Ricky Gervais opened the 77th annual Golden Globes with what amounted to a trigger warning, before launching into a ruthless takedown of the Hollywood crowd.
“You’ll be pleased to know this is the last time I’m hosting these awards, so I don’t care anymore,” the British comedian said, noting he had hosted for the four previous years. “I’m joking. I never did.”
In case anyone had missed his point, Gervais added, “Let’s have a laugh at your expense, shall we? Remember, they’re just jokes. We’re all gonna die soon, and there’s no sequel.”
Gervais’ first target was Hollywood awards shows themselves. He recalled the scandal over Kevin Hart’s old anti-gay tweets, which led the actor to fire himself from hosting the 2019 Academy Awards.
“Kevin Hart was fired from the Oscars because of some offensive tweets. Lucky for me, the Hollywood Foreign Press can barely speak English, and they’ve no idea what Twitter is,” he said, implicitly acknowledging his own politically incorrect Twitter activity.
Gervais next took aim at Hollywood entitlement in the form of actress Felicity Huffman, who recently spent two weeks in prison for her involvement in a nationwide college entrance exam cheating ring.
“I came here in a limo tonight, and the license plate was made by Felicity Huffman,” Gervais said. “It’s her daughter I feel sorry for. That must be the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to her, and her dad was in ‘Wild Hogs.’”
Ricky Gervais shows Hollywood his Golden Globes
After calling “The Irishman” actor Joe Pesci “Baby Yoda,” Gervais warned all the Hollywood executives in the room that they could be the next casualty of the #MeToo movement.
“In this room are some of the important TV and film executives in the world, people from every background. But they all have one thing in common. They’re all terrified of Ronan Farrow,” he said, referring to the investigative journalist who made a name for himself with exposes about sexual harassment and abuse. “He’s coming for you.”
“Talking of you perverts, it was a big year for pedophile movies,” Gervais continued.” “Surviving R Kelly.” “Leaving Neverland.” “The Two Popes.”
Having highlighted Hollywood’s dirty underbelly, Gervais went after its self-conception as a place that promotes equal opportunity for minorities.
“Many talented people of color were snubbed in all major categories. Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do about that. The Hollywood Foreign Press are all very, very racist,” he said.
“We were gonna do an en memoriam this year, but when I saw the list of people that had died, it wasn’t diverse enough. It just, no. It was mostly white people, and I thought, no, not on my watch. Maybe next year. Let’s see what happens.”
Continuing to literally and figuratively shrug at himself, Gervais quipped that nobody was watching the Golden Globes anyway, saying, “Everyone’s watching Netflix.
He offhandedly suggested that Jefferey Epstein had not killed himself in prison in August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
When the crowd moaned, Gervais added, “I know he’s your friend, but I don’t care.”
Pushing on, Gervais joked that Americans only turn to Hollywood these days for superhero blockbusters, which he said have transformed actors in nothing more than buffed drug addicts.
“All the best actors have jumped to Netflix and HBO. And the actors who just do Hollywood movies do fantasy adventure nonsense,” he said.
“They wear masks and capes, and really tight costumes. Their job isn’t acting anymore. It’s going to the gym twice a day and taking steroids. Have we got an award for most ripped junkie?”
Gervais then called out a few more celebrities by name.
He hit Leonardo DiCaprio for his affinity for young women.
“‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,’ nearly three hours long. Leonardo DiCaprio attended the premiere, and by the end, his date was too old for him,” he said, before comparing the actor to the British prince disgraced by the Epstein revelations. “Even Prince Andrew’s like, “Come on, Leo, mate. You’re nearly 50, son.”
Gervais wrapped up his monologue with an epic rant about the hypocrisy of liberal elites in Hollywood and Silicon Valley alike.
“Apple roared into the TV game with The Morning Show,” Gervais said. “A superb drama about the importance of dignity and doing the right thing, made by a company that runs sweatshops in China.”
Gervais then turned his attention to all the actors, writers and directors in the room.
“Well, you say you’re woke, but the companies you work for…unbelievable. Apple, Amazon, Disney. If ISIS started a streaming service, you would call your agent, wouldn’t you?”
As the audience laughed nervously, Gervais, offered some advice to the nominees.
“So if you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech, right?” he said. “You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.”
Actor Tom Hanks’ shocked expression subsequently went viral online.
All of Hollywood when Ricky Gervais tells them that no one cares about their political opinions: pic.twitter.com/CQreakKKTg
— Kyle Morris (@RealKyleMorris) January 6, 2020
Despite Gervais’ admonition, though, the evening was filled with liberal politics.
Patricia Arquette, in accepting a supporting actress in a limited series award for her role in Hulu’s “The Act,” pleaded with the audience to consider the threat of another extended conflict in the Middle East.
Michelle Williams, who won best actress in a limited series for the FX’s “Fosse/Verdon,” delivered a feminist pro-abortion acceptance speech.
And Sacha Baron Cohen, who appeared onstage as a presenter, took a shot at Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for allegedly allowing Nazis to run rampant on the platform.
Meanwhile, according to People magazine, the crowd for the first time dined on an entirely vegan dinner in the name of fighting climate change.
