Sharing Free Shares

I admit that I know I am a geek when watching live trading on twitch becomes more entertaining than any other television show. Right now Robinhood is giving away a free share of a random company just to sign up using the link outlined below, and more info here on the terms. They are making you hold on to the shares for a period of time. Pretty clever way to get things going by monetizing greed and videogames with the snowflake generation!

Join Robinhood and we’ll both get a share of stock like Apple, Ford, or Sprint for free. Make sure you use my link. http://share.robinhood.com/davidn430
This is Davey Nelson’s link. Hopefully he can share his due diligence while picking individual companies. Or just watch him randomly buy based on what his deep V wearing Bros think up of after a few beers.
Good Luck!
-Derp

Derp Report Suffers Its First Casualty

I had to *gasp*, cancel my first card today!  I was a bit sad to see one of my 2 year old cards go, but I am glad to be the datapoint for everyone else seeking the shear limits of churning AmEx. I did what I vowed I would not, and should not do, which was to close any accounts. AmEx called me on the phone asking which one of my beloved cards to kill in order to get my AmEx SP Biz card with its Platinum worthy lounge access for one room guest at Sheraton Hotels.

I have always thought that business products count separate than personal products in the realm of maximum credit cards. I hoped it was possible to have 5 business credit cards and 5 personal credit products, but that is simply not the case any more.

I was sadly mistaken with my most recent adventure to get the SPG biz card. Right now they are offering 25K SPG points with $5,000 spend in 3 months. I plan on converting these points into 75,000 Marriott points (3:1 conversion ratio) worth 1 night at any Tier 5 Marriott including the Ritz Carlton Central Park. This baller room is currently going for $975 a night for a king bed facing the park. This is a nice 1.3 cents per point redemption with points.

On applying for the card, my application was initially placed on manual review which is not unusual for a business card.

However when I called the 1-800-443-5502 number, they said they had to think about it over 2-4 days! They were worried because I had applied to the 2nd AmEx Platinum Biz just 3 days before. They wanted to know It was really me applying for all these cards in a short amount of time. After 4 days, sure enough they called and they made me close one of my 5 account in order to get the card. I chose the Personal SPG since I did not need a duplicate SPG card. I would of chosen the Gold delta, but I want to keep it around to refer it out.

The new cards department at +1(801)945-5000 did give me details regarding the card limits. You can have an infinite number charge cards, of which I currently have 7 charge cards from AmEx: MS, CS, MB, Personal Platinum, 2x Business Platinum, and PRG. For the use of Credit Cards, 5 is the hard limit for personal AND business credit cards that combine under a single SSN.

Since this is a new Business SPG product, and not the personal SPG, this would make me eligible for the new bonus. The only difference of this card vs the personal is the ability to access the Sheraton Executive Lounge with any direct paid stay for the primary card holder. The terms are:

Access to Sheraton® Club Lounge

Available at select Sheraton Hotels® & Resorts for the duration of a Card Member’s stay. Visit www.sheratonclubroom.com/find for a full listing of Sheraton® Club properties. This benefit is for Basic Card Members only on Starpoint Eligible Rate reservations, including reservations made with Free Night Awards or Cash & Points. Exclusions of Starpoint Eligible Rate reservations might include rooms booked through a group rate as part of an event and the SPG Member does not directly pay the SPG Participating Hotel for such room; tour operator; or online travel channel or third party channel, such as expedia.com, hotwire.com, priceline.com, orbitz.com, booking.com, Travelocity.com, ctrip.com, or elong.com. A full description of Starpoint Eligible Rates can be found at www.spg.com/terms. Sheraton Club Lounge access is limited to the eligible Card Member and a guest staying in the same room for the duration of the stay, regardless of how many rooms have been reserved.

