If You Enjoy the Credit Card Points Game…

Here’s one you may want to take advantage of relatively soon (offers expire April 24th) – the new AmEx Marriott Bonvoy Card – referral link here (yes, if you apply and get approved through this link, I get a bonus)

I’ll cut to the chase on the why (and realize this is all before the bonus you get following signup):

  • Yes, there’s a $450 annual fee – big downside, but you quickly get that back the following ways:
  • $300 annual Marriott credit. Think of all those vacations, work trips, family holidays, weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc. you need to attend. That by itself reduces the net cost of the card to $150.
  • Reimbursement for TSA Precheck or Global Entry (which includes Precheck) $100 value.
  • Priority Pass Select membership – get into airport lounges without flying elite or paying per visit. Do you know how many $7 bad coffees and $12 bad beers / cocktails I’ve been able to avoid on layovers or delayed flights? Not to mention legit food instead of deep-fried or infinitely shelf-stable chips/crips? And clean bathrooms, spacious outlets, proper air conditioning, gorgeous views, etc.? Basic priority pass costs $99 per year PLUS $27 per visit per person. Under the Amex arrangement you get (last I checked) up to four guests on your own admission.
  • Boingo Wifi membership – free. Normally this runs $14.99 per month. It’s not my preferred way to connect, but to each their own.
  • Free gold status in the marriott / bonvoy / starwood system. This is a hidden gem of upgrades, etc. I’ve been able to upgrade from regular rooms to suites avoiding the need to pay for a 2nd room. Easily covered the annual fee of this card in a single transaction.
  • There’s also perks that are common or of not particular interest to me: no foreign transaction fees, 6 points per dollar spent at Marriott hotels, collision damage waiver on rentals, roadside assistance, travel and bag insurance, etc.
  • On your first anniversary (and every anniversary thereafter you get a free night). So, $900 for two years worth of annual fees=$600 in credits, plus free night (variable value), plus PreCheck/Global Entry, plus lounge access, plus boingo…and we still haven’t gotten to the signup bonus.
  • If you get the signup bonus (by spending $5K in 3 months, and I have all kinds of ways you can do that), you’ll get 100K Marriott Bonvoy points – worth between 2-5 nights in Marriott properties (depending on the fanciness of the hotel). You can also transfer these points on a 3:1 basis to lots of airline programs (so ~33K miles).

So in two years – $900 in fees gets you…$600 in credits, plus between 3 and 6 nights in hotels, lounge access, status with the hotel chain, pre-check/global entry, boingo, etc. If you do any traveling this card pays for itself pretty quickly. Oh that link to apply? Right here (and yes, it’s a referral link, I get a bonus too).

Naturally you should pay off your bill every month – bonuses aren’t worth the interest rate you’ll pay. But you know that, right?

R.I.P Steve

I didn’t know Steve Jobs.  Not at all, not a little, not a smidge.  But I feel the need to write something.  I knew him “less” (as in not at all) than some other folks we’ve lost in recent months.  But I find myself feeling a great sense of loss right now.  Not the same kind of loss, of course when you lose someone you know and love personally, but what I can only assume is, what could be called, a communal loss.

I remember watching the news (on a TV no less) when they announced Lucille Ball had died.  I enjoyed ‘I Love Lucy’ and its various incarnations but wasn’t particularly torn up.  I was also pretty young.  It affected my mom quite a bit more though, which itself was very surprising.  It could be she felt a particular connection to Ball because one of the ways she learned about American culture and language when living overseas and moving here was through television.  Ball’s variety of humor lent itself to non-native speakers and so probably meant more to her than other actors of the era.

Ok, back on track. Continue reading R.I.P Steve

Bookmarks for September 13th, 2011 from 12:17 to 13:56

These are my links for September 13th, 2011 from 12:17 to 13:56:

The days in links 3/15/11-3/16/11

The last two days in links – woot!