Cover image: Ricky Gervais hosts the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony in Beverley Hills, California, on Jan. 5, 2020. (Twitter)
“So I and one twitter sweetheart have been talking to each other for a while. It really did go down in the DMs. She stays in Abuja and I jokingly teased one Friday morning that my weekend would be interesting if she spent it with me at home. She laughed about it and agreed.
I didn’t really expect her to agree so it was a pleasant surprise. I finished work early that day and went home to cook, clean and prepare for my August visitor. She said she would be coming in the evening. I was prepared by 3pm sef. Early bird. Early worm. Early knacks.
She came as she promised and to cut the long story short, by Saturday morning, I was already tired of her. But the weekend wasn’t nearly over so I had to enjoy the boredom of her company one more night. She wasn’t really boring, I just think that we had different interests.
By Sunday evening, I thought she would be preparing to leave but babe was not bothered. She was seeing a Netflix series.
I didn’t want to ask her when she was leaving. Didn’t want to give her the impression that I wanted her to leave. Maybe she would leave in the morning.
Monday morning, as I prepared to go to work, she was still sleeping, I tapped her nicely and told her where to drop the keys for me WHEN she was leaving. Fam, I came back home and met her at home, she had even cooked dinner. Hot tears.
Ahh. Baby, you’re still here?? Of course she was and she didn’t reply. I ate the dinner like a married man and went outside to see that she had washed her clothes and they were hanging outside in the line. Her underwear was proudly renting space in my toilet. I don enter.
Ok. Maybe the clothes would be dry by tomorrow morning and she would be gone before I came back from work on Tuesday evening. I came back and the babe had even washed my own clothes. I couldn’t even express my tiredness of her, she was a nice person.
By Thursday morning, she was now telling me things to buy for her when I was coming back from work. As I drove to work, I parked by the road and began to ask myself “Am I dreaming? Did I marry and forget? Am I in love?” I still bought what she asked me to buy because idiot.
So I called my man @mr_ochonogor and told him what I was going through and in his infinite wisdom as a retired Lagos boy, he told me what to do. When I got home that Thursday evening I told her that my company was sending me to Benin for a week to inspect our assets.
So that night, a miracle happened, she packed her stuff because I told her I was leaving via road early in the morning. By 6AM, we were up and I had packed a bag.
I was hoping that she would enter a different vehicle and go her way but she insisted to follow me to the bus park.
Ahan babe, that’s unnecessary but she insisted and I had to keep up the lie. So we took Uber to God is good park in Utako. I was hoping she would go her way with the Uber but she wanted to wait until the bus I would enter had left. Was it love or she dey suspect me?
Fam, I paid N6,500 for the fare and sat down. She came to the window and we were professing how much we would miss each other, she even started crying and I felt something, but fam, my head cleared immediately and I maintained my lie. I promised to call her when I returned.
When the bus got to Giri junction, I told the driver to stop that I was not going again. “I no go refund you oh” the driver said. See you, did I tell you I want refund?? Abeg I Dey go office, I don dey late.
Fam, this happened early this year but I am still in Benin as far as both of us are concerned. My company decided to make me a permanent staff in Benin. “Can I come see you in Benin?” She asked. “I’m staying with my aunty here, dear”
For the first time in over a decade, Keanu Reeves made a major red carpet debut with a date. Reeves took Alexandra Grant to the LACMA Art + Film Gala on November 2. They walked the red carpet holding hands, sparking romance rumors. Neither Reeves nor his rep have confirmed whether or not the actor is dating Grant yet.
Stefanie KeenanGetty Images
Grant isn’t a new presence in Reeves’ life though; she’s been there for years. And this isn’t the first time he held her hand on a red carpet either this year.
Here, what to know about Reeves’ rumored new girlfriend.
Reeves and Grant have been friends since at least 2011.
Their first project together was published then. Grant illustrated Reeves’ book Ode to Happiness.
Grant is a 46-year-old artist who has worked with Reeves on multiple projects.
People notes that Grant illustrated two books that Reeves wrote: his 2011 book Ode to Happiness and his 2016 book Shadows. They also founded a publishing company together, X Artists’ Books in 2017.
According to the company’s site, “XAB is a small publisher of thoughtful, high-quality, artist-centered books that fit within and between genres.Our books are works of art; portals to imagined worlds; treasured companions; the fabric of a community. We love the same things about our books as we do about our friends: generosity, open-heartedness, intelligence, mystery, style. They bring sustenance and shift realities. They may occasionally break your heart.”
Grant and Reeves have gone to multiple red carpet events this year.
In June, the two attended Saint Laurent’s fashion show together, and they held hands(!!):
Neilson BarnardGetty Images
In May, they attended the MOCA Benefit:
Rachel LunaGetty Images
The two made their event debut as friends in 2016.
Reeves and Grant were first photographed together at the UNAIDS Galaat Design Miami/Basel in Switzerland.
David M. BenettGetty Images
Reeves and Grant were photographed out on a possible dinner date in October.
According to People, the two were photographed at Giorgio Baldi last month. They “arrived together in Reeve’s Porsche and spent three hours inside the restaurant conversing and sharing a meal.” They left together.
Grant can officiate weddings.
As People pointed out, the artist shared photos of her Instagram showing herself presiding over her friend’s ceremony in Brooklyn.
