I live in California, where gas is pushing 5 bucks per gallon at present- Yikes!

I’m not going to let Gubmints become ‘one of those’ blogs where each weekly post is brought to you by the MegaBank Rewards Credit Card, showing you how to sign up for the latest reward bonus… blah blah blah.

That being said, I’ve had the PenFed Platinum Rewards Card for 3 months now, and I’m quite happy with what it has given me so far:

  • 25,000 point bonus ($250 cash equivalent)
  • 5 points/cents per dollar spent on Gas
  • No annual fee

At $4+ per gallon of gas, 5% back is 20 cents off of every gallon.  By simply using this card exclusively to buy gas (the family burns through about $400 bucks/month in fuel), we already have enough reward points to do a huge grocery run!  There are tons of other flexible reward options available, including a pre-paid Visa card.

You don’t even have to be government or military to join PenFed… just join the ‘National Military Family Association’ for $20.

You’re already buying gas, so why not get it for 20 cents per gallon cheaper?  Leverage this card with the GasBuddy app, and you’ll laugh each time you drive past the long gas lines at Costco!

The GubMints Gouge for Maximizing your Service Computation Date

* Trick Question – you actually have THREE Service Computation Dates (SCD’s).

The GubMints Gouge for Maximizing your Service Computation Date
Available on Amazon Kindle

Learn Much More and get a FULL understanding of your Service Computation Date – Download a copy of The GubMints Gouge for Maximizing Your Service Computation Date today!  It’s only $0.99!

Executive Summary:

The first Service Computation Date is your SCD Civilian. This date is very straightforward- it is the day you walked in to your department’s HR branch and commenced employment as a federal employee. This date will stay the same unless you have a break in employment in the federal civil service.  SCD Civilian is used to calculate benefits such as your FERS life insurance payout formula, which is a gratis life insurance benefit (NOT FEGLI) provided to all FERS employees. I will cover this benefit in a future post.

The second Service Computation Date is the one you are used to seeing once every pay period in the upper right hand corner of your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) if you work for the Department of Defense. This is SCD Leave, used to calculate your accrual of Annual Leave. Accrual rates for annual leave increase based on years of service calculated from SCD Leave.   If you are former active military NOT drawing retired pay from active duty, SCD Leave will be ‘back dated’ based on the years and months of service shown on your DD-214.   There are special cases where SCD Leave CAN ALSO be back dated for former active duty who ARE drawing retired pay, and I will cover these in a future post.

The third Service Computation Date is SCD RIF. This is the date you will be eligible for early retirement from the FERS system if you are offered an early retirement package like VERA (Voluntary Early Retirement Authority) for an agency-wide reduction or RIF (Reduction if Force) if your employing agency decides to cut your individual position. Under either of these, if you meet the time-in-service requirements you may retire early with full benefits (FEHB health care and a FERS immediate annuity). If you are a veteran who performed a FERS ‘military buyback’ credit for your active duty service, your SCD RIF and SCD Leave should match. It is critical that you verify these dates match after you make a ‘military buyback’ deposit.

(There is technically a FOURTH Service Computation Date, but you’ll have to splurge and sacrifice the cost of a vending machine snack to learn about it…. download Maximize Your Service Computation Date today!)

To check your three Service Computation Dates, log in to your HR Database (DCPDS for DoD employees) and look at your ‘My Biz’ tab. You will see a printout that looks like this:

Action Plan:

  1. Make sure your SCD Civilian matches the day you commenced Federal Employment.
  2. Make sure your SCD Leave rolls the calendar backward based on the years and months of credit shown in your DD-214 (if you are former active duty NOT drawing retired pay).
  3. Make sure your SCD RIF matches SCD Leave if you bought back time. Else SCD RIF will match SCD Civilian.

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For the frequent Federal traveler…

The FY13 GSA City Pairs have been announced.

Did your ‘favorite’ airline lose the contract this year between your most frequently traveled City Pair?  No need to fret about orphaning frequent flyer miles if you roll like I do.

I’ve been in the same boat-  In some cases, I’d earn elite status on United in an even year, and then be forced to fly American (without status) for almost every trip during the following odd year.  The miles I was accruing towards status were nearly useless.

Then I discovered a bit of a workaround.  Alaska’s program – Mileage Plan– lets you accrue Alaska miles when you fly Alaska, AA, Delta, or British Airways.  For the past two years whenever I fly AA or  Delta I hand or type in my Alaska frequent flyer code for a tripple whammy- miles banked one-for-one on Alaska, my Alaska elite status is recognized 100% on AA and Delta (check-in, booking, and bag allowance), and I don’t really have to worry about who wins which City Pair contracts next Fiscal Year.

Elite Status is your only ticket to a decent seat unless you meet the above criteria.

The only major carriers who do not partner with Alaska are Southwest and United, so hang on to those cards if you still have them.  But if your ‘favorite’ airline lost the bid on your frequently traveled city pair this year, you don’t have to rack up miles that will be essentially ‘orphaned’- give Alaska’s Mileage Plan a try!