From Circassian World:
The Last Ubykh
Tevfik Esenç (1904 – October 7, 1992) was a Circassian exile in Turkey and the last known speaker of the Ubykh language.
Esenç was raised by his Ubykh-speaking grandparents for a time in the village of Haci Osman in Turkey, and he served a term as the muhtar (mayor) of that village, before receiving a post in the civil service of Istanbul. There, he was able to do a great deal of work with the French linguist Georges Dumézil to help record his language.
Blessed with an excellent memory, and understanding quickly the goals of Dumézil and the other linguists who came to visit him, he was the primary source of not only the Ubykh language, but also of the mythology, culture and customs of the Ubykh people. He spoke not only Ubykh but Turkish and the Hakuchi dialect of Adyghe, allowing some comparative work to be done between the two languages. He was a purist, and his idiolect of Ubykh is considered by some as the closest thing to a standard “literary” Ubykh language that existed.
There’s a photo and a link to a sound file. Thanks, Trevor!
Back in 1995, just a year out of college, I managed to nab a spot in the Clarion Workshop. I will never forget what I learned there. It made me a far better writer. I also made lasting friendships and connections within the science fiction community.
Now I’m giving back. Clarion runs largely on donations, and every year, they run a Write-a-Thon. Writers pledge to write a certain amount of work, counted in words or chapters or hours or edits, and supporters pledge money if those writers complete their goals. I’m hereby pledging to write five chapters of A PIXIE’S PROMISE during Clarion this summer – that is, between June 25 and August 5. My plan is to write one chapter per week, except for the week when I’m off on vacation. I’m hoping to raise $125 from my efforts – that’s just $25/chapter!
But it all depends on YOU, my readers. Can ten of you spare $12.50? Can 125 of you spare a buck? What are you willing to pay to see not only the sequel to A Witch’s Kitchen written, but also to support the next generation of great science fiction and fantasy writers? What is that worth to you? I’m betting it’s worth at least a dollar.
So please, go to the Clarion Write-a-Thon page and sign up to pledge your support, for me and other fantastic writers as we work to support excellence in science fiction and fantasy.
Camping, in its rawest form, is one of the most frugal vacation options in the world. All you really need is a tent (or some other shelter), something to sleep in or on, basic supplies for cooking and eating, and the means to start and maintain a fire. Beyond those essential furnishings and skills, everything else is free. After all, camping opens the door to a wide range of entertainment provided by the great outdoors – hiking, swimming, fishing, and biking, for example.
But, is camping always so simple and cheap? Not by a long shot. Even if your goal is relaxing in a hammock with a great book, it’s easy to go overboard when buying camping gear and supplies. Plus, it’s not always cheap or even affordable to rent a campsite these days.
The bottom line: If you’re not careful, the price tag for your “frugal” camping trip can get out of hand.
While there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to camp, there is a frugal way and an expensive way. Worried your summer camping trip might ruin your annual travel budget? Here are five signs your frugal camping trip might be spiraling out of control, plus how to stop it from happening.
Camping Mistake #1: You insist on buying a tent.
If you haven’t camped for a while and aren’t sure you’ll start camping regularly, you need to own a tent like you need a hole in the head. Tents aren’t inexpensive, and that’s especially true if you get a nice one. Even a very basic one-room tent can cost $70 or more, and most two-room tents cost a minimum of $150.
If you’re thinking you should just go ahead and buy a tent to “get it over with,” you could live to regret it when it’s just taking up space in the attic for the next 10 years. Until you’re positive that you’ll be camping regularly, there’s no need to buy your own.
Better Idea: Borrow a tent to get started.
Chances are, you know someone who has a tent already. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on speculative purchase, borrow a tent from a friend or family member if you can. Since beggars can’t be choosers, it may not be your dream tent. Still, borrowing a tent comes with notable benefits. Not only will you save money this way, but you may learn something about the type (and shape) of tent you really want to buy in the future.
Camping Mistake #2: You’re shopping for supplies on SkyMall.
If you’ve seen the camping episode of “Parks and Recreation,” you already know the joke. Basically, Tom buys all this outrageous camping gear on SkyMall in an effort to recreate the comforts of home within a giant, luxury tent.
Truth be told, SkyMall and other stores do have some pretty amazing camping gear. These days, you can buy anything from a portable pop-up privacy tent for $39.99 to an upright camping organization container ($99.99), a portable outdoor grill ($120 and up), or a portable kitchen complete with a sink and staging area ($79.99). Heck, you can even buy a portable solar-powered wood oven, a specialized quesadilla grilling basket, or a cooler with a built-in blender, USB charger, stereo system, and bottle holder.
Better Idea: Borrow supplies, or use stuff you already own.
While fancy gear can make camping more comfortable, that doesn’t mean you need it. And if you don’t camp all the time, blowing $50 here and $100 here can make your outdoorsy trip a lot more expensive than it needs to be.
Instead of buying all the camping gadgets your heart desires, try roughing it instead. Borrow camping supplies from friends, and see what you have at home already.
Camping Mistake #3: You want to stay at the ‘party campground.’
Supplies, tents, and trailers aside, not all camp sites are created equal. Some of the “nicer” campsites offer myriad opportunities for leisure – activities like golf, swimming, and kayaking. But all those “extras” can be expensive, which is why fancier camping sites tend to charge more.
Better Idea: Camp at a cheap state or national park instead.
Never assume your campsite will be cheap. Just like anything else in life, it can pay to shop around when searching for a place to camp. While campgrounds with lots of perks might charge higher prices, you can usually get a good deal at state or national parks. Most states have their own website where you can explore options and research pricing. In my home state of Indiana, for example, we have a dedicated website for state camping sites. You can also explore federal campgrounds in your state on this page.
While prices can vary, bare-bones camping at state and national parks tends to be cheap. In Indiana, a regular non-electric campsite can cost as little as $10 per night.
Camping Mistake #4: You’re craving a gourmet outdoor feast.
The financial upside of camping is that you can avoid many of the trappings of a traditional vacation, including dining out constantly. Unfortunately, food costs can still be hard to manage if your expectations are out of control.
If your camping goal is whipping up some steaks on the grill, a shrimp boil, and every side dish under the sun, you can count on spending a bundle. And let’s not forget that camping can be wasteful – there’s no fridge to save leftovers. Not only must you bring your main ingredients, but you need condiments, dressings, oils to cook with, and seasonings. Whether you’re camping or cooking at home, those costs can add up fast.
Better Idea: Stick with cheap staples instead.
Do yourself a favor and ensure your camp meals are cheap and easy. Instead of steaks, throw some burgers and hot dogs over the fire. In place of fancy side dishes, grill some corn or packages of vegetables wrapped in aluminum foil. The fewer ingredients you use, the less you’ll spend overall.
Camping Mistake #5: You’re in charge of food and supplies for the group.
Camping offers the perfect opportunity to vacation and connect with family and friends. There’s no television around, and we can hope people aren’t glued to their smartphones while relaxing by the campfire. Without all the distractions of home, it’s easier to bond with the people you love.
But camping can become costly if you simply build it and they come. You won’t save money camping if you’re feeding more than your immediate family for a few days or more. Plus, camping requires a lot of work – work you shouldn’t have to do all by yourself.
Better Idea: Make your co-campers bring food and supplies to share.
Since camping is great for groups, it never hurts to ask others to pitch in. Perhaps every person can bring a meal or side dish, or you can send out a list of supplies for others to bring. Maybe your friend has the cooking supplies you don’t. Or, one friend hopes to be fed but promises to bring a cooler of beer. It doesn’t matter how you divvy up the responsibilities, but if you want to save money, everyone needs to do their part.
The Bottom Line
If you have camping on your agenda this year, don’t forget how quickly the “extras” can add up. While camping itself is inherently frugal, there are plenty of ways to spend money that can make your camping trip much more expensive than a hotel stay.
Like most other activities, you’ll save money if you borrow what you can, keep your trip simple, and take advantage of all the free activities available. It’s still possible to camp on the cheap, but you have to block out all the noise and remember the golden rule of camping – less is more.
