Capital One Spark Cash for Business: $2,000 Bonus Cash Limited-Time Offer

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Limited-time offer. The Capital One Spark Cash for Business is a rewards business card offering a big early spend bonus offer in addition to ongoing 2% cash back rewards. They’ve just added a limited-time offer for businesses with sizable spending, boosting the total bonus value to $2,000. Here are the highlights:

  • Unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases.
  • Up to $2,000 cash bonus. First, earn a $500 cash bonus when you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. In addition, you can earn another $1,500 cash bonus if you spend $50,000 in the first 6 months. This is a limited-time offer.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee after that.
  • Cash back rewards don’t expire as long as your account is open.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Free additional employee cards.

Consider that if you meet the $5,000 spending requirement within 3 months, you will end up with $500 + $100 from 2% cash back – that’s $600 on $5,000 spending (12% cash back). If you do meet the $50,000 spending requirement, you’ll earn the $2,000 cash bonus from the limited-time offer and 2% cash back for another $1,000. That is a total of $3,000, amounting to a rate of 6% cash back on $50,000.

Note that “Existing or previous Accountholders may not be eligible for this one-time bonus.” For comparison, there is also a Spark Select for Business and Spark Classic that are different cards with lower sign-up bonuses but no annual fee.

The 2% cash back for all purchases is a strong rewards structure, and you get no annual fee during the first year as well. From the second year onward, you’ll have to weigh that against the $95 annual fee after the first year. The math says that you would have to spend more than $19,000 every year ($1,583 a month) to make the 2% back and $95 annual fee (Spark Cash) pay out more rewards than 1.5% cash back and no annual fee (Spark Cash Select).

Here is some info taken from the Terms and Conditions regarding rewards cash back redemptions:

How do I redeem my rewards?
You can get your cash back upon request in the form of a statement credit or a check. You can also set up an automatic redemption preference; options include: (1) at a set time each calendar year or (2) when a specific threshold ($25, $50, $100 or $200) has been reached. Just go online to capitalone.com or our Rewards Center. You can also redeem for credits for previous purchases, gift cards, and more. Rates for these redemption options may vary and are subject to change without notice.

Alternatively, the Capital One Spark® Miles for Business has a limited-time offer now up to 200,000 miles – redeemable for $2,000 statement credit towards travel, broken down into 50,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and then another 150,000 miles when you spend $50,000 within the first 6 months.

The travel can be booked directly through airlines and hotels, and there are no blackout dates or award seat limits to worry about. $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee after that. No foreign transaction fees. Similar to the offer above, the Spark Miles offers 2 miles per dollar with the $95 annual fee but there is also a Spark Miles Select for Business that offers 1.5 miles per dollar with no annual fee.

Mileage transfer options. Capital One now allows you to transfer your “miles” into select airline miles programs as well, on a 2:1.5 ratio (ex. 20,000 Capital One miles = 15,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles). Here are the 12 transfer partners:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France/KLM
  • Alitalia
  • Avianca
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Etihad
  • EVA
  • Finnair
  • Hainan
  • Qantas
  • Qatar

Unless you know how to leverage one of these international airline miles programs, I would prefer earning cash rewards over the “miles”, since these Capital One “miles” only get their maximum value when redeemed against a travel purchase.

If you are looking for a comparison with other strong business cards, check out my updated list of Top 10 Best Small Business Credit Card Bonus Offers.

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Free Google Mini for Spotify Premium Users ($9.99/Month)

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Spotify Premium paid subscribers (both new and existing) can get a free Google Mini smart speaker. New subscribers can join Individual for $9.99 a month or Family for $14.99 per month and get a free promo code. There is no minimum monthly commitment required.

Existing subscribers can register here to get their promo code for a free Google mini.

The music streaming wars continue. This comes right after the 99 cent Amazon Echo Dot + Music Unlimited promo.

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Free Credit Scores From ALL 3 Major Credit Bureaus + Free Credit Monitoring + $50k in Free ID Theft Insurance (No Credit Card Required)

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Updated 2019. The government requires the credit bureaus to provide you a free credit report once every 12 months. However, the services listed below provide you a free credit score updated throughout the year either daily, weekly, or monthly. The best ones also offer free daily credit monitoring and/or free identity protection services. As of 2019, all three major credit bureaus are covered: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.

None of the services below require a trial or credit card number to sign up, so you don’t have to worry about any surprise charges. These are either ad-supported (they will pitch you stuff) and/or they are “freemium” services with a paid upgrade option (but you can stay on the free tier forever). Each of them offers something unique, and together form a comprehensive daily monitoring of your credit.

Credit Sesame

CreditSesame.com offers a free credit score every month, based on your TransUnion credit report (VantageScore 3.0). Score range is 300-850. They only require the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number. No trial or credit card required. The best parts about Credit Sesame in my experience are that they have the most reliable credit alerts and the free $50,000 in ID theft insurance.

  • Free daily credit monitoring. Credit Sesame also offers free daily credit monitoring of your TransUnion data, with alerts coming via e-mail, text, or smartphone app. This service tracks more than 40 different credit activities such as a balance change, address change or when a new account is opened.
  • Free identity protection and restoration services. Credit Sesame also includes $50,000 in identity theft insurance and access to identity restoration support in their free membership level.