A post shared by Alexandra Grant (@grantalexandra) on
A post shared by Alexandra Grant (@grantalexandra) on
Grant is based in Los Angeles but has lived in four different countries.
On her artist site’s bio, Grant wrote that her living abroad in Mexico, France, and Spain in her childhood and adolescence has strongly inspired her language-based work. Per her bio, “Some of the basic questions that fuel her practice are: How do the languages we speak and the images we see form how we think and exchange ideas? How can artists and writers work to create and influence culture in an increasingly technology-driven world?”
She told LA Weekly in May, of why she lives in that city, “I grew up in part in Mexico City, Washington, DC, and Paris, moving between languages and cultures. Los Angeles felt like home from the moment I first arrived in 1995, especially the diversity of people, idioms, foods, and plants (like jacaranda and bougainvillea). There’s an incredible work ethic here—many people are creative and entrepreneurial. Having friends who are working hard practicing their crafts—whether it’s set design, publishing, or acting—is very inspiring.”
News and Strategy Editor Alyssa Bailey is the news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton).
Bukola and Ayobami‘s path collided on at a mutual friend’s birthday. In Bukola’s words, he couldn’t take his eyes off her and eventually offered to give her a ride home. Right from that point, their love story kicked off and then a couple of years after, Ayobami popped the question a few days before his sister’s wedding.
Keep scrolling to read the #BamBu2019 love story.
How We Met
By the bride, Bukola:
We met in 2017 when I was invited to a birthday party by one of my close friends (Oyin). He was also invited by a mutual friend. As the party went on, I could feel someone looking at me, that person was Ayobami. He couldn’t take his eyes off me (literally). He kept sending his friends to make sure I was okay. I eventually left the party earlier than expected. So he followed me outside and insisted he gave me a lift home. After much persuasion and reassurance from mutual friends, I agreed and the rest is history.
Since that very day, we’ve been joint at the hip. He has been my rock. He is the most loving, kindest, sweetest and God-fearing man. We have been through so much and I’m so excited to see what the future holds. We are really about to start the rest of our lives together.
Our Proposal Story
By the bride, Bukola
So it happened that I was flying to Lagos for Bam Bam’s sister’s wedding. From the moment I landed, he insisted that we take his sister and husband to dinner. I was a bit reluctant because I was tired from the flight but I agreed to go. He picked me up from the airport and I noticed he was driving extremely fast and was anxious. He took me home and told me to put on makeup, which was weird because he knows I waste time with my makeup. We got into the car with his sister and her husband and he began speeding down the highway. He initially said we were going for dinner but we ended up going to IMAX Lekki. I got out of the car and walked inside and saw that he had already purchased the tickets which was weird and extremely unlike him because we hadn’t agreed on a movie.
As we were walking towards the cinema screen, I kept asking what movie we were going to watch but he wasn’t answering me. I walked in and BOOM, it happened; roses, flowers and my loved ones everywhere. I was shocked and never thought he could pull off a surprise but he sure did. He got down on one knee and I could see he was nervous. The ring was so stunning, I couldn’t help but say yes! Everything about the night was perfect, he made a video of all my loved ones, colleagues and friends who couldn’t make it. I said yes then, I say yes now and I say yes forever.
Almost the same as what? Almost the same as how she looked 20 years ago, when she was starring in the hit series Friends, according to the Mail Online.
Amazing. What is the secret of her youthful appearance? Not eating.
That doesn’t sound ideal at all. Well, more specifically, she’s adopted an “intermittent fasting” regime, more commonly known as the 16:8 diet.
Is it like the 5:2 diet, except you starve for 16 days and then binge for 8 days? No, in this case the numbers represent hours. “I noticed a big difference in going without solid food for 16 hours,” Aniston told the Radio Times.
Sixteen hours without food? By the time you’re allowed to eat, it would be past your bedtime! Fortunately, your sleeping hours are counted as part of the fasting period. You just have to delay breakfast until 10am.
I could probably just stay in bed until then, as long as I were allowed to eat what I liked afterwards. You eat anything, but you must stop by 5 or 6pm, when the fasting begins anew.
And does it actually keep you young? Who knows. Some people believe it is supposed to keep you slim, improve blood sugar control, boost brain function and increase life expectancy.
You know what’s guaranteed to make you feel old? Eating dinner at 5pm. Most intermittent fasters prefer the more convenient 12 to 8 eating window, but 10 to 6 is considered optimal.
Optimally joyless, do you mean? Obviously Aniston isn’t completely rigid about the whole thing. She has a “cheat” day once a week where she treats herself outside fasting hours.
And what does she have? Celery juice.
She treats herself to a celery juice? What an example to us all. Indeed she is.
I was being sarcastic. She is certainly an example to Reese Witherspoon, her co-star in the new series The Morning Show. “Jen knows so much about health and fitness that I always defer to her,” she told the Radio Times. “She’s great at wellbeing advice.”
Is there more to her wellbeing regime? In addition to fasting, Jen does meditation, followed by five workouts per week. Witherspoon, the swot, manages six.
I don’t understand how these people find time in their schedule to get drunk. They don’t need to get drunk; they get high on being a better person than you.
Do say: “Fasting, meditation, exercise: what a great way to use up the hours between now and death.”
Don’t say: “Focus, Jen. It’s nearly 6pm, and this box of doughnuts isn’t going to eat itself.”
