Thursday, August 1, 2019

Credit Card Points and Investments

We're often told that nothing in life is free, but there are times where that may not exactly be the case.  Recently, I did get something for nothing, and it was money.

Not long ago, I received a letter in the mail from my credit union.  The letter stated that the rewards system on my credit card was being changed, and requested that I use my points before a certain date.  Admittedly, I had more or less forgotten about the rewards attached to this credit card due to a lack of use.  I don't use this credit card all that often, but keep it open because it is my oldest card, and doesn't charge me an international fee when I travel.  I don't pay an annual fee for this card, I always pay it off once by the due date, so I never pay interest.  Honestly, whatever I'd use these points for would literally be free.

I logged into the rewards cite, and was inundated with choices: products, gift cards, cruises, hotels, flights, you name it...  I scoured a variety of travel options but couldn't settle on anything.  It seemed as though nothing in the travel section really matched my points available and potential travel dates at the same time.  So, I moved on to look at the gift cards.  I was thinking that if I could find any gift cards to places I already shopped, I could save myself money on things I already purchased.  It seemed like a logical second choice.  I found a few possibilities that didn't excite me but would certainly serve a practical purpose.  As I kept scrolling to survey the possibilities, I noticed something interesting: stock certificates!  That's right, I could trade in my points for stock certificates!

It turned out that I had accumulated enough points to earn several hundred dollars in stock certificates.  So, I traded them in.  It was incredibly easy.  I dropped the appropriate number of stock certificates into my "cart" and checked out.  Within 24 hours there was an email delivered providing me with a special code to use in order to redeem the corresponding dollar amount.  I didn't have a brokerage account with the participating company, so I had to open one.  It was super easy.  It took maybe 10 minutes.  Once, opened, I logged in the codes that corresponded with my several "certificates," and watched my available balance climb.  Now that the money is sitting in my account, I have choices.  I can either purchase stock or wait until I am ready to make a purchase (I decided to wait).  So, as I sit and watch the stock market bobble, my "free" money is there, ready for me to make my move.

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