Search found 698 matches

by rjbraun
Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:59 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Sapphire ending its Reserve 100,000 bonus point offer
Replies: 30
Views: 3305

Re: Chase Sapphire ending its Reserve 100,000 bonus point offer

The annual fee is $450! That take a chunk from the benefits from tne bonus not really. You get $300 in travel credits per calendar year, so you get $600 less $450....plus another $1,000-$1,500. You will never see another CC offer like this in your lifetime which is exactly why Chase is nerfing it. ...
by rjbraun
Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:52 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping sole proprietor for local tour or cooking class - how much?
Replies: 6
Views: 776

Re: Tipping sole proprietor for local tour or cooking class - how much?

Thanks for the feedback. I guess I've gone back and forth on whether to tip in these instances. Initially, I was a bit reluctant, though I kind of also felt that tipping would be the "right thing" to do. At the same time, I figured as the price paid presumably goes straight to the operator...
by rjbraun
Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:33 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sonicare ToothBrush
Replies: 35
Views: 3350

Re: Sonicare ToothBrush

I've had a Sonicare Elite for about 10 years. At one point, it completely stopped working. I ignored it for about half a year, then for some reason started it up and it began working again. They seem to be tempermental. Wild. I haven't yet tossed the one that stopped working several weeks ago. Afte...
by rjbraun
Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:17 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Tipping sole proprietor for local tour or cooking class - how much?
Replies: 6
Views: 776

Tipping sole proprietor for local tour or cooking class - how much?

We plan to take a couple of cooking classes as well as a walking tour of local markets in Italy. The individuals running the tours operate on their own and have been in the business for a number of years. Our sessions will be "private" for the two of us. My sense is that it's customary to ...
by rjbraun
Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sonicare ToothBrush
Replies: 35
Views: 3350

Re: Sonicare ToothBrush

I've had a Sonicare Elite for about 10 years. At one point, it completely stopped working. I ignored it for about half a year, then for some reason started it up and it began working again. They seem to be tempermental. Wild. I haven't yet tossed the one that stopped working several weeks ago. Afte...
by rjbraun
Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:13 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 962
Views: 121163

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

^ I have the Capitol one Spark and it is 2% back on everything with no annual fee. I don't use it enough (i.e. not at all) since I am usually chasing bonuses. I like having it as a back up card. +1 Even with the no fx transaction fee, it gets underused. My Chase Sapphire Reserve will get most of my...
by rjbraun
Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:06 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Sonicare ToothBrush
Replies: 35
Views: 3350

Re: Sonicare ToothBrush

My first Sonicare toothbrush stopped working recently. I received it from a family member I think around Christmas 2012, so I guess it lasted about four years in total. Once it gave out I immediately replaced the toothbrush with another Sonicare brush. Any reservations I initially had about the cost...
by rjbraun
Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:24 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Buy or keep renting in Manhattan?
Replies: 23
Views: 2614

Re: Buy or keep renting in Manhattan?

"$3M/year of income" Just to confirm, does that means an actual base salary of $3 million annually or, if not, at least an ironclad, rock-solid non-discretioanry guarantee of $3 million each year - in writing, regardless of how well other parts of the firm do, independent of your actual pe...
by rjbraun
Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:14 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shipping purchases home from abroad (Italy)
Replies: 5
Views: 450

Re: Shipping purchases home from abroad (Italy)

There might be a table of Customs/duty charges that you could search for online, or you could call and ask in advance what the tariff would be for your particular item(s) before you decide. As you probably know, if you carry it home with you, then there is no payment due for the first $$ (depending...
by rjbraun
Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:05 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shipping purchases home from abroad (Italy)
Replies: 5
Views: 450

Re: Shipping purchases home from abroad (Italy)

Here's a CBP web page with customs and duty information: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/kbyg/customs-duty-info Items from Certain Countries Under what is known as its "301" authority, the United States may impose a much higher than normal duty rate on products from cert...
by rjbraun
Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Shipping purchases home from abroad (Italy)
Replies: 5
Views: 450