- A Basic Guide to an Inexpensive and Fun Family Camping Trip
- Camping Tips for People Who Don’t Like Camping
- A Look at Our Inexpensive Vacation to Wisconsin
- Five Cheap Vacations to Take This Summer
How do you keep your camping trips frugal? What would you add to this list?
In "After sailing to this island," the girls demand to hear what being a king has been like. And instead of an answer, they get a banquet and a dance.
Why on earth is "Rising" before "After sailing???"
Cut from Giuseppe explaining the magnificent position of King, ending with, "...we enjoy the inestimable privilege of heading the subscription lists to all the principal charities," during which the men wander off.
straight to "Yes, it really is a very pleasant existence." Maybe give Marco the following sentence.
Continue through the tenor song up to "They will both go on requesting till you tell us, never doubt it; everything is interesting, tell us, tell us all about it."
Marco: This isin deed a most delightful surprise!
Tessa: Yes, we thought you'd like it... exposition... and - I've done!
Gia: And now - what's it like being King?
And here's where Giuseppe should ANSWER the question with "Rising early," supported by the men's chorus who also know what it's been like. (If Gilbert had written it that way, this would be followed by a counterpoint of "Here we are at the risk of our lives" with "Philosophers may sing," the sort of thing Sullivan was so good at composing - "When the foeman/Go ye heroes," "We sail the ocean blue/Gaily tripping" - but nobody should try to do that today.) Followed by:
Gia: Yes, but - which of you is actually King?
Tess: And which of us is Queen?
And continue from there.
Am I wrong?
If an NPC has to make a speech, make it relevant and entertaining.
Or you could go the other way and make it long-winded and boring, and require the PCs to make Stamina saving throws to not fall asleep. And of course anyone who has the temerity to fall asleep during the king's speech wakes up in the dungeons.
I recently ran across a letter written by the writer, investment advisor, and politician Harry Browne. It was a letter intended for his nine-year-old daughter and was published as part of his syndicated newspaper column. I want to share it in its entirety:
* * *
It’s Christmas and I have the usual problem of deciding what to give you. I know you might enjoy many things — books, games, clothes.
But I’m very selfish. I want to give you something that will stay with you for more than a few months or years. I want to give you a gift that might remind you of me every Christmas.
If I could give you just one thing, I’d want it to be a simple truth that took me many years to learn. If you learn it now, it may enrich your life in hundreds of ways. And it may prevent you from facing many problems that have hurt people who have never learned it.
The truth is simply this:
No one owes you anything.
How could such a simple statement be important? It may not seem so, but understanding it can bless your entire life.
No one owes you anything.
It means that no one else is living for you, my child. Because no one is you. Each person is living for himself; his own happiness is all he can ever personally feel.
When you realize that no one owes you happiness or anything else, you’ll be freed from expecting what isn’t likely to be.
It means no one has to love you. If someone loves you, it’s because there’s something special about you that gives him happiness. Find out what that something special is and try to make it stronger in you, so that you’ll be loved even more.
When people do things for you, it’s because they want to — because you, in some way, give them something meaningful that makes them want to please you, not because anyone owes you anything.
No one has to like you. If your friends want to be with you, it’s not out of duty. Find out what makes others happy so they’ll want to be near you.
No one has to respect you. Some people may even be unkind to you. But once you realize that people don’t have to be good to you, and may not be good to you, you’ll learn to avoid those who would harm you. For you don’t owe them anything either.
No one owes you anything.
You owe it to yourself to be the best person possible. Because if you are, others will want to be with you, want to provide you with the things you want in exchange for what you’re giving to them.
Some people will choose not to be with you for reasons that have nothing to do with you. When that happens, look elsewhere for the relationships you want. Don’t make someone else’s problem your problem.
Once you learn that you must earn the love and respect of others, you’ll never expect the impossible and you won’t be disappointed. Others don’t have to share their property with you, nor their feelings or thoughts.
If they do, it’s because you’ve earned these things. And you have every reason to be proud of the love you receive, your friends’ respect, the property you’ve earned. But don’t ever take them for granted. If you do, you could lose them. They’re not yours by right; you must always earn them.
A great burden was lifted from my shoulders the day I realized that no one owes me anything. For so long as I’d thought there were things I was entitled to, I’d been wearing myself out — physically and emotionally — trying to collect them.
No one owes me moral conduct, respect, friendship, love, courtesy, or intelligence. And once I recognized that, all my relationships became far more satisfying. I’ve focused on being with people who want to do the things I want them to do.
That understanding has served me well with friends, business associates, lovers, sales prospects, and strangers. It constantly reminds me that I can get what I want only if I can enter the other person’s world. I must try to understand how he thinks, what he believes to be important, what he wants. Only then can I appeal to someone in ways that will bring me what I want.
And only then can I tell whether I really want to be involved with someone. And I can save the important relationships for those with whom I have the most in common.
It’s not easy to sum up in a few words what has taken me years to learn. But maybe if you re-read this gift each Christmas, the meaning will become a little clearer every year.
I hope so, for I want more than anything else for you to understand this simple truth that can set you free: no one owes you anything.
* * *
There is a lot of very wise financial truth contained in that letter, principles that apply brilliantly to the personal finance journey (and life journey) that we all find ourselves on.
No one owes you anything.
No one owes you the money to retire on. Yes, you’re due some money from Social Security, but only if you’ve paid into it. If you’re lucky, your organization might have some kind of pension plan for you, but that’s part of your compensation for working there.
No one owes you great treatment. People are free to treat you however they like.
What you do control, however, is who you choose to associate with. You can choose to associate with people who treat you well in return for you treating them well. You can choose to associate with people who are doing great things and can inspire you to make better choices in your own life. You can choose to associate with people who are sources of great advice and wisdom and insight and knowledge.
You can also choose not to associate with people who don’t treat you well. You can choose to avoid people who offer paths full of poor decisions.
You decide who you spend your time with. No one else decides that but you.
No one owes you a job. A job means that someone is giving you money in exchange for your efforts. If you don’t want to put forth the effort, no one is required to put forth the money.
Remember, no one is going to give you a job unless the person paying you is going to, at some point, bring in more money than they’re paying you (and the cost of the items you’re using). Jobs aren’t charities. A job is a situation someone else has set up where you can both make some money – you invest your time and effort for some of that money, while the person who bought the location and all of the equipment and figured out all the job protocols for you is making some of that money. If you’re not an efficient part of that, you won’t have a job.
You decide whether you want a job or not, and you show whether you want that job with your efforts.
The same thing is true for a promotion. No one owes you a promotion. It’s up to you to make the case that you’re more deserving of that promotion than anyone. If you can’t make that case, then that promotion shouldn’t be yours anyway.
Yeah, sometimes people get promotions that don’t “deserve” them. Again, whatever the reason was for that other person getting the promotion, it comes down to the fact that you didn’t make a good enough case to earn that promotion for yourself. It wasn’t owed to you.
The same thing is true for business. No one owes you business success. You earn it by working your tail off and proving you have the knowledge and the talent to produce a product that people want and are willing to pay for in some fashion or another.
This is true for everyone from Bill Gates to a person making YouTube videos. They all make money from their business by making – or having made – things that people want. If you can’t put together some system for doing that, you aren’t going to have success in business. It is not owed to you.
No one owes you courtesy or friendship or respect. Those things are earned, not given. You choose for yourself whether or not you want to behave in a way that earns courtesy or friendship or respect. Even then, you might not necessarily receive it, though the odds go up greatly.
These statements may seem like negative things. They might seem like a list of hard truths about life.
However, the opposite is true.
For starters, things that you haven’t earned in some fashion are relatively valueless. Think about friendship, for starters. When someone that you barely know begins acting like your best friend, it feels completely unnatural. On the other hand, when you’ve known someone for years and they act like your best friend, it feels completely natural.
What’s the difference? Your real best friend earned that status. They have shown you friendship and kindness for a long time. This new person? They may have shown you friendship and kindness really recently, but the idea that you’ve got a long-term friendship feels hollow because it is hollow. That friendship – that thing that really means something and has real value in your life – has to be built up. It has to be earned. Things that have real value are things that you’ve actually earned.
