period. Currently, there are also new deposit bonuses from CIT Bank and CIBC Bank. Compare with my most recent roundup of best interest rates.

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.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card Review: 75,000 Point Bonus

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. Thank you for your support.

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card emerged after the merger of Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott (formerly the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card). This card offers unique perks for regular Marriott customers, and offers a 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy point bonus. Here are the highlights:

  • 75,000 bonus points after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Additional Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • 6X Bonvoy points per $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • 2X Bonvoy points per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status each account anniversary year. Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each account year.
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.

Keep in mind the following:

The bonus is not available to you if you:

(1) are a current cardmember, or were a previous cardmember within the last 30 days, of Marriott BonvoyTM American Express® Card (also known as The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express);

(2) are a current or previous cardmember of either Marriott Bonvoy BusinessTM American Express® Card (also known as The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express) or Marriott Bonvoy BrilliantTM American Express® Card (also known as the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card), and received a new cardmember bonus or upgrade bonus in the last 24 months; or

(3) applied and were approved for Marriott Bonvoy BusinessTM American Express® Card (also known as The Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express) or Marriott Bonvoy BrilliantTM American Express® Card (also known as the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card) within the last 90 days.

That’s a lot of long card names, but note the different 30-day, 90-day, and 24-month waiting periods that may now include Marriott business cards. (See my Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card Review.) This is why you should be looking to get the best possible bonus (like a limited-time offer) if you do apply.

The Marriott and Starwood merger is now complete, and you can use these points at either Marriott properties (Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance Hotels, Courtyard, Residence Inn, Springhill Suites, Fairfield Inn & Suites) or former Starwood Properties (Westin, Sheraton, The Luxury Collection, Four Points by Sheraton, W Hotels, St. Regis, Le Méridien, Aloft).

Here’s the current award chart:

You could use 70,000 points on two free nights at a Category 5 hotel like the Courtyard Waikiki Beach in Hawaii on a standard date, or you could get 4 free nights at a Category 3 hotel like the Residence Inn Austin Arboretum.

You can still turn your points into airline miles with a bonus. 60,000 Marriott points = 25,000 airline miles. Similar to the old Starwood bonus structure, they will add 15,000 points for every 60,000 points you transfer to airline miles.

Finally, Marriott points are also convertible to gift cards, but it takes 60,000 points to redeem for a $200 gift card for Marriott or retailers like Best Buy, Home Depot, or Nordstrom. That ratio isn’t all that great so you’ll definitely get the most value via hotel night redemptions or airline miles transfer.

Free Night Award. At your card anniversary (when you pay the annual fee), you will receive a Free Night Award that is good for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. This excludes the very top properties, but for regular travelers it will be very easy to get your $95 value. Many W Hotels, Westin, and even some Ritz-Carltons worldwide are included. Here are some sample hotels that qualify under the 35,000 point limit:

  • Sheraton Kona Resort (Big Island, Hawaii)
  • Westin Hapuna Beach Resort (Big Island, Hawaii)
  • Courtyard Waikiki Beach (Honolulu, Oahu)
  • Sheraton Kauai Resort (Kauai, Hawaii)
  • W Atlanta
  • New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile
  • W Chicago
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Beijing, China
  • The S. Regis Bangkok, Thailand

Bottom line. The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card (formerly the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card) has a sign-up bonus offer of 750,00 Marriott points. As with all hotel cards, the value is dependent on your unique travel preferences. If you stay at Marriott/Starwood properties regularly, the free annual night award should easily cover the annual fee.

Also see: 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.

Panera Bread: Unlimited Hot or Iced Coffee for $8.99 Per 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. Thank you for your support.

Panera Bread has rolled out their MyPanera Coffee subscription nationwide, which includes unlimited coffee for $8.99 per month. Here are the details:

  • Valid for any size cup of light roast, dark roast, hazelnut, decaf, iced coffee, or hot tea.
  • Get one cup up to every two hours, with free unlimited refills of the same beverage in-store.
  • Excludes cold brew, espresso drinks, and iced tea.
  • One subscription per person.

This works out to about 30 cents per cup if you got one per day. Panera has admitted that this is a loss leader and they hope you also buy a breakfast sandwich, muffin, etc. while you are there. If I had a Panera that was conveniently located to work or home, I would be all over this deal. (If only they had this when I was in college…) What do you think?

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.

Orion FCU Premium Checking Review: 3% APY (Up to $15k) w/ New Activity Requirements

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. Thank you for your support.

(Update 3/1/19. Orion has announced another change to their high-interest checking account. Effective April 1, 2020, instead of 8 debit transactions per month, you must spend at least $500 on your Orion debit or credit card each month. All signature and PIN based purchases count. Updated review below.)

Orion Federal Credit Union (FCU) has a Premium Checking account that offers 3% APY on balances up to $15,000 if you meet certain direct deposit and debit card transaction requirements. However, if you don’t meet the requirements, you’ll get basically no interest and be charged a monthly fee. Their membership is now open nationally. Details below.