Credit Karma

CreditKarma.com offers you two free credit scores, based on your TransUnion and Equifax credit reports and updated weekly (VantageScore). Score range is 300-850. They only require the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number. No trial or credit card required. The best part about Credit Karma in my experience is that you get two credit bureaus covered in one service.

  • Free credit monitoring. Credit Karma also offers free e-mail credit monitoring alerts of your TransUnion data.
  • Free identity theft monitoring. Credit Karma uses your email address to search and notify you of breached accounts and threats to your identity.

FreeCreditScore.com

FreeCreditScore.com offers a free credit score every month, based on your Experian credit report (FICO 08). Score range is 300-850. They require your full Social Security Number. No trial or credit card required. They don’t have ads, but instead ask you at every opportunity to upgrade. The best part about FreeCreditScore.com in my experience is that they are a rare free option to track changes to your Experian report, which rounds out the two above.

  • Free credit monitoring. They also offer free e-mail credit monitoring alerts of your Experian data.

WalletHub

WalletHub.com offers a free credit score based on your TransUnion credit report (VantageScore), updated daily. Score range is 300-850. They only require the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number. No trial or credit card required. The best part about WalletHub in my experience is that they offer daily access to your full TransUnion credit report, if for some reason you want to check your full report that often.

Note that some of the scores above are not FICO scores because Fair Isaac charges more money in licensing fees and these companies may not be able to cover those costs with their advertising. However, these services are still be very useful for tracking changes in your credit history. I enjoy getting alerts if a credit card balance is paid in full, if there is a new credit inquiry, or if my credit utilization ratio gets too high on a specific credit line. This is also a great way to get early warning of any fraudulent activity.

Bottom line. Used in combination, I use the services above to keep track of any daily changes to my credit reports across all three credit bureaus for free. None of them require my credit card number, and they alert me to things like new accounts, new credit check inquiries, and high credit line usage.

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Amazon Prime: $9 Echo Dot (3rd Gen) + Music Unlimited Trial

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Amazon has a another good deal for Prime members interested in a cheap Echo Dot (newest 3rd generation). Sign up for a 1-month Amazon Music Unlimited membership for $7.99, and you get can get an Echo Dot (3rd gen) for only $0.99 (total cost $8.98). Here’s how:

  1. Click here for the combined Echo Dot + 1-month trial. You must pay with a credit card (no gift card), which will be used to enroll in Amazon Music Unlimited at $7.99 per month. The shipping is free at checkout.
  2. The membership will auto-renew, but you can cancel your Amazon Music Unlimited trial at any time, even before the month is up if you’d like.

This promo sold out quickly last time.

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Best Brokerage and IRA Transfer Bonuses – October 2019

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Fidelity, Schwab, TD Ameritrade, E-Trade, Interactive Brokers, Ally Invest all now offer free stock trades. Vanguard offers free trades on all ETFs, not just their own. The new differentiators are things like user interface, customer service, and interest on cash sweep accounts. How about some cash in my pocket too?

The recent shake-up is a reminder brokers are transitioning to maximizing assets under management, as opposed to attracting traders that rack up those commissions. You can often get a cash bonus for switching teams, based on the size of assets that you move over. This usually involves an ACAT transfer of your securities, including tax cost basis history. Here’s a current list of the top brokerage transfer bonuses, along with some additional commentary on Fidelity and Vanguard.

Schwab

  • Link: Up to $2,500 bonus offer
  • $200 bonus for $50k, $300 for $100k, $600 for $250k, $1,200 for $500k, $2,500 for $1m+.
  • New or existing customers moving over new assets. Valid for retail brokerage accounts.
  • Make a qualifying net deposit of cash or securities within 45 days.
  • Maintain net deposit amount (less any market losses) for one year.

TD Ameritrade

  • Link: Up to $1,000 bonus offer
  • Note this matches or is better than their standard up to $600 offer.
  • $100 bonus for $25k, $200 for $50k, $500 for $100k, $1,000 for $250k+.
  • Valid for new taxable or IRA accounts.
  • Open by 1/30/20, funded with new funds or securities within 60 days.
  • Maintain net deposit amount (less any market losses) for 12 months.

Chase YouInvest + Sapphire Banking

  • Link: $1,000 Sapphire offer / Standard offer
  • Sapphire offer: New or existing customers. Brokerage and/or IRA. Must transfer a total of $75,000 or more in new money or securities into eligible Chase checking, savings and/or investment accounts. You must open a new Sapphire banking account by 11/19/2019, complete the $75k transfer within 45 days of opening, and maintain that balance for at least 90 days from the date of funding. Get $1,000 bonus.
  • Standard offer: $200 for $25k, $300 for $100k, $625 for $250k. Transfer within 45 days, maintain for 90 days.

Merrill Edge

  • Link: Up to $1,000 bonus offer / $900 Preferred Rewards offer / $600 Standard offer
  • $100 bonus for $20k, $250 for $50k, $500 for $100k, $1,000 for $200k+ in new assets to BofA/Merrill. If you have a lot more than $200k, you can call them at 888-637-3343 for a custom offer.
  • Expires October 17, 2019. This is a special link that is more than the standard offer. The page says “This limited time offer is valid only for MoneyShow attendees.” but reports of enforcement vary. If they do enforce, you may have to provide proof of attendance to San Francisco Money Show or accept the standard bonus amount.
  • Up to 100 free trades per month with Bank of America Preferred Rewards program.
  • Valid for new IRA or retail brokerage accounts (CMA).
  • Make a qualifying net deposit of cash or securities within 45 days.
  • Maintain net deposit amount (less any market losses) for 180 days.

