5 Things to Know About the Hotels.com Rewards Visa Credit Card

The Hotels.com Rewards Visa from Wells Fargo offers decent rewards value for your spending, coupled with an annual fee of $0 and the flexibility of not being tied to one hotel chain. But what about aspirations of using rewards to book a free plush room in an exotic location?

Not so much. Let’s just say if the rewards program were a hotel, it’d be less like a beachfront luxury resort and more like a suburban office-park hotel off the highway — and that’s if you’re willing to wade through the convoluted rewards program. It awkwardly marries credit card spending rewards with a “buy 10, get one free” system you’d find at a sandwich shop.

It could be a good fit for those already using the Hotels.com loyalty program. But if you’re willing to pick a hotel group and stick with it, co-branded hotel credit cards might be a better fit, even if you have to pay an annual fee. And a general travel card can offer even more versatility.

Here are five things to know about the Hotels.com Rewards Visa.

1. The sign-up bonus is just OK

With an annual fee of $0, you don’t expect a massive sign-up bonus. But even still, some might be a little disappointed with this one.

The current bonus: Earn one “reward night” worth up to $125 when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months. (The reward night excludes taxes and fees, which you’ll have to pay.)

To maximize this bonus, you’d need to find a room that costs exactly $125 a night. If it costs more, you’ll owe the difference. If it costs less, you don’t get back the difference. That’s less than you get with most other major hotel credit cards, even ones with no annual fee.

A running theme here: The card’s bonus, like its rewards, is not so much a “free night,” but more like a dollar credit to use at Hotels.com.

2. Rewards are baffling …

You CAN figure out the rewards program. But after this description, decide whether you WANT to.

Earning:

  • Even without the credit card, the Hotels.com loyalty program lets you earn a “stamp” for every night you stay at any eligible property booked on that site. That’s a stamp like you might get on a loyalty wallet-card at a sandwich or coffee shop.

  • With the Hotels.com Rewards Visa credit card, you earn a stamp for every $500 spent on purchases with the card. All spending counts the same. No bonus rewards for spending on, say, restaurants or gas stations — not even for booking at Hotels.com.

But what are the rewards stamps worth? You’ll have to remember the number $110. Here’s why.

Redeeming:

You need to accumulate 10 stamps for a “reward night.” No partial redemptions for, say, seven stamps.

So 10 stamps, and I can book any hotel room on Hotels.com? Uh, no. Not all stamps are created equal:

  • Stamps you earn by racking up $500 in spending on the credit card are assigned a value of $110.

  • But stamps you earn by booking through Hotels.com are worth whatever you paid for the room.

The value of your 10-stamp “reward night” is the average of your 10 stamps — again, with credit card-earned stamps worth $110. So, if you didn’t book any rooms through Hotels.com and earned your 10 stamps only with the credit card, then your reward is worth $110. But if you have a mix of bookings and credit card stamps, your reward could be more or less than $110, depending on how expensive your bookings were, which affects the average of the 10 stamps.

Lastly, rewards expire after 12 months of inactivity (meaning you didn’t earn a stamp or redeem a reward during that time). So make sure you spend at least $500 a year on the card to earn a stamp and reset the expiration date.

Nerd tip: For rewards earned with the credit card alone, don’t get your hopes up for booking a luxurious 5-star hotel, where rooms cost far more than $110. You can book a more expensive hotel and still use the reward, but you’ll have to pay the difference. And as with the bonus offer, your free night doesn’t include taxes and fees.

3. … But reward values can be decent

Because of the confusing rewards system, it might seem difficult to assess the value of earning those rewards. But it’s essentially 2.2% back. Here’s how:

Considering only rewards earned with the credit card, you’ll need to spend $5,000 to earn 10 stamps worth $110. ($110/$5,000 =.022 = 2.2%)

Put another way, each stamp earned with the Hotels.com Rewards Visa credit card is worth $11. (But they’re worth nothing until you have 10 of them.)