That false friendship isn’t going to feel like a major loss to you if it disappears. However, if that close friend you’ve had for years disappeared, you’d know it. It would hurt. Why? Because that close friendship has value. That value isn’t owed to you. That value is built over a long period with a lot of little efforts that add up to something big.
Another truth: You are largely in control of your own destiny. Yes, outside events can and do happen, but you decide whether or not you have a good shot at that promotion or whether you’re never going to get it. You make that choice through your regular actions. Have you earned that promotion? Undoubtedly, decisions are made outside of your control that are sometimes completely unfair, but that still doesn’t make it okay for you to not make the best case for yourself.
You decide what you think about. You decide what you do with your time. You decide what you do with your money. You decide how much effort to put in. You decide whether to keep bearing down on that task or to get distracted by social media or to get into a conversation at the water cooler.
Those are your decisions. No one else makes them but you. Over the course of a lot of those decisions, you shape what kind of a life that you have.
A person with a great career has done things to build that great career. They’ve gone the extra mile to get their foot in the door. They’ve done their homework to keep their skills sharp. They’ve leapt at every opportunity to step forward and succeed.
Can you say the same about yourself?
A person with a lot of friends has done things to earn those friendships. They’ve put themselves in social situations. They’ve reached out to others with common interests and values. They’ve coordinated countless social events for themselves and others. They’re there when their close friends need them.
Can you say the same about yourself?
A person with sustainable wealth has done things to preserve that wealth and often to earn that wealth. They’ve spent less than they’ve earned over many years. They’ve made smart financial choices year after year after year.
Can you say the same about yourself?
A person with great fitness and a healthy looking body has done things to preserve that health and look. They’re careful about almost everything they eat – you might see them eating treats sometimes, but it’s likely that most of their other meals are extremely healthy. They devote time to exercise and getting in better shape.
Can you say the same about yourself?
A person who is considered wise has done things to cultivate that wisdom. They have spent a lot of time observing people and situations and then counterbalancing that with the teachings of great teachers and readings from great books. They’ve thought carefully about their own experiences and what they’ve learned and can combine all of that together into sage advice.
Can you say the same about yourself?
You see, the truth is that the big picture of your life is made up of how you use each day, each hour, each minute.
You decide whether you’re building a valuable career with nearly every workplace choice.
You decide whether you’re building a healthy financial portfolio with every dime you spend.
You decide whether you’re building a strong family with every single choice you make to spend time with them or to do other things.
You decide whether you’re building a strong social network with every single choice regarding whether you choose to be social or curl up in a safe ball in a comfortable chair.
You decide whether you’re building wisdom with every single choice regarding whether you reflect on life and face challenging materials and ideas or whether you watch a reality television marathon.
Those are choices that you make. No one else makes those choices but you. You decide whether you want to find success in the areas of your life that you want. That success is not owed to you. It is the outcome of all of your little choices about how you live your life, how you act toward others, how you use your time.
If you want to succeed at finances – or at anything else in your life – that success is going to be borne solely out of a long series of positive choices. That doesn’t guarantee success, of course, but it is a required ingredient. If you aren’t making positive choice after positive choice, if you aren’t taking positive action after positive action, the success you want isn’t going to happen. Success is not owed to you.
Whenever you feel unhappy about the state of things in some aspect of your life, remember that no one owes you anything. Instead, the things you want are largely earned. Yes, unfortunate events happen, but it is entirely in your court as to whether that cloud has a silver lining or not. Yes, great events happen, but it is entirely in your court as to whether that advantage does to waste.
The ingredient that matters is you. What are you going to choose to do?
Are you going to buy that silly thing at the gas station? Are you going to whip out your plastic at that big clothing sale? Or are you going to keep your wallet in your pocket? Making the right choice again and again is the foundation of financial success.
Are you going to sit there and browse social media for a while? Are you going to spend an hour pretending to work so that your boss will leave you alone? Or are you going to knuckle down and do the work? Are you going to spend some focused time sharpening your skills? Are you going to build some great workplace relationships or connections to people in your field? Making the right choice again and again is the foundation of career success.
Are you going to just toss the first idea you have out there and expect customers to come to your door? Are you going to instead hone that idea over and over again until it’s rock-solid? Are you going to research every single cost and write an effective business plan for your idea? Are you going to get feedback on your plans and revise them and get more feedback until you feel ready to launch? Making the right choice again and again is the foundation of a successful side gig.
Are you going to sit on your couch and wonder why your phone isn’t dinging constantly with texts? Are you going to go out to some kind of community event tonight? Are you going to make it your goal to connect with at least five people in the room well enough that you exchange contact info? Making the right choice again and again is the foundation of a great social network.
Even if bad events happen, you’ll overcome them with these steady good choices. If great fortune happens, then these little choices will just accelerate it.
On the other hand, if you make a steady flood of bad choices, unfortunate events will just accelerate the collapse. Even good fortune will eventually be devoured by lots of little bad decisions.
You are not owed financial success. You are not owed career success. You are not owed business success. You are not owed social success. You are not owed success. You make it with a flood of these little choices.
No one owes you anything. It’s up to you to make the things you want.
What are you going to do today?
- Making Today a Part of Your Meaningful Life
- The Simple Secret to Sustained Financial and Professional Success
- It’s All About the Choice
Anne Rothwell, Press Officer at Lancaster University, reports on a new study by linguists Panos Athanasopoulos and Emanuel Bylund, who “have discovered that people who speak two languages fluently think about time differently depending on the language context in which they are estimating the duration of events.” The paper is “The Whorfian Time Warp: Representing Duration Through the Language Hourglass,” Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Apr 27, 2017; unfortunately, it’s beyond a paywall, but the abstract is available here. The crucial bit:
Contrary to the universalist account, we found language-specific interference in a duration reproduction task, where stimulus duration conflicted with its physical growth. When reproducing duration, Swedish speakers were misled by stimulus length, and Spanish speakers were misled by stimulus size/quantity. These patterns conform to preferred expressions of duration magnitude in these languages (Swedish: long/short time; Spanish: much/small time). Critically, Spanish-Swedish bilinguals performing the task in both languages showed different interference depending on language context.
Very interesting, if it holds up; thanks, Ariel!
If you’re a homebody who’s into family stay-cations, a credit card that focuses on travel rewards just doesn’t fit. Likewise, a cash back card with no travel rewards isn’t an ideal match for frequent flyers. Choosing a credit card with a rewards structure that aligns with your spending habits will ensure your rewards stack up quickly. You’ll also want to carefully consider redemption options. Do you want to earn rewards you can redeem for free travel? Is cash back more your style? Or maybe you’d prefer a super-flexible card that does both?
We’ve researched the top rewards credit cards so you don’t have to. Keep reading to find your perfect match.
The Best Rewards Credit Card Combo for 2017
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers exceptional rewards, including 2X points on travel and restaurants worldwide and 1:1 points transfer to airline and hotel loyalty programs. With the Chase Freedom®, you’ll earn 5% cash back in rotating categories, along with 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases. When you pair these cards, you can maximize your rewards in several rotating categories and, even more importantly, maximize the benefits of the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program — points are transferrable between the two cards.
Combine your rewards on both cards to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points even faster. Redeem your points for a wide range of rewards, including travel, cash back and gift cards. You can even redeem points on the go, online or with the Chase Mobile banking app.
The Simple Dollar’s Best Rewards Credit Cards for 2017
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Chase Freedom®
Best Cash Back Rewards
- Discover it® Miles
Best No Annual Fee Rewards Card
- Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
Best Fixed-Value Travel Credit Card
- BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card
Best Bank of America Credit Card
- Discover it® Cashback Match™
Best Cash Back Bonus
- Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
2017’s Best Rewards Credit Cards:
An In-Depth Look at Our Top Picks
From travel and cash back rewards to concert tickets, these rewards cards have earned our top honors in their respective categories. Find your category, find your card, and apply online in minutes.
Most Versatile Rewards Credit Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the Swiss Army Knife® of rewards cards — it does a lot of useful things. Use the card to earn a variety of rewards including travel, gift cards and statement credits. (Note: points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®!) You can also take advantage of a 1:1 point transfer to leading hotel and airline loyalty programs and consolidate points with select Chase cards.