E-Trade

  • Link: Up to $2,500 bonus offer
  • $200 bonus for $25k, $300 for $100k, $600 for $250k, $1,200 for $500k, $2,500 for $1m+.
  • New non-retirement brokerage accounts only.
  • Open by 12/31/19, funded with new funds or securities within 60 days.
  • Maintain net deposit amount (less any market losses) for 6 months.

Ally Invest

  • Link: Up to $3,500 bonus offer
  • $50 bonus for $10k, $200 for $25k, $300 for $100k, $600 for $250k, $1,200 for $500k, $2,500 for $1m, $3,500 for $2m+.
  • New non-retirement brokerage accounts only. (You must not have closed an account within the last 90 days.)
  • Open by 12/31/19, funded with new funds or securities within 60 days.
  • Maintain net deposit amount (less any market losses) for 300 days past bonus deposit (~370 days after opening).

Fidelity

  • Fidelity used to offer a variety of transfer bonuses, but they didn’t do a good job of curbing abuse and some folks got multiple bonuses without actually bringing in new money. Right now, I can’t find any transfer bonus links. Instead, here are a few reasons why you might want to move your money to Fidelity anyway (you can try out the other brokers above and take their money for doing so first).
  • Fidelity does not sell equity order flow to market makers and high-frequency traders.
  • Fidelity offers a relatively competitive default cash sweep option. As of 10/10/19, the Vanguard Federal Money Market fund pays 1.90% SEC yield, the Fidelity Government Money Market fund pays 1.58% SEC yield, Schwab pays 0.12%, TD Ameritrade pays 0.01%, and E-Trade pays 0.01%.
  • Fidelity has a variety of in-house stock and bond mutual fund options, which trade with no transaction fee at Fidelity and now have no minimum purchase amounts.
  • In my experience, Fidelity has had the most knowledgable customer service reps.

Vanguard

  • Vanguard has never offered a transfer bonus, to my knowledge. Instead, here are a few reasons why you might want to move your money to Vanguard anyway (you can try out the other brokers above and take their money for doing so first).
  • Vanguard has the most competitive default cash sweep option. As of 10/10/19, the Vanguard Federal Money Market fund pays 1.90% SEC yield, the Fidelity Government Money Market fund pays 1.58% SEC yield, Schwab pays 0.12%, TD Ameritrade pays 0.01%, and E-Trade pays 0.01%. This may or may not matter to you, depending on your idle cash balances.
  • Vanguard does not offer free trades on all stocks, but they do offer free trades on 1,700+ ETFs from any provider. Vanguard is not really built for heavy traders of individual stocks.
  • Vanguard has a variety of in-house stock and bond mutual fund options, which trade with no transaction fee at Vanguard.

Transfer notes.

  • Many brokers will charge an “Outgoing ACAT fee” of $50 to $150 when you leave them. I recommend ing your destination broker and asking them to reimburse you for this fee. If you qualify for one of these bonuses, your account is probably big enough for them to consider it. You may have to send them a statement showing the fee.
  • Before moving, I would download all your old statements and tax cost basis information to make sure it transfers over correctly.
  • An ACAT transfer can take a week or so to complete, so you won’t be able to make any sell transactions during that time.
  • Consider performing a “partial” ACAT transfer where you only move over specifically designated shares (ex. only all 455 shares of BRKB) if you wish to keep some of your original brokerage account open. I would still transfer over all shares of any specific ticker, so that the tax cost basis carries over neatly.

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Robinhood’s New Savings Account is FDIC-Insured! 2.05% APY

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Robinhood brokerage has finally re-launched the high-interest cash sweep option after their failed (and illegal?) 2018 mash-up of checking accounts and SIPC-insurance. Robinhood Cash Management is basically what many other places like Betterment Savings have implemented, a FDIC-insured sweep account backed by a mix of different partner banks. The interest rate is variable and currently 2.05% APY as of 10/8/19. This is a pretty competitive rate when compared to other cash alternatives. Debit card has no fees on the Allpoint ATM network. Unfortunately, as is usual with Robinhood, you’ll have to join a long waitlist first.

This was an important move for Robinhood, as many of the established giants have joined the free stock trades party – Schwab, TD Ameritrade, E-Trade, Interactive Brokers, Ally Invest. However, not all of them offer competitive rates on idle cash. Schwab is notably bad in this regard. However, Schwab does offer well-trained humans and instant customer service via phone call. Robinhood has a slick app and user interface, but they don’t readily offer a phone number. Instead, you must wait around for a reply on their online messaging service. If I put a huge chunk of my net worth in a broker, I want a phone number.

So basically, there are free trades, high interest on idle cash, and good customer service. Which are the most important to you?

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Simple Bank Bonus: $500 Bonus + 2.15% APY for $20,000 New Deposit

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Bonus updated. Simple is one of many fintech startups adding fancy tech and smartphone app sprinkles to your vanilla checking account. They were acquired by the big European-based bank BBVA in 2014. It looks like they are trying the direct route of customer acquisition (and my favorite of course) – paying you a cash bonus!

Simple has updated $250 and $500 bonuses for new accounts. They had a similar bonus in July, but it is now structured in a more straightforward manner.