This combined with the government rate for international stays will make it an ideal cheapskate card for future travels. Check out my previous pricing out of stays in the Sheraton in Hiroshima and Kobe. Right now its cheaper for the prepay rates vs the govt rate in Japan, but I looked at rooms in NYC and Madison WI:

$115 a night in the heart of Madison, WI

$267 a night in Times Square NYC! However make sure that the property you want is a Sheraton with a Sheraton lounge. For example the Hong Kong Sheraton does not have a lounge, but has a discount Military rate:

$220 USD a night, but no lounge access because its only a Platinum lounge for SPG Platinum:

The SPG Biz card makes you a SPG Platinum member (which requires 25 stays or 50 nights) ONLY terms of the free Executive lounge access. However you don’t get all the perks of Platinum status. You can get some upgrades and free WiFi with your SPG gold via AmEx Platinum! Some other hotels are a bit unaware of their own rules. For example the Austin Capitol Sheraton would only let me in the lounge, no guests, at the gov rate of $169 a night:

They even called the hotel to confirm, this is in clear deviation from the terms outlined in “Access to Sheraton® Club Lounge”  of the application terms and conditions.

Please use this link if you are planning on applying. Just get ready to sacrifice one of your old and busted cards if you are at 5 credit cards.

-Derp

US Bank Altitude: One Month Review

Some features of the card are outlined in my previous post on application, and photos. If you have the card, you need to go to http://usbankaltitude.com/ and sign up for things like the Andrew Harper, Go Go wifi, groundlink, and the anemic Priority Pass.

I have been taking advantage of the benefits of this weirdo US Bank Altitude Card thats costing me $400 a year. I already gotten $325 in charges reimbursed as part of the travel credit that resets every membership cycle. This means I am down only $75. I went ahead and signed up for the Andrew Harper Super Adventure Travel club (not the real name), but haven’t received the catalogue or booked any travel. Some one at (512)904-7345 called me back to confirm that the magazine comes a month after sining uo fir the service. I guess thats worth $395 right there. By this accounting I am up $320!!

I did use the ground link service to book a ride from SFO to my Hotel. Select gives me 10% off, but this card gives me 15% and a $30 credit.

I got a $55 total off my first booking for $60 from SFO to downtown, much cheaper than an Uber SUV. So does this mean I am up $375? I haven’t even gotten the 50k points for $750 in travel. So lets just say a potential in $1,125 in bonuses. Maybe this is the most overlooked card currently.

I got my first statement from US Bank the other day and here is what I earned: The Apple pay at the Kwik Trip, McDonalds, Walgreens, Coca Cola Vending, and NavSup Vending Machine counted for 3x points for Mobile Wallet. Regarding the $325, it counted on top of the extra points for United in flight WiFi, Uber eats, and a hotel room. This all counted as well as 3x points for travel as well. Apple pay is still pretty limited, Samsung Pay will work at more locations because it can induce magnetic fields to mimic a card swipe! Maybe its time for a switch to a Samsung phone.

Unfortunately there was no description for each charge on the website or the statement. I hope they can fix this in the future! Next up, spending these Altitude points!

-Derp

Twitch, Fidgit Spinners, Pokémon, Robinhood, Avocado Toast, WSB

If you haven’t a clue of what any of the words in the tile means then stop reading right now. You probably don’t know since you’re not part of the generation that does. This post is for the generation that is about to overtake you, your economy, and will become the dominate workforce in 10 years. Most likely you won’t care that there is some asshole with $50,000 on twitch that is live streaming his or her’s r/wallstreet bet moves on robinhood like it’s some videogame. There is a chatroom full of lulz and great hot stock tips! Make sure you totally make a move on a stock tips that some dumbass kid heard on Facebook. I guess they have to make a trade every 5 mins and you can vote on what move they will make. What a social experiment in dumb millennial money! Anyways if you want to play along buy these funds to essentially own every possible stock that will be suggested in this little experiment:

Name Ticker Expense ratio
Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF VTI 0.04
iShares Russell 3000 IWV 0.2
SPDR® Russell 3000 ETF THRK 0.1
Vanguard Russell 3000 ETF VTHR 0.15
Schwab U.S. Broad Market ETF SCHB 0.03
iShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market ETF ITOT 0.03
Vanguard Extended Market Index ETF VXF 0.09

Note that you have to own both SPY (or the equivalent IVV) and VXF to capture all of the Large, Mid, Small, Micro and Nano caps. The combination of SPY and VXF accounts for 3,675 different companies, check out this file: Every Stock in SPY and VXF or IVV and VXF for a list of every possible Tradable American Company (not in pink sheets or OTC)!

