Why You Should Avoid American Express Use Points for Purchases

How Amex Wants You to Lose Big Time

First Published: ADawnJournal.com Published Date : September 27, 2016

American Express Canada recently launched a new option, letting card members fall for instant gratification by letting them redeem daily purchases for small amounts. According to Amex, this option will provide ultimate flexibility and make daily life seamless. However, what Amex is not saying is that clients lose big time when they redeem points for daily purchases instead of converting to miles.

American Express points provide the best bang for your buck when you transfer them to airline miles, such as with Aeroplan or Avios. The transfer rate is 1:1, meaning you will receive 1 airline mile for each point. Now, if you are knowledgeable about airline rewards programs you should be easily able to extract 5 to 6 percent return per dollar flying business or first class. Sometimes the return can be astronomically high like 30 percent flying business or first class on airline miles. If you fly economy class using miles, your extraction rate will be a poor 1 to 2 percent.

So what’s the rate you are getting from American Express if you redeem points for purchases? Not even 1 percent. On the Amex Gold Card, the redemption rate is $7 for redeeming 1000 points. What this means is you get $0.007 per point, which is even less than 1 cent per point, making it a 0.7 percent return – not even 1 percent return. If you use Amex TripFlex option to redeem points for travel, you will get a 1 percent return or 1000 points for $10.

The best value Amex rewards points generate is when you redeem them to convert into miles. Of course you need to know how airline miles work and if you don’t want to follow that path, you should not have this card in the first place. There are other credit cards that offer higher return for redeeming points for groceries and other purchases. There is no point in having American Express credit cards, paying hefty annual fees and redeeming points at such a horribly low rate. Also don’t forget that although American Express is charging a hefty $150 on its popular card Amex Gold Rewards, it’s not providing many common benefits that another premium card would provide for a $120 annual fee such as Trip Cancellation Insurance, Concierge Service, etc.

Why It's Great To Travel

Why We Should Travel

Ask a hundred people what they would do if they became a millionaire overnight, and at least half of them will include among their imaginary spending plans “a nice holiday somewhere hot”. Some will be able to take or leave the hot weather, but in the main the holiday will play an important part. We love our holidays, as they allow us to recharge our batteries and have a good time away from work concerns and other stresses. While some people will choose to take their holidays at home, there are enough of us who simply insist that a holiday must involve travel. Why is this? Well, there are a few reasons.

1. A change of scenery – With the best will in the world, spending a holiday at home gives too many reminders of work. Waking up in your own bed makes it all too easy to get the irrational fear that you are late for work. Sitting watching TV in your own living room gives way too much of a feeling of a surreptitious sick day – you spend too much time wondering if work is going to call and ask you to come in. Let’s see them do that if you are a few hundred miles away – or further. On a holiday abroad – or even just in a different state – you get the chance to unwind completely in a different setting. That change of scene can make a huge difference to your ability to relax.

2. A change of culture – The old saying goes “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. Many people have had their own hilarious interpretations of this phrase in times gone past, many involving lions and Christians and almost all thinking they were the first person to make the joke. The key point about the original saying is that when you holiday somewhere different, to get the full benefit of it you should attempt to experience the things that locals do as a matter of course. The huge number of cultures in this world makes it interesting, and seeing things from a different perspective is never a bad thing.

3. A change of cuisine – We all know what we like, and many of us would go further, saying that we “like what we know”. While there is some truth to the suggestion that we all deal better with things that we are used to, the enjoyment of a holiday is often greatly increased by sampling the local cuisine. Of course, cuisine has become diverse even in single countries – most of us will have heard the possibly apocryphal story of a young boy holidaying in Italy, tugging on his mother’s sleeve and saying “Hey Mom, look! They have pizzas in Italy, too!” – but there is nothing like eating food made the way it was meant to be made, by people who have been eating it for years.

These are just three reasons, and undoubtedly you will have some of your own – feel free to share those, because people are like nations – we each appreciate different things.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Travelnowsimply.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to AhmedDawn.com site. This article originally published on the above website on May 1, 2009.

Why You Should Not Get Too Attached To Developed Property

When Buying To Let, Don’t Develop For Living

Many real estate investors fall into a simple trap on their first development. Having purchased a property with letting it out in mind – or even the idea of selling for a quick profit – they behave too much like themselves. That may sound wacky, after all we are all told often enough to “be [your]self” when we are young, so why change? The problem comes with the fact that a buy-to-let real estate property may look wonderful to you when you are done with it – but you are not going to be letting it to you. It is all too easy to become personally involved with the development and make a mess of it. So remember to take a detached approach when it comes to development.

One thing to remember about real estate development is that it tends to involve homes. Even if only subliminally, a house conveys to us the feeling that it is for living in, and when we come to develop it we often do this based on what we would like to live in. This is fine, in small measures. To put it another way, you need to be able to look at the house and feel that people would be at home there. It is not about standing back and thinking that you would feel at home, because you are not going to be living there. Adding idiosyncratic touches to the development because you feel it gives the house some character may well be an artistic approach, but remember that your idiosyncratic touches will make the character of the house your character.