That is a competitive rewards rate compared with some hotel cards. But, of course, there are 2% cash-back credit cards available. With the Hotels.com Rewards Visa, you get only an extra 0.2 percentage points to earn rewards that are far more restrictive than cash, which brings us to the next point.

4. It has flexibility pluses and minuses

Hotels.com boasts listings of 500,000 properties in more than 200 countries. So if you’re not chasing elite status with a particular brand, the Hotels.com Rewards Visa card could help get you free or discounted reward nights across a wide variety of properties, and for no annual fee.

On the downside, unlike cards offering flexible rewards, the stamps you earn using this credit card are redeemable only for Hotels.com bookings. Plus, you can’t redeem the rewards you’ve earned until you earn 10 stamps.

And it has no travel partners to transfer rewards to.

5. It offers a few perks

  • Silver status: You get automatic Silver status with Hotels.com for 12 months from date of opening. If you already have Silver status, it will be extended for 12 months thanks to your new card. Silver status entitles you to free breakfast, spa vouchers, airport transfers, VIP access lines and more at eligible properties.

  • No redemption fee: If you’re just a Hotels.com loyalty member, you must pay a $5 fee for each redemption unless you use the app. The fee is waived if you have the Hotels.com Rewards Visa.

  • Cell phone protection: Pay your phone bill with this card and you’ll be covered in the event of damage to or theft of your phone, for up to $1,200 per year ($600 per claim) after a $25 deductible.

  • Travel perks: Like any self-respecting travel card, it charges no foreign transaction fee for making purchases abroad. It also comes with some travel protections, such as rental car insurance (secondary) and trip cancellation and interruption insurance.

In the end, the Hotels.com Rewards Visa is a way to earn credit for booking rooms on Hotels.com. Its rewards value for spending on the card is decent and would be a good addition for those already immersed in the Hotels.com loyalty program. But for most people, a co-branded card with a name like Marriott, Hilton or Hyatt might serve them better if they can commit to one hotel chain.

Information related to the Hotels.com Rewards Visa has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.

Source: nerdwallet.com

Discover Offering Some Cardholders 0% APR For 12-14 Months When Asked

Update 1/25/21: People being targeted for 0% APR again, can check by using the chat feature.

Periodically Discover offers some cardholders additionally offers when asked, for example:

Currently Discover is offering some cardholder 0% APR for 12 months. To see if you’re eligible you need to chat with a Discover representative.

Hat tip to reader Matthew

Source: doctorofcredit.com

4 Ways to Save More Money at Ikea

Woman shopping at Ikea
Prachana Thong-on / Shutterstock.com

Ikea might just be the top home furnishing store for frugal folks across the nation.

The products are stylish but inexpensive — as long as you don’t mind using a little elbow grease to assemble them.

People trying to save a buck love Ikea’s low prices. But learn a few tricks and you can hang on to even more cash at the popular retailer. Following are a few ways to save more at Ikea.

1. Join the Ikea Family rewards program

Ikea Family
AlesiaKan / Shutterstock.com

Enroll in Ikea Family, and you will be eligible for perks that include:

  • Discounts on products “from food to furniture”
  • Free coffee or tea in the in-store Ikea Restaurant
  • A birthday treat

2. Sign up for Ikea’s moving program

Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com

Planning a big move? Ikea can help if you sign up for its New Mover program.

Once you register, you will receive $25 off your next purchase of $250 or more.

3. Shop the ‘as-is’ section

Vadim Georgiev / Shutterstock.com

Bargain hunters should be sure to stop by the “as-is” section at Ikea stores. Here, you can find deals on all kinds of items.

According to Apartment Therapy:

“… once a week, most IKEA stores offer a 10%-off as-is section discount. However, that day varies from store-to-store, so your best bet is to call your nearest IKEA to find out what day of the week you can score an even bigger markdown.”

