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Sapphire, Ink and Other Cards: My First Posting

After a long transoceanic flight, it will be great to be back in the United States. Not much longer, I thought to myself. One obvious clue is the forms being passed around by the flight attendants to the passengers aboard the aircraft. We are required to fill out those forms, whether or not we have anything to declare once we pass through Customs.

I tried to use my pen, but the ink — bold and blue, normally — has apparently dried, rendering my writing apparatus useless. Was my frustration really that apparent?

The woman who sat next to me eyed my dilemma. I had not noticed her before during the entire flight — probably because…

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Credit Card Affiliate Links: The Debate Continues…

“Banner ads, long forgotten as a viable revenue source, are slowly being replaced by credit card referrals and affiliate links that can earn $100 or more from each successful applicant — an amount that drastically outpaces revenue from advertisements.”

So says Grant Martin in this article called The Blurring Ethical Lines Between Credit Card Companies and Travel Writers he authored for Skift, continuing the debate over the controversial practice of articles with a proliferation of credit card affiliate links or content which is disguised as a blunt “advertisement” for banks who aggressively push those credit cards through weblogs in order to provoke people to sign up for those credit cards.

How blurred are those ethical lines depends on what you read. One of the most vocal advocates who opposes what appears to be the rampant growth of articles crammed with credit card affiliate links is…

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Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud: What You Can Do and How to Reduce Your Risk

The bank which issued one of my credit cards sent an e-mail message yesterday claiming to have denied a charge from a company from which I have never heard. I was asked to click either a green Yes button to verify the legitimacy of that questionable charge; or a red No button to indeed verify that the charge was not legitimate.

I did what you are supposed to do: call the bank which issued the credit card and speak to a live person and never click on the link provided in the e-mail message nor respond to the e-mail message. I have received a lot of e-mail messages lately from what appear to be legitimate companies asking me to click on a link to either send them information or verify something; and almost always, I hover my cursor over the link for a second, which then ultimately reveals the usual confirmation that the e-mail message is a “phishing” scam where a questionable entity is attempting to gather vital information from me — most likely for the sender to send a virus to my computer or be able to steal my identity.

Upon calling the telephone number on the rear of my credit card — which I did last night — the representative confirmed that…

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The Credit Card Affiliate Links Controversy

There has been a fierce debate pertaining to credit card affiliate links amongst those who “blog” about travel, miles and points — and that debate has been heated up recently by Ric Garrido of Loyalty Travel.

Although I would not label anyone an “airhead”, I thought it was a well-written article which was frank, honest and personal.

Unbeknownst to me, I received a live preview of that article as I walked with Ric down a crowded sidewalk on the…

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Dollar and Euro at Parity by 2017?

It might interest Martin J Cowling of the Wild About Travel weblog — who wrote an interesting article about getting to know your currency — that the euro is on its way to achieving parity with the dollar by the end of 2017, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Incorporated as reported in this article by James Ramage of The Wall Street Journal.

The last time that the euro and the dollar were at parity was in 2002 — which is the year it entered circulation as a physical currency.

Martin wrote that if he could have his way…

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American Express: Earn Up to 62,500 Hilton HHonors Points

One can Receive up to 62,500 Hilton HHonor Points w/ Amex – Easy rules! NO AF!

  1. Receive 20,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points with the first purchase
  2. Receive up to 2,500 additional HHonors Bonus Points on the first four stays at a Hilton HHonors property worldwide charged to the American Express card during the first 18 months as an American Express card member
  3. Receive 30,000 Hilton HHonors bonus points when spending $500.00 during the first three months as an American Express card member

For the lifetime of being an American Express card member with this card, one gets to enjoy Hilton HHonors Silver VIP elite status — and there are no blackout days.

By the way, “no AF” means no annual fee, not that this offer is not good on Air France.

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Paying a Currency Conversion Fee Twice When Renting a Car in a Foreign Country

There is a New Hertz unethical currency conversion fee of 2.75%, according to FlyerTalk member customer1001, who says that if you rent a car abroad and pay with a credit card issued in the United States, The Hertz Corporation will add its own 2.75% currency exchange charge — euphemistically called the Customer Preferred Currency Conversion CPCC — in addition to the currency exchange fee your credit card company charges.

However, is this fee charged by Hertz really unethical and a “money grab,” or is it a purely legal way of doing business that the educated consumer can easily avoid? Is the entire currency conversion process overly complicated and, if so, is that purposely by design?

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Electronics Stolen from Checked Baggage: Is There Any Recourse?

FlyerTalk member platinumPizza had a brand-new Apple IPhone 4 stolen!! 🙁 It was at the bottom of a checked bag while traveling to Europe, but it was gone. The mobile telephone was purchased with an American Express card.

The American Express Purchase Protection reportedly does not cover theft of items in baggage not under one’s direct supervision. Because the baggage was checked at the time of the alleged crime, does platinumPizza have any recourse, especially since the incident happened two weeks prior?

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