This card’s versatility also comes into play with travel and restaurant purchases. The 2X points earned for travel purchases covers not just airfare and hotels but also several types of ground transportation, including passenger trains, taxis, buses, limos and ferries. You also get 2X points on dining worldwide, which means you can earn rewards points at restaurants overseas as well as stateside. The $0 foreign transaction fee is another good reason to use the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card for international dining.
How To Use It
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Earn 2X points per dollar on travel and dining worldwide and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
- Spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months to earn 50,000 bonus points, worth $625 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Pair with the Chase Freedom® to transfer points between cards and combine them to earn free trips faster.
- Redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® to receive 25% bonus.
Best Cash Back Rewards
Are you a cost-conscious shopper who can visualize your monthly credit card statement growing larger with every swipe? The Chase Freedom® can offer relief with high-rate cash back you can redeem for a statement credit to lower your monthly balance. Flexible rewards redemption gives you other ways to use your points too, including travel and gift cards. Also, you’ll earn 5% cash back each quarter on rotating categories like gas stations, grocery stores and department stores, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
How To Use It
- Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
- Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
- Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – it's automatic
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.74-24.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
- Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months
- Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
- No annual fee
- Activate your 5% bonus category every quarter when the categories change to maximize your rewards.
- Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories per quarter and 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.
- Redeem points for cash back through an electronic deposit into your checking or savings account, gift cards, or an account statement credit.
Best No Annual Fee Rewards Card
Discover it® Miles
For some cardholders, there are three magic words: no annual fee. The Discover it® Miles is our top recommendation in that category of rewards cards. In addition to generous travel and cash back rewards, this card offers a few features that aren’t available from some key competitors. For instance, there’s no late fee on your first late payment. In the area of security, you get $0 Fraud Liability for unauthorized purchases. The Discover it® Miles also differentiates itself from similar cards by offering 100% U.S.-based customer service available any time.
How To Use It
- Bonus Miles - For example, if you earn 20,000 Miles, you get 40,000 Miles. We'll match all the Miles you've earned at the end of your first year.
- Unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day, with no annual fee.
- No Blackout Dates - fly any airline, stay at any hotel.
- Redeem your rewards in any amount for cash or a travel credit.
- Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch either on the mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers.
- Get your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements, on mobile and online.
- No Annual Fee.
- Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Discover Match® details & other information.
- Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases, from airfare and hotels to groceries and online shopping.
- Book your travel with Discover it® Miles and redeem your Miles as a statement credit toward the purchase. Eligible travel purchases include airfare, hotel stays, rental cars, and more.
- Get an automatic match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
Best Fixed-Value Travel Credit Card
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
For travelers who like simplicity and flexibility with their fixed-value credit cards, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® makes it easy to earn miles, redeem your rewards and go. You don’t have to keep track of rotating categories. The 2X miles per dollar rewards rate, 5% miles back redemption reward, and 50,000-mile signup bonus are the icing on the cake. And speaking of miles and rewards redemption, your miles never expire as long as your account remains open, active and in good standing.
In addition to travel awards, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® gives you other ways to get your money’s worth. With the annual fee waived for the first year, the card offers a solid initial value. You can also take advantage of the 0% Introductory APR on balance transfers to pay off another card and save on interest.
How To Use It
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $500 travel statement credit
- Earn 2X miles on all purchases
- Redeem for travel or cash back statement credits, gift cards and merchandise. Redemption values vary
- Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
- Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
- No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
- 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.74%, 20.74% or 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness.
- Please note, there is a fee for balance transfers
- Redeem your miles for travel statement credits starting at 10,000 miles for $100 toward all or a portion of your travel purchases. (Terms apply.)
- Spend $3,000 in your first 90 days to earn the 50,000 bonus miles, redeemable for a $500 travel statement credit.
- Get 5% miles back every time you redeem to use toward your next redemption.
- If you choose to transfer a balance from a high-APR card, pay off the balance during the intro APR period to avoid interest payments.
Best BofA Card
BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card
With no annual fee and 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card has a lot going for it. Cardholders who also have a Bank of America checking or savings account will find even more to like, since they’re eligible for a 10% customer points bonus on every purchase. If they’re also Preferred Rewards clients, the potential bonus ranges from 25% to 75%. BofA banking customers can maximize their ability to earn points with this card, points they can easily redeem for travel statement credits.
How To Use It
- Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
- 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases
- Use your card to book your trip how and where you want – you’re not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions
- Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees
- Comes with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
- 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases, then 15.74% - 23.74% Variable APR
- Get an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America® checking or savings account
- If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%
- Use the card to earn unlimited 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases.
- Make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days for 20,000 online bonus points worth a $200 travel statement credit.
- Redeem your points to get a statement credit on travel expenses including flights, hotels, rental cars, baggage fees and more.
- Combine the card with a BofA checking or savings account for an additional 10% customer bonus points. (Preferred Rewards clients can increase this bonus to 25-75%.)
Best Cash Back Bonus
Discover it® Cashback Match™
The Discover it® Cashback Match™ offers a variation on the old saying — good things come to [cardholders] who wait. At the end of your first year, the card automatically delivers a dollar-for-dollar cash back match. Also, cash rewards never expire and are redeemable at any time, in any amount. With no annual fee and free FICO Credit Score on monthly statements, the card offers a lot of value. Thanks to Cashback Match™ and all its other useful features, the Discover it® Cashback Match™ receives our top recommendation for Best Cash Back Bonus.
How To Use It
- You could turn $200 into $400 with Cashback Match™. Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
- Earn 5% cash back in rotating categories each quarter like gas stations, Amazon.com, restaurants, wholesale clubs and more, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
- 100% U.S. based customer service.
- Get your FICO® Credit Score for free on monthly statements, on mobile and online.
- No annual fee.
- Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
- Activate every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in rotating categories like gas stations, restaurants, wholesale clubs and Amazon.com.
- Remember that the more you purchase with the card during your first year, the bigger the Cashback Match™ you’ll receive at year’s end.
- If you choose to transfer a balance to Discover it® Cashback Match™, be sure to pay it off during the 14-month introductory 0% APR to avoid interest. (A 3% fee applies to each balance transfer.)
- Use your rewards instantly at Amazon.com checkout.
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
Frequent air travelers who like to arrive, dine and relax in style will enjoy our pick in the Best Perks category, the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. Generous points for many everyday purchases coupled with bonus points on airfare booked directly with airlines ensure that the points, and the easily-redeemable rewards, add up quickly. The Membership Rewards® program lets you use points for rewards from more than 500 brands and transfer points to select frequent traveler programs — Hilton Honors, JetBlue, Starwood Preferred Guest and more.
How To Use It
- Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
- 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.
- Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc. Terms apply.
- $0 Intro Annual Fee for the 1st year, then $195.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees
- Book flights directly with airlines to earn 3X points.
- Earn 2X points for purchases at U.S. restaurants, gas station and supermarkets and 1X points on all other purchases.
- Use the card to book lodging through The Hotel Collection and earn benefits including hotel credits and room upgrades when available.
- Use on international trips to take advantage of $0 foreign transaction fees.
Best Rewards Credit Cards: Summed Up
|Rewards Credit Cards||Best For…|
|1||Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Travel|
|2||Chase Freedom®||Cash Back Rewards|
|3||Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®||Fixed-Value Travel Credit Card|
|4||BankAmericard Travel Rewards®||No Annual Fee|
|5||Discover it® Cashback Match™||Cash Back for New Members|
|6||Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express||Perks|
Research the 92 Best Rewards Credit Cards for 2017
The rewards credit cards directory shown below is a comprehensive listing of every rewards credit card worth considering. It started as a list of nearly 1,630 cards. I created this directory and used it as a starting point for all of my research so that I could review all cards on the same criteria and reduce the list to a more manageable number. It’s updated weekly and reflects any new changes to the credit cards as well as new card additions and removals.
Using both the information shown in the directory and other features, I took a data-driven approach to select the top rewards credit cards. Multiple factors were taken into account, as I wasn’t looking for just the highest rewards alone. I wanted to find the card that has the best combination of the elements that are most important to the majority of people seeking a rewards card.
