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WalletHub featured Lubin Professor Andrew Coggins in "Ask the Experts: Best Hotel Credit Cards"

04/15/2021

WalletHub featured Lubin Professor Andrew Coggins in "Ask the Experts: Best Hotel Credit Cards"

Even the best hotel credit cards usually aren’t among the best or most popular cards overall - why do you think that is?

I think for most people plane trips are valued much more than free hotel nights. More thought goes into booking a flight than a hotel. You are going somewhere and need a hotel, so you book it as opposed to flying somewhere when you will try to earn FF miles and pay more attention to schedule and choices.

Who should get a hotel rewards credit card? If you travel a lot and spend many nights with one hotel chain it might be worthwhile. Is there a minimum number of nights a person should spend in hotels per year to justify getting one?

If you are in the elite frequent guest category it might be worthwhile.

How much is flexibility worth when it comes to credit cards and travel rewards?

It all depends on one's degree of loyalty to a particular hotel brand if you are very loyal flexibility will not matter much as you will first look to book with your preferred brand. For example, how much more does a branded hotel credit card need to offer to be a better deal than a card with rewards that are good for travel at any hotel? The ability to transfer points/miles to partner airline(s) and rent-a-cars and non-expiring points.

What are the most important things to watch out for with hotel rewards?

Points that do not expire. Several years ago my wife and daughter were able to spend a week at the Maui Marriott for our niece's wedding for under $100 by using points that I had accumulated over the years. Even if you do not spend many but some nights in a hotel each year they add up.

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WalletHub featured Dyson Professor Sally Dickerson in "2021 Most and Least Stressed States"

03/29/2021

WalletHub featured Dyson Professor Sally Dickerson in "2021 Most and Least Stressed States"

What tips do you have for fighting stress without spending money?

There are many ways to engage in stress reduction without spending money. Social support or feeling connected to others is one of the best ways to combat stress – and so reaching out to a friend or family member via phone, text, or video chat is a great strategy. Exercise is also wonderful for stress reduction; a free option would be taking a walk or going for a run (and being outdoors in nature can also be stress-reducing). Meditation, yoga, tai chi, and other mindful movement practices have been shown to reduce stress and improve mood – and there are some free apps that you can download to guide you through these techniques.

Should insurance companies cover treatments that help reduce stress?

There is a large body of research evidence documenting the negative effects of chronic stressors on disease incidence, morbidity, and mortality. Stressors can also lead to shifts in immunologic functioning and stress-related hormones that can have health implications. There are a growing number of empirically-supported interventions or treatments (e.g., meditation, yoga, cognitive-behavioral stress management techniques) that can reduce the impact of stressors on health outcomes. Decreasing rates of stress-induced disease are not only good for individuals in terms of their health and well-being, but it is also ultimately good for insurance companies.

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WalletHub featured Nutrition Professor Christen Cupples Cooper's helpful eating tips in "2021’s Most Overweight and Obese Cities in the U.S."

03/03/2021

WalletHub featured Nutrition Professor Christen Cupples Cooper's helpful eating tips in "2021’s Most Overweight and Obese Cities in the U.S."

What are some tips for eating healthy without breaking the bank?

Each year I have my students take the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Challenge. This means that they must eat on a food stamp budget, following the USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan. The exact amount varies by state, but typically runs around $4.15 to $4.30 per day. Many of us spend that amount on a single morning beverage. My students, who report experiencing, hunger, headaches, nose bleeds, mood changes, anxiety, and other discomforts, end the week astounded at how having too little to eat affects their lives and overall sense of well-being. They also learn that healthful food is often inaccessible and expensive and that using tips and tricks for getting the most nutrition they can on a budget is necessary. One tip is to avoid purchasing prepared foods and take the long route to make meals, starting from scratch. Dried beans and rice are inexpensive and provide a complete complement of protein. They are also very healthy for the gut and digestive system. Thus, they are a go-to when eating on a tight budget. Purchasing frozen veggies is another way to save, and most frozen produce is flash-frozen, which helps to retain nutrients. Eating on a low budget can seem boring and mundane but much of this perception comes from North-Americans’ attitudes about food: that we should be able to eat whatever we want when we want it and exactly the way we like it. Most people in the world eat the same thing almost every day, spend much less on food and have better health.