$250 Bonus Details ($10,000+)

  • Open a new Simple Account by 10/31/2019 4:59 PM PT.
  • Deposit(s) totaling $10,000 or more must post to the new Account by 11/15/2019 4:59 PM PT.
  • Maintain a balance of at least $10,000 through 1/31/2020 4:59 PM PT.
  • The combined balance between your Simple Account and Protected Goals Account counts towards this bonus. The Protected Goals account pays 2.15% APY while the primary checking only pays 0.01% APY, so I would recommend opening one of those as well. Note that balances in *Shared* Accounts and *Shared* Protected Goals Accounts do not toward this bonus. Qualifying customers will receive the bonus credit to their Simple Account by 2/14/2020 4:59 PM PT.

$500 Bonus Details ($20,000+)

  • Open a new Simple Account by 10/31/2019 4:59 PM PT.
  • Deposit(s) totaling $20,000 or more must post to the new Account by 11/15/2019 4:59 PM PT.
  • Maintain a balance of at least $20,000 through 1/31/2020 4:59 PM PT.
  • The combined balance between your Simple Account and Protected Goals Account counts towards this bonus. The Protected Goals account pays 2.15% APY while the primary checking only pays 0.01% APY, so I would recommend opening one of those as well. Note that balances in *Shared* Accounts and *Shared* Protected Goals Accounts do not toward this bonus. Qualifying customers will receive the bonus credit to their Simple Account by 2/14/2020 4:59 PM PT.

If there are two people with a lot of available cash in your household, you might have each person do the $500 individually. A couple could now earn $1,000 bonus + 2.15% APY (variable). No minimums, no monthly fees, FDIC-insured, see if you like the bells and whistles. Here is their full fee schedule.

Note that for some reason Simple limits ACH transfers to/from an external account to $5,000 cumulative during the first 30 days, when initiated on the Simple website. However, you can simply initiate a transfer from another bank (Ally Bank, Marcus, CIT, etc.) and there are no transfer limits.

Bottom line. Simple is offering a $250/$500 bonus on $10,000/$20,000 of new money. This works out to a 2.5% bonus after 90 days, which makes it roughly 10% APY annualized. The bonus is on top of the standard interest rate, currently 2.15% APY (as of 10/7/19). This is a good bonus in this current environment. Compare with this month’s roundup of best interest rates.

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Sprint Unlimited Kickstart: Unlimited Talk, Text, Data For $35/Month

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Updated with new price of $35 a month. T-Mobile and Sprint have been doing the merger dance since April 2018, which meant Sprint is still highly incentivized to keep their subscriber numbers as high as possible. October 16th, the FCC approved the merger, but there are still a few lawsuits from states against the merger.

On 10/18, Sprint raised the price on their Unlimited Kickstart promotion that includes unlimited talk/text/data for $35 per month, per line. You don’t need to port over a number from any specific provider on this one. Save money by bringing over your existing phone instead of buying a new one.

Pros of Kickstart Unlimited:

  • Unlimited talk, text, and data for $35 a month, per line.
  • You can bring over any compatible phone, or buy one from Sprint. Use their phone IMEI/MEID checker.
  • You can come over from ANY outside provider, Verizon/AT&T/T-Mobile or even another cheap MVNO.
  • No expiration date. Price will not go up after a year.
  • No annual contracts.
  • No family plan or minimum number of lines required.

Cons of Kickstart Unlimited:

  • New customers only.
  • Online orders only. You won’t see this offer in stores.
  • No mobile hotspot.
  • Unlimited video in standard definition. Video streams up to 480p, music up to 500 Kbps, gaming up to 2 Mbps.
  • Data deprioritization during congestion.
  • Autopay required.

Sprint Unlimited Kickstart is best for those that want to lock in unlimited data direct from a major provider at a low $35/month price. Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile Unlimited may have slightly better networks but they are also significantly more expensive.

I am not a huge data user, but it was still nice when I was on Sprint Unlimited. I could stream videos without worry and switched all my settings to “use cellular data whenever the heck you want!” instead of having to wait to sync or download things like podcasts over WiFi. There is also (slightly) better customer service at a major provider as compared to an MVNO. However, at this new price point, I would consider the these MVNO alternatives as they can offer some significant savings.

Mint Mobile is another low-cost competitor with data caps. This is what I use. They are an MVNO that runs on the T-Mobile GSM network. You can get:

(Disclosure: I am a Mint affiliate and if you purchase a Mint plan through one of the links above, I may earn a commission. I am also a paying Mint customer. Thanks for supporting this individually-owned site.)

The thing about Mint Mobile is that you have to “buy in bulk”. Initially you have to buy at least 3 months upfront, and then after that you have to buy 12 months at a time to get their lowest price. After your LTE data runs out, you still get data included at slower 2G data speeds until your month resets. They do offer a 7-Day Money Back Guarantee (starts upon SIM activation) so you can test them out before making any commitment.

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Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers – October 2019

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Updated October 2019. That space in your wallet or purse is more valuable than you think. Credit card companies are fighting it out, offering strong perks and $500+ value for a single card during the first year to encourage you to apply and try it out. These are the top 10 credit card offers that I would personally apply for right now, if I didn’t already have most of them. Notable changes:

  • Delta 60k + $50 – limited-time offer ends 10/30.
  • Marriott 100k – limited-time offer.
  • Southwest 60k – limited-time offer.
  • IHG 125k limited-time offer expired.

