Category Archives: Benefits

Rewards, Airline, Cash Back, Insurance, Retail

Who Said There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch?

Did you hear about the restaurant in New York City that is offering up a free three-course meal to victims of Bernie Madoff? Anything on the menu too, not a pre-packaged arrangement.

Nino’s 208 is an upscale Italian restaurant located just blocks from Madoff’s office. All you need to do is show proof of victimization.

Nino Selimaj, owner, said he has sympathy for these people because he was in a similar situation in 2000, losing all of his money in stock market.

Forward Thinking

Citibank has introduced a new card “Citi Forward” that:

  • lowers the purchase interest rate by a quarter percent when cardholders use credit wisely
  • rewards points for paying on time and staying under the credit line
  • Spend Tracker: online resource that lets you know how your spending compares to others like you
  • “ThankYou Points” for completing socially responsible acts, such as donating to a local food drive, going paperless, switching to energy efficient light bulbs and volunteering

Membership has its Privileges

Did you see this story in the Wall Street Journal? American Express is paying select customers to close their accounts. This is how bleak the economic environment has gotten. $300 to not be a customer. Crazy. Maybe Toll Brothers can pay us $6,000 to not buy a home.

Keep in mind that accepting this offer may hurt your credit score, which will decrease your likelihood of obtaining another card in the future. As such, be certain that you have alternative credit cards on hand, before agreeing to the deal.

Also, you will lose any membership rewards points accumulated. So be sure to claim your rewards before agreeing to the offer.

It will be interesting to see if other card issuers follow suit with similar offers.

Think You can Design a Better Card?

Well here’s your chance. Submit your design by April 12 to Citibank’s “ThankYou Gift Card Design Contest.” Winners will be announced on www.thankyou.com on June 18, with winners receiving up to 100,000 reward points. The winner will join internationally renowned artist and designer Karim Rashid, who designs the current “ThankYou Network” gift cards.

How Shall I Penalize Thee… Let Me Count the Ways

Late payment penalties can be brutal. Just how bad? Here are 6 ways that they can work to your detriment on top of the embarrassment at the point of sale.

1.       Reduced credit lines

2.       Late fees (Typically $39)

3.       Over-limit fees (Average of $35)

4.       Trigger a higher interest rate (could as much as double your APR)

5.       Negative report to credit bureaus

6.       Canceled rewards accumulation

Bottom line, pay your card balance on time. If you can’t afford it, don’t charge it.  And if you slip up, contact the issuer immediately and offer a good excuse for the oversight.

Did You Hit A Grand Slam?

Another positive event during this bleak economic environment… Denny’s gave away free Grand Slams breakfasts, including pancakes, eggs, bacon strips and sausage links, to any customer that visited its restaurants yesterday between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Primarily an effort to showcase its meals as value-friendly options for cash-conscious consumers, the restaurant chain with over 1,500 locations anticipates up to 2 million people taking advantage of the deal.

With each restaurant able to churn out about 100 Grand Slams an hour, the goal is to reacquaint customers with its brand. Secondarily however, is the warm feelings evoked – just what doctor ordered.

Cash back for your IRA

The new Fidelity Retirement Rewards American Express Card offers a 2% earn rate when cardholders redeem their cash rewards into their Fidelity IRA (Traditional IRAs, RothIRAs and SEP IRA) accounts.

For every $2,500 in purchases, $50 can be automatically swept as a current year contribution into the user’s IRA. If the cardholder has maxed out their IRA contribution for that year, they can continue to accrue points and restart automatic deposits to their IRA the next year.

• No limits on cash rewards

• No annual fee