Mini Points: Free Amex Money, Kiva 2nd Anniversary, and More

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Apologies if you have already read about some of these updates elsewhere…this time zone difference being in Europe throws things off a bit for me in terms of normal posting times.  However, I wanted to mention a couple things in case you have missed them. 😉

  • Return of the good Amex Sync promos.  Update: this promo is now dead – congrats to those who got in!  I love having my rewards credit cards work even harder to give me perks and benefits (and free money)!  Right now they are offering a $25 Amex gift card for $15 if purchased via synched card on Twitter.  To get things rolling, first Sync an Amex to Twitter (if you haven’t already), then follow these instructions:
  1. Tweet using #BuyAmexGiftCard25;
  2. Receive a response message from @AmexSync asking you to Tweet #ConfirmAmexGiftCard25;
  3. Confirm your purchase and authorize American Express to charge your Card by Tweeting #ConfirmAmexGiftCard25;
  4. Receive a response message from @AmexSync confirming successful purchase; AND
  5. Receive a confirmation email from American Express stating that the product has been purchased successfully, including all purchase details.

  • The Milepoint Kiva Lending Team is having their second birthday today (Tuesday the 12th), and they want to lend a ton of money today to celebrate.  They asked me to help spread the word that the team captains have pledged to match every loan up to a total of $17,500 today (total, not per loan).   Not only can you help others around the word by lending $25 (or more) at a time, but an overwhelming percent of the time you get that money back.  Some cards even count Kiva as a “charity donation” and give you 3x points for doing so…..  You can read a previous post all about Kiva here.  Come join me on the Milepoint Lending Team and have your loan go twice as far today thanks to the $17,500 match!
  • Just in case you were curious, here are some quick thoughts from Europe….the Sheraton Heathrow isn’t near as bad as I had read, in fact we had a good stay there and were most grateful for the 10AM check-in after our flight from the US.  We were upgraded to a Club Room, so that might have helped, but the blackout curtains were great and that was the most important requirement for us!  Overnight flights from the East Coast to Western Europe are nowhere near long enough.  Having a lie-flat seat is amazing, but I want more time to sleep in it (I know, what a problem to have, right?)!  The Winning Post outside of Windsor (about 15 minutes total from Heathrow) was very delicious, and was the perfect cozy meal to enjoy indoors on a snowy night.

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  1. I completely agree with you on the short transatlantic flight times. It’s not the seat, it’s the 4 hour nap. You need to fly at least to the Middle East if you’re going to get enough sleep going East. I actually never experienced jet lag when I went to Jordan and Israel this fall.

  2. I often think that one place in life where we insomniacs have an advantage is when it comes to jet lag. Since we don’t sleep well anyway, we aren’t thrown for a loop when we get little sleep on a flight and then see sleep patterns disrupted by time zone changes.

  3. I read (briefly, not thoroughly) yesterday on a FT thread that Kiva accused of being quite sleazy. Your post reminds me to check that out more thoroughly, and I thought I’d give you a heads up to check into it and make sure you’re comfortable.


  4. Just signed on to the milepost team and sent 1k into KIVA for an assortment of folks down in Boliva and Paraguay for the matching challenge. That region continues to be my focus.

    Have fun across the pond. This redbird next flies west to circle the globe and tag countries 115-121. Won’t be in the UK again until next month to run a logistics check for the scouts.

  5. I have heard a few things off and on with concerns about Kiva. By and large I hear more positives than negatives, but of course everyone should only do what they are comfortable with. They are at an over 99% repayment rate, so that is a good thing.

  6. @Anita, those people at that FT thread that complain about the interest rate charged by Kiva partners should try and look at the agreement of their credit cards to see if it is much lower (and there are millions of americans that pay those rates, not everyone pays their balances every month like we do).
    And they also should learn about the economy of a third-world country. Not everyone is able to get 0% interest like here in the US.
    For a person in a 3rd world country being able to get a very small loan at 30% interest is a great achievement. Damn, 25 years ago, mortgages in the US had interest rates in the double digits! Personal consumer loans were even higher! My parents got an awesome deal in mid-80’s for a 11.99% interest rate in their mortgage, and everyone one of their friends were amazed by it! Short memories people have.

    (not to mention the fact that Kiva partners have to be able to operate somehow, and they need money to do that – money that has to come from somewhere, they are not Citibank that can get billions of dollars for free from the FED)

  7. I tend to agree with Miguel. Banks simply don’t offer credit to the kinds of people who get Kiva loans. There is expense in managing a bunch of loans in small amounts. I think a woman who buys a sewing machine she can’t afford with a $100 loan to make clothes for her family and neighbors and to sell to tourists, and pays back $115 six months later, sees it as a great investment, not as a 30% loan. People without credit history or assets will always need to pay interest rates that are higher to get loans at all. All that said, I cannot personally vouch for Kiva specifically. Anyone should investigate any agency before sending money.

  8. @DaveS, totally agree. Although I’ve lent roughly $2k with Kiva, I’m not saying that their operation could not be improved, and I’m sure that among so many partners some might be quite questionable.
    I just cannot give into Kiva bashing based in our 1st world perspectives and prejudice. The entire world does not operate like the USA, and not even the entire USA operates like our frequent flyer bubble, for many people in here it’s very very hard to try and get a personal loan – I’m sure the Americans that ask for money through American Kiva partners would rather not have to pay 10 or 15% interest, but probably that’s as low as they can get from anyone.

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