If you pay off your balances every month, then you can join me and many others in funding a huge chunk of your annual travel budget with cash credits, points, and miles. You don’t need to be a “I only fly business class” world traveler. I mostly use my rewards points on domestic economy flights, mid-class hotels, and cheap car rentals. If you have credit card debt, you should focus on paying that off first as the interest charges could offset most of the perks.

This is a companion post to my Top 10 Best Business Card Offers. Small business bonuses are on average even higher than those on consumer cards.

Note: Certain Chase cards have a “5/24 rule” which is an unofficial rule that they will automatically deny approval on new credit cards if you have 5 or more new credit cards from any issuer on your credit report within the past 2 years. This rule applies on a per-person basis, so if you are new, you might want to start with those Chase cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $750 towards travel) after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 2X points on Travel and Dining at restaurants worldwide.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.
  • Alternative: Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. 3X on Travel and Dining, Priority Pass airport lounge access, $450 annual fee, $300 annual travel credit.

Gold Delta Skymiles Card from American Express

  • 60,000 Delta Skymiles after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months + $50 statement credit after a Delta purchase within your first 3 months. Limited-time offer expires 10/30/2019. See link for details.
  • 60,000 Skymiles are worth at least $600 in Delta airfare with “Pay with Miles” option.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights ($60 value per roundtrip, per person).
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

  • 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Limited-time offer. See link for details.
  • Free Night after each account anniversary year (valued up to 35,000 Marriott points).
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard

  • Up to 75,000 bonus miles. 50k after $2,000 in purchases within 90 days + additional 25k after $6,000 total in purchases in the first 12 months. See link for details.
  • Free first checked bag for primary cardmember when using your card to purchase eligible tickets directly from Hawaiian Airlines.
  • Receive a one-time 50% off companion discount for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and The Mainland on Hawaiian Airlines.
  • $99 annual fee.

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Mastercard

  • 60,000 American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights ($60 value per roundtrip, per person).
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $99.

Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard

  • 60,000 American Airlines miles after any purchase in the first 90 days and paying the $99 annual fee. See link for details.
  • $99 Companion certificate offer. Earn a certificate good for 1 guest at $99 ( taxes and fees) after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee in the first 90 days.
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights ($60 value per roundtrip, per person).
  • $99 annual fee.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card

  • Up to 60,000 Rapid Rewards points. Earn 40,000 points after you $1,000 in purchases in first 3 months + additional 20,000 points after $12,000 total in purchases in the first year.
  • Southwest still gives everyone two free checked bags.
  • More than halfway to Companion Pass. If you can sign up for this one and also the small business version, you can qualify for a Companion Pass in 2019/2020.
  • $69 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Citi Premier Card

  • 60,000 points (worth $750 towards travel booked at ThankYou.com) after $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 3X points for every $1 spent on travel including gas stations.
  • Must not have gotten bonus from or closed a Citi Rewards+, ThankYou Preferred, Premier, or Prestige card in the past 24 months.
  • $95 annual fee.

Bank of America Premium Rewards Card

  • 50,000 points (worth $500 towards travel) after $3,000 in purchases within the first 90 days. See link for details.
  • 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • $100 annual Airline Incidental Statement Credit.
  • Up to $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee.
  • $95 annual fee.

Capital One Venture Rewards Card

  • 50,000 miles (worth $500 towards travel) after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 2% cash back on ALL purchases. Plus earn 10X miles at Hotels.com through January 2020.
  • Up to $100 credit towards TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Chase World of Hyatt Card

  • Up to 50,000 Hyatt points. 25,000 Bonus Points after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. Plus an additional 25,000 Bonus Points after a total of $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. See link for details and rough valuation of points.
  • $95 annual fee, free night award upon card anniversary.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

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Top 10 Best Small Business Credit Card Bonus Offers – October 2019

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Updated October 2019. Do you have small business income or work as an independent contractor? Uber/Lyft, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Airbnb? You are eligible to open a small business credit card, which keeps your personal and business expenses separate. If you are not a corporation or LLC, you can apply as a sole proprietorship, with your name as the business name and your Social Security number as the Tax ID number. I did this for years successfully before incorporating my business.

Small business credit cards are offering strong perks and $500+ value for a single card during the first year to try out a new card. Below are the top 10 credit card offers that I would apply for (or have applied for already). Recent changes:

  • CapOne Spark Cash/Spark Miles $2,000/200k miles – limited-time offer.
  • AmEx Platinum Biz 100k – limited-time offer.
  • United Biz 100k – limited-time offer.
  • Barclays/Citi AA Biz 75k – 2x limited-time offers.
  • Hawaiian Biz 70k – limited-time offer.
  • Southwest Performance Biz 80k – new card.

This is a companion post to my Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers for personal cards. Notice that small business bonuses are on average even higher than those on consumer cards.

Note: Certain Chase cards have a “5/24 rule” which is an unofficial rule that they will automatically deny approval on new credit cards if you have 5 or more new credit cards on your credit report within the past 2 years. This rule applies on a per-person basis, so if you are new, you might want to start with those Chase cards.

