News You Can Use – Costco Sets Date for Accepting Visa, Now Visit Cuba Using Points!, Meet Minimum Spending Paying Taxes

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1.   Start Using Visa at Costco June 20, 2016

Looking forward to Costco accepting Visa cards in-store?  Via View From the Wing, you’ll be able to use Visa cards at Costco starting June 20, 2016.

On that date, Costco will also stop accepting AMEX cards and American Express Costco credit cards will stop working.

Current AMEX Costco cardholders can expect to receive their new Citi Costco Visa in the mail in May or early June.  Cash back you’ve earned with the AMEX Costco card will be automatically transferred to the new Citi Costco Visa account.

News You Can Use Costco Sets Date For Accepting Visa Now Visit Cuba Using Points Meet Minimum Spending Paying Taxes

Costco Will Accept Visa In-Store Cards Starting June 20, 2016

If you’re interested in applying for the new Citi Costco Visa, it should be open for applications this week.  I’ll let you know as soon as it’s available!

2.   More Ways to Qualify for Cuba Travel

It will soon be even easier to visit Cuba!  One Mile at a Time reports the US government has further relaxed travel restrictions for US citizens.

Until recently, Americans could only travel to Cuba under certain circumstances without authorization, which include family visits, education (as part of a tour group), humanitarian projects, journalism, and professional research.

Now, folks can travel to Cuba independently for “people-to-people educational activities in Cuba.”  Essentially, as long as you keep a full schedule learning about Cuba (museums, sightseeing, culture) and interacting with the people, you can travel without needing an authorization.

I’m sure most folks can find a way to make this work for them!

Emily recently visited Cuba with her friends and said it was amazing!

3.   Starwood Expands to Cuba

More good news for Cuba travelers!  Starwood announced they’ll soon expand to Cuba – the 1st US-based hotel chain to do so in ~60 years!

Later this year, the historic Hotel Inglaterra in Havana will join Starwood’s Luxury Collection and the Hotel Santa Isabel will likely follow.

And the Hotel Quinta Avenida will become a Four Points by Sheraton.  All hotels will undergo renovations before being converted to Starwood brands.

This terrific news if you’re considering a Cuba trip and hoping to use miles & points to do it cheaply!  Remember, you can currently earn LOTS of Starwood points with the AMEX Starwood Preferred Guest improved sign-up bonuses.

These are the best offers ever for the AMEX Starwood personal and small business cards!  But the offer ends March 30, 2016.

4.   Lower Rate Paying Taxes With Plastiq and MasterCard

I wrote about why it sometimes makes sense to pay your taxes with a credit card, even with the added fees.

Now, Plastiq is offering the lowest rate currently available if you use their service to pay state or federal taxes with a MasterCard.  You’ll pay a fee of 1.75% until April 18, 2016, at 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Other tax payment processors charge 1.87% to ~2.25%.  So you’ll save money by using Plastiq and MasterCard!

Only tax payments listed on the Plastiq site qualify, but they include certain individual and employer taxes.

This could be a good way to quickly meet minimum spending requirements on MasterCards like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, Citi Executive AAdvantage, or Citi Prestige cards.

And if you use a cash back MasterCard like Citi Double Cash, which earns 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off, you could even make a small profit!

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