The second week of the first annual Webull WeTrader Competition has just begun. WeBull is offering $10,800 in Amazon gift cards distributed amongst the top 10 most profitable portfolios for each of the 4 weeks of the competition and giving one lucky skilled trader the keys to brand new Tesla model 3 (at the WeBull end-of-year party) or pay off $40,000 in student loans. WeBull is currently offering a free stock for signing up for an account (upon approval) and another free stock for depositing $100 into your brokerage account upon settling of that deposit. Davey’s Link, Derp’s Link.
It’s a fun contest, starting each Monday morning of October
you have 100k and paper trade to get the most profits. You’re limited to US stocks priced over $5,
no ETFs, and no initial position can be greater than $30,000. You are required to hold/trade at least 3
stocks during each week of the competition. But get this:
Webull is donating $1 for every $1,000 of paper profits to a different
charity each week, so you’re helping make the word a better place!
The first week of the competition I did some technical
trading on some stocks on my watchlist and did way better than I ever thought I
could. I broke into the top 50 out of
about 3000, but was still really far behind the top 10. There’s some really impressive 5 day returns
from some of the trading bros on there.
Hats off to Jarod who crushed it with 13.5% return over 5 days.
Any trader that posts a greater than 5% return on the week
was invited to post a little blurb on the webull community site.
“Dear Webull Users,
Congratulations on your paper trading earnings this week! You made
more than 5% of your portfolio this week.
We invite you to share your trading story in the Webull community
to help your fellow users.
1. By participating in this event, you can get the following:
A.Sticky Top Post: Your post could be selected and can
be stuck to the top of the community home page for two (2) days.
B. Sitewide Push: If your post is compliant and
gets more than 10 comments, we will push it out to tens of thousands of users
on Webull Weekly.
C. Increase your Post Visibility: Promote your
game’s personal homepage.If your praise goes to the top 30, you can go directly
to the finals.
2. How to participate：
A. Use hashtag #WeTrader Competition when making
a post. Don’t forget to add a link to your personal Paper Trader portfolio in
3.Content Requirement of each post:
A. You must write a minimum of 100words in your
B. The content of the review must revolve around
paper trading the stocks on Webull. Below are a list of example topics:
How do you improve your
How do you choose stocks?
What is your trading
How do you benefit from
Your trading story.
C. Do not recommend any specific stocks or
industries in your post.
4.Deadline:October 15th, Midnight.”
I came at the competition
with a swing-trading technical analysis perspective and held all my stocks to the
end of the competition. Also I short
sold $ALLK, which was probably my biggest gain in my portfolio.
Another interesting angle to the competition is that the top 30 most popular traders (those who have the most likes) get invited to the finals, so please like my profile or Derp’s profile.
Good luck out there and may the earnings be ever in your favor!
P.S. Feel free to post your profile below in the comments for us to like and upvote! -Derp
Thanks to reader PJ and Joe for bringing up this article here. You can now send two lucky people a link to get an AmEx card and bonus offer despite them having the card before:
Usually a card offer made public from AmEx contains the “life time language clause” stating that you can’t get the bonus again if you ever had it before. These special links give your intended invite another chance to get the bonus despite already having a card. You can check here to send out links. Currently the products that have unrestricted language are:
American Express Personal Platinum 60k MR after $5k in 90 days
American Express Hilton Aspire: 150k HH after $4k in 90 days
American Express Bonvoy Brilliant: 75k Marriott after $3k in 90
I had my wife send me a link for my second bonvoy brilliant only to find this bullshit:
Welcome offer not available to applicants who (i) have or have had The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card from JPMorgan or the J.P. Morgan Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card in the last 30 days, (ii) have acquired the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy™ Premier Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy™ Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase or the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase in the last 90 days, or (iii) received a new Card Member bonus or upgrade offer for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card from Chase, Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy™ Premier Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card from Chase, the Marriott Bonvoy™ Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase or the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Business Credit Card from Chase in the last 24 months.
Sure there is no lifetime language, but there certainly are still restrictions! I refer you back the the chart made by Greg at Frequent Miler:
I currently have 5 AmEx cards, and am getting impatient of waiting 12 months to upgrade the lesser Hilton’s and Marriott’s:
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant
Marriott Bonvoy (Upgradable in February)
Hilton Honors Surpass (Upgradable in April)
Hilton Honors Aspire
Hilton Honors (Upgrabible in March)
I am thinking of using the link to get another Bonvoy Brilliant first and they will call to ask me to cancel my Hilton Honors Surpass card (no bonus given as its my #2). Reder PJ also notes:
Everyone needs to keep in mind you have to wait 90 days to open up the same product. Derp please update your article to state that so we don’t make that mistake. Also these offers expire at the end of 2021 so it’s smart to get a bunch of these in your email from others and put together a plan for 2020-2021.