Capital One Spark Cash for Business Card

  • Up to $2,000 cash bonus. $500 cash bonus after $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months, another $1,500 cash bonus after $50,000 in purchases in the first 6 months. Limited-time offer. See link for details.
  • Flat 2% cash back on all purchases with no limit.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Capital One Spark Miles for Business Card

  • Up to 200,000 bonus miles. 50,000 bonus miles after $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months, another 150,000 bonus miles after $50,000 in purchases in the first 6 months. 200,000 miles is redeemable for $2,000 towards travel. Limited-time offer. See link for details.
  • Flat 2X miles per dollar on all purchases with no limit.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

American Express Business Platinum Card

  • Up to 100,000 Membership Rewards points (worth $1,540 towards airfare). 50,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 within your first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Largest airline lounge access network. Includes Delta Sky Club membership + their own Centurion lounges.
  • Free year of WeWork co-working membership.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $200 a calendar year in baggage fees and more at one airline that you pick.
  • $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit.
  • $595 annual fee.

Chase Ink Business Preferred Card

  • 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points (worth $1,000 towards flexible travel) after $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 3X points on the first $150,000 spent on travel, shipping purchases, internet/cable/phone services, and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines.
  • Primary rental car coverage when renting for business purposes.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card

United Explorer Business Card

  • Up to 100,000 United miles. 50,000 after $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months + another 50,000 after $25,000 total in purchases in the first 6 months. See link for details.
  • Free first checked bag for both you and a companion (a savings of up to $120 per roundtrip).
  • Expanded award availability. Having this card makes it easier to redeem for that saver award economy ticket.
  • Primary rental car coverage when renting for business purposes.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Business Card

  • Up to 75,000 American Airlines miles. 65,000 miles after $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days. Additional 10,000 miles when a purchase is made on an employee card. Limited-time offer. See link for details.
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights ($60 value per roundtrip, per person).
  • $95 annual fee.

CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard

  • 75,000 American Airlines miles after $5,000 in purchases in first the 5 months. Limited-time offer. See link for details.
  • First checked bag free on domestic AA flights ($60 value per roundtrip, per person).
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $99.

American Express Plum Card

  • $600 cash back. Earn a $200 statement credit after each $10,000 you spend in purchases, up to $30,000, within the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 1.5% early pay discount on all purchases which stacks on top of the bonus above.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $250.

Hawaiian Airlines Business Mastercard (Barclaycard)

  • Up to 70,000 Hawaiian miles. Earn 60,000 miles after $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days, and an additional 10,000 miles after a purchase is made on an employee card. Limited-time offer. See link for details.
  • One-time 50% off companion discount for roundtrip coach travel between Hawaii and the Mainland on Hawaiian Airlines.
  • $99 annual fee.

Chase Ink Business Unlimited Card

  • $500 bonus cash back after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no limit.
  • No annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Chase Ink Business Cash Card

  • $500 bonus cash back after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.
  • No annual fee.
  • Subject to 5/24 rule.

Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card

  • 75,000 bonus points after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Free night award upon card anniversary (worth up to 35,000 Bonvoy points). Earn an additional Free Night Award after spending $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Annual fee is $125.

Wells Fargo Business Platinum Card

  • $500 cash back bonus after $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. See link for details.
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on every $1 spent, OR earn 1 point on every $1 spent + 1,000 bonus points when company spend is $1,000+ in any monthly billing period.
  • No annual fee.

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Best Interest Rates on Cash – October 2019

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Here’s my monthly roundup of the best interest rates on cash for October 2019, roughly sorted from shortest to longest maturities. Rates are lower across the board due to the recent Fed rate cut. I track these rates because I keep a full 12 months of expenses as a cash cushion and also invest in longer-term CDs (often at lesser-known credit unions) when they yield more than bonds. Check out my Ultimate Rate-Chaser Calculator to get an idea of how much extra interest you’d earn if you are moving money between accounts. Rates listed are available to everyone nationwide. Rates checked as of 10/2/19.

High-yield savings accounts
While the huge megabanks like to get away with 0.01% APY, it’s easy to open a new “piggy-back” savings account and simply move some funds over from your existing checking account. The interest rates on savings accounts can drop at any time, so I prioritize banks with a history of competitive rates. Some banks will bait you and then lower the rates in the hopes that you are too lazy to leave.

Short-term guaranteed rates (1 year and under)
A common question is what to do with a big pile of cash that you’re waiting to deploy shortly (just sold your house, just sold your business, legal settlement, inheritance). My usual advice is to keep things simple and take your time. If not a savings account, then put it in a flexible short-term CD under the FDIC limits until you have a plan.

  • No Penalty CDs offer a fixed interest rate that can never go down, but you can still take out your money (once) without any fees if you want to use it elsewhere. Marcus Bank has a 7-month No Penalty CD at 2.10% APY with a $500 minimum deposit. CIT Bank has a 11-month No Penalty CD at 2.05% APY with a $1,000 minimum deposit. You may wish to open multiple CDs in smaller increments for more flexibility.
  • Total Direct Bank has a 12-month CD at 2.50% APY ($25,000 minimum) with an early withdrawal penalty of 3 months of interest. Navy Federal Credit Union has a special 9-month CD at 2.25% APY ($1,000 minimum), but you must have a military affiliation to join (includes being a relative of a veteran). Customers Bank has 2.25% APY ($25,000 minimum) on their liquid Ascent Money Market with a rate guarantee until 6/30/2020 (almost 10 months from today).