Rewards Credit Cards Directory
The directory also includes all the various types of rewards credit cards. You can use the rewards credit card directory to sort and filter by the components that are most important to you. To rank the cards, I rated each rewards credit card feature in order of importance based on my research.
When evaluating rewards credit cards in general, you’ll see that so many categories have an impact on rating each card. I took nearly 14 different components into account. Based on all of the features and data collected, I developed a Rewards Credit Card Rating, which is essentially a summary of how a card performs as a rewards card. The Overall Rating is a measure of the card compared to every single type of card.
Sort, filter, or search for what matters most to find the best rewards credit card for you.
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<input ... > Sign up Bonus Tier Level
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<input ... > No APR for 12+ Months
To better describe the data and overall rating, I’ll explain each valuable component below. These aren’t the only factors that went into rating each card, but these are some of the most valuable and the features that you’ll want to understand before getting any rewards card.
Rewards Rate refers to the actual rate at which you can earn rewards using the rewards credit card. Most of the consistent rewards credit cards will offer 2x points, miles, or cash back on common purchases without any limits. These cards are very versatile and are the best credit cards to own as your primary card.
Cash back credit cards offer higher rewards rates in specific categories, but have limits on the amount you can earn. The rotating category cash back credit cards enable you to earn 5% cash back every quarter on something different, but once you hit the $1,500 limit each quarter your rewards rate drops down to 1%. This is why owning a consistent 2x rewards card is important — to pick up the slack and continue earning double the points.
Then, there are rewards credit cards that are tied to one brand. Again, Rewards Rate as a whole measures the rewards you can earn, plus the places where you can earn those extra rewards. An airline credit card, hotel credit card, or brand loyalty (affinity) credit card will enable you to earn high rewards with that specific brand.
However, if you make purchases away from the brand, it’s likely that you’ll only earn at a 1% or 1x points rate, which means you’re missing out. This is generally why I only recommend these cards in special circumstances or if you’re looking to add a third, fourth, or fifth credit card and you spend a lot of money.
There are many benefits to owning a rewards card beyond what’s advertised. First off, many of the top cards have travel insurance benefits, car rental insurance, and purchase protection insurance. Beyond that, premium cards offer you special VIP services, access to exclusive events, and use of airport lounges.
Airline credit cards are probably near the top when it comes perks for a rewards credit card. Since the cards only offer rewards for purchases made on the airline (in most cases), they compensate by offering priority boarding, free checked bags, companion fares, and other travel benefits on the airline. These can be great perks for people that travel often, especially the companion fare.
The consistent all-around rewards credit cards tend to offer some of the largest sign-up bonuses in the industry. Often, you’ll have to spend a certain amount of money to get these bonuses dropped into your account. Usually, it’s anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000 spent in the 90 days. The top cards offer sign-up bonuses of up to $400, while others go up to $200. The key here is to make sure you capitalize on your sign-up bonus!
Airline credit cards also have large bonuses in the form of air miles. Essentially, it’s the same monetary value as, say, a $400 statement credit bonus. However, in my experience, it’s much less straightforward booking a flight with air miles than it is to get $400 to show up on your statement as a credit.
Cash back credit cards have some of the smallest bonuses in the industry, likely because the rewards rate on purchases is so high (even though there’s a limit to the amount you can earn). Still, the bonuses on these cards are nice and tend to be around $50 to $100, although I’ve seen special offers as high as $200.
Introductory APR isn’t too important as it relates to earning rewards, but it gives you the flexibility and freedom to make purchases without having to worry about carrying a balance as a new cardholder. For example, some of the best introductory offers in the industry can go as high as 0% APR for 18 months. That means you don’t have to make a payment for 18 months. Of course, you still need to pay attention and keep up with your payments so you aren’t left with a massive balance a year and a half after signing up for the card!
An Intro APR can be a dangerous tool or a wise tool depending on how you look at it. If you know you need to make a major purchase in the next few months and you can pay it off without hesitation in the next year, it’s fine to take advantage of these offers. However, if you’re signing up for a card and spending way more than you should because you don’t have to pay interest, you might get into trouble.
I advise you to tread cautiously and carry the least amount of balance possible if you plan on taking advantage of a 0% intro APR deal.
I included ongoing APR because it’s important to think about. You shouldn’t sign up for a rewards credit card if you plan on carrying a balance. Any way you look at it, the amount you’ll earn in rewards won’t be able to offset the high costs of paying off a balance that’s accumulating interest each month.
Sometimes, things happen and you might get into a situation where you have to carry a balance. In that case, cash back cards generally have the lowest ongoing APRs. Again, you really want to avoid this at all costs. A credit card is a great financial tool if used the right way. You can be paid back for making purchases in the form of rewards and build your credit.
If used the wrong way, your credit can be destroyed. You’ll be stuck making high interest payments and you’ll trigger a financial downward spiral. Make sure you pay off your balance each month or cut back on your spending. (Side note: I’ll probably hammer this point home at least one more time as you continue reading.)
Choosing the Right Rewards Card
Credit cards aren’t one size fits all. Here’s how to find one that fits just right.
Step 1: Analyze your spending.
If your spending often falls within popular categories like groceries, gas, or online shopping, look for a card that offers bonus rewards on those types of purchases. If it doesn’t, consider a flat-rate rewards card.
Step 2: Choose your rewards type.
Cash back rewards are redeemable for statement credits or gift cards, while travel rewards are good for airfare, hotel stays, and more. Some cards even offer both, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Do you want to earn travel rewards?
If you travel often or plan to travel more, a travel rewards card could be just what you’re looking for. Would you rather earn hotel loyalty points or frequent flyer miles – or both?
- Would you rather earn cash back?
Our favorite cash back cards allow you to earn rewards on everyday purchases, then redeem them for cash, gift cards, or statement credits. Popular rewards categories include groceries, gas, online shopping, and more. If travel rewards aren’t a priority for you, check out our favorite cash back cards.
- Is flexibility most important?
For maximum flexibility, consider a card like the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. This card allows you to redeem points for gift cards, travel, merchandise, or entertainment.
The Truth About Rewards Credit Cards
There’s so much data to consider when choosing a rewards credit card. With all the data points, it’s often hard to distinguish what’s most important because much of this information is geared toward people who aren’t using credit cards the right way. When you use a credit card responsibly, finding the right rewards credit card is relatively simple: nothing else matters except rewards, bonuses, and benefits.
Most credit card review sites look at the following data points:
- Introductory APR
- Standard APR
- Sign-up bonus
- Rewards rate
- Additional bonus rewards
- Introductory balance transfer rate
- Standard balance transfer rate
These data points are all worth knowing. I also looked at each of these. The problem is when you don’t carry a balance, APR doesn’t matter, balance transfer rates don’t matter, and fees don’t matter. All that’s left is to analyze are the rewards, bonuses, and perks as well as how they can be used.
The key factor of rating a rewards credit card lies below the surface-level details. How can you redeem your rewards? Are there extra advantages and amenities not included in the data points above? The answer is yes.
To get a better feel for each card, I put myself in the position of the cardholder. I dove into the nuances of the best rewards credit card programs to find the truth about rewards credit cards.
The Golden Rule: Don’t Carry a Monthly Balance on Your Credit Card
I mentioned this already, but I’m making a point of highlighting it here because of how important it is. If you want a rewards credit card, avoid carrying a balance at all costs. Your interest payments will completely wipe out your point accumulation and cost you too much money, time, and headaches. It’s simply not worth it.
If you currently have a balance and you want to pay it down, consider a balance transfer card to get back on track.
If you adhere to this rule, you will never need to worry about what ongoing APR your card offers. A lower APR is clearly better, but you shouldn’t be concerned about the APR unless you carry a balance.
Annual Fees Are an Investment to Earn More Rewards
Most people cringe at the thought of coughing up dough for the privilege of using a rewards card, but the truth is that paying the annual fee is usually worth it. Many of the best rewards cards have annual fees that are normally waived in the first year. Given the extra rewards you can earn for using the card and the massive sign-up bonuses, annual fees won’t turn out to be an additional cost. It really depends on how much you plan on spending on the card, though.