Also, many Ikea fanatics say Monday is a great day to shop the section, after people have used the weekend to return items.

4. Get discounted gift cards

Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock.com

When you shop Ikea — or many other major retailers — you can cut costs even further by using gift cards purchased at websites that sell them at a discount.

We’ve seen Raise sell Ikea gift cards at a discount of 5% or more. However, these bargain gift cards are just as popular as Ikea itself, so sometimes Raise is sold out of Ikea cards.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

Abound Credit Union Visa Offers 5% Cash Back On Restaurants During Q1 2021

The Offer

Direct Link to offer

  • The Abound Credit Union Visa card is offering 5% cash back on restaurant purchases – dine in, take out, order delivery – for January 1 through March 30, 2021.

The Fine Print

  • No limits mentioned
  • 5% off all restaurant purchases including DoorDash and GrubHub
  • Limited time offer January 1 – March 31 2021

Our Verdict

Some people might have this card due to it offering 5% cashback on all gas purchases. 5% on restaurants is pretty good, though some may prefer other cards.

Hat tip to reader nightfir, Evan, and d.

Source: doctorofcredit.com

7 Handy Household Uses for Baking Soda

Woman holding a jar of baking soda
Dragon Images / Shutterstock.com

Baking soda can be found in almost any home. But some people may not realize that its uses are seemingly never-ending — and some are even remarkable.

Following are ways you can use baking soda at home — besides keeping the fridge smelling sweet.

1. Keep bugs at bay

Baking soda
Geo-grafika / Shutterstock.com

When I lived in Philadelphia, I greatly reduced the roach population in my apartment by leaving a few dishes of baking soda and sugar here and there; the sugar attracted them, and the bicarb killed them.

2. Provide homemade first aid

Bee sting
Mirko Graul / Shutterstock.com

A baking soda paste helps soothe the discomfort of bee or wasp stings, says Seattle Children’s Hospital. Leave it on for 20 minutes.

3. Fight the elements

cold
Maryna Pleshkun / Shutterstock.com

Baking soda can help you:

  • Fight fire. When I was a little kid, my dad told me to throw baking soda on a fire in a frying pan or on a stovetop. It works!
  • Fight ice. Baking soda on slippery steps or icy walkways gives traction but is kinder to surfaces than commercial de-icer.

4. Clean stuff

Woman washing dishes
New Africa / Shutterstock.com

Using baking soda is a great way to clean a lot of stuff around your house:

  • Wash extra-dirty dishes. Sprinkle baking soda on a sponge, or directly onto the dishes, before scrubbing dishes that have stubborn baked-on food. The baking soda acts as a mild abrasive that adds scrubbing power without scratching.
  • Shine stainless steel. Use a damp sponge and soda to clean stainless steel appliances.
  • Soften stickers. A baking soda paste will take care of gummy residue left by adhesive labels or stickers.

5. Tidy up the house

Man cleaning with bleach
DGLimages / Shutterstock.com

Baking soda can also be used to keep the house looking great:

  • Wash the fridge. Sure, you keep an open box of soda in the fridge. But every so often, wash the inside of the appliance with a baking soda solution.
  • Drain the drain. Pour some baking soda down the sink and chase it with white vinegar. Then, pour very hot water — maybe even a kettle full of boiling water — to finish the job. It’s more eco-friendly than a harsh drain opener but does a good job of keeping the lines running.
  • Defeat soap scum. Baking soda paste is a good cleaner for bathroom tiles.
  • De-grime grout. Scrub tile grout with a baking soda paste. Leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse well.

6. De-stain things

drink
Pormezz / Shutterstock.com

Baking soda will also take stains out of many things:

  • Revive your Tupperware. Are your plastic dishes stained from storing minestrone or reheating spaghetti at work? Rub off the red with baking-soda paste.
  • Scrub stains from a coffee mug. Use a wet cloth on the inside of stained coffee mugs, then dip the cloth into bicarb and scrub off the stains. If that doesn’t work, fill with a baking soda solution and let sit overnight.