There have been two reports now of security clearances in jeopardy or denied due to excessive credit card accumulation:
Hi Everyone. First of all, thank you so much Derp and your team for writing these fantastic articles! I got into some serious churning 3 years ago because of you guys! Great job. Just wanted to give EVERYONE a huge heads up and warning in regards to Churning that personally affected me. During a job interview that required top security clearance, they failed me during the polygraph and in person interview for having “Too many credit cards”. They hammered me hard on that portion and despite paying EVERYTHING off on time and despite me explaining the process behind “churning”, they labeled this behavior has excessive and a behavior not “fit” for an agent position. I was on my final stages of becoming and obtaining my dream job but never knew this could possibly have affected me. Knowing four different languages, graduating from Boston College + commissioned officer, I was certain that I would be golden but having too many credit cards was what ultimately disqualified me from being offered my dream job. Just wanted to give a warning to everyone who plans on working at an agency that requires a top secret clearance, especially in an “agent” position. I cannot give out the specific agency but nevertheless, I will be enjoying this rest of the year with my wife, the great benefits of SCRA/MLA. Now time to travel to Southeast Asia with all the points that i accumulated throughout my active duty career!
-Reader Marcus on 11 October 2019
The other datapoint is here on reddit. You think it’s time to give up the game? Looks like churning is off limits to the entire line community that actually needs TS clearance.
While we prefer to earn most of our hotel reward program points through credit card welcome bonuses, that isn’t a long term sustainable option as you’ll eventually run out of cards that you can achieve bonuses with. One of my favorite secondary options is to buy points during bonus deals from Hilton & Marriott after they’ve extended their point purchasing limits for the year.
Currently Hilton will allow you to purchase up to 160k points in calendar year 2019, with a buy a point get a point free deal. While this isn’t normally a fantastic deal, it’s a great way to capitalize on meeting welcome bonuses on a card. Earlier this year I purchased 80k points at 1 cent per point for $800. While this is normally a terrible deal, I got another 80k points for free and completed the majority of the minimum spend for the AMEX Hilton Honors card to get another 100k points. So for $800 I received 260k Hilton Honors points. Some would argue that this still isn’t that great of a deal, but when you use your HH points wisely at the higher reward properties (think Hiltons in Bora Bora, Maldives, Hawaiian islands) when prices are $1000 plus a night, you can stretch your value very well. Coupled with the 5th night free when booking with points option and free weekend night certificates, you can complete a 5-7 night stay at a top end Hilton for less than 400k points that would otherwise cost you upward of $7000! Remember that you can pool points between Hilton accounts, so you can easily accumulate over 1 million Hilton points with welcome bonuses for all three cards (Aspire – 150k, Surpass, 125k, HH – 75k) when you and your card partner both buy points and meet all SUBs.
Marriott also has a relatively decent deal going on right now, and has doubled their normal point purchasing or gifting limit from 50k to 100k points per year. The normal purchase price of 1.25 cents per point is not a great deal as it’s tough to get a higher value than that at Marriott properties. Right now, however, points are discounted 30% to 0.875 cents per point. Still not an awesome deal, but purchasing 100k Marriott points for $875 to finish a welcome bonus on any of the Marriott co-branded cards will net you a much better deal. The welcome bonuses are higher than normal on many of the Marriott cards right now, and the 30% point purchase discount ends on October 18th… so act fast if you need to stock up Marriott points for an upcoming trip!
These are good tactics to use if you are trying to churn through welcome bonuses quickly, and as usual only if you have the cash on hand to pay your balance immediately. Remember to use Derp’s referral links from The Beginner’s Churning Guide if you’re going to sign up for a card!
Currently I am spending two weeks at Bethesda for a course and I ran into my old friend from dental school. He is finishing up some cases, super busy to PCS, and asked if his spouse could reach out to me about credit card advice. I just got a text from her asking:
I have read some military spouse fb fourms would any of these be a good option or do you have another recommendation all together?
Amex Platinum-the annual fee is waived for service members, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Southwest, or another airline?