What are the biggest mistakes people make when trying to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle? 

I believe the biggest mistake people trying to achieve a healthy lifestyle make is believing that health is a bipolar concept. That is, believing that eating healthfully and exercising regularly means eating only healthful foods and exercising as hard as possible all of the time. Many people burn themselves out before they can adapt to small changes, which are actually shown to be more effective at improving health because they are easier to achieve and maintain. Adding additional servings of fruits and vegetables to meals or eating meatless a few meals a week can help us save money and also add valuable nutrients to our diets. Another mistake folks make is believing everything they read on labels, online, or in advertisements. Organic foods, for example, are healthful if they are fresh and not highly processed. But an organic cookie is no better than any other cookie. Food manufacturers want us to think it is better, but it is not—it is just more expensive.

According to the CDC, obesity worsens the outcomes from COVID-19. What measures can individuals take to prevent severe complications in the event they contract COVID-19? 

The science seems to point to having a healthy weight as being protective against COVID-19 since adipose (fat) tissue is inflammatory and COVID is an inflammatory condition. Diet therapy to prevent severe complications is still under scientific study. We believe that those with nutritional deficiencies in calcium, vitamin C, vitamin D, folate, and zinc, typical in elderly populations, are predisposed to more severe complications from COVID-19. Diets rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low in processed foods and red meat—a Mediterranean-style diet—may provide the antioxidants and produce lower levels of inflammation than a typical Western diet. Therefore, that is what is currently recommended for the best health outcomes.

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WalletHub featured Lubin Professor Larry Chiagouris in "2021 Capital One Savor Review"

02/19/2021

WalletHub featured Lubin Professor Larry Chiagouris in "2021 Capital One Savor Review"

Larry Chiagouris

Ph.D., Professor of Marketing, Lubin School of Business, Pace University

Why do you think bonus credit card rewards for dining and entertainment are becoming increasingly popular?

Because this is still a relatively new initiative from the credit card industry sector. Innovations always bring an increase in consumer interest and trial.

Do you think people generally assume the best (a broad definition) or the worst (strict limitations) when faced with vague rewards categories such as “dining” and “entertainment”?

It depends on the individual. Some are optimists. Some are pessimists. But generally, when there is any ambiguity or vague rewards, most consumers that the rewards are not worth their effort. Remember that there is quite a lot of inertia in the adoption of a new service or credit card.

How should people choose between two versions of a credit card offer, when one has better rewards but charges an annual fee?

It is all based on their expected level of usage. Heavy users will experience overall savings even with an annual fee. Light users are better off choosing a no-fee or low-fee option.

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WalletHub featured Lubin Professor Paul Kurnit in "Ask the Experts: Cashing in on Credit Card Rewards"

11/02/2020

WalletHub featured Lubin Professor Paul Kurnit in "Ask the Experts: Cashing in on Credit Card Rewards"

What would you say the best cash back credit cards all have in common?

Cashback! 

Do you think cash back is the best credit card rewards currency?

There are many reward forms in the credit and charge card business. The best of them extend benefits that are effortless and immediately appealing to cardholders. Cash is a great benefit because it represents discounts and money in the bank. For many, that’s first prize. But, other benefits, especially travel perks, are appealing because they represent incentives and rewards that can be banked and cashed in later for personal pleasures – leisure activities, getaways, and pampering.

What limitations do even the best cash back credit cards tend to have?

Limitations of any rewards program deal with complexity and catch. The key is to be frictionless. The cash benefit has got to be clear, communicated, and very visible when the incentive is rewarded.

Which cash back credit card(s) would you recommend to consumers?

I like Discover because they make it clear that there are no fees, ever. It is simple, clear, and trustworthy. I started using it years ago as the go-to card for my gas purchases as prices skyrocketed. It was a perfect marriage of a specific expenditure for which a discount – i.e. cashback – for an increasingly rising cost commodity was very welcome.

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