Money August 2017

Top 5 Ways To Redeem Swagbucks

Some of my online earnings from searching the web that allow my to redeem Swagbucks
I got some online income from searching on Swagbucks.

I’ve recently been tracking my online earnings on this site, and if you’ve noticed, one of my top earnings sources is Swagbucks.  When I started this site, my first post detailed how to earn and redeem Swagbucks.  I’ve continued using Swagbucks since then, and I’m now up to nearly $1,600 in lifetime earnings.

You can read the review above or check out this e-Book to learn more about the part about earning Swagbucks. The earning process is only one part of achieving success with Swagbucks.

The digital currency, made up of points known as SBs, can really pay off with some great redemption options.  Here are five of the best options when it comes time to redeem Swagbucks.

5. Charitable Organizations

When you’re ready to redeem Swagbucks, you can put your SBs toward a few charitable organizations. It’s possible to donate 5 SBs (essentially $0.05) to great works like Doctors Without Borders or the Wounded Warrior Project.

There are other options for charitable contributions. Additionally, you can save up 2,500 SBs and get a $25 e-gift card that you can designate to one of about 150 charities.

4. Department Stores

Some of the leading retailers in America, like Kohl’s and Macy’s offer e-gift cards through Swagbucks. You can redeem Swagbucks for these gift cards that range from $10 all the way up to $250.

If you’re looking to earn a bit to offset the expense of Christmas and birthday gifts, Swagbucks can really help you out. These gift cards from leading retailers are just like cash, and you can earn them in your spare time.

Wal-Mart and Target are also great options for redeeming SBs. About 90% of Americans live within 15 minutes of a Wal-Mart. And Wal-Mart sells just..about…everything! Saving even $10 or $25 a month on groceries can really help your budget out.

Taking surveys earns Swagbucks
Earning from surveys allows me to redeem Swagbucks for PayPal cash.

3. Airline Gift Cards

If you like to travel without spending money, Swagbucks can help you out. You can redeem Swagbucks for e-gift cards on airlines like Southwest and Delta (currently offered at this writing, although American Airlines has also been featured as a reward option on the site).

2,200 SBs will get you a $25 e-gift card that can offset your expenses on a flight. Wait until you get up to 25,000, and you’ll be able to get a $250 gift card.

I’ve seen flights from Denver to LAX on Southwest for as little as $40 one-way during one of their famous fare sales. Throw in a few Hotels.com gift cards, and your trip to Disneyland could be quite a bit cheaper than you’d expect.

2. Amazon

Need I say more? AMAZON. You can literally get just about anything you want on this website. Auto parts? Check. Clothing? Check. Collectibles? Check. What started out as an online bookstore is now so much more.

When I first started earning on Swagbucks, I usually cashed out for $5 Amazon e-gift cards. These are still available, as well as higher denominations, and they can really help you out on Christmas presents.  However, they’re not my favorite redemption for my hard-earned SBs.

1. I Redeem Swagbucks For PayPal Cash

My favorite redemption option now is straight up cash. I have to take a couple of steps to convert my SBs to money in my checking account and then to my investment accounts, but it’s worth it.

I use my Swagbucks as soon as I can redeem for $25 in PayPal cash. This then ultimately ends up buying dividend stocks.  Hopefully, these dividends will go to buy more dividend stocks, so the money I earn with Swagbucks today will hopefully contribute to my income stream for the rest of my life (and possibly the lives of my kids and grandkids in the future).

If this all sounds too good to be true, it’s not. Like I said above, I’m near $1,600 in earnings with the site. You can sign up for Swagbucks here, and start earning today! If nothing else, you can earn from easy tasks like your Internet searches all without leaving the comfort of home.

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. I obviously appreciate any support you choose to give. You can just go to Swagbucks and earn as much, but I appreciate if you decide to click on my link. 

Be sure to sign up for my mailing list or to follow me via Twitter if you’ve found this article beneficial.

Money August 2017

Chase Sapphire Reserve Take Two–Approved

Back in August, when the Chase Sapphire Reserve card first came out, I was super excited at the opportunity to get the killer 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points that came with the card after meeting a minimum spend. (This has since dropped to 50,000 UR points.) I’ve referred to this as the “Mother of All Credit Cards.” As I’ve noted before, I was rejected when I applied for the Sapphire Reserve.

I decided then to bide my time and wait a few months before applying again. I intended to wait until February or March because I wanted to make sure that I was able to offset the entire $450 annual fee , which is quite hefty, over two calendar years.  Imagine my surprise when I woke up on Wednesday morning and found out via Million Mile Secrets that the Reserve’s sign-up bonus was about to get halved.

Applying for the Chase Sapphire Reserve

I decided to jump immediately and go ahead and try to get the top travel credit card that I wanted to get in 2017, albeit a bit earlier than I wanted to get it. Applying was the first thing that I did after logging onto my laptop that morning. I sat down and filled out the three pages on the application and then waited on the decision.

It seemed that it was taking quite a while, but it was probably less than a minute. Regardless, I was a bit nervous that I would again get the notice of a pending application, which generally means no. I was happy, however, when the next page popped up and noted that Chase approved me for the card.

Visa, MasterCard, and American Express
Credit cards via Wikimedia Commons

After I get the Sapphire Reserve in the mail, I intend to start using it exclusively so that I can meet the $4,000 spending requirement so that the 100,000-point bonus will kick in. UPDATE: I got the bonus in March.

