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Airbnb Hosts Are DESPERATE and Doing “Illegal” Back-End Deals…

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Remember how Airbnb hosts got SCREWED by the start of the COVID-19 pandemic? All of their monthly cash flow going to zero as soon as the lockdowns were ordered? ‘

It wasn’t just that money stopped coming in… they also have to provide full refunds to anybody who cancelled their trip within the allotted time (which the customer was able to do without any financial penalty). So, as reported by The Financial Times, they’re engaging in a workaround:

“The pressures of the pandemic are driving more Airbnb hosts to lure users into booking their properties privately, further straining the already fraught relationship between the company and some of its larger hosts… 

“…some ‘professional’ hosts — those with multiple listings — have stepped up efforts to circumvent the company’s policies, essentially using Airbnb as a marketing platform in order to arrange future off-site rentals that avoid its fees.

Airbnb strictly prohibits hosts from collecting guests’ personal information, other than for logistic needs related to a specific trip. To get around this, one tactic being deployed by hosts is the use of digital ‘guidebooks’ which require guests to give their email address in order to gain access to the property. Hosts then use this to privately offer them subsequent stays.”

One of the reasons for doing this was the change in consumer behavior: Rather than book for a few days, customers were booking stays between 30-90 days. And had these hosts finalized the deals through the Airbnb platform, that’s thousands of dollars in fees being given to the platform and NOT to the host. 

What can I say? Desperate times call for desperate measures…

A PHENOMENAL Credit Card for 5% Cash Back on Travel (and More)! 

If you’re a traveler who can’t travel, you may feel as if it is pointless to max out your credit card and take advantage of all the travel-related benefits it has to offer you. 

However, the SMART thing to do for 2021 and beyond is to build up as many rewards as you can. Since we’re going to be stuck in our homes for the foreseeable future, we may as well plan ahead and return to the skies with some extra points.

One of the newest credit cards made especially for savvy travelers is the Chase Freedom Flex card. Here are some of its best features…

  • 5% cashback on a rotating series of spending categories (ex. streaming, groceries, etc.)
  • NO annual fee
  • Access to Mastercard’s World Elite Benefits (cell phone protection plan, free upgrades at select hotels, discounts on Postmates orders and Lyft rides, etc.)
  • All travel purchases booked via Chase Ultimate Rewards will earn you 5% cashback (5 points per dollar spent)
  • 3 points for every $1 spend on drugstore and dining, 1 point per $1 on every other category of spending

Not a bad deal at all, even for somebody who could care a lot less about traveling in 2021. I’m really surprised by the lack of an annual fee since most credit cards I know offering THIS much usually come with a hefty $100-250 annual price tag…

Is Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine Effective Against the Newest Mutations?

I just came across this piece from Forbes which claims to have the answer to the COVID-19 vaccines and how effective they will be against the new mutants spreading across the world:

New research from the University of Texas and US drugmaker Pfizer suggests that the company’s COVID-19 vaccine, developed with Germany’s BioNTech, is still effective against the new highly contagious coronavirus variants spreading rapidly through South Africa and the UK.

Sounds like an amazing achievement, but take a look at how they arrived at the answer:

The research, which has not been peer-reviewed, used blood samples from 20 vaccine recipients to test whether the vaccine is likely to work against 16 different mutations of the virus, including the N501Y mutation to the coronavirus’ spike protein, found in both the UK and South Africa variants.”

This announced finding was so bad that Forbes even had to provide further clarification on why this finding was preliminary at best:

Professor Ravi Gupta, a microbiology professor at the University of Cambridge, said the paper ‘would not pass peer review in its current form’ and ‘should be ignored.’ Gupta said the paper was ‘misleading for a number of reasons,’ only looking at 1 of 8 mutations in the UK variant and not providing crucial details on how the experiments were conducted and their results.”

I’m curious to know: Do YOU think the original COVID-19 vaccines will prove to be effective against the brand new mutants, assuming the tests are done PROPERLY? Why or why not? Reply to this newsletter and share your predictions with us!

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