If you qualify for Bank of America Preferred Rewards, the Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards®️ Visa®️ credit card has the potential to be quite a lucrative card to use on everyday spending. For those who prefer other banks, there are better earning travel cards available. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
I’ll be honest. I haven’t always been a fan of Bank of America credit cards. Though affordable with low or nonexistent annual fees, most lacked the perks that I’ve always associated with my favorite cards. However, the more familiar I get with the Preferred Banking Rewards program (and the more useful fixed-value points currencies become), the more I see the benefits of having a Bank of America card.
This card isn’t like other products that have $450 annual fees and a ton of perks; this card has a modest $95 annual fee and a more modest selection of benefits. Still, it offers great flexibility in redeeming points and yields extraordinary earn rates if you can maximize BofA’s Preferred Banking Rewards program.
In This Post
Who is this card for?
The Premium Rewards credit card has wide appeal to both points fans and credit card novices. It might not have the most lucrative points or numerous transfer partners, but what it does offer is flexibility.
I think of it as a stress-free travel card, since points are worth 1 cent apiece no matter what you redeem them for — you don’t have to worry about getting the maximum value out of every point, which can sometimes be time-consuming and frustrating.
If you like the idea of redeeming your points as a statement credit against big purchases that aren’t covered by points — such as new luggage or a TV — then this would be the card to get. You can redeem points for any purchase, whether it’s a flight, a new car or an over-the-top dinner. The points function essentially like cash.
The Premium Rewards card is also a strong option for those who tend to spend in broad bonus categories like travel and dining (2x and up with this card), but who also want solid rewards (1.5x and up) for non-category bonus spend.
The earning rate is even better if you’re already a Bank of America customer and can maximize the Preferred Rewards Program (more on that later).
It’s also a great choice for semi-frequent travelers since it comes with valuable perks like an up to $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit, an up to $100 airline credit, trip delay/cancellation insurance, baggage loss/delay insurance and no foreign transaction fees, so you won’t be hit with any surprise charges when using your card abroad.
With the Premium Rewards card, you’ll receive 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. These points have a fixed value of 1 cent each, meaning that 50,000 points are worth $500. This far from the most lucrative bonus out there, but $500 can go a long way towards airfare, hotel costs or anything in between.
When you consider that BofA is essentially paying you $5 every year (after you redeem the up to $100 airline credit) to have this card, you’re basically getting $500 for free just for signing up and meeting the minimum spend. Use the sign-up bonus to treat yourself to something extravagant, like a helicopter or private jet ride on Blade.
While Bank of America doesn’t have any published restrictions that apply specifically to earning welcome bonuses, remember that it does have a 2/3/4 rule when it comes to card applications. You can only get approved for two Bank of America cards in a two-month period, three cards in a 12-month period and four cards in a 24-month period.
There have also been recent reports of a threshold similar to Chase’s 5/24 rule that limits how many cards across issuers you can get within a year in order to be approved for a new BoA card, though the exact threshold is uncertain and Bank of America has not confirmed the existence of a set policy.
Perks and benefits
While the Premium Rewards card doesn’t hold a candle to top-tier cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express, it does come with a nice set of perks for the low annual fee — a lot more than basically any other mid-tier card out there. Here are my favorite perks and their value:
$100 airline incidental credit. This credit works like the Amex airline fee credit in that you can only use it for purchases such as seat upgrades, baggage fees, in-flight services and lounge fees (though not airfare). You receive the credit every year and if you’re able to use the full amount, you’re essentially getting paid $5 a year to be a cardholder. Unfortunately, it’s not as flexible as the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s travel credit or the Citi Prestige’s air travel credit, but it’s still a great benefit for someone who travels a few times a year. It only works on certain domestic airlines but it’s processed automatically, so you don’t have to call in and apply it to a certain purchase.
Global Entry. I love having Global Entry — it’s saved me from standing in countless hours of security and customs lines. Premium Rewards cardmembers get an up to $100 credit (every four years) that can be applied toward purchasing Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. It’s surprising that this card offers a Global Entry credit, as that’s usually only offered by top-tier rewards cards with higher annual fees (although the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is another mid-tier card that offers this benefit). And if you’re already part of the program, you can still use the credit for a friend or family member’s application.
Trip insurance. It’s always important to have trip insurance since you never know when your travel plans will go awry. This card provides reimbursement of up to $5,000 per person, per trip, for any unused, prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses including passenger fares, tours and hotels if you have to cancel due to a covered reason. And if your flight is delayed for more than 12 hours, you’re eligible for reimbursement of $500 in expenses per ticket. With many issuers ditching trip insurance, this benefit continues to be a compelling reason to use this card to book travel.
Baggage delay/loss insurance: Similar to trip insurance, you’ll be eligible for protection if your baggage is lost, stolen or damaged. This provides up to $100 per day (up to five days) when your bag is delayed for more than six hours. If your luggage is stolen or lost by a travel provider, you’ll be eligible for reimbursement for the contents of the bag.
Purchase protection. I’ve used purchased protection many times and it’s saved me thousands of dollars over the last year — Amex paid me $1,400 for a broken watch and my Sapphire Reserve reimbursed me $2,600 for a painting that was damaged in transit. You’ll get similar protection with the Premium Rewards card, which will repair, replace or reimburse you up to $10,000 for lost or damaged items purchased on the card. If you want to return an item within 90 days of purchase but the retailer won’t accept the return, you can submit your receipt and be reimbursed up to $250 (up to $1,000 annually).