7. Un-stink stuff

Stinky shoes
andriano.cz / Shutterstock.com

You can use baking powder to get the stink out of many things. For instance:

  • Rehab a pet bed. Over time, Fluffy’s or Fido’s bed cushion will get a little sniffy. Use soda to absorb smells, then vacuum.
  • Wash your hands. Cleaning fish or chopping onions? Take the smell off your fingers by washing them with baking soda and water.
  • Deodorize the carpet. If the wall-to-wall carpeting smells bad, sprinkle it with baking soda, wait 15 minutes and then vacuum up the powder. The smell will come up with it.
  • Freshen the mattress. Every so often apply a thin layer of baking soda atop the mattress. In a few hours, vacuum it up.
  • De-funkify the trash can. Put a layer of baking soda in the bottom of the receptacle. Note: This is especially useful for the trash can that you use for dirty disposable diapers.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

8 Ways to Stop Buying Things You Don’t Need

Woman giving the stop gesture
Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock.com

Retailers are exceptional at getting us to part with our hard-earned dollars — even for stuff we don’t need.

When your favorite store slashes prices or makes it all too easy to purchase something — hello, Amazon Prime — it may be understandable if you occasionally succumb to the instant gratification of an impulse buy.

But if your spending has gotten out of control or you’ve resolved to buy less, then these strategies can help.

1. Say ‘no’ to junk mail

Woman checking her mailbox
Audrey Saracco / Shutterstock.com

Junk mail tends to come loaded with offers. If they tempt you to spend money, then your best bet is to unsubscribe.

There are multiple ways to opt out of direct mail, such as catalogs and marketing offers you receive by mail. We walk you through the process in “5 Ways to Put an End to Junk Mail.”

If unsolicited credit card offers are part of your spending problem, there’s a way to opt out of those, too.

2. Log the purchases you don’t make

Man happily using laptop
stockfour / Shutterstock.com

Bear with us here and try this one weird trick: Every time you consider buying something that is a want rather than a need, add it to a dedicated spreadsheet instead of buying it. Then, invest the money you would have spent.

Say you invest $100 every month for 10 years. At the end of the decade, if you earned a 6% rate of return, you’d have more than $17,000.

Money Talks News President Dan Schointuch tried this approach when the stock market tumbled last year and says it works for him.

“The act of ‘shopping’ and putting these products on a list sort of tricks my brain into investing more instead of spending,” he says.

3. Order groceries online

Driver delivering groceries
347059970 / Shutterstock.com

If you tend to go to the grocery store for specific items and end up stocking your cart with extras, going digital for a while might help you curb your spending.

When you order groceries online, whether you get them delivered or pick them up curbside, you can stick to just what’s on your list and eyeball the total before hitting “place order.”

Many grocers offer free pickup for online orders now. If you prefer to have your groceries delivered to your home, take a look at “The 5 Best Grocery Delivery Services.”

4. Uninstall retailers’ apps

Upset man with cellphone
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

If you find yourself using your smartphone to make a ton of purchases, then uninstalling retailer apps can give your wallet (and your thumbs) a break. You’re probably less likely to buy something if you have to find a computer, log in and complete the purchase online.

5. Unsubscribe from retailers’ emails

Bashigo / Shutterstock.com

Retailer newsletters are a great way to stay on top of sales and receive promotional discounts, but they also pose a major temptation to spend money. Next time you receive such an email, hit the “unsubscribe” button — which is usually found at the very bottom of the message, often in a tiny font.

And if you’re asked for an email address at a storefront or at an online checkout, simply don’t provide one.

6. Don’t save your credit card info online

Shopper earning extra cash back online
Prostock-studio / Shutterstock.com

Some retailers allow you to save your payment information within your online account, but this makes it easier to spend money.