Shipping purchases home from abroad (Italy)

I've only rarely shipped purchases back home while traveling abroad on vacation. I'll be visiting Italy soon (Rome and Florence) and want to be prepared in the event I may want to buy and ship some items during the trip. For the sake of this discussion, let's assume that any purchases will be made a...
by rjbraun
Wed Dec 28, 2016 5:25 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Priority Pass airport lounge access - Chase Sapphire Reserve perk (and possibly other cards)
Replies: 6
Views: 1353

Re: Priority Pass airport lounge access - Chase Sapphire Reserve perk (and possibly other cards)

A belated thank you to those who replied. I got sidetracked reading all the flyertalk.com responses, and I'm still not finished. We're waiting for our PP access cards(?) to arrive. We leave in a little over a week for our trip. Assuming we use any lounges and have anything worthwhile to report, I'll...
by rjbraun
Wed Dec 28, 2016 4:49 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: France or Switzerland
Replies: 50
Views: 4510

Re: France or Switzerland

Not clear to me why Switzerland would be immune to terrorism and such. To the extent these individuals, the terrorists, may be moving around various regions of Europe, Switzerland would certainly seem vulnerable as it is adjacent to countries that have experienced major terrorist activity to date. I...
by rjbraun
Sat Dec 24, 2016 12:03 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sallie Mae Rewards MC being discontinued
Replies: 110
Views: 9940

Re: Sallie Mae Rewards MC being discontinued

Does trader Joe's code as grocery for BCP? Is it possible the same merchant can code as grocer on one credit card and, say, convenience or similar for another card? I guess I always assumed a store classified as "grocer" would always reflect that regardless of the credit card company in q...
by rjbraun
Tue Dec 20, 2016 5:53 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Priority Pass airport lounge access - Chase Sapphire Reserve perk (and possibly other cards)
Replies: 6
Views: 1353

Priority Pass airport lounge access - Chase Sapphire Reserve perk (and possibly other cards)

We just requested cards and have looked at the lounges at the airports we expect to travel through next month. Some of the lounges limit access hours, such as the Air France Lounge and KAL Business Class Lounge at New York's JFK airport. For example, KAL's hours are limited to 14:00 to 20:30 daily. ...
by rjbraun
Tue Dec 20, 2016 3:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Chase Sapphire Reserve
Replies: 191
Views: 22766

Re: Chase Sapphire Reserve

I would think if you applied late January or in February you could get the double travel credit in 2017 and 2018. Spend 300 in 2017 and book something else in Jan 2018. Or maybe book in Dec 2017. I already got my $300 for 2016. And I'm now getting credits for 2017 credit here in December 2016, base...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 19, 2016 11:20 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sallie Mae Rewards MC being discontinued
Replies: 110
Views: 9940

Re: Sallie Mae Rewards MC being discontinued

-For groceries, I can use either Amex Blue Cash (no fee version gives 3%), or Chase Freedom when it has a rotating category for 5% cashback on groceries. Just got my Chase Freedom card (downgraded Chase Sapphire Preferred). Assuming groceries will be a rotating category one quarter next year, what ...
by rjbraun
Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:54 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Sallie Mae Rewards MC being discontinued
Replies: 110
Views: 9940

Re: Sallie Mae Rewards MC being discontinued

If you are an Amazon Prime subscriber, I believe you can get a free Amazon Prime credit card, which will give you 5% off Amazon. The past couple years, I have been buying Sears e-gift cards from eBay at a 10-15% discount when there's a sale. I drop by my local Sears and pick up $200-300 of Amazon g...
by rjbraun
Tue Dec 13, 2016 12:25 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How to pay for Graduate School
Replies: 33
Views: 1829

Re: How to pay for Graduate School

I tried to read most of the posts but could only do so quickly. I may have missed some points, and may also be repeating some, but you may want to consider attending a part-time MBA program (as at least one poster has already said). Maybe you could find a job at the university you'll be attending th...
by rjbraun
Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 403(b) / 457(b) allocations as one nears retirement
Replies: 2
Views: 353