Rental car insurance. Last, this card will give you secondary coverage when renting a car — meaning it will kick in only after you’ve filed a claim with your personal insurance. While not as good as many of Chase’s cards that offer primary coverage, it’s pretty good for a no-annual fee card (after maximizing the airline credit).
With this card, you’re earning 2x points on travel and dining and 1.5x point on everything else. Travel and dining are defined broadly, meaning there are a lot of expenses that can qualify for double points. The real value for me personally is the 1.5x on everyday spending. As a member of the Preferred Rewards program, you can earn up an impressive 2.625x on non-bonus spending. That’s higher than any flat-rate card out there.
The Premium Rewards card doesn’t earn traditional points or miles that can be transferred and redeemed with travel partners but rather acts more like a cash-back card with huge earning potential. I honestly never thought I’d be thinking about cash back, but as airlines have devalued frequent flyer programs, the idea seems more appealing.
Although we value most airline miles at more than 1 cent each, that’s mainly based on being able to find premium cabin saver seats. With it becoming harder and harder to get good value out of points and miles, that’s where this card can come in handy.
As I mentioned earlier, points are flexible with the Premium Rewards card; you can use them on anything — airlines, the gym, etc. — essentially anywhere that accepts Visa. Your points can go toward paying for those purchases (as a statement credit) and the credit posts automatically.
Another thing I like about this card is that it’s zero stress and consumes very little time. You don’t need to jump through hoops to find award availability and you don’t have to go to a specific portal if you want to use your points to pay for your gym. Since points are worth the same no matter what you redeem for, you’re not penalized for redeeming for cash back. You just redeem for whatever you want.
There a few ways to redeem points:
Cash back — You can receive cash back as a statement credit or deposit it into an eligible BofA checking or savings, Merrill or 529 college savings account
Travel purchases — You can book flights directly through the BofA travel portal. This is a good way to redeem points because you’ll still be eligible to earn award miles and elite credits by flying on a paid ticket (although personally I’d recommend buying directly from the carrier because sometimes when buying through a travel portal you’ll get a lower fare class).
Gift cards — A final option allows for converting points into gift cards at popular merchants such as Amazon, Whole Foods and Starbucks. I wouldn’t plan on going this route since it’d be smarter to just purchase the items and redeem your points as a statement credit in case you have to return the item.
I especially love that you can convert points directly into cash that can go straight into a 529 college savings account. Last year, I converted the points from my sign-up bonus and deposited them directly into 529 accounts for my nieces and nephews. From there, I used my points as statement credits against BLADE trips to my office, which saved me hours of time.
And if you’re solely focused on travel rewards, this card can cover travel expenses that you can’t redeem miles for, like offsetting surcharges on an award ticket or amazing experiences on the ground.
Originally when I heard that points were worth only 1 cent each, I was a bit disappointed. But it’s honestly nice that I don’t have to jump through hoops to find award availability and I don’t have to feel bad about redeeming these points for maximum value. I can use them whenever and for whatever I want.
Using the Preferred Rewards program to your advantage
To get the best value out of your Bank of America cards, you need to understand Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program. Those who hold considerable assets in eligible BofA or Merrill accounts — including retirement or investment accounts — are eligible for increased rewards when spending on the Premium Rewards card. To enroll in BofA Preferred Rewards you’ll need:
An eligible Bank of America personal checking account anda3-month average combined balance of $20,000 or more in a Bank of America account and/or Merrill investment accounts.
There are three tiers in Preferred Rewards, and your tier is based on how much money you have in your accounts. This will determine your earning with the Premium Rewards card.
Tier 1 – Gold ($20,000 – $50,000)
Tier 2 – Platinum ($50,000 – $100,000)
Tier 3 – Platinum Honors ($100,000+)
At the base level of 2x points on travel and dining and 1.5x points on everything else, the card is pretty standard. It’s good, but the Citi® Double Cash Card and Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Cardare cash-back cards with higher earning rates on everyday spend and no annual fees (though those cards don’t come with any perks).
But the numbers get pretty spectacular when you’re able to get 2.625x points on everyday spend and 3.5x points if you meet the highest banking threshold. That said, I’ll still probably put most of my travel and dining spend on my Sapphire Reserve because I value Ultimate Rewards points at 2 cents each — meaning I get 6x points (toward travel per dollar spent). But 3.5x points back on travel and dining and 2.625x points on everything else for those who don’t value travel as much as I do — and want flexibility when redeeming points — is quite strong.
The way I see it is that if you can maximize Preferred Rewards, you’re essentially getting a no-annual-fee card (after using the airline credit) that gives you 3.5x on travel and dining and 2.625x on everything else. If you’re looking for a straight cash-back card, no other card comes close to that.
The moment I heard of this card, I immediately moved $100,000 into a Merrill investment account so I could start qualifying for Platinum Honors. BofA also allows the option to roll over an existing 401(k) account into a Merrill retirement account, so that this could be an easy way to qualify for Preferred Rewards.
