Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Should I pay for my hotel using cash, points or both? Also in the news: A new episode of the SmartMoney podcast on fake reviews and saving too much, 5 travel writers draft their favorite airlines, and where to get relief if there isn’t a second stimulus check.

Should I Pay for My Hotel Using Cash, Points or Both?
Here’s how you can figure out which booking option offers the best value.

Smart Money Podcast: Fake Reviews and Saving ‘Too Much’
How to tell if that review is sincere.

5 Travel Writers ‘Draft’ Their Favorite Airlines
In the spirit of the popular sports-related pastime, we’ve created our own fantasy airline draft.

Where to Get Relief if There Isn’t a Second Stimulus Check
Look for aid locally.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Is it harder for seniors to get credit cards? Also in the news: Factoring in fees on grocery, delivery, what to do if losing your job means losing your life insurance, and there’s still time to claim your missing $500 stimulus for dependents.

Is It Harder for Seniors to Get Credit Cards?
Even with more time to build history, seniors may have a hard time getting credit.

For grocery delivery, add fees to the list
Convenience comes at a cost.

What to do if losing your job means losing life insurance
Examining your options.

There’s Still Time to Claim Your Missing $500 Stimulus for Dependents
Another opportunity to get your stimulus.

Q&A: The IRS is finally staffing up. Here’s how to get your coronavirus stimulus money

Dear Liz: We do not make enough income to file tax returns, so we used the IRS site to apply for our economic stimulus payment ($1,700 for one adult and one teenage child). We received a response email stating our information was received successfully by the IRS several weeks ago. We included our bank deposit information for a fast direct deposit but the money has not arrived and we hear that the government ran out of money. We are desperate. What can we do or who can we speak with about this delay?

Answer: The government did not run out of money, and at a minimum you should be able to file a tax return next year to get your stimulus payment as a refundable credit. Since you need the money now, though, you should follow up with the IRS.

The IRS has reopened the general taxpayer helpline that was shuttered because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it has also added thousands of phone reps to a special hotline to deal with stimulus payment problems: (800) 919-9835. That’s the number you should call to inquire about your payment.

(Previous columns have dealt with people’s refunds being held up because the IRS didn’t have enough workers to open its mail. Tax processing centers are reopening, but it will take awhile to work through the backlog. You can check the status of a refund through the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on the IRS site or by calling (800) 829-1954.)