Good Luck!

-Derp

31 May Deadline: How To Maintain 2¢ Per MR Point

Edit June 06, 2017: Loophole is closed, no more double dipping points!

I booked 4 tickets to Traverse city using MR points and I got 50% of my points back for a sweet 2 cents per point. Today I got 5x points on top of that bonus as well by choosing a linked personal Pt card on check out, and I will earn ass in seat points on American Airlines when I fly them. Perfect triple dip earning situation here!

Unfortunately this turned out to be so unsustainable for AmEx that the they rolled back the bonus to a measly 35%, but if you got the card between 06 October 2016 and 31 May 2017 you will be grandfathered into the old 50% for one year from application approval date.

Since I got my card outside of my the eligibility window (by product change from gold biz), the bonus will revert back to 35% points back for all flight bookings on 01 June 2017. I am planning on just using this link here to get yet another card just for the sake of preserving 50% cashback and to get another $200 on American gift cards. The current offer is:

Don’t think I can hit the bonus without a bunch of MSing. Not really the point here, and I am not even sure if I am eligible for another bonus, even thought I didn’t get one for the gold card I PCed to. Go and use this link here if you plan on getting another Business Platinum. Also don’t forget to combine it with the Personal Platinum (Link Here) to get 4x back on top.(not true anymore)

I went ahead and asked about the bonus language on the online chat and sure enough they said even a PC from gold to platinum would make me ineligible since I had the product before at any point. Reports out there don’t look good, unless you had canceled the procuct over 7 years ago. However they never showed me having the Biz Platinum on their records. Might be worth a try with the old gold coin churn.

I had two options really at this point, either book all of my flights before 01 June 2017 or go ahead and get another AmEx Business Platinum. I tried my best to spend all my points, and sure enough I am still getting the bonus:

Since I can only book flights 330 days out from today, and I am in a tough travel situation with the newborn, I decided my only option was to get another AmEx Platinum Business Card. THis would buy me at least another year in order to spend down the rest of my points. I got approved, putting me well over the theoretical 5 Charge Card Limit. Total count now is 7 Charge cards: MS, CS, MB, Personal, PRG, 2 Biz cards.

Now I have the choice of chosing a new airline for my bonus. Not sure if i should stick with American or switch to united. My wife thankfully has one more year on her United, so I might stick with American and then downgrade my old Platinum Biz to a gold for any future offers or categories. Seems like big changes for Q3 regarding their business lines.

-Derp

Luxury Lounge Visit

They gave me an umbrella on a rainy day! Totally worth the $995 annual fee?! Right after the TIF meeting I went over to the lounge and was surprised they don’t have any sort of sophisticated verification method to ensure that my Luxury Card is still valid. Take that information any way you want. They just looked at my card and wrote down my name and last 4 on the sign in sheet.

My card is still valid since I have till January 2018 until the $995 annual fee hits. This is all because the SCRA fee waiver has been discontinued. Upon entering you can order coffee, hot coco, water, and Starbucks bottled drinks from the menu. Also snacks are offered as well. The lounge has a coat rack, bathroom and kitchen all hidden behind the back wall. The bathroom is well appointed with Luxury soap that the Queen of England uses for her hands when they are gross.

There have been some reviews of the lounge here and here. The lounge is located at 645 MADISON AVENUE NEW YORK, NY and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Go on a rainy day, look all drenched and pathetic, and you might get a free umbrella!

The lounge was empty on a Thursday afternoon. Staff was friendly and the Fiji water and snacks were endless. We had some good conversations about the future of the economy and politics with the staff. I definitely recommend a visit, make sure you you have the physical card in hand. I am almost sold on a product change to the $195 Titanium Card if more of these things pop up around the world.

