Monday, October 15, 2012

Use your hidden assets from Amazon and elsewhere

For years, airlines have awarded frequent flyer miles ("flier," actually) that can enable folks to fly for free.

Amex and bank credit cards provide "rewards" and "points"  that can be exchanged for all kinds of services and products -- or even gift cards that can be used in stores, or online, or even be used to pay bills, or be given as gifts.

"Store" cards do the same, but unless you get into the habit of checking your point balance, you may accumulate lots of potential freebies without realizing it. Sony sends me email reminders. BestBuy and Bank of America do not.

As we approach the big gift-giving season, take advantage of your hidden assets that can reduce the cost of gifts to zero

When you shop, use a card that pays you back.

Even if you don't need to buy gifts, you can grab free iPads, iPods, Kindles, Nooks, cellphones, cameras, jewelry, small appliances, books etc. that you can sell on eBay and get real money.

If you are an author and need copies of your own book to give away to friends, family and reviewers, you can get them for free with points, and also earn money from your publisher or printer, and maybe raise your sales ranking a bit.

You can plan your shopping to maximize points. The Amazon/GE 'store charge' doesn't earn anything, but the Amazon/Chase Visa Rewards card does. If you don't have this card, you can get $30 in freebies when you get the card. If two people in your family get new cards, that's $60. You can even get a card in a business name.

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