(sad to see that AmEx plat is the only card on everyone’s mind)
I have know her husband since dental school way back in 2007! He went Army, and I went Navy, but this entire AD time I have been telling him the virtues of churning, especially with the SCRA and MLA waivers. He told me for many years that he was more than happy with his Cabela’s credit card. Now that he has a family, he is starting to see the cost of travel and vacations with kids. His wife says:
We are in the middle of moving to Hawaii and realized we need to make this move work for us – meaning get a credit card or two and put everything on it and earn points, rewards, or whatever for all our purchases. One goal is to also earn enough points/airline miles to be able to fly family out to help out with the kids so my husband and I can do some solo traveling.
Well I decided to write my solutions here. This plan works for her only because she and her husband did not open any new cards in the last 24 months so they are known as 0/24. You can check credit karma to see how many cards you have gotten at any bank. Most of us are over 5/24 as in we have more than 5 cards at any bank. She is very lucky to have entered the game with a blank slate.
Rules of the game:
After each application you will need to go into the secure chat and request SCRA/MLA waivers, this should automatically apply for each additional card. She will promise me that her spends will not increase, and these spends are all organic in nature. She is smart to see that some big expenses are coming up, and these cards are perfect to capture this organic spend.
Also she pledges to me that these accounts are to be paid off on time, and even early if possible. The cards are to be treated like debit cards. Money will not be spent until matching funds exist in a bank account! If the game goes out of control, they are going to stop this game compley and go full Dave Ramsey plans!
I optimized the solution to spread out earning over several hotel programs, and focus on Hilton and Delta since they have a lot of Hilton resorts in Hawaii, as well as the Delta companion pass from Hawaii to Mainland.
Step One: The CSR, INK, Freedom Triad
Keep in mind you can only get 2 cards every 30 days for Chase, I suggested this schedule:
20K UR (as a $200 credit) for $500 spend in 90 days
Note that there is a current offer of 60k right now for the Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP), but don’t get suckered in since 10k UR is only worth $150 in travel. You need the CSR (reserve) because of the 1.5 cents per point on travel as well as the instant $300 travel credit. Also note that the CSR will have the $450 in annual fees waived for both the spouse, dependant, and service members. However the $95 annual fee will NOT be waived for the Chase Ink Preferred, instead the current 80,000 UR is well worth $1,200 in travel. The Chase Freedom has no annual fee and will be upgraded in one year to another CSR to get another $300 travel credit.
In summary, in three months you would need to spend $9,000 to get the following:
150K Ultimate Rewards worth $2,250
$300 Travel credit
$95 annual fee on Ink
In one year you would call and upgrade the Freedom to another CSR, and then downgrade the Ink Preferred to the free Ink cash. This combo can also be kept intact if you want to just keep earning points in this fashion:
Chase Sapphire Reserve:
3x UR on travel
3x UR on dining
Lounge access at every Priority Pass Location
Chase Ink Preferred
3x UR Travel
3x UR Shipping purchases
3x UR Internet, cable and phone services
3x UR Advertising purchases
5x UR on rotating quarterly categories
Unless you are planning on spending $4,000 a year on the Freedom rotating categories, it is not worth keeping the Freedom. Upgrading it to a CSR would give you an instant $300 travel credit (worth 20,000 UR). I would argue in keeping the Chase ink for the 3x for the phone and internet bill and have points trickle in. Every year of your active duty status you will get $600 a year in travel credit, double this with your spouse and you will have this to look forward to:
First year: 300k UR worth $4,500 in travel
First year: $600 in travel credits
Every year of AD: $1,200 in travel credits
Travel credits work by charging anything travel related such as:
Taxi rides (including ride-share services)
Chare to each CSR for up to $300 every card anniversary. You will have to keep good track of which cards have been exhausted. I would recommend putting $300 right on to each person’s Uber, then $300 right into your toll transceiver account, then use the rest on air fare. If you don’t use the credit after one year of opening the card it will be lost and reset!