In general, this card is about diversifying your stock of points and using them for the purchases that normal airline miles or credit card points can’t cover. It’s great if you want to use your points to splurge on a crazy watch or piece of jewelry. Or you can be generous and use the points to better your family.
It’s also an interesting option for small business owners — I know a lot of doctors and executives, and at a certain point there is mileage overload where they have too many Amex points and physically can’t redeem all of them for travel (because that is the best way to redeem MR points). So if you own your own business, this card can offer 2.625x points on all of your spend and 3.5x points on all travel and dining, which you can easily redeem for cold hard cash.
For those who have been eyeing a straight-up cash-back card, this could be your best option. Simply put, it’ll be improving your bottom line — either for you personally or for your business. You don’t have to waste time figuring out how to get the most value out of your points, as the stress-free redemptions make this an easy card to manage.
BofA is obviously telling customers that they will be rewarded with its Preferred Rewards program if they move their assets to BofA. On top of the earning and redeeming possibilities, it comes with a solid sign-up bonus and some pretty nice perks, which are worth far more than the card’s annual fee. For these reasons, I continue to be excited to have status with Preferred Rewards banking and the Bank of America®️ Premium Rewards®️ Visa®️ credit card in my wallet.
Before I became a parent, I vowed to do (and not do) a lot of things. My daughter was going to be breastfed until she was 1, and she’d eat all-natural, organic, homemade meals. She would never use a binkie and would rarely touch a bottle. Screen time? She would be limited to 30 minutes a day.
Of course, my plan seemed fail-proof. I was 29 when I conceived my daughter: a work-from-home, stay-at-home mom. And my husband supported me. We agreed today’s kids were too distant and distracted. We were “those people,” the ones who judged the parents who broke out the iPads at dinner. Plus, we had read all the studies. Childless me knew best — or so I thought. Or so I believed. Until we had kids and “dinner dates” and things to do on our own.
You see, it is easy to live in a disillusioned little bubble. Before children, I was smug. Scratch that: I was stupid and naive. And while I felt guilty, at least in the “early days” — the first time I used the television to distract my daughter, I felt like a bad parent; I convinced myself I was a “bad” mom — these days I believe the opposite to be true.
Screen time makes me a better mom.
The first time I used the television to distract my daughter, I felt like a bad parent; I convinced myself I was a ‘bad’ mom — these days I believe the opposite to be true.
Now I know what some of you might be thinking: That’s ridiculous. That’s absurd. Only crappy parents rely on Netflix and cable to care for their kids. Plus, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly suggests parents limit media use. Kids under 5 should watch no more than 60 minutes each day, and those under 2 should watch no TV … at all. And while I do not dispute or refute the experts — these guidelines are in place for good reason — there are things science and studies fail to consider.
My daughter is a Type A personality. She is high-strung, high-stressed and always on the go. She attends school every morning, dances almost every evening, and her weekends are spent running, both miles and errands. Some days I need to help her destress and decompress.
Like most 6-year-olds, she gets worked up and “amped up” and watching a cartoon (or two) gives her a chance to shut off her mind.
But there are other reasons — more selfish reasons — I let her watch TV. I am a stay-at-home and work-from-home mom. I have virtual meetings to attend and deadlines to meet, and giving her screen time gives me “me” time. I am able to write while she catches up on ”She-Ra,” “Sesame Street” and ”DC Super Hero Girls.” And while this may sound bad, at least on paper, I believe I am teaching my daughter responsibility. Through my actions, she knows women work. Hard. I am helping my daughter become more independent. When Mommy works, she gets her own snacks, drinks and toys, and I am teaching my daughter about balance. When the episodes are over, I’m done. I put my phone down and laptop away and we play.
I am active, engaged and fully present.
I am also calmer. News writing can be a fast-paced, demanding industry but setting boundaries — for her and me — has helped me unwind.
I believe I am teaching my daughter responsibility. Through my actions, she knows women work. Hard. I am helping my daughter become more independent.
There are other benefits, too. Television helps me talk to my child on her level. “Sesame Street”has spurred conversations about race, anxiety, diversity and disability. I’ve used Oscar the Grouch to explain that we cannot change another’s attitude but can love them in spite of it. He is also a key example of why you cannot (and should not) judge a book by their cover, and countless “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”songs have worked their way into my home. I’ve found Daniel’s “When You Feel So Mad” song particularly useful.
In short, television has opened dialogues between me and my daughter. Cartoons have helped me be more engaged with my kids.
The TV has taught my daughter. Thanks to “Super Why,” she knew her alphabet at 2, and thanks (again) to “Sesame Street,” she was able to count to 20 by age 3. And I use the screen as a motivator. My daughter earns episodes or “tablet time” when she completes chores, e.g., making her bed earns 15 minutes while doing her homework gets her 30.
TV time also gives us a chance to cuddle — something I fully appreciate as the mom of a high-energy kid — and to make memories. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a Halloween tradition, and we always spend Christmas week watching “Rudolph,” “Frosty the Snowman” and “The Grinch.”
Television has opened dialogues between me and my daughter. Cartoons have helped me be more engaged with my kids.
That said, I have a few “rules.” During meals, the TV is off. The dinner table is a screen-free zone. All programming must be supervised. I will not let my daughter watch a new series unless I can watch an episode with her first, and on weekdays, she is limited to two hours max, and that’s what works for me and my family.