Re: 403(b) / 457(b) allocations as one nears retirement

What is his marginal tax rate? What does he expect his marginal tax rate to be in retirement? If he expects his tax rate to be lower in a few years then putting aside more pre-tax money now makes sense. Thank you, Beth. I believe his marginal tax rate is 28%. Yes, I guess one needs to make assumpti...
by rjbraun
Fri Dec 09, 2016 7:04 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: 403(b) / 457(b) allocations as one nears retirement
Replies: 2
Views: 353

403(b) / 457(b) allocations as one nears retirement

I'm trying to help a family member who will soon turn 65. Exact retirement date still undetermined, but it will be within the next few years, at most. He will receive some retroactive pay raises beginning early next year. He doesn't need the money to live on. Should he invest as much as possible in ...
by rjbraun
Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:37 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Question about Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
Replies: 19
Views: 2081

Re: Question about Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

The fee is likely worth it, but only as a card to get and then cancel (though it would've been better to get it earlier this year). In that scenario, you could've gotten 2x $300 travel credits- and even if you "don't travel," parking garages, cabs, EZPass, all count as well. You'd also be...
by rjbraun
Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:44 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 962
Views: 121163

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I recently got a Chase Ink Business Preferred card. I already climbed on the Chase Sapphire Reserve bandwagon and even got SO to bite. My original plan was that I would help him reach the $4000 minimum spend, but he's already almost there so I figured I should consider getting yet another card with ...
by rjbraun
Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:10 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: cheap hotels in NYC
Replies: 35
Views: 2674

Re: cheap hotels in NYC

airbnb -- especially if you'd like to stay nearby your friends -- is the way to go in NYC, IMO. (or, if they live in a high-rent neighborhood and you'd rather be somewhere cheaper in Brooklyn or Queens but in a highly transportation-accessible area -- think Brooklyn Heights -- airbnb would also be ...
by rjbraun
Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: should I ask for referral bonus? (physician private practice)
Replies: 26
Views: 2010

Re: should I ask for referral bonus? (physician private practice)

All good points. I agree with having this discussion before doing the referral. I just don't see, from a management perspective, how a referral fee motives me to send them a better employee than I would have without the incentive. I wouldn't refer anyone that I know to be a garbage referral, simply...
by rjbraun
Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:05 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: should I ask for referral bonus? (physician private practice)
Replies: 26
Views: 2010

Re: should I ask for referral bonus? (physician private practice)

SouthernCPA wrote:I wouldn't refer anyone that I know to be a garbage referral, simply based on preserving my reputation with the company alone - don't see how getting paid would change that.

Also, who would want to bring on someone unpleasant, incompetent, etc. whom you could end up working with.
by rjbraun
Tue Nov 29, 2016 3:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Artificial Christmas tree
Replies: 27
Views: 2072

Re: Artificial Christmas tree

OP here. Thanks for all the great feedback! I went ahead and ordered the tree below from BB&B. I managed to get a 20% off coupon for one item by providing my e-mail or something. That helped to bring the price for a 4.5' tree to slightly below $130 (pre-tax). While I agree I could have saved som...
by rjbraun
Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Artificial Christmas tree
Replies: 27
Views: 2072

Re: Artificial Christmas tree

We've had a small artificial tree from them in our NYC apartment for decades—the branches fold-up and it fits into a 6"x6"x3' box. https://www.bronners.com Wow. That's pretty tiny! Some of the trees shown on the website seemed heavier than I would have guessed. I think one weighted 17 lbs...
by rjbraun
Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:18 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Artificial Christmas tree
Replies: 27
Views: 2072

Re: Artificial Christmas tree

Why even bother putting up a tree? If you do not have a tree will it not feel like xmas? We havent put a tree up for years...well I lied...we put up an old ceramic one that has lights attached to it...its approx 1.5 feet tall. All is well in the world. I hear you. It's important to SO, so I want to...
by rjbraun
Mon Nov 28, 2016 2:44 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Artificial Christmas tree
Replies: 27
Views: 2072

