Blogs
Points
Redeeming 2 Million+ Points for Cash
19 Mar. 2020
Redeeming 2 Million+ Points for Cash
On Fire As the stock market started tumbling in the past couple of weeks, I thought more about my long term goals both in terms of points and in dollars.  As a step toward saving money, I redeemed 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards for cash.  That cash-out was about the same time that I was
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Podcast #16 – Varanasi, India
6 Mar. 2020
Podcast #16 – Varanasi, India
Varanasi This podcast episode explores a special and unusual place in NE India called Varanasi. India’s most religious city, millions of people come here each year to bathe in the holy Ganges River and also to die. Audio from the Aarti fire ceremony, interviews with locals, and a first hand account of what it’s like
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$100k Challenge Complete
12 Feb. 2020
$100k Challenge Complete
Fake News? It almost seems like fake news to me.  In 2019 I started becoming interested in the FIRE (financial independence retire early) movement.  The great thing about concepts in FIRE, like high net percent paycheck savings and consistent investing, are wonderful attributes for anyone to implement.  They teach people discipline, how to conserve...
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A New Way Forward?
12 Feb. 2020
A New Way Forward?
Forward?  One of the reasons that I love to travel is that I use it as an opportunity to tune out.  When I travel, I usually don’t watch tv, read newspapers, or keep up with current events.  In the constant stream of (almost entirely left leaning) 24/7 media in our country, it’s nice to separate
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Rakuten Visa Nixes 3% CB on GC Purchases
11 Feb. 2020
Rakuten Visa Nixes 3% CB on GC Purchases
Bye Bye Today I received an email from Rakuten stating that starting on February 15th, Rakuten would no longer payout an extra 3% cash back on purchases from GiftCardMall.com, GiftCards.com, and Raise.com.  Instead, Rakuten will be offering just 1% cash back for those sites and purchases.  The email states: and the bad news detail: For
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BMO Harris Shutdown from Manufactured Spend
5 Feb. 2020
BMO Harris Shutdown from Manufactured Spend
Cold Water Another bank shutdown happened last week related to money order deposits from manufactured spend.  This time it was BMO Harris.  What’s kind of weird about the shutdown is that I’ve had the account for under 2 years now, and received a call from their risk department in Wisconsin several months after opening the account. 
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New Podcast:  2019 Travel Music
10 Jan. 2020
New Podcast: 2019 Travel Music
Tuned In Music is an interesting aspect a lot of people ignore when traveling. I almost always try and hear what’s being played in the destinations that I travel to.  Music gives me a look into where I’m at beyond the tourist sites, local food, and landscape. In a way, the music being played is
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Points and Miles Goals for 2020
30 Dec. 2019
Points and Miles Goals for 2020
Winds of Change My points and miles goals are starting to pursue a different path.  Like many in the hobby, when I first started collecting travel rewards, I had very specific goals.  Initially, I just wanted to sign up for a travel rewards credit card and earn a nice stack of bonus miles.  From there
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