  • Facebook Spring Break Do’s And Don’ts http://ow.ly/4fC17
  • Video Demystified: 3 Easy Ways to Add Video to Your Emails – Blue Sky Factory Blog http://ow.ly/4fC27 Interesting!
  • A must read: Why You Need Facebook’s Like Buttons On Your Site http://ow.ly/4fC3H
  • If you’re considering it – How to Engage on Sites Using Facebook’s New Commenting Plugin | Edelman Digital http://ow.ly/4fC4F from @davefleet
  • Why You Don’t Need to Blog Daily – For Bloggers By Bloggers http://ow.ly/4fC7a from mr. @dannybrown
  • Getting Started with Analytics: How to Get Buy-in From Your Team http://ow.ly/4fC8q Do we still need to review why this is important?
  • Email as Sales: The Autoresponse Antidote to Just Looking Buyers | Email Marketing Strategy – Blue Sky Factory Blog http://ow.ly/4fC9C
  • Social media case study: MN brewer Surly galvanizes fans to build new brewery | http://ow.ly/4fCal from @arikhanson No surpirse there 🙂
  • Finra Warns About Facebook Pre-IPO Investments http://ow.ly/4fCe1
  • Of Comment Trolls and Flash Mobs | Danny Brown http://ow.ly/4fCg1 Trolls? Never heard of ’em 🙂
  • Innovation Conversations » Making Your Corporate Citizenship Story Pop! http://ow.ly/4fCh0 Great guide.
  • The quiet death of journalism at the hand of “content strategy” more great stuff from @TheBrandBuilder  http://ow.ly/4fCiJ
  • SXSW 2011: Great for Networking, But No Technology Breakthroughs. Roundup from @JOwyang http://ow.ly/4fCl1
  • Interesting new tool – WE Products Debut at SXSW Interactive Event | Thinkers and Doers http://ow.ly/4fCpB
  • Oy – more: Israelis And Friends Ask Facebook To Pull Intifada Page http://ow.ly/4fCrd
  • Oops: Teen Party Canceled After Facebook Invite Got Too Viral http://ow.ly/4fCw1
  • The numbers matter: CrapHammer: Google Analytics Magic – Part Two http://ow.ly/4fCx3
  • Not that any of you have these – 5 Content Strategies for Boring Brands http://ow.ly/4fCxR
  • Ensure Your Next Conference is a Success with These Key TIps | Social Media Explorer http://ow.ly/4fDWI
  • Who didn’t see this coming? Gilbert Gottfried: Aflac Comedian Fired For Twitter Jokes About The Japan Earthquake http://ow.ly/4fE3M
  • Catch-22: The Superficial Social Media Perception | LAF http://ow.ly/4fCA5 Good one from @cubanalaf
  • WOW: The New York Observer Is Launching A Tech Site http://ow.ly/4fE6D
  • Not for me yet, but still interesting- Group Messaging Faceoff: 4 Services Compared http://ow.ly/4fEaW
  • AOL FREELANCER: We All Just Got Fired (We Think) http://ow.ly/4fEd6
  • Ha! Light-Up Facebook Like Notifier Made From Legos http://ow.ly/4fEeO attn @arikhanson @alextanpr
  • The big fish: Jon Stewart Recruits Larry King As Daily Show Contributor http://ow.ly/4fEhk
  • #NotWinning Bristol Palin’s Boyfriend Likes To Call People ‘Nigga,’ Mock Kids With Down Syndrome http://ow.ly/4fEja
  • It’s Not About You: Four Tips To Make Your Blog More Reader-Centric http://ow.ly/4fEko
  • Yes Pls: Want Infinite Blog Post Ideas? | Social Media Explorer http://ow.ly/4fElS
  • CHART OF THE DAY: Why The Newspaper Industry Collapsed http://ow.ly/4fEnc
  • Teacher Learns Facebook Lesson On Privacy http://ow.ly/4fEnU Are they trying to foul up?
  • Facebook Hires Google M&A Expert Zoufonoun http://ow.ly/4fEpl More FB Everywhere!!
  • Very Interesting: Dan Ariely » Blog Archive Backing Down From Agreements–Results « http://ow.ly/4fEqn
  • Seth’s Blog: Are you doing a good job? http://ow.ly/4fErp Doing a good job is no guarantee of security, advancement or delight.
  • Twitter users send one billion tweets per week – Brand Republic News http://ow.ly/4fEsJ And about half are mine
  • OOOH Apple applies to use Beatles’ logo – Brand Republic News http://ow.ly/4fEtE
  • 8 Powerful & Inexpensive Desktop Design Apps http://ow.ly/4fEw2 Definitely going to use some of these
  • RIP Zune Player, 2006-2011 http://ow.ly/4fExX Too bad, I like my brown brick.