To each their own because I know better. I know not to judge other parents and how they parent.
So at the end of the day remember: It doesn’t matter what our kids watch or eat, it matters what they do, what they say, what they feel and how they act, and only you know what is best for them. Only you can decide what works for your family, your child and you.
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I’ve been a loyal member of Bachelor Nation for longer than is psychologically recommended (according to my therapist). In fact, I’m so invested in them that I spend almost seven months out of every year chained to my TV for two hours on Monday nights, just to watch these people find love while simultaneously bringing dishonor to their family name. I then meticulously record this aesthetically-pleasing car crash in a weekly recap so that we can all remember that one time Chris Harrison had to explain to Colton which hole to put it in for posterity purposes. One could even argue that watching The Bachelor has been my longest relationship to date.
And, like any other toxic relationship in my life, I’ve put up with my fair share of bullsh*t. Getting rid of Jorge The Bartender on Bachelor in Paradise in favor of Wells, who is about as much a mixologist as I am a person with good credit? Fine. Letting Chris Harrison negotiate a new contract that allows him to speak seven words or less per episode, despite the fact that he is the glue that holds that insane asylum together? Also fine. Giving Nick Viall not one, not two, not three, but FOUR separate seasons to con the American public into thinking he could ever be a catch? Fine, fine, fine. But what I won’t stand for—what I absolutely refuse to allow—is Bachelor Nation infiltrating the lives of real celebs.
When I first found out about Tyler C hooking up with Gigi Hadid, I was disappointed and a little upset. My friends, on the other hand, were ecstatic. “Good for Tyler!” They’d say. “He deserves only good things!” Look, I’m not going to pretend that watching 30 hours of TV footage of the man makes me an apt judge of his character, but I was inclined to agree. Good things? Sure. But going from dating a girl who names her zits and regularly butchers the English language to dating one of the highest-paid models in the world, who also happens to be an international superstar? Are you f*cking kidding me, Tyler?
Bottom line? I felt lied to. I had just spent weeks this summer watching Tyler profess his love for Hannah B, a girl who is the definition of “hot mess” in Urban Dictionary, only to find out that what he was really searching for in a partner was 108 pounds of hairspray and coconut water. Part of those feelings of betrayal came from the fact that these guys are supposed to be somewhat attainable. These are supposed to be guys who would theoretically be into us, the viewer (assuming we are under a size 4, have at least 10K followers on Instagram, and look professionally airbrushed at all times). AND GIGI F*CKING HADID IS NOT LIKE US, THE VIEWER, IS SHE TYLER C?!
Furthermore, I’ve always considered the stars of Bachelor Nation to be their own sad, demented sorority/fraternity, that real stars—people with certifiable talents and ambition that goes beyond which Instagram sponsorship will pay for their Revolve credit card—would look down upon. Bachelor contestants are willing to debase themselves on national television, wear chicken suits and cry about being seagulls instead of pigeons. Why would a person who has won Emmys for acting or hit the Billboard Hot 100 want to date a person whose bio can be summed up as “social media participant” or “former high school athlete”?
Take Mike Johnson and Demi Lovato, for instance. Do I love them both? Yes. Do I want both of them to be happy? Also, yes. But Demi is a rockstar, a huge advocate for mental health, and has a world-wide fanbase, while Mike… has a really great smile? Calls women “queens”? Seriously, what does this guy do for a living and is he really good enough for MY queen Demi? Their budding relationship feels mismatched and off-kilter. That’s not to say some relationships can’t be mismatched, but this feels like something more than that.
And for the most part, it’s the men of BachelorNation who are sliding into the DMs of A-list stars. You don’t see Bibiana hitting up Michael B. Jordan’s IG comments section with flirty emojis or Kristina Schulman going on dinner dates with Chace Crawford. Which brings me to the real reason I’m so offended by these recent couplings: why is this phenomenon so one-sided?
We’ve talked at length about how The Bachelor men dating A-listers won’t be great for the franchise. It already felt like a real suspension of reality that these conventionally attractive, mildly successful men weren’t able to find love in real life and that’s why they came on the show. Over the years, it’s felt like less of the contestants are actually there to find love with the lead and more of them are there to find fame and careers on Instagram. And now the female leads must contend with the likes of Demi Lovato and Gigi Hadid potentially sliding into the guys’ DMs post-production, apparently.
Aside from Lauren Bushnell’s recent engagement to country music singer Chris Lane, the majority of the ladies in Bachelor Nation are single or are dating in the Bachelor pool of potential suitors, but the men aren’t playing that game anymore. While Nick Viall serenades Summer Roberts on his podcast, Caelynn felt so desperate for a happy ending that she settled for a man who lives in his van.
More and more I watch this show and think, “man, she’s settling” and I’ve realized that’s not the kind of reality TV I want to watch anymore. This used to be a show about real people looking for love. Over time, that’s shifted into cosmetically enhanced, famous-adjacent people looking for love, and I was fine with that too. But I can’t stand for this new turn of events. I don’t watch The Bachelorette or Bachelor in Paradise to find out how a good looking dude from Florida somehow managed to bag a supermodel. I watch this show to root for the women, for them to find themselves and maybe find love too.