Re: Artificial Christmas tree

You're probably okay but caveat emptor. I've had pretty good experience with BB&B. Don't forget to use one of their 20% off single item coupons! I have received tons of those 20% coupons in the past. Naturally, I don't have one on me now. Just when I need it! I'll see if I can scrounge one up a...
by rjbraun
Mon Nov 28, 2016 2:16 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Artificial Christmas tree
Replies: 27
Views: 2072

Re: Artificial Christmas tree

Off the top of my head I want to say about 48"x12"x8"? I'd have to go home and look. When we put it away its quite compacted in the box. Thanks. That indeed sounds quite compact. I saw an attractive one in a store made by the National Tree Company (NTC). As already noted by a poster,...
by rjbraun
Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Artificial Christmas tree
Replies: 27
Views: 2072

Re: Artificial Christmas tree

We bought a 5' tree from Costco for less than $200 if I recall correctly. It comes with white lights but looks great and we haven't had any go out yet and this is our third Christmas with it. It comes in three sections and the branches can fold and be stored in a long rectangular box. ...I see Cost...
by rjbraun
Mon Nov 28, 2016 1:26 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Artificial Christmas tree
Replies: 27
Views: 2072

Artificial Christmas tree

We will be home at Christmas this year and are thinking of getting a tree. While a "real" tree would be nice in some ways, I think we've decided to go the artificial tree route. I would be interested in recommendations or advice others may have based on their experiences. We live in an apa...
by rjbraun
Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 962
Views: 121163

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I'm hoping to downgrade my Chase Sapphire to Freedom as well, but I've read that sometimes that does not work - they only will downgrade to the Freedom Unlimited. Anyone have success downgrading to Freedom recently? Yes, I downgraded from CSP to Chase Freedom within the past few months. No problem....
by rjbraun
Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:26 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 962
Views: 121163

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

giesen5 wrote:I'm hoping to downgrade my Chase Sapphire to Freedom as well, but I've read that sometimes that does not work - they only will downgrade to the Freedom Unlimited. Anyone have success downgrading to Freedom recently?

Yes, I downgraded from CSP to Chase Freedom within the past few months. No problem.
by rjbraun
Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:35 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best way to visit NYC from DC
Replies: 33
Views: 2487

Re: Best way to visit NYC from DC

If you have enough lead time and are pretty certain of your plans, you can book Amtrak regional service trains for $49 one-way (non-refundable for cash -- only Amtrak e-credit possible). Far more comfortable than a bus, in my opinion, and most likely a shorter ride. Personally, I don't think Acela i...
by rjbraun
Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:08 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: WSJ: Vanguard’s Inflows Pass Previous Annual Record in 10 Months
Replies: 7
Views: 1340

WSJ: Vanguard’s Inflows Pass Previous Annual Record in 10 Months

Apologies if this has already been posted. (Moderators - please merge or remove as appropriate)

http://www.wsj.com/articles/vanguard-re ... 1478107624
by rjbraun
Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:29 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Chase Sapphire Reserve: Too good to be (completely) true
Replies: 186
Views: 25125

Re: Chase Sapphire Reserve: Too good to be (completely) true

But.... There appears to be a catch that makes the above claim a bit misleading. I was reading the fine print in the materials sent with the card and noted this sentence buried deep in the agreement: "The cost of travel is based on the rates and fares available through the Ultimate Rewards web...
by rjbraun
Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:48 pm
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: WSJ - The Dying Business of Picking Stocks
Replies: 38
Views: 6119

Re: WSJ - The Dying Business of Picking Stocks

matjen: Thank you for this article and its important excerpts. "The truth must be repeated over and over again because lies are constantly being told around it." -- Rick Ferri Best wishes. Taylor Edit: My Miami home edition, with the same October 17th date, does not contain this article ?...
by rjbraun
Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:31 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 962
Views: 121163

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Another thing to keep in mind is that AA's website does not include all of it's available partners. You can search for partner award space on their websites, identify the flight # and exact date and time, and call AA to book the flight. I have typically just called the AAdvantage desk to inquire ab...
by rjbraun
Sun Oct 02, 2016 9:18 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 962
Views: 121163