Step Two: Free Hotel Nights With Chase
Chase has their hands in three hotel groups: Marriott/Ritz Carlton, IHG, and Hyatt. You can certainly get all three, but keep in mind you have only 5 cards you can get before Chase cuts you out forever (over 5/24)! This does not count for the business cards (ink does not add to the 5/24 count). So right now you should have 2 out of 5 cards, leaving three slots. I would recommend these two cards because they are the most lucrative:
Hotel redemptions very greatly depending on time and location of your hotel stay. In the first year you could earn:
3 free nights worth 105k Marriott points
50K Hyatt points
125k IHG points
These groups are huge IHG consists of these brands:
And then Hyatt:
After the first year you will call Chase and upgrade the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless to a Ritz Carlton card which you will get the $450 annual fee waived. Now every year you would get (assuming you and your spouse are both follow along):
Two free 50k Ritz/Marriott Nights
$600 in flight credit for seat upgrades, food, lounge access
One Free IHG Night (40k points)
One Free Hyatt night (Cat 1-4)
Step Three: Finish up Chase With Airlines
EIther way you go, you need to fill up your 5 Chase cards, two good choices come to mind:
20,000 points after you spend $12,000 total in 1 yr
Now you are done with Chase because you have 5 personal cards and a single business card. YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO GET ANOTHER CHASE CARD AGAIN. Unless of course you stop getting any new personal cards for 24 long months.
Step Four: The One U.S. Bank Card
Not a lot of people know that U.S. Bank will waive for military, just open a checking account using one of these deals here. Wait a month and then get the U.S. Bank Altitude card. You will get $325 every year to use on travel related expenses. The first year you will get 50k points with $4,500 in the first 90 days of account opening. Each point is worth 1.5 cents on booking airfare.
I keep the card around and link it to my Apple Pay to earn 3x points every time I use my iPhone to pay for anything. You will also get a nice magazine called Andrew Harper wich will give you great ideas on where to vacation to. This card is the most under appreciated card in the military wallet.
Step Five: American Express
Note that some state residents do not get a waiver for military spouses. Florida seems to be the most problematic.
Finally after after about a year of starting your journey you will get to the one card most military people know, the American Express Personal Platinum card. Note that this is a CHARGE card, and will not count towards the 5 card limit for every AmEx CREDIT card. AmEx has a rule where you can only get 1 card in 5 days, and then only 2 cards in 90 days! Here is the timeline assuming the first card it the Personal Platinum:
40K bonus miles and 10K MQMs after you spend $3k in 90 days
After one year you will get a companion pass good up to first class
After one year you will have (assuming you spouse plays along):
Marriott: 2 Free 50k anytime nights every year
$600 in hotel credits at Marriott (Including Ritz)
Hilton: 6 Free weekend nights at any Hilton (including Waldorf Astoria)
Hilton: $1,500 Hilton Resort Credit
Hilton: $1,500 Airline Credit
$400 Uber Credit Per Year
$200 Saks Fifth Avenue
$400 airline incidentals for one airline
I suggest getting the Charles Schwab AmEx Platinum and/or the AmEx Platinum Business to best use your MR points. The Schwab Plat would let you cash out the 70k points at 1.25 cents for $875. The Plat Biz would be worth $1,050 on a single airline.
I have some grand plans to fly from ORD to BRU on United Polaris Business Class:
Right now they want almost $20k for two tickets on this flight:
However with points it is 240k United Miles:
Note the $1,631.85 is for all the missing points I don’t have yet. The flights are 8 and 9 hours each:
The flight would have been $19,543, but only costs 240,000 United miles for a sweet 8 cents per mile. The best way to get the 240,000 points is getting Ultimate Rewards as well as United Miles with the following products:
So that brings you right over 260,000 miles, other fee free for military cards to consider are the United Explorer card (50k United Miles), and the CSR (50k UR). All of these cards mentioned are 5/24 restricted. If you and your spouse play it right you would have 200K United and 260K UR which would be more than enough for this flight and the hotel stay!
I feel like Citi ThankYou Points (TYP) are the next frontier that I want to tackle on the blog. I have pretty much mastered AmEx for 1.5 cents for flights, and 1.25 cents for cash. Backing that are Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) for United and Hyatt transfers as well as weirdo hotel bookings at 1.5 cents per point. Now I finally figured out what to do with Citi ThankYou points!
One paradoxical nature of the Citi Prestige/Premier dichotomy is that you get a 25% bonus when booking directly with Citi ThankYou Points (TYP) only if you have the Premier card. Which is strange since the second tier Premier card has a bigger bonus than the highest Prestige card which only is worth 1 cent per point! However when you transfer points you get 1:1 ratio with both the Citi Prestige and Premier cards. Not the talk about the Citi Chairman Card which apparently is invite only.