What To Do With the Sapphire Reserve’s Bonus

There are several different options when it comes to spending 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points. You could take two round-trip saver flights within the US on United Airlines.  I’ve seen one-way flights from Denver to Las Vegas or Los Angeles for just north of 2,000 Rapid Rewards points on Southwest Airlines.

This bonus would take care of nearly 50 one-way flights between many US cities, and could also pay for at least four flights to Mexico from the US on Southwest, depending upon the date and whether any sales are ongoing from your departure city at the time you book. I got four tickets to Puerto Vallarta for about 23,000 Ultimate Rewards points when transferring them to Southwest last year.

It’s also possible to get two round-trip tickets from the US to Europe on Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue frequent flyer program with some of the discounted options that these companies offer from time to time. 50,000 would also be more than enough to get a one-way business-class ticket at the saver level or a round-trip economy ticket to just about any region of the world on United Airlines. These are just a few of the options that you could use to spend this massive cache of points, as they transfer at a 1:1 ratio to some of the leading loyalty programs around.

If You’d Rather Have Cash Value

Additionally, if you’re looking to pay directly for flights, you could get 1.5 cents per point in value by going through the Chase travel portal with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This could allow you to get multiple tickets to Europe with some of the sales that have been going on recently.

Finally, you could just redeem them for 1 cent apiece and get a cool $500 in cash which is a pretty easy way to earn money in pajamas. Keep in mind that the sign-up bonus dropped by half on January 11, so if you’re looking to get the Sapphire Reserve and the bonus, be sure to apply sooner, rather than later.  Also, be sure to check out more of my top credit card recommendations for 2017.

Money August 2017

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Verdict–Rejected

Last year, I wrote an article about saving money with credit cards.  I know that some of the leading financial gurus in the US, most notably Dave Ramsey, want every credit card that has ever been created to be cut up into very tiny little pieces. They then want the very tiny little pieces of what used to be credit cards burned in a giant bonfire so that no one can ever use one again for any purpose at any time. I tend to disagree, because I can get some pretty cool benefits if I score some big signup bonuses and pay of my cards on a monthly basis so that I’m paying nothing in interest payments.

Already this year, I’ve been on a couple of pretty cool international trips. I had a week-long jaunt across the pond for Spring Break, visiting Madrid and Paris along the way.  While I spent some money on this trip, I literally saved thousands on what the retail cost would have been because points and miles paid for my flights and hotels.  Just a couple of months later, I found a killer sale on Southwest flights to Puerto Vallarta from the major airport that’s nearest my home.  A round-trip ticket was slightly more than 5,600 Rapid Rewards miles apiece. I found a really, really nice Marriott resort for $97/night and pulled the trigger.  I would not have been able to take these trips without the frequent flyer miles and hotel points that I’d accrued over the past couple of years.

When I started reading about the rumors over the past month or so that Chase Bank was going to have a super-duper premium credit card that earned Ultimate Rewards points, my interest was definitely piqued. The rumor was that for a $450 annual fee, cardholders could earn 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 (above the annual fee) within three months. Additionally, users would get a $300 credit on travel expenses each calendar year. The card was supposed to come out in August, so my thought was that I could get two $300 credits for one $450 annual fee. This would, in effect, mean that I could actually GET PAID $150 to get the card, in addition to the massive sign-up bonus that could come very close to getting my family a one-way saver trip to Europe or Asia all by itself.

Were the rumors too good to be true? It turns out that they were not. The benefits of the card were just as impressive as advertised. However, there was concern that the infamous 5/24 rule would be in effect for the card. This unwritten and unofficial secret squirrel rule means that if you’ve opened 5 cards from any bank over the past 24 months, Chase will most likely deny your application for many of their best travel cards, although, as with most rules, there appear to be some exceptions. I read several of my favorite travel blogs to get an idea of whether to expect this possibility. I thought that I had only opened four in the past 24 months regardless. However, I forgot that I’d held a card as an authorized user. Unfortunately, these count against the 5/24 rule that Chase won’t even confirm exists.  Another problem was that the blogs indicated that many people who had opened more than 5 cards were getting denied, although there were some spotty approvals for people who had opened more cards, sometimes many more cards.

Regardless of my fears, I decided to pull the trigger when the application link became available this week. I applied on the first day that I could have gotten a Sapphire Reserve, hoping to score the massive 100,000 point bonus with lots of Ultimate Rewards points added to my account. I love these points, because I can transfer them to airlines like United and Southwest (I’ve used them both for reward trips over the past couple of years). I can also transfer them to hotel loyalty programs like IHG (best known for the Holiday Inn chain), Marriott, and Hyatt. I once scored three nights at a Hyatt House about 10 minutes from Disneyland for only 8,000 points a night after using another Southwest sale to fly to LAX.

Anyhoo, to make a long story short, after I hit the submit button, I got the dreaded “We have to review your application and we’ll get back to you in 7-10 days” message that usually indicates that an applicant is going to get a big thumbs down on his or her attempt to score a card. I decided to call the reconsideration line, and my concerns were well-founded. Too many cards opened in the last 24 months was the verdict. One of my cards should fall of the list in October. At that point, if the bonus stays high enough, I might just attempt it again.

Did you attempt to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred card? How did it work out?