Removing your payment info is not only safer — but it also means you have to do more work before you make a purchase. Unless you’ve memorized your credit card number, you’ll have to get up and track down your wallet before making each online purchase.

7. Pay with cash when possible

A shopper holds money at a store cash register
sbw18 / Shutterstock.com

You may have heard that people tend to spend less when using cash — and there’s research to back it up. For example, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston found that the average cash transaction was $22 versus $112 for noncash transactions in 2016.

Every time you have to open your wallet, count the money and hand over cash, it’s more painful than clicking a “purchase” button online or swiping a credit card.

This method may either help you avoid impulse buys altogether or at least spend less on your next errand.

8. Ignore urgent marketing messages

Woman protecting a piggy bank
Aaron Amat / Shutterstock.com

Have you ever seen a message like “limited-time offer” or “just two items left at this price” and felt an urge to buy it? The impulse may be attributed to the principle of scarcity, which basically says you’re more likely to buy something that’s less available.

When you see these urgent messages, give yourself a day or so to calm down. Leave the store, or leave the item in your shopping cart if you’re online. Once you come back to the item with a fresh perspective, you might decide to pass on the purchase altogether.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Secured Visa®

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Source: thesimpledollar.com

Barclays jetBlue Plus Card – 100,000 Point Bonus [Last Day]

Update: Mailers have been sent out with an end date of January 19, 2021.

The Offer

Direct link to offer

  • Barclays offering a sign up bonus of 100,000 JetBlue points on the JetBlue Plus card. Bonus is broken down as follows:
    • Earn 50,000 points after $1,000 in spend within the first 90 days
    • Earn an additional 50,000 bonus points after spending a total of $6,000 on purchases within the first 12 months

Card Details

  • Full Review Here
  • Card earns at the following rates:
    • 6x points per dollar spent on jetBlue purchases (previously 2x points)
    • 2x points per dollar spent on restaurants and groceries (previously 1x point)
    • 1x points per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Annual fee of $99 (not waived first year)
  • Free checked bag for the primary cardmember and up to three companions on the same reservation when you use your JetBlue Plus Card to purchase tickets on JetBlue-operated flights
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points every year after your account anniversary
  • Enjoy all Mosaic benefits for one year after you spend $50,000 or more on purchases after your anniversary date
  • Get 10% of your points back every time you redeem to use toward your next redemption
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $100 statement credit after you purchase a Getaways vacation package with your card
  • 50% savings on eligible inflight purchases including cocktails, food and movies

Our Verdict

This is obviously a huge offer, previous best deal was 60,000 points. This offer has a higher spend requirement, but still significantly better than normal.  JetBlue award flight prices are linked to the cash price of a ticket, much like Southwest. If you have any questions about Barclays credit cards, read this post first. I definitely think this card/bonus is worth signing up for and will add this to our list of the best credit card bonuses. There is also a bonus of 100,000 points on the business card as well.

Source: doctorofcredit.com

11 of the Best Items to Regift This Year

A woman gives a regift to a friend
Alliance Images / Shutterstock.com

Maybe you’ve heard a few nightmare tales about regifting — or lived them yourself. Ever received a present that has a gift tag with someone else’s name? That’s probably the No. 1 regifting goof.

But there are ways to pull off a regift successfully — especially in 2020, when our in-person shopping and gift-giving has been reduced, and any present feels like a bright spot in a tough year.

Some items, of course, shouldn’t be regifted. Don’t regift anything that’s been opened — even if the item inside wasn’t used. If the item was homemade for you, like a knitted scarf or jar of jam, don’t pass that on. Never hand over out-of-date technology, even if it’s unused.

And consider the recipient: Don’t give your sister the gift your brother handed you last year.

But that said, here’s a look at some items that should be perfectly fine to regift, if you’re a bit careful about it.