-Derp

 

2017 Tiffany & Co. Shareholders’ Meeting

I want to give a shout out to this guy who gave me the idea to start attending the numerous shareholder meetings I get invited to every year. Full disclosure I have a single share of TIF that I bought some 9 years ago to celebrate the one year (paper anniversary) of our wedding. I reinvested my dividends, and as of today we have a grand total of 1.167063 shares! One share in paper form, and 1/6 of a share is held as electronic digits on some computer at Computershare.

I bought the one share as an Apex Member of TD Ameritrade, which back in the day you could just ask nicely and they will certificate it for you for free. Those days are now gone, but now you would have to buy the share (you could use MR points too) , and then ask nicely to transfer it to Computershare, then pay the $25 to have it printed out and sent to you.

I asked, but the Tiffany’s & Co. umbrellas are not for sale

The meeting took place at the Rubin Museum of Art, which is housed in the former Barney’s Department Store on 150th West 17th street in NYC Manhattan. Previous meetings according to the other attendees were in the W hotel, which isn’t very glamorous at all. When the venue and event was announced, I thought it would be worth a trip to check it out since it wasn’t just some hotel conference room.

My wife could not attend, but was gracious enough to watch two children, and gave me 24 hour liberty to scout out the meeting for our visit next year. I sent in my reply to get on the guest list and it was not problem getting in today. The check in desk made it clear that I could not get in if I had held on the share in a brokerage account and if I didn’t relinquish the proxy.

The event included a private tour of the Rubin Museum after the meeting. On the 4th floor is a soundscape and a recreation of a Tibetan temple for relaxation. There is also a large commissioned artwork of the circle of life showing the rise and fall and reincarnation of all things. This zen experience is perfect for a company that just lost 9% in market value the day before the shareholders meeting.

Julie did not disclose her share total as part of the microphone etiquette

Check in was nice, they had my name on a super special list of losers single shareholders that have nothing better to do. They also had a huge leger of every shareholder on record open for inspection. I wasn’t even given a ballot since they figured my 1 share out of 124,650,000+ would not count for anything at all. I could of voted by proxy, but I forgot to this time. The meeting was nicely catered with pastries, tea, juice, coffee, yogurt, and fresh cut up fruit. All served in real china with mindful attendants clearing the empty plates and glasses.

The meeting started promptly at 9:32 and finished up at 10:00 am with a single new shareholder, Julie Werner from “Better Investing” asking all the questions. I got to sit next to her in the very small venue, she was talking to the many board members before the meeting even started. Her questions were just soft underhand pitches for the CEO to knock out of the park, but more on that later.The meeting stated out with the scripted matter of business motions for the 5 agenda items, including the vote for dropping PWHC as the accounting firm. The declarations were made and a certified Inspector of Election was present to tally up all the votes for each item. This was kind of a farce since the proxy absentee ballots have already been counted. No one voted at the meeting, no ballots were cast, and in the end, the only item I cared about which was regarding PWHC. The vote result was 1 million for dropping PWHC as the firm for what I can presume as reaction to their Oscar Flub. However 112 million voted with the board to keep them on for another chance. Once the official business was completed, a PowerPoint presentation was given that outlined all their product lines, and where they were heading.

Let me sum up the entire presentation: apparently this company makes jewelry and cardboard boxes with bows. They also make paper bags that have white handles to hold these boxes. They are committed to making more jewelry in the future, and have invested money to make “rare” carbon rocks even more desirable, despite technologies to make perfect shiny carbon rocks in the lab.

Then they also noticed that these broke ass kids today don’t want to buy any more jewelry, and once all the old folks with money die, there will be no one to sell their stuff to. They are looking for some one to fix this problem some time soon. Hopefully they can find some one to take the Avocado Toast model and bring it to TIF in order to sell perfect non rare carbon rocks to people who would pay $19 for avocado and toast, but instead for rocks and metal.

Despite a near 10% loss in market value, stagnation of the brand, failure of Lady GaGa to drum up sales since the Superbowl Ad, there was no question or outrage from the shareholders. It was business as usual for everyone. Back to Julie Werner, her only questions were the full page Ads for “All In Paris Climate Accord” causing the backlash to the brand. The other question was about having too much clutter in the showroom display cases. Apparently this TIF company has retail locations, that no millennial has time, or reason to even to go to.