Membership eligibility. Orion FCU is based in Memphis, Tennessee and has a field of membership open to nearby residents and employers of local companies. However, you can also join as a “volunteer” for one of their affiliated nonprofit organizations:

Volunteers for Orion Gives Back organizations are eligible for membership in Orion. You can qualify as a volunteer fundraiser simply by choosing an organization and asking us to make a $10 donation.

Yes, you read that right – they will even make the donation for you! Choose from Habitat for Humanity Greater Memphis, Hope House, Porter-Leath, Ronald McDonald House, and Wolf River Conservancy.

You will need your Social Security number and Driver’s License number. In addition, reader Bill reports that they will perform both a ChexSystems inquiry and a hard credit check through Equifax.

Premium Checking requirements. To qualify for the 3% APY on balances up to $15,000 and up to $10 in ATM fee rebates per month, you must have the following:

  • Electronic deposits totaling at least $500 per month. Electronic deposits include: direct deposit, mobile deposit, and electronic transfers from another financial institution.
  • Spend at least $500 on your Orion debit or credit card per month. All signature and PIN based purchases will count toward the $500 minimum.

Note that amounts in excess of $25,000 but under $100,000 will earn 2.01%. If you meet these requirements, there is no monthly fee. If you don’t, then there is a $5 monthly fee and your rate goes down to 0.05% APY.

It is nice that the deposit requirement is not restricted to “payroll direct deposits”. You can set up an automated monthly transfer from another bank account.

Worth it? Like many other such “rewards checking” accounts, you have to be ready for continuous changes. These financial institutions are constantly tinkering to see how they can get you to make this your main checking account, but not lose too much money on the perks.

Previously, you just had to make any 8 debit-card purchases per month. You might just make a bunch of $2 purchases at the convenience store. Some people who were making many small purchases will balk at the new $500 total requirement, but others might like the simplicity of the new terms.

Let’s make some rough calculations. An online savings account earning 2% would earn $300 of interest on a $15,000 balance. At 3% APY, you would earn $450 instead. That’s a difference of $150 per year in extra interest ($12.50 per month). Missing out on 2% cash back on credit card purchases of $500 per month works out to $10 per month. But the bank interest is taxable, while the credit card rewards are not. If you keep significantly less than $15,000, you might even come out behind with Orion.

Note: Some grocery stores allow you to get up to $200 cash back when making a purchase with a debit card with a PIN. However, this would depend on your cash needs as you’d still be missing out on credit card rewards if you are spending cash instead. You could technically deposit this cash back into a bank somewhere, but that also takes time and effort.

Bottom line. Orion FCU has a Premium Rewards checking account available to anyone nationwide that pays 3% APY on balances up to $15,000 if you meet certain direct deposit and debit/credit card transaction requirements. However, if you don’t meet those requirements, you will earn virtually no interest and be subject to a $5 monthly fee. The latest change replaces the 8 debit card transactions with a least $500 in monthly spending on an Orion debit/credit card.

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.

CIBC Bank Agility Online Savings $200/400 Deposit Bonus

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. Thank you for your support.

CIBC Bank USA has added a $200/$400 deposit bonus for new customers of their Agility online savings account. The bonus is on top of the interest rate, currently 1.85% APY (as of 3/1/20). $1,000 minimum to open. No monthly maintenance fees. CIBC stands for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Thanks to reader Mike for the tip.

New deposit bonus details.

  • Open a new CIBC Agility Savings Account by March 16, 2020, and make your deposit within 15 days of opening your account.
  • Sign up for online eStatements within 15 days of opening your account, available through CIBC US Online Banking.
  • Earn $200 when you deposit at least $25,000 and keep the money in your account for 120 days (after the end of the 15-day funding period).
  • Earn $400 when you deposit at least $50,000 and keep the money in your account for 120 days (after the end of the 15-day funding period).
  • You’ll get the bonus payment at least 60 days after the promotional period, as long as your account has remained open and has maintained the daily balance requirement.

If you have or have had an Agility Savings account on or after May 1, 2018, you will not be eligible for this promotion. Note the terms also state “The minimum balance to obtain the APY is $0.01.” I always keep a few bucks in an account that I want to keep open, so they don’t close it on me without notice, but this is another reason as you might not get any interest for the month if you zero out your account.

Effective APY. Taking into account the minimum holding period and assuming you fund at the end of the 15-day period:

  • Maintaining $25,000 for 120 days and earning $200 works out to 2.4% APY. Adding the 1.85% APY makes this work out to roughly 4.25% APY for 120 days.
  • Maintaining $50,000 for 120 days and earning $400 also works out to 2.4% APY. Adding the 1.85% APY makes this also work out to roughly 4.25% APY for 120 days.

This is a little optimistic as you will probably add a few days of holding time unless your deposit lands at the very end of the 15-day funding period. You’ll still get around 4% APY for 4 months.

Compare to other bonus offers. The effective APY for new customers is comparable to the CIT Bank $300 deposit bonus. This bonus is bigger, but also with a longer required holding period. Existing CIT Bank customers can take advantage of the shorter holding period requirement with the CIT bonus.

Bottom line. CIBC Bank USA is promoting their Agility online savings account with a new deposit bonus. Must open by 3/16/20 and fund within 15 days. The bonus is on top of their interest rate, currently 1.85% APY (as of 3/1/20).

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.