Money market mutual funds + Ultra-short bond ETFs
If you like to keep cash in a brokerage account, beware that many brokers pay out very little interest on their default cash sweep funds (and keep the difference for themselves). The following money market and ultra-short bond funds are not FDIC-insured, but may be a good option if you have idle cash and cheap/free commissions.

  • Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund currently pays an 2.00% SEC yield. The default sweep option is the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund, which has an SEC yield of 1.94%. You can manually move the money over to Prime if you meet the $3,000 minimum investment.
  • Vanguard Ultra-Short-Term Bond Fund currently pays 2.16% SEC yield ($3,000 min) and 2.26% SEC Yield ($50,000 min). The average duration is ~1 year, so there is more interest rate risk.
  • The PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Active Bond ETF (MINT) has a 2.32% SEC yield and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR) has a 2.36% SEC yield while holding a portfolio of investment-grade bonds with an average duration of ~6 months.

Treasury Bills and Ultra-short Treasury ETFs
Another option is to buy individual Treasury bills which come in a variety of maturities from 4-weeks to 52-weeks. You can also invest in ETFs that hold a rotating basket of short-term Treasury Bills for you, while charging a small management fee for doing so. T-bill interest is exempt from state and local income taxes.

  • You can build your own T-Bill ladder at TreasuryDirect.gov or via a brokerage account with a bond desk like Vanguard and Fidelity. Here are the current Treasury Bill rates. As of 10/1/19, a 4-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 1.79% annualized interest and a 52-week T-Bill had the equivalent of 1.74% annualized interest (!).
  • The Goldman Sachs Access Treasury 0-1 Year ETF (GBIL) has a 1.99% SEC yield and the SPDR Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL) has a 1.85% SEC yield. GBIL appears to have a slightly longer average maturity than BIL.

US Savings Bonds
Series I Savings Bonds offer rates that are linked to inflation and backed by the US government. You must hold them for at least a year. There are annual purchase limits. If you redeem them within 5 years there is a penalty of the last 3 months of interest.

  • “I Bonds” bought between May 2019 and October 2019 will earn a 1.90% rate for the first six months. The rate of the subsequent 6-month period will be based on inflation again. More info here.
  • In mid-October 2019, the CPI will be announced and you will have a short period where you will have a very close estimate of the rate for the next 12 months. I will have another post up at that time.

Prepaid Cards with Attached Savings Accounts
A small subset of prepaid debit cards have an “attached” FDIC-insured savings account with exceptionally high interest rates. The negatives are that balances are capped, and there are many fees that you must be careful to avoid (lest they eat up your interest). Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others do. There is a long list of previous offers that have already disappeared with little notice. I don’t personally recommend nor use any of these anymore.

  • The only notable card left in this category is Mango Money at 6% APY on up to $2,500, but there are many hoops to jump through. Requirements include $1,500+ in “signature” purchases and a minimum balance of $25.00 at the end of the month.

Rewards checking accounts
These unique checking accounts pay above-average interest rates, but with unique risks. You have to jump through certain hoops, and if you make a mistake you won’t earn any interest for that month. Some folks don’t mind the extra work and attention required, while others do. Rates can also drop to near-zero quickly, leaving a “bait-and-switch” feeling. I don’t use any of these anymore, but the Orion offer is worth consideration.

  • Orion FCU Premium Checking has 4.00% APY on balances up to $30,000 if you meet make $500+ in direct deposits and 8 debit card “signature” purchases each month. Consumers Credit Union Free Rewards Checking has up to 5.09% APY on balances up to $10,000 if you meet make $500+ in ACH deposits, 12 debit card “signature” purchases, and spend $1,000 on their credit card each month. Find a locally-restricted rewards checking account at DepositAccounts.
  • If you’re looking for a high-interest checking account without debit card transaction requirements then the rate won’t be as high, but take a look at MemoryBank at 1.15% APY.

Certificates of deposit (greater than 1 year)
CDs offer higher rates, but come with an early withdrawal penalty. By finding a bank CD with a reasonable early withdrawal penalty, you can enjoy higher rates but maintain access in a true emergency. Alternatively, consider building a CD ladder of different maturity lengths (ex. 1/2/3/4/5-years) such that you have access to part of the ladder each year, but your blended interest rate is higher than a savings account. When one CD matures, use that money to buy another 5-year CD to keep the ladder going. Some CDs also offer “add-ons” where you can deposit more funds if rates drop.

  • You could build a CD ladder at First National Bank of America at 2.70% APY for 5-year, 2.60% APY for 4-year, 2.55% APY for 3-year, 2.50% APY for 2-year, and 2.45% APY for 1-year.
  • 5-year CD rates have been dropping at many banks and credit unions, following the overall interest rate curve. A good rate is now about 3% APY, with Hiway Federal Credit Union offering 3.00% APY ($25,000 min) or 2.80% APY ($500 min) on a 5-year CD with an early withdrawal penalty of 12 months of interest. Anyone can join this credit union via partner organization Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation ($10 fee).
  • Navy Federal Credit Union has a special 18-month cert at 2.60% APY ($1,000 minimum) and a 5-year cert at 3.00% APY, but you must have a military affiliation to join (includes being a relative of a veteran).
  • You can buy certificates of deposit via the bond desks of Vanguard and Fidelity. You may need an account to see the rates. These “brokered CDs” offer FDIC insurance and easy laddering, but they don’t come with predictable early withdrawal penalties. The rates are not competitive right now. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs listed by Fidelity.