Think of it this way: If you spend $20,000 per year and get 1x point per dollar spent with a no annual fee card, you’ll receive $200 worth of points. If you spend the same amount with a rewards card that earns 2x per dollar but has a $95 annual fee, you’ll get $305 worth of points ($400 minus $95). That’s a 52.5% increase!
Your annual fee investment is $95 and your increase is $105. This amounts to a “return on investment” (ROI) of $105/$95, or 110.5%. No investor on Wall Street can match that return year in and year out.
There are plenty of great rewards credit cards out there with no annual fee. I’m just advising that you shouldn’t make your choice solely based on the fee because the bonus and additional rewards you earn will usually offset the fee.
Capitalize on Sign-Up Bonuses
Almost every top rewards credit card has a great sign-up point bonus. This is serious free money you don’t want to miss out on when signing up. You’re defeating the purpose of signing up for a top rewards credit card if you don’t meet the spending requirements to collect your sign-up bonus.
These bonuses can reach values of $400 or more, so make sure you collect on it. In most cases, when you meet the required spending,
Ways to Redeem Points Are As Valuable As Ways to Earn Points
One of the key benefits of a great rewards card is being able to redeem points the way you want to. Your points don’t do you any good if you can’t use them. This applies across the board for different types of rewards cards. We talk a lot about general rewards, but some of the airline cards and hotel credit cards are able to offer you a higher rewards earning potential for purchases with their brand.
The two premier rewards platforms that give you the most flexibility when redeeming points are Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Points. You can’t go wrong with either of these platforms when redeeming points for travel, entertainment, gift cards, or cash back.
If you carry more than one rewards credit card like I do, it can really pay off to have them on the same rewards platform. That way, you can combine points and take advantage of special point dividends, bonuses, or deals. Always think about how you’ll redeem points before signing up for a rewards card.
How To Save More Money By Maximizing Rewards
I’ve talked at length about the benefits of using a rewards credit card. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all card that delivers superior rewards on every conceivable spending category AND has the most flexible point redemption options.
Given the limitations, many people will want to employ some strategies to get the most out of their rewards. My recommendation is to use at least two rewards credit cards. Using more can help, but the added annual fees may eat away at the benefits of carrying an additional card if you don’t spend enough.
Let’s assume you want to completely max out your rewards earning potential without owning an excessive amount of cards. Owning two or three cards is the right number to get the most rewards and still keep the cards active (assuming you’re paying off the balances). You’ll be able to take advantage of the bonuses and ongoing rewards without major limitations.
There are many strategies to maximizing your rewards cards while keeping the number of credit cards you own down to a minimum. Here are a few examples:
- Overlap categories on the same rewards platform (like Chase Ultimate Rewards).
- Combine business and personal rewards credit cards.
- Use a consistent rewards card and a cash back card.
- Overlap two types of travel rewards cards
Case Study #1: Overlap Categories on the Same Rewards Platform
The goal of this strategy is to take two or more rewards cards that earn bonus points in different categories and combine them to earn more than you would by just earning 1% on all other purchases. The ideal situation is to keep both cards on the same rewards platform so you can easily combine the points from each card when you want to redeem them.
My favorite way to do this right now is to use the Chase Ultimate Rewards platform. If you used the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to earn 2x points on travel and dining, you could add the Chase Freedom® to take care of rotating bonus categories like groceries, gas, and department stores.
There are a couple added benefits to using these two cards. First, the Chase Freedom® card does not have an annual fee, so you can employ this strategy for just $95 per year (the annual fee on Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card). Second, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points are worth 20% more when redeemed for travel on the Ultimate Rewards platform. The Chase Freedom® points are not eligible for this benefit as a standalone card.
Here’s the good news: Chase Ultimate Rewards lets you combine card points, so you can transfer your Chase Freedom® points to your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and those additional points will be worth 20% more when redeemed for travel!
The Power of the Platform
Let’s say you accumulate 50,000 points on your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and 20,000 points on a second card on a different rewards platform. You then decide to take that Caribbean vacation you’ve always wanted and use Chase Ultimate Rewards to book your trip. You see that two flights cost a combined $750. Your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points when redeemed for travel will cover $625 of the cost, but you have to pay out of pocket for the remaining $125 because you can’t combine your points.
Now, let’s say you’re in the same scenario except your “other card” is the Chase Freedom®. You decide to combine your points with your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points, so you now have 70,000 points to use. On most other rewards platforms, 70,000 points equal $700. However, with the 20% bump you get with Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, your combined 70,000 points now are worth $875 — enough to cover your airfare for your vacation!
Case Study #2: Combine Business and Personal Rewards Cards
If you run a small business or are self-employed in some way, you can use one of the best business credit cards as your secondary card. Business cards often have better rewards in different categories that can be overlapped. My colleague uses the Chase Ink® business cards for his business and combines points with his personal credit cards on the Chase Ultimate Rewards platform to get maximum value.
For example, he puts all of his gas and hotel stays on his Chase Ink Bold® for 2x points. He also charges his cell phone bill, Internet service, and landline to that card to earn 5x points. Then, he books any travel or dining on his Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to earn 2x points.
Redeeming is easy because both cards will get you 20% more when redeemed for travel through Chase. All he has to do is combine the points and book his tickets.
Case Study #3: Consistent Rewards + Cash Back
When you want a simple strategy for rewards and you’re not as concerned with your cards being on the same platform, you can split up your cards. Your goal here is to earn a straight 2% back on all purchases while giving yourself a boost of 2% in certain spending categories.
One way to do this is to sign up for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® to earn 2x miles on all purchases. From here, you have several options to add a cash back card that earns high rewards in rotating categories.
This selection will largely be situational depending on what you spend your money on. My favorite cash back card is the Chase Freedom®, just for the variety alone. You have more choices here because you can open your options to cards on different rewards platforms.
You most likely will not use your cash back card as much as your Barclaycard, so I would use those cash back points either as statement credits, spending money, or to redeem for gift cards. Then, use all of your Barclaycard points for travel-related or larger purchases.
You can’t maximize your rewards by only owning a cash back card. Even the best cash back card must be used in combination with another rewards credit card to ensure you earn greater than 1% back on every purchase you make.
Remember, you won’t be able to combine points in this scenario, so make sure you have options for redeeming each set of points. Since you’ll be using your cash back card in limited situations, it might not make sense to pay an additional annual fee, which is why I recommend the Chase Freedom®.
Case Study #4: Overlap Two Travel Rewards Cards
If you travel often, you may want a little extra juice in your rewards program. Here, you need to take into consideration frequent flyer programs, preferred airlines or hotels, and point transfer partners so you can use your points in the most efficient way possible.
What I recommend is pairing a solid, general rewards card with an airline or hotel card.
What’s important to remember:
- Most airline and hotel cards don’t earn higher than 1x points away from their own brands.
- The best general rewards cards have frequent flyer transfer partners.
- Your rewards are attached to the airline or hotel rewards program and changes do happen.
- Most rewards cards and airline cards carry annual fees, so don’t sign up for all of them!
Keeping those points in mind, there are many ways to execute this strategy. Below is an example to illustrate how you could maximize your rewards points.
Travel Card + Airline or Hotel Card = Max Travel Rewards
Sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to get a great sign-up bonus and solid rewards on travel and dining, plus capitalize on the 20% bonus point redemption. This is your starting point for earning travel rewards.
Next, choose your preferred airline or hotel. This is much more difficult since it depends on your preferences and geography. One way to choose is to look at your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card point transfer partners. With this program, you can transfer your points to partners such as United, British Airways, Southwest, Hyatt, and Marriott. Points transfer on a 1:1 basis, so you should first consider any of these specialty cards.
If you fly one airline a lot you can double dip on points and miles, then transfer credit card points to airline miles. Adding the United MileagePlus® Explorer card won’t net you any immediate points difference since both cards earn 2x on United purchases. However, you might travel United enough to take advantage of mileage deals by transferring Ultimate Rewards points from your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
Finally, with these two cards, you’ll be paying two annual fees. Consider adding a no annual fee cash back card to boost your points on rotating categories that aren’t covered by Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. You might need gas or groceries while traveling, and cash back cards can cover you in these categories.