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Figured the wealth of knowledge would be a good place to post this question...although I also gave it it's own thread: https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=200440 Question is: You'd think this question would be easy to answer...but I haven't found a clear explanation online... ...
by rjbraun
Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:39 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 962
Views: 121163

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Are reward cancellation policies airline specific? Victoria Yes. Were you inside 72 hours before flying? "Delta charges an award ticket redeposit fee of $150, which is waived for Diamond and Platinum Medallion members. Award tickets not canceled at least 72 hours prior to the originating fligh...
by rjbraun
Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: How I circumvented Chase's 5/24 rule
Replies: 38
Views: 5881

Re: How I circumvented Chase's 5/24 rule

And the ongoing rewards rate of the cards are quite decent - basically 4.5% on travel & dining purchases, the PP lounge access, no foreign transaction fee. Reason enough for me to keep it past 12 months. How does the PP lounge access work and how good is it? When I looked, my understanding was ...
by rjbraun
Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:43 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 962
Views: 121163

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

In 4Q2016, Freedom 5x categories include Wholesale clubs, department stores and drug stores. In 4Q2015, Freedom 5x for Amazon was from the beginning of the quarter, but then they added 10x. It became possible to get 22.5k UR by spending $3k on Amazon. I used Freedom to purchase Amazon credit, which...
by rjbraun
Tue Sep 20, 2016 12:39 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 962
Views: 121163

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

In 4Q2016, Freedom 5x categories include Wholesale clubs, department stores and drug stores. In 4Q2015, Freedom 5x for Amazon was from the beginning of the quarter, but then they added 10x. It became possible to get 22.5k UR by spending $3k on Amazon. I used Freedom to purchase Amazon credit, which...
by rjbraun
Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:44 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 962
Views: 121163

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Public announcement: You can now activate Freedom 5x rewards for 4Q2016. Victoria Amazon wasn't an option when I looked, though my understanding is that Amazon was among the 5x rewards participants in 4Q2015. I don't have a Freedom card (yet), but I vaguely recall that Amazon may have only been ann...
by rjbraun
Mon Sep 19, 2016 1:29 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 962
Views: 121163

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

Thanks. Yes, it looks like you got a good point value for this route. Delta also flies this route nonstop and costs $475 next July which is less than with United. The cheapest award costs 22,000 miles + $11.20 . While that would be a a lower 2.10 cpp value than your 2.2cpp, if I'm transferring Chas...
by rjbraun
Sat Sep 17, 2016 10:02 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Singapore Sling (Raffles Hotel) or Suntory Whisky (Park Hyatt Tokyo)?
Replies: 13
Views: 1175

Re: Singapore Sling (Raffles Hotel) or Suntory Whisky (Park Hyatt Tokyo)?

I've been to both and would choose the Park Hyatt. I had a drink and some appetizers at what I assume was the NY Bar at the Park Hyatt. We were seated by windows in a room that looked similar to what was shown in your link, though I can't say with certainty it was NY Bar (visited a number of years a...
by rjbraun
Wed Sep 14, 2016 8:37 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?
Replies: 962
Views: 121163

Re: What's Your Credit Card Rewards Strategy?

I have the original Chase Freedom card. When I opened CSR I downgraded CSP to ANOTHER Chase Freedom card, thinking I could get double the limit on 5% quarterly categories. But when I tried to register my second Freedom card for the 5% thing, I couldn't do it. I wonder if they limit you to one card ...
by rjbraun
Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:19 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Traveling to Italy - 3 weeks in 2017, advice appreciated
Replies: 85
Views: 5958

Re: Traveling to Italy - 3 weeks in 2017, advice appreciated

I have no idea how many are still there. I left in 2010 and I never found one that wasn't. We were in Italy twice in the past three years and it seemed relevant still. The book focuses on traditional places so I would guess they don't go out of business. The inns would be more likely to not be open...

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