Longer-term Instruments
I’d use these with caution due to increased interest rate risk, but I still track them to see the rest of the current yield curve.

  • Willing to lock up your money for 10+ years? You can buy long-term certificates of deposit via the bond desks of Vanguard and Fidelity. These “brokered CDs” offer FDIC insurance, but they don’t come with predictable early withdrawal penalties. As of this writing, I am seeing no inventory on 7-year and 10-year CDs. Watch out for higher rates from callable CDs from Fidelity.
  • How about two decades? Series EE Savings Bonds are not indexed to inflation, but they have a unique guarantee that the value will double in value in 20 years, which equals a guaranteed return of 3.5% a year. However, if you don’t hold for that long, you’ll be stuck with the normal rate which is quite low (currently a sad 0.10% rate). I view this as a huge early withdrawal penalty. You could also view it as a hedge against prolonged deflation, but only if you can hold on for 20 years. As of 10/2/19, the 20-year Treasury Bond rate was 1.90%.

All rates were checked as of 10/2/19.

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eccad.info has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Eccad.info is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.

Delta SkyMiles American Express Cards: New Limited-Time Offers

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Updated with new limited-time offers. American Express and Delta Airlines have various credit cards that offer special perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, and the ability to earn Delta Skymiles with card purchases. However, as you can only get the welcome bonuses once on each of these cards per person per lifetime (each card is considered different!), I recommend waiting until a limited-time offer to maximize your benefit. Here are the latest such offers:

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

  • Limited-time offer: 60,000 bonus Skymiles after $2,000 in purchases in your first 3 months AND a $50 statement credit after you make any Delta purchase within your first 3 months. Offer expires 10/30/2019.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four ($30 each way, per person).
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $0 annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Delta now offers a minimum value out of your Skymiles via the “Pay with Miles” option. That means 60,000 Skymiles can reduce the price of your Delta ticket by $600 at the very least. (5,000 mile = $50 minimum redemption.) You can still book the traditional award tickets and possibly get better value. That makes this offer a $650 estimated value in the first year, even ignoring the free checked bags.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

  • Limited-time offer: 75,000 bonus Skymiles and 5,000 Medallion(R) Qualification Miles (MQMs) after $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months AND a $100 statement credit after you make any Delta purchase within your first 3 months. Offer expires 10/30/2019.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four ($30 each way, per person).
  • Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $195 annual fee.

Delta now offers a minimum value out of your Skymiles via the “Pay with Miles” option. 75,000 Skymiles can reduce the price of your Delta ticket by $750 at the very least. (5,000 mile = $50 minimum redemption.) You can still book the traditional award tickets and possibly get better value. Plus the $100 statement credit and minus the $195 annual fee, that makes this offer a $650 estimated net value in the first year, even ignoring the status miles, free companion certificate (which I have used many times), and free checked bags.

BUSINESS Card Versions

Gold Delta SkyMiles® BUSINESS Credit Card from American Express

  • 30,000 bonus Skymiles after $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four ($30 each way, per person).
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® BUSINESS Credit Card from American Express

  • 35,000 bonus Skymiles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you make $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 3 months. In addition, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four ($30 each way, per person).
  • Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $195 Annual Fee. ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)

Delta Reserve for BUSINESS Credit Card

  • 40,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • 15,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 15,000 bonus miles after you reach $30,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in the calendar year.
  • Limited-time offer: Additional 15,000 bonus miles and 15,000 MQMs after spending $60,000 in eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year for a total of 30,000 bonus miles and 30,000 MQMs. Starting January 30, 2020, you will no longer earn bonus miles with this benefit.
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club® access. Enter Delta Sky Club® at no cost and bring up to two guests for an exclusive rate of $29 per person per visit.
  • First checked bag free on Delta flights – that’s a savings of up to $240 per round trip for a family of four ($30 each way, per person).
  • Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+® or Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.
  • Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • $450 Annual Fee. ($550 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)

Every card above also offers 2X miles on direct Delta purchases and 1X miles on all other purchases. You get 2 miles for every dollar spent directly with Delta. This includes flights booked on Delta.com, seat upgrades, Sky Club membership or day passes, Delta Vacations packages, or in-flight food/entertainment purchases like food, beverages, and entertainment.

Starting January 30th, 2020, there will be some changes to the Delta cards. You can review the planned changes here. For the Gold Delta card, the notable changes are:

  • 2X miles at restaurants starting 1/30/20.
  • 2X miles at U.S. supermarkets starting 1/30/20.
  • $100 Delta Flight Credit for future travel after you spend $10,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year starting 1/30/20.
  • If you earn an MQD Waiver in 2019, it will still count toward your 2020 Medallion® Status. Starting January 1, 2020, you can no longer earn an MQD waiver with the Delta Gold Card.
  • Starting January 30, 2020, you will no longer be able to purchase discounted Delta Sky Club access with the Delta Gold Card.
  • Effective January 30, 2020, the annual fee will increase from $95 to $99 (charged at account opening or your Card’s renewal date).

I will still be adding the Delta Gold Skymiles limited-time offer with the 60k bonus miles and annual fee waiver to my list of the Top 10 Best Credit Card Bonus Offers.

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eccad.info has partnered with CardRatings for selected credit cards, and may receive a commission from card issuers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned. Eccad.info is also a member of the Amazon Associate Program, and if you click through to Amazon and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.