This is not to say that a new development should be bland and consciously inoffensive. There needs to be something innovative about it if you are to realize a profit. To get an idea or two, it is helpful to view a house or two in the same area, houses which are selling for close to the price you hope to realize. By doing this you will be able to see what kind of stamp you want to place on the property when it is finished. Location is important when it comes to the kind of touch you want to put on the house. If your development is in a neighbourhood that is by tradition the place for retired couples, then developing a classic bachelor pad or a house for a young family is obviously going to lose you profits.

It doesn’t need to be rocket science – you can do some very simple research and find the ideal development property, then with a few simple touches have the ideal house or set of apartments to sell to the local market. Don’t make the mistake of getting too attached to the house, or to your idea of what it should look like. The chances are the potential buyers will have tastes which differ with yours. Save those touches for when you develop a property for living in. that is when you will need them.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the realestateexpedition.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com. This article originally published on the above website on July 11, 2009.

Welcome To The Simple Personal development Blog

Let the Simple Personal Development Journey begin

You never stop developing, as a human being, because everything we experience in life has some effect. It is like an endless cycle of change, going through life learning from experience, learning from what we hear, what we see and what we do. We are the sum total of our influences, mixed together with our own personal opinions and instincts – so anyone who says that they have done all their developing for a lifetime is, quite simply, telling a lie. Personal development has become one of the world’s true growth industries, as people realize that they are open to improvement and look to achieve it.

How do we affect our development the way we want to? Well, we need to take our lives in our own hands and decide what we want to do, and where we want to go in life. What are we scared of? Why? Why do so many of us accentuate the negative points of our lives and our personalities? Why can’t we celebrate what we do well, and improve the things we may not be so good at without being too hung up on the fact that we have weaknesses? It is so self-defeating.

The self-help industry has made millions and millions of dollars from people who are uncertain about themselves and due to low confidence will listen to anyone who tells them that they can make their problems disappear. But the simple truth is that a lot of the books that get sold on the premise of making people happy, confident, slim, attractive or witty are filled with platitudes that do not really get us any further along. If we are going to go with platitudes, then why not start with “Real self-improvement comes from inside”? It does, after all.

Self-improvement is not a simple matter, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the question of self-confidence. What we need to remember is that we are all unique human beings, with our own particular strengths, weaknesses and our own idiosyncrasies. If you buy a book that worked well for other people, that doesn’t mean it will work for you. You are another person, a different person, and the solution that works for you will be a solution that addresses you more directly, and allows you to target your areas of difficulty. By basing your self improvement on that of others, you are selling yourself short, and do you not deserve better?

Personal development is not an easy, quick fix; it is an ongoing process that requires your input and your time. It is, to use a cliché, a journey that you take along a road that is longer than you can imagine, and the fact that it takes this time and effort does not mean that it is not worth doing. It also doesn’t mean that you are worthless now. Being hyper self-critical is not constructive, so give yourself a chance.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Simplepersonaldevelopment.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com site. This article originally published on the above website on April 27, 2009.

Will Brazil Win Best Global Financial Crisis Recovery Title?

Who’s Getting Out First?

First Published Date : August 6, 2009 ADawnJournal.com

The global financial crisis has been such a major story in the last eighteen months that there can now be few people who do not have op inions on it, and fewer still who do not know what it is. The crisis, it would be fair to say, has cut into just about every nation’s news broadcasts, including even those not heavily touched by the crisis itself. What this has led to in many cases is a widespread “who’s more doomed?” contest, where the damage done to different economies is compared in what has, at times, been a pretty unedifying show of blood-letting. It hardly needs saying that speculating on the level of doom does little to encourage recovery.

Among the top ten economies in the World, there are none which have not been touched by the crisis. It is, after all, a global crisis and affects international trade. Yet some have been more seriously affected than others, with recession becoming depression in more than a few – including top ten ever-presents the United States and United Kingdom. Bank bailouts have had some effect – witness the perkiness of Goldman Sachs after their bailout – but in the countries which were at the forefront of the bailout plan there is less sign of immediate recovery. Does this mean the bailout has failed?

It seems certain that without the money at that time, numerous banks would have gone bust and that the overall effect on trade and employment could have been extremely damaging in the long term. It is also arguable that the extent of the crisis was at its heaviest in countries such as the States and the UK, and that was why such a large bailout was needed at the time. Whether this will see the countries concerned hitting the recovery path with renewed vigour in 2010 depends very much on the continued composed distribution of bailout money, and the lessons of this crisis being learned by banks and governments.

There is also something of a race afoot to see who has dealt best with the crisis and which of the countries which entered a recession has done the best job of pulling out of it. Canada was put forward as a strong contender – and certainly seems to be storming ahead of its closest neighbour the US in terms of getting to the light at the end of the tunnel. Its recovery may not, yet, be as strong as that of Brazil, which has recently announced some very impressive figures. If backed up, these would make the BRIC alumnus a strong contender for the title of “Best Recovery (2009)”.

Finance Minister Guido Mantega announced on July 29 that the giant South American nation is already leaving the crisis behind, with the economy growing at a rate of 4% and set to maintain that level of growth for the year going forward. It is true to say that Brazil’s government took speedy but not reckless action to turn its economy around, and we now must wait for further details to emerge on how successful this has been.