The marketplace for rewards credit cards is enormous. I collected data on 1,630 credit cards for this project. It’s been an ongoing effort that I’ve been a part of for nearly two years.
One priority for me is to make sure this page is continuously updated. I get emails daily about changes and updates directly from the credit card issuers so we’re able to make the changes fast, keeping everything current. This page can be updated as often as daily or weekly, so you’ll see some details change from time to time.
Beyond simply presenting the research and the numbers, I looked for strategies to help you make the best decision and use your credit cards wisely.
Many of the tips and practices outlined here are things I actually put into practice on a daily basis. I made an effort to put myself in your position — the position of the cardholder — in order to create something useful. Luckily, I own several of these cards myself and I’m able to speak from personal experiences.
While this article mainly focuses on overall rewards credit cards, I also completed several other pieces that discuss each rewards type more specifically. If you’re interested in credit card rewards, I encourage you to check out some of the other articles, as each piece offers more depth on the individual card types.
You can take a look at my article on cash back credit cards. I also wrote another detailed article on airline credit cards, which you’ll find useful if you fly on one airline or travel often. My colleague wrote a great piece on travel credit cards that sums up any credit card you should consider for travel, including general travel cards and various types of brand credit cards.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below. I do my best to respond to everyone!
So, I’ve been attending a salsa dance class the last few months. The class is structured so that you are welcome to come as a single person, and the participants shuffle through partners throughout the class. It’s a lot of fun and the men are generally pretty respectful and appropriate.
My problem is that a young man has been attending the last two weeks, and while he is very polite, his body odor is HORRENDOUS. I really cannot overstate how bad it is. By the middle of class he is sweating profusely, such that there is perspiration dripping off of his nose, and yes, onto his dancing partners (or at least *this* dancing partner, which is my main concern).
I really don’t want dance with him, but I don’t know how to refuse or what to do about it without being rude. I can totally see his attendance in this class as a suggested “assignment” from a therapist or other advice giver (such as yourself!) to get out there and be around people, even if it’s something he’s not comfortable doing.
Do you have any scripts that I can use? I do want to be kind.
~Dreading Dance Class
Dear Dreading Dance Class,
I’ve gotten a lot of “how do I tell someone they smell” and a lot of “how do I deal with this awkward dance partner” questions that I haven’t answered yet – thanks for this question that lets me combine both!
You don’t have to dance with him (or with anyone that you don’t want to) and if his turn as your partner gets a “No thank you/Not this time/Oh, sorry, I need to use the rest room/catch my breath/make a quick phone call” for now while you work up to talking to him about it, that’s okay. This is as true for The Dance Partner Who Never Stops Talking, Too Much Perfume Lady, and The Brotherhood of the Traveling Hands as it is for Febreezio The Fragrant.
Ideally dance teachers and studios should communicate ground rules for class and issue periodic reminders, for example:
- Dancing means getting really close to people, so we expect that you’ll wear clean clothes and freshen up before class. Don’t forget to brush your teeth/use breath mints, too.
- Everyone sweats when they dance so please remember to blot/mop yourself up occasionally – handkerchiefs or bandanas are useful for this!
- Please avoid strong cologne or perfume due to allergies.
- We like everyone to dance with everyone else and feel welcome, but you can refuse to dance with anyone or sit a dance out for any reason. If someone doesn’t want to dance with you, or sits out a dance, don’t take it personally – in 5 minutes you’ll have a new partner.
- If you feel like someone is dancing too close here is how you signal that!/Here is how you signal or ask for permission to dance closer.
Of course, posting general “for everyone” rules definitely don’t magically solve the issue. We all know that Sylvia-in-your-office-who-cuts-a-sliver-
When you join a scene or a hobby or a workplace or any social enterprise, certain expectations come with that (There is no talking in the Diogenes Club). If Febreezio doesn’t already know that “It’s okay if you are a naturally sweaty person but dancing close to people means doing what you can to manage your sweat”/”Your usual hygiene game is not cutting it for this level of close contact and physical activity” someone in that scene – you, or the teacher, or another old hand – is doing a kindness if they tell him directly as soon as possible. Communicating those expectations is not persecution.
He will definitely not enjoy the conversation and not feel good! Nobody likes to get told that they stink! It’s embarrassing! But it will also be wicked embarrassing if everyone suddenly needs to take an urgent phone call when it’s their turn to dance with him.
If you want to have the conversation, pull him aside privately (not on the dance floor) and try this script:
“Hey, X, can I talk to you real quick about something awkward? Great.
I’d love to dance with you sometime, but I’ve noticed you don’t smell so great today and you don’t mop up when you get sweaty. Can you make sure to freshen up before next class, and bring a handkerchief or bandana with you to mop up sweat?“
Casting it as a thing you’ve had to deal with personally can help:
“When I first started coming to dance classes I definitely underestimated how sweaty I’d get. I needed to raise my deodorant game for one thing, and I also realized I needed to bring a clean shirt with me to change into between work and coming here. I’ve noticed you having some of the same issues. Can you make sure to freshen up before next class, and bring a handkerchief or bandana with you to mop up sweat?”
Whatever you do, keep it short and treat it like a normal, reasonable request that you think he will want to follow in order to make you more comfortable as a dance partner.
If you talk to the teacher about it, try:
“X is new here, and I’ve noticed that he doesn’t smell so good or mop up when he sweats, so I don’t want to dance with him. I don’t want to hurt his feelings and I want him to have fun and be included here. Can you speak to him about it or do you have suggestions for how to approach it with him?“
The teacher should take him aside and say something like:
“We’re very glad you’re here, but I’ve noticed* some issues with body odor and sweat today. Please take a shower, use deodorant, and please make sure you’re wearing clean clothes before you come to dance lessons next week, it’s part of being a good dance partner. Also, bring a handkerchief or bandana with you to mop up if you get sweaty.”
Notice the list: Clean clothes, shower, deodorant, bandana to mop sweat. Now is not the time for vague euphemisms like “be more aware of hygiene.” Either the guy doesn’t know he smells, or he does know but he doesn’t have a good practice to make it stop. You’ve come this far into Awkwardtown, might as well be specific and tell him what exactly you’d like him to do.
As for your worries about driving him away from dance class forever, let’s get some perspective: What if a therapist did recommend for him to come here? What if he is really really really nervous about dancing? What if he comes straight from working a really physical job and doesn’t have time to shower and this is his only outlet for exploring the pleasure of dance? What if it’s a medical issue? What if these are his only clothes what if the closest washing machine and shower are 10 miles away from his house and uphill both ways?
Is that really your baggage to take on?
Isn’t it also patronizing to project all of those possible explanations, excuses, and reasons onto other people? After all, he is an adult man who signed up for and attends a dance class, so isn’t it likely that he can:
a) Take steps to clean himself up before doing a social activity (See Jimmy’s trunk full of wet wipes on this week’s Better Call Saul)?
b) Experiment with and adjust his hygiene strategies if it is in fact a medical issue?
c) Handle 5 minutes of awkward conversation about it?
d) Make choices about how he deals with uncomfortable feelings, whether that’s “Clean up a little better so I can enjoy dancing” or “flee forever…too mortifying…ack?”
When someone is doing something that makes you uncomfortable, it’s very easy to get lost in diagnosing all the reasons they might do it. Compassionate people try to walk in the other person’s shoes, and it’s even more pronounced when you factor in how relentlessly women are socialized to protect men’s feelings. But if you avoid a difficult conversation with someone who is making you uncomfortable because you can’t stop worrying about the reasons or stop generating possible excuses for them, it won’t help the person or solve the problem. It will just put you through a lot of emotional labor without making a single thing better for anyone.
*Important: If you are ever a peer or an authority figure who has to deliver embarrassing news to someone, and if it can possibly be avoided, don’t start with “We’ve had complaints” or “Everyone talked about this and we think ____” or “Some people have suggested that you…” I understand the temptation to displace the awkwardness onto the anonymous authority of the group, but it just makes it worse for the person and also risks derailing the conversation with “Who complained?” “What exactly did they say?” The first time you have the conversation with someone, let them save a little face by not making it them vs. the whole group or the whole world. You’re already here delivering the awkward news, so use your “I” statements and own the problem.
