Citi’s getting generous! Plus FSA rollovers and another family travel seminar


CHECK YOUR MAILBOXES AND INBOXES: As per FWF, Citi is sending out targeted offers for their new 2% cashback card. The best one reported so far is $200 after $1,000 in spend. Despite what some folks say, this card does not suck!

CITI GETING MORE PRESTIGE-IOUS: Citi’s been making a push in credit cards lately and we’re all benefiting. Frequent Miler has a nice rundown of what you stand to gain by jumping on the Citi Prestige 30,000-point offer that’s currently out there. If you’ve got a lot of travel on your plate, there are potentially $700 worth of travel credits to be had here, plus the points, minus the $350 annual fee. It’s not for everybody but some of you could make good use of all that.

IS APPLE NOW REGULATED BY THE CPFB?: This is hilarious to think about. You’ll have to wade through some legal stuff, but in a nutshell:

So what does this mean if I’m correct and Apple is now a “service provider” under the Consumer Financial Protection Act? First, it means that Apple is now subject to CFPB examination and enforcement authority. Second, it means Apple is subject to UDAAP, including CFPB rulemaking and enforcement and state enforcement of the federal UDAAP statute.

And note that the way the Consumer Financial Protection Act is drafted, UDAAP is not limited to unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices in connection with the offering of the consumer financial product or service.  It is a simple prohibition on covered persons and service providers engaging in unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices, period. There is no language saying that the unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices has to have any relationship with the consumer finance business.  Read literally, anything Apple does is therefore fair game for state AGs, and for private attorneys who use private rights of action under state UDAP statutes based on a predicate violation of the federal UDAAP statute (that does not contain a private right of action).

So if there’s an issue with your iPad, take it to the CFPB! Or something.

YOU MAY BE ABLE TO ROLLOVER FSA MONEY: For all you residents of Cubicleville, it’s almost time for benefits enrollment season! I hadn’t realized this, but apparently the federal government now allows $500 to roll over in an FSA account, and some companies will be offering that option this year. Good to know.

FAMILY TRAVEL FOR REAL LIFE PART DEUX: Dia, aka The Deal Mommy, is putting on another Family Travel for Real Life seminar! This one will be on March 7, 2015 in Charlotte, aka The Greatest City In The World, and yours truly will be attending. In Dia’s words:

The event fills a giant hole in travel advice for families, which tends to swing from “Sleeping at your in-laws house is a great vacation” to “Fly your baby in First Class or stay home”. The speakers at FT4RL are all parents who, while having different modes and methods, share one belief:

Travel with kids is not only possible, but necessary. By sharing the world with our children, we expand both their minds and our own, creating a lifetime’s worth of wonder that can come no other way.

The relevant blog entry is here, ticket information is here, and a recent NYT article on what to do in 36 hours in Charlotte is here. Here’s the current list of confirmed speakers, with more on the way:

  • Phil from Miles Abound on Current Events and Sweet Spots in Miles and Points
  • Kenny from Miles4More on National Parks Destination Ideas Off the Beaten Path for Families (and how to get to them with awards)
  • Bonnie from Frugal Travel Lawyer on the New Frontier (Airlines): Southwest, Jetblue, and the rest of the game changers
  • Shawn from Miles to Memories on Immersive travel: family adventures, educational experiences, and ways to give back

I’m looking forward to it, and I’m looking forward to meeting a few of you in Charlotte!

Barclaycard cracks down on satire!


Last week, after I hit the publish button on my infamous “world’s most amazing advice column” post, I immediately emailed our fearless website leader Matt, “If you feel the need to kill that last one, I totally understand. But goodness gracious, that was a lot of fun to write!”

The reason I figured there was a chance of blowback was that the post was a reductio ad absurdum of online credit card marketing. The way the system often works is bloggers think of some pretense for selling cards and then write a half-assed post about it. No matter what the issue or problem is, you can bet the answer will involve an affiliate credit card link! [click to continue…]

Death and destruction everywhere, yet hope springs eternal

RIP AMAZON PAYMENTS: Amazon payments has been good for an easy thousand dollars worth of spending per month since 2010, but no more–as of October 13, you will no longer be able to send money to your friends with AP.

This has been one of the most newbie-friendly ways of meeting minimum spends for years now, so we’re sad to see it go.

amazon payments tombstone

RIP PLINK: You know what else is dead? Plink, that’s what. I never cared for it too much myself, mostly because I’m always changing credit cards and it was kind of a hassle to keep updating in Plink. But others did, and I’m sure some folks made out okay from this. There have been a few other now-defunct third-party programs–Envaulted and Great Bridge Group come to mind–which operated along similar lines. The basic idea (much like the Underpants Gnomes) is:

  1. Enroll people in your rewards program with promise of extra credit card rewards
  2. ?
  3. Profit!

Hopefully somebody will figure out that crucial step 2 someday…

THREE YEAR, 0% BT: This is only in the UK, but still:

A credit card price war is continuing to hot up, with Barclaycard this week launching the UK’s longest-ever balance transfer offer: a 0% interest rate lasting almost three years.

Money is awfully cheap these days. There’s been the occasional report of negative interest rates in Europe, and now Japan as well.

WHEREIN YOUR HUMBLE BLOGGER ATTEMPTS TO EARN 2.625% ON ALL PURCHASES: I enrolled in Bank of America’s new Preferred Rewards program and I was able to convert my sock-drawered Cash Returns card to a Travel Rewards card. Will I actually get the 2.625% (1.5% base + a 75% bonus) to which I’m theoretically entitled? Stay tuned!

Introducing the world’s most amazing advice column!

hawaiian airlines world elite mastercard

[EDIT: My affiliate links got pulled shortly after posting this! I've removed them.]

Dear readers,

I’m pleased to introduce my newest guest columnist, the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard®! The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard® has been helping me with difficult personal issues for many years, so I’m pleased to share the wise counsel with a broader audience! Let’s take a look at this week’s batch of letters…

Dear Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard®,

My fiancé and I are getting married next June. Unfortunately, my parents went through a bitter divorce many years ago, and each of them is saying they won’t go to my wedding if the other one attends. What should I do?

Perplexed in Peoria [click to continue…]