The answers paraphrased are: We are working on getting the millennials to buy our stuff, they love this kind of hippie green shit, and the second answer is, hey we got a website, who cares about our retail location, its always too much, or too little, but no one buys anything there anyways.

What was there to learn from the meeting? Nothing really that you could not find out by just reading the K-1 report and the annual report. It was a fun time to check out what the word on the street is. Remember the majority shareholders are the fund managers at Vanguard. These shareholders dominate the vote since they own the most of TIF via their Mid Cap Growth VOT, Mid Cap Value VOE, and Mid Cap ETF VO funds as well at every S&P 500 index tracking fund out there. And I assume they just vote with the board recommendation.

the remaining spiral staircase from Barney’s

The coffee and museum tour were really good too. If you got time on you hand, it’s worth a visit, but don’t think you are going to get any sort of market edge here. Next up: My LuxuryCard lounge visit.

-Derp

 

AmEx & Delta: The Inverted United Experience

I flew delta today on points and I got the opposite experience than Dr. David Dao on United. First off, I put my global entry number in the passenger information instead of my DoD ID number. What resulted is NO PRE-CHECK! I wanted to save time so I didn’t even try to have it changed at the ticket counter. I went ahead and endured the normie line of the back scatter x-ray machine and taking off my jacket, shoes, and my laptop of of my bag. It was very humbling to see what the rest of you suckers endure every trip to the airport. Lesson learned, always use your DoD ID in the Know Traveler ID box, otherwise you might get the random no pre-check like I did.

The partnership between AmEx and Delta has resulted in a flight experience that is beyond that of having gold status on United. My AmEx Platinum Card gives me free access to their Sky Club lounges on departure as well as arrival. My Business AmEx Platinum card gives me free in flight WiFi. Every year I get a companion certificate on my Delta Reserve Credit Card and Delta Platinum Credit Card. I have no idea why I have the Gold Delta Card. That might be the one I close *gasp* since its been about two years holding on to that thing.

When I checked in to the lounge they greeted me my name and offered an earlier flight since mine was delayed 15 minutes. CHecking on flight status seems to be part of the check in process. Since I didn’t check a bag they went ahead and booked me on a flight leaving in 15 minutes, and a full two hours earlier than my original flight! He advised me to take two shots of whiskey in the lounge and hurry off to my gate. I complied and ended up on an early flight for no change fee! Best part is they put me in the Comfort Plus seat that included free booze, extra leg room, and priority boarding.

Best part is on arrival I ended up at the historic Terminal A, the “Marine Air terminal” built in the early days of flight to accommodate sea planes. A quick Blue route bus ride over got me to terminal B for a quick drink at the Centurion Lounge, United Lounge and Air Canada Lounge before they all close at 8.

Food till 8 pm, but the Centurion Bar closes at 7:30 pm, hop over to Air Canada for a late arrival drink up till 8 pm

Best part of the whole trip is just spending the 37,500 points for the free round trip flight. More to come on the The Soldiers’, Sailors’, Marines’, Coast Guard and Airmen’s Club, Select Membership in NYC, and the Tiffany’s and Company Shareholder Meeting.

-Derp

 

Claim Your Abandoned Money & Digitize Your Mail

Tip for today, go to https://www.unclaimed.org and search every state you lived in to see if you left money behind. I had a local O-4 reader get over $2,300 in abandoned property! Most of these times the checks go un-cashed and are turned over to the state treasure as abandoned property. One of the account is cam upon myself is a bank account my wife has opened and forgot about when she was 8 years old!

Second tip is to sign up to view your USPS mail deliveries for the day. If you have not been informed, the USPS already takes a photo of every piece of mail for the cops, and retains it for 30 days. Instead of feeing mad or violated, you might as well take advantage of this service and sign up for informed delivery by USPS. This way you get a preview of every piece of mail coming in your mailbox every morning.

-Derp