Appendix: I’m not a dancer but as a teacher and a manager and a dater and a person with a body, this has been my approach Private Conversations About Smells (And Other Body Awkwardnesses).
Case Studies #1-???: Conversations With Stinky College Students
Odor/hygiene problems are almost always co-morbid with the student falling behind academically, so that’s usually my angle.:
Me: “You’ve been missing a lot of class/You didn’t turn in your last assignment. What’s going on?”
If The Stink has crossed to a Truly Problematic place, then I add: “Also, is really awkward and I hate to put you on the spot like this, but I’ve noticed that you don’t seem like your usual self in class lately – you don’t smell good/your clothes aren’t clean – is everything all right?”
As you can imagine I find out all kinds of stuff, from “I live in a homeless shelter” to “I don’t know how to do laundry and I’m too embarrassed to ask” to “Showering wastes crucial earth resources and deodorant is just a conspiracy from Big Pharma to make us CONFORM!” … to depression, grief, sexual assault, and other really hard stuff, so I never, never assume what the problem is.
- Obviously, deadline re-negotiation and referrals to many campus resources for the hard stuff.
- For the “Oh, Buddy” Freshmen: “Have you Googled ‘how do I do laundry?’ “No” “Maybe try that? Oh look, here’s a couple of tutorials” “Ok!” “Cool, I don’t want to smell you next week.” “LOL, you got it.”
- For the “I’m stinky FOR THE EARTH, DEAL WITH MY RIGHTEOUS STENCH” student I’ve had luck with “I get that but if I can smell you from here it’s gotten out of hand for what’s okay in a small classroom or working on a film crew in close quarters. Can you research some environmentally-friendly solutions or schedule the weekly bath for right before my class? I’d sure appreciate it.”
Case Studies: SexyTimes Stink! 2000-present day
Brevity and directness are kindness:
- “I’d very much like to put my _____ on your _____ or your _____ in my _____ but I think you/I/we both need a shower first.“
- “Oof, it’s a little funky down here. Can we pick this up after a shower? Awesome.“
If you’re close enough to someone that you’re going to put your ______ on their ______, then you’re close enough to say “Bodies are gross sometimes, let’s agree to take mitigating measures.”
Case Studies In Which I Was A Manager Of Someone With Awkward Hygiene Stuff
“Hey, this is awkward and I hate to put you on the spot, but [you don’t smell good][you aren’t wearing clean clothes to work][you’re probably not aware but when you lean over in that top your whole chest area and bra can be seen (true story!)][that white shirt is see-through please wear an undershirt][there is some other specific thing about your hygiene or physical aspect that is giving me cause for concern].”
“Have you noticed that, too? That’s not like you at all, so…[Is there anything going on we should know about][Have you had a medical checkup lately][Visited a dentist to talk about that?][Do you need a couple of days off to catch up on Life Stuff like laundry?][Need to make a Target run for something that doesn’t have holes in it before our client meeting?]”
As with students, people who had difficult life reasons got referred to whatever resources could be had, and everyone got a “Hey, this is informal right now – I just wanted to check in with you and talk about it before it becomes a real issue. Please [do the stuff we talked about][take a few days to get it together][take another look at the dress code and let me know if something is unclear or seems impossible] and it will go back to being a non-issue.”
By way of contrast, here’s a story about what not to do about The Stinky Guy:
Case Study: The Saga of The Smelly Hippie Guy I Shared An Office With For A Year In The Late 1990s Before I Had Therapy/When I Was Still Terrified Of Conflict
Me: :Agonizes for months about whether to say anything:
Him: :continues to stink:
Me: :Complains about him to everyone who would listen…except him.:
Him: :keeps it funky:
Me: :Tries to get my office moved: :Have a choice of sticking with stinky-but-quiet guy or sharing with a lady I hate who never stops talking:
Me: :polls my work friends at length re: The Noise or the Funk?:
Me: (sigh) :inertia + Funk:
Him: :wavy stink lines come off him sometimes:
Me: :executes a complex series of trades with everyone in the office until I am his Secret Santa:
Me: :gives THE GIFT OF TINY FANCY MAN-SOAP & DEODORANT: (We travel a lot for our work so this can be played off as “I got you some awesome travel supplies!”)
Him: “Sweet! Thanks! Hahaha! Are you saying I stink?”
Me: “Hahahaha no. No. Hahahaha. No. Why would you think that?
Him: “Right on!” :gift disappears into desk drawer:
Also Him: :rocks on with his funky self:
Me: :Periodically checks his desk drawer to see if the soap package has been opened or moved:
(It hasn’t moved)
(It never moves)
Him: “I’m going to start biking to work, is it cool with you if I have my bike in here?”
Me: :buys a scented candle and moves it slowly closer to him each day when I burn it:
Office Manager: All Staff Email: “Reminder: No candles or open flames in the office.”
Me: :buys a carved wooden incense burner and some incense from a street vendor down the block. For some reason tell him that I got it on an international trip:
Him: “I like this incense you brought back!”
Office Manager: All Staff Email: “No incense, either! No fire at all!”
Me: :sprays Glade:
Him: “Ugh, could you not spray that stuff? It’s full of chemicals.”
Him: “Yeah, and also I just can’t stand the way it smells.”
Another month goes by. It’s my turn to take over our department’s “Word of the Week” email. It’s a fun game so I’ll describe it for any office workers reading: Junior staff would secretly take turns picking an unusual word and gaining bragging points by using the word as much as possible in meetings and office communications throughout the week. Points were awarded based on sophistication and correctness of usage, frequency of use (more points for being the seventh person who says “I think we’ve crossed…the Rubicon… here” in the same meeting than for being the first), whether we could say it without laughing, whether we could make the one Cool Boss who has caught on to the game laugh or (better yet!) use it, and (best of all) whether we could make the expression catch on widely among senior staff.
My words that month: noisome, malodorous, putrescent, fetid.
Him: :adopts some kind of all-rotten egg, all-compost lunch routine:
Also him: :keeps on reekin’ on:
Another month goes by. It’s almost a year to the day that we started sharing an office. In summer. In Washington, D.C. aka SWAMPY MCHUMIDPLACE.
Me: :Walks into our office and gags because it smelled like old socks have been dipped in ball sweat, wrapped around road kill, and slow-roasted over a dung fire:
Me: “DUDE, it’
Me: (small voice) “I’msorryIdidn’tmeantoyell”
Me: (small voice) “But you stink.”
Him: :smells his own pits: “Wow yeah I am kinda stinky today. Sorry.”
Me: (almost a whisper) “Not just today.”
Him: “There are showers?”
Me: “Yeah! Top floor.”
Him: “Is there a code or a lock or anything I need to know about?”
Him: “Sweet! I’ll bring a towel with me tomorrow.”
Me: “And…every day?”
Him: “And every day.”
Him: “No worries! I hope this wasn’t bothering you all this time?!?”
Me: “Hahahaha…no, of course not. All good. Just…clean yourself.”
Him: “Got it.”
(I had checked 2 days ago)
Him: “GOT it.”
Me: “OkI’mgoingtolunchnow…bye…can I bring you anything back…”
Him: “All good…”
Him: “Seriously, Jen, it’s all good.
Me: :goes to lunch, brings him back a cookie and a brownie and a coffee:
And lo, he did take regular showers, and behold, a bike makes a pretty good good rack for holding a damp towel, and indeed, when his towel started to get funky I said “Hey time to wash that towel, yeah?” and he smelled it and said “Good grief, yes, I’m sorry!” and we never spoke of it again.
Letter Writer, your conversation with this dancing guy is going to be easier than that, right? Right.
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Overall: An attempt at doing creative things with RPGMaker that was interesting, but ultimately missed the mark. The Amber Throne, which I got off the same recommendation list, is a much stronger game in my opinion. That said, if there was a sequel, I'd check it out to see what the author learned.