Getting back to it, right now flights from ORD to BOS are a mere $413.20 for no luggage or flexibility for one adult and child the second weekend in January:
This is the “Blue” class which does not include luggage, but military get two bags when traveling on leave:
When booking with points they have the exact same flight for 27,600 points and $22.40 in taxes, with plenty of flights:
The cost equivalent is $413.20-$22.40=$390.80 for 27,600 Jetblue Points that only really cost 22,080 TYP for a grand total of 1.77 cents per TY point!
In anticipation for this flight I only transferred enough for the trip:
Leaving me with 62k points left to spend! What does everyone else do with their TYP?
Another airlines/tour group has failed. Thomas Cook of which I have never had the opportunity to take advantage of has suddenly ceased operations. It got me thinking of how I would get out of such a mess. From the article:
The British government swung into action, lining up flights to bring an estimated 150,000 Britain-based customers back home from vacation spots around the globe in what was called the biggest peacetime repatriation effort in the country’s history.
Looking toward points, having a stash of many different point systems is not a bad thing. For example, even for a flight leaving tomorrow American Airlines has a DFW to IAD flight for a mere 12,500 points each way:
If I was to pay cash the flight would have been $1,000!
The times are a bit rough, but you could get home at 4 cents per mile! On my last flight on American Airlines Shuttle they had a inflight offer on the American Airlines Red Aviator:
The terms say I might not be eligible for the 60k in flight offer since I had the Aviator Red card many years before, I currently have the Silver Aviator Card which is apparently invite only. I upgraded it when it first came out.
Anyone with any data points out there about Barclay waiving for MLA? I currently have the fee waiver on the silver since I had the SCRA waiver on the red before I upgraded it. Barclay is very inconsistent, but even with the fee waiver this 60k point card is worth $2,400 in flights at 4 cents a point.
AmEx is really trying hard to keep people from canceling their Bonvoy Brilliant Cards. Fortunately for Active Duty we get our $450 annual fee waived, making it a no brainer to keep this card forever! The first offer I received was for $25 of free money on 24 Aug 2019 from email@example.com. This offer was targeted, and I recieved it on my card and my wife’s card. However for one of my friends he only got it for one out of two of his Bonvoy Brilliants:
I was able to stay at the Boston Commons Ritz this weekend and spent $27.50 at the in room honor bar for two tins of snacks:
The “honor bar” has sensors and when the tin was not returned back to the magic pad in 30 seconds it auto billed the room! Prices were not that bad:
I grabbed the tins on the way out to check out and sure enough, the charge was already there on the computer. Note the 18% service and 7% tax for a whopping 25% upcharge:
The charge has just posted:
Not only did the $27.50 come off my $300 credit, I got paid $25 on top for spending the money on the minibar. I am going to try just using my wife’s card to buy something for $25 directly from the bar or gift shop as another datapoint.
The next email I got was kind of a tease, it came 02 Sept 2019 from AmericanExpress@welcome.aexp.com, and it had a headline of:
You’re close to receiving a Free Night Award from Marriott BonvoyTM
The text continues:
This email ensures you keep the card open long enough to pay the next year’s annual fee, lucky it does not apply to many of the readers of the blog! I am going to have to wait till late October now to get my next 50k night. The first email contains about how the $300 fee is reset. On the AmEx site there is no counter, but only the terms of the offer:
I find the $300 on Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant to be much more flexible than the $250 resort credit on Hilton Honors Aspire. I would almost say I rather have 4 Bonvoy Brilliants and a single Hilton Honors Aspire. Thoughts out there on that?
Without snack boxes to buy, I could not stock up like I usually do. On arrival I was able to get access (after a long walk from Terminal B) to Jerry Remy’s outside security in Terminal C (By the Alaska Airlines Check In Counter):
for a $23.25 lobsta’ roll and $6.30 Monsta Ale:
I meet up with a friend, and they let me have 2 x $28 credit for two rolls and two beers:
Excellent meal, at the end I put down $20 cash for the rest of the bill and as tip! They were sticklers on checking boarding passes for same day flights, so keep that in mind. Next stop was the Hilton Hotel at Logan airport which had a free airport shuttle picking up from Door 1010:
The room was a “business class” room which had an excellent view on the 9th floor especially in the daytime from the hallway lounge:
If you are a plane geek, you will love this place! Last night, we got a nice meal in chinatown and went to the hot brand new Encore Casino which opened just a few months ago:
If you don’t gamble, at least go to check out the $100 million dollars worth of art they have on display.