1. Art supplies

Bella Logachova / Shutterstock.com

Today’s excellent art supplies aren’t just for kids. Artistic adults, too, may appreciate elegant colored pencils, calligraphy sets and gel pens in all the colors of the rainbow. You can even dress up your regift by adding in an adult coloring book or sketchpad.

2. Candles

Candles next to a houseplant
Daria Minaeva / Shutterstock.com

Candles offer a warm glow to light up the winter night. But if you know you’ll never light that lovely pine-scented present, pass it on to someone who might appreciate a little light in a dreary year. One caveat: Some major candle stores have one-time or seasonal collections, so if your gift is older, it might be obvious that it’s not a new purchase.

Wine

man drinking wine
Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com

Received a nice bottle of wine, but you’re not a drinker? Or perhaps you only drink reds, and your neighbor dropped off a nice bottle of chardonnay? Wine (or other liquors) is a perfect regift — as long as you know the recipient isn’t avoiding alcohol.

Gift cards

Gift cards
smile23 / Shutterstock.com

Few presents are as flexible as a gift card. By putting the present choice in the recipient’s hands, you’ll never give an item that’s the wrong size, wrong color or that someone already owns. And most gift cards are easy to use online — a bonus for those who are trying to stay away from crowds. Just be careful that the card you regift hasn’t been partially used — no one wants to punch in a gift card number and discover they only have 75 cents to spend.

Games and puzzles

Sidarta / Shutterstock.com

Our household has played more board games and assembled more jigsaw puzzles in 2020 than we did in the previous three years combined. It’s a natural consequence of finding ourselves stuck at home. Games and puzzles that don’t appeal to your family might be a welcome distraction for someone else. Be sure they’re unopened — few things are more frustrating than a puzzle missing a piece.

Kitchen items

Woman making fruit juice with a juicer
ABO PHOTOGRAPHY / Shutterstock.com

Maybe your cousin sent you a handy citrus juicer for a housewarming present — and you already have two. And while those cat tea towels from Grandma are sure purr-ty, you have a drawer full of towels already. Leave any tags and packaging intact, and cook up a tasty regifting plan.

Costume jewelry

Woman wearing earrings
Look Studio / Shutterstock.com

My mom didn’t have pierced ears, but not everyone in her life knew that. She subtly passed on any pierced earring gifts to her four daughters and kept clip-ons for herself. Don’t pass on heirlooms or pricey presents to those who might not appreciate them, though. And before a jewelry regift, figure out if your recipient actually wears that kind of item. Mom thanks you.

Fragrance and lotions

Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com

Scent is so personal. If someone gifted you rose cologne that makes you sneeze, or vanilla lotion when you only wear the unscented variety, don’t feel guilty about passing an unopened gift along. Try to snoop around first to see if the new recipient is likely to be a fan — some people have allergies, while others love a light fragrance but can’t deal with stronger scents.

Gift baskets

Gift basket
nikkytok / Shutterstock.com

Themed gift baskets can be a huge hit with the right person. But maybe you received a cache of different coffees and you never touch the stuff, or bridgework or braces won’t let your family enjoy the flavored popcorn pack. Regift without guilt — large family groups will usually have at least one person who will appreciate the items.

Toys

Julia Shepeleva / Shutterstock.com

Children are fun to buy for — browsing through toys delivers an irresistible trip down memory lane. But faraway relatives don’t always judge a child’s age appropriately, and middle-schoolers are unlikely to want Disney princess dolls or bath toys. Find the next generation in your family or circle of friends, and pass on those presents.

Novelty gifts

Happy woman holding a gift
CarlosDavid / Shutterstock.com

My brother and sister used to trade off the same rubber chicken every Christmas, working each year to package it in a creative and novel way so it wouldn’t be recognized until it was opened. You may not want to go this far, but goofy or gag gifts aren’t meant to be taken seriously. So if you never opened that Bob Ross bobblehead, or won’t ever use those bacon-scented bandages, give them away with a clear conscience. You’ll likely get a laugh, and that’s all these gifts really require.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com