Hannah B set a new precedent for Bachelorettes: that we can be funny and messy and say the wrong things and STILL be desirable—still be wife material. But watching her men declare that’s what they want in a wife and then go out and date international superstars in the next breath is enraging and upsetting. If this is what the next generation of Bachelor looks like, then count me out.
The American south may seem a long way from the estates of England, but in both places a veil of caprice covers harsh truths
The son of a Scottish immigrant who worked as a servant, Donald Trump could hardly wait for his banquet at Buckingham Palace. A seat next to Elizabeth II conferred a sense of accomplishment little else could.
To many, such behavior from an American president appeared downright unseemly. But how could we scoff? How else have so many of us been eagerly awaiting the return of Downton Abbey?
TV and film can be transporting, giving us glimpses of lives we can only imagine imperfectly. Decades before Julian Fellowes creation came forth to conquer America, PBS offered a steady diet of British clotted cream. Royals, aristocrats, castles, servants, sex. Such is the stuff of which Downton daydreams are made.
We make our own fantasies too. As a boy, watching Gone With the Wind, I saw plantation houses for which I thought I could sell my soul. It seemed such an alluring way of life.
No wonder people complain of being lectured about slavery when they visit Savannah or Charleston. They, like me, have imagined themselves in the masters place. No work to be done, fanned on white-pillared porches, sipping cooling drinks, pondering pleasures to come. Is it surprising so many, confronted by the nightmare behind the reverie, recoil in unacknowledged shame?
I came to this crossroads early, no longer able to overlook the anguish of my ancestors. I saw exquisite architecture and ideas of gracious hospitality but knew both to be built on the worst criminality.
Fortunately, thanks to green England, I was able to transfer my affections. The Forsyte Saga, Upstairs Downstairs, Brideshead Revisited, The Admirable Crichton. The Shooting Party, The Remains of the Day, Gosford Park. They became my refuge and taught me much. Entranced by an elegant aesthetic, reading countless books, even attending the Attingham Summer School to study famous country houses, I sought an elusive loveliness, untroubled by oppression.
I know I never escaped. I had only embraced a new quagmire of contradictory caprice.
At the very lightest level, all this means I know that Downton the whole phenomenon, the TV series, the film, the traveling exhibition, the merchandising is a ludicrous and ahistorical fancy.
I know, for example, that contrary to what we see on Fellowes screen, non-royal butlers did not wear white waistcoats and that waiters did not wear dinner jackets at all. I know ladies were never gloved while drinking or eating, candles were never used on a luncheon table and candle shades, now found only in royal residences, were in fact universal. For enthusiasts like me, its such esoterica which makes Downton so enjoyable.
But as in my love affair with the plantations of the American south, there was a wriggling worm in the bud.
How alike our ruling classes are. How nefarious the sources of their vast wealth, on which such beautiful homes were built.
In the UK, to take just one example, a house as sublime as Harewood, near Leeds, altered by Robert Adam, was funded by the infamous triangular trade. Even English currency came to be defined by slavery. With abolition by Britain in 1833 came compensation to 46,000 slave owners for 800,000 liberated Africans, until the banks were rescued in 2009 the largest government bailout in history.
There were other sources of income. Indian opium, imposed on China. Farms in Ireland. The wealth behind many of the estates of England was no less tainted than that which built plantations in Virginia, Alabama and Georgia.
Fellowes was careful to give his great house a more benign foundation. The Earl of Grantham, we are told, derives his affluence straight from his Yorkshire estates.
Hit hard by agricultural depressions, he takes an option not available to his tenants: he marries the daughter of an American millionaire. That said millionaire is an untitled Jew, a dry goods merchant from Cincinnati, is among storylines meant to show us what a good egg the earl really is, an unlikely egalitarian in tweeds. But hes an imprudent one too: by investing his wifes millions in a Canadian railway that goes bankrupt, Grantham places all his loved ones in peril.
Worse occurred in real life, of course. Much worse. Take the brutal, polluting mills and mines, like so many plantation fields, that often lay just outside the gates.
Of course, Downton isnt real. So, to stay in the realm of art, consider Shipley, the neo-Palladian masterpiece DH Lawrence invented for Lady Chatterleys Lover. There, Squire Leslie Winter talks of the miners who work his pits with all the condescension a planter might have for his slaves.
Chatting with the Prince of Wales, Winter quips: The miners are perhaps not so ornamental as deer, but they are far more profitable.
HRH replies: If there were coal under Sandringham, I would open a mine on the lawns and think it first-rate landscape gardening. Oh, I am quite willing to exchange roe-deer for colliers, at the price.
In the real world, many fine homes have been lost. Their deaths, like their lives, are all about the money.
In Lawrences book, the squire dies and his heirs tear down his hall to build semi-detached villas for workers. Lady Chatterley is shocked to learn such people are as capable of love as she is. One suspects Fellowes, the author of a novel called Snobs, no less, might feel a similar shock if told us ordinary people who love Downton, his facile but beautiful and seductive creation, are capable of sincere feeling too.
We are. And while we are equipped to daydream of such luxury for ourselves, or to pick nits with Fellowes staging while we swoon at his stars in their gorgeous firmament, we are also the heirs to those who did all the work, those who built the Downtons and the plantations.
We know a profound truth behind all their costly beauty and misery. Every stately home, in every land, belongs to us too.