ON A PERSONAL NOTE: Mrs. PFDigest stopped by Wells Fargo yesterday to open a new checking account. As it turns out, she was pre-qualified for a new credit card–what luck! She graciously accepted their offer.
Since customer service reps at Wells–and I base this on reports I’ve read on the interwebs–doesn’t always seem to know what rewards they’re giving, and since they actually seem to be fond of sending customers welcome emails for products they didn’t get, I’m anxiously awaiting our first statement to see what our credit card rewards are!
WHAT’S BETTER THAN 5% REWARDS?: How about being a former President:
Does Bill Clinton have a credit card?
A friend of the former president told The New Republic that Clinton doesn’t carry one around because he never needs to pay for anything.
“He doesn’t care about money,” the friend said. “He doesn’t even have a credit card. When he wants to get something he says, ‘Wow, I love that,’ and whoever he’s with says, ‘Here it is!’”
NO MORE JOINT ACCOUNTS AT CHASE: It seems Chase will no longer issue joint credit cards:
Chase will no longer allow customers to open joint credit cards, a popular option for couples who want to share equal responsibility for payments.
The issuer recently pulled the plug on the option in order to “simplify” its offerings, according to a Chase spokesman. Instead of opening a joint credit card, customers will have to add their spouse, partner or anyone else they want as an authorized user to an account. Existing customers who already have joint accounts will not be impacted, however.
Most of you know that joint credit card accounts are usually a bad idea since you lose the opportunity to double your rewards and your credit line. They do have their uses though–when the aforementioned Mrs. PFDigest first came to this country, I added her to my credit card with the highest credit line. Six months later, her FICO was higher than mine.
ANOTHER HEARTWARMING STORY FROM VENEZUELA: There are deals to be had in the sweltering workers’ paradise known as Venezuela! You may remember the gasoline arbitrage story a while back, but there’s an even better opportunity now. Thanks to reader bluto for passing this along. Check it out:
CARACAS (Reuters) – If you live in Venezuela and want to fly abroad, get in line.
Flights are booked solid months in advance, not from a new interest in exotic destinations but because locals are profiting from a play on the nation’s tightly controlled currency market.
After a decade of currency controls set up by late socialist leader Hugo Chavez in 2003, the disparity between the official and black-market rates for the local bolivar currency is higher than ever. Greenbacks now sell on the illegal market at about seven times the government price of 6.3 to the dollar.
There are strict limits on the availability of dollars at the 6.3 rate, but Venezuelans are cashing in on a special currency provision for travelers. With a valid airline ticket, Venezuelans may exchange up to $3,000 at the government rate.
I’m no arbitrage expert, but if the illegal rate is seven times the official rate, and you can buy $3,000 at the official rate, does that mean you can profit $18,000 in a single transaction?
But wait, this gets even better:
Some Venezuelans do not even bother leaving the country, but merely send their credit cards to friends overseas, who swipe the cards and send the cash back to Venezuela.
It’s like Vanilla Reloads, but with foreign currency!
This is too big for me–let’s get others involved! Just imagine: Million Mile Secrets can draw a diagram to explain how to pull this off, while commenters from Flyertalk gripe about how he just ruined the Venezuelan economy. Mommy Points will show us how to entertain small children while we’re being held at gunpoint in Caracas. Frequent Miler and Chasing The Points will figure out some way to use Lands’ End gift cards to double the $18,000 profit to $36,000. The Points Guy will publish a list of the 38 most essential credit cards for a trip like this, and meanwhile some commenters from Frugal Travel Guy will get lost at the Miami airport.