Uber Alternatives in Austin: Ride Austin and Fasten

For my next trick, I will put up a post from the city I’m currently visiting lol.

I got to Austin on Sunday, and decided to meet up with a friend for drinks downtown.

No problem, I’ll Uber down, a 15-minute ride.

Tips from my friend Jason

Tips from my friend Jason

He gave me two tips: Ride Austin and Fasten.

Ride Austin

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PSA: Use Your $100 Mercedes-Benz Certificate (and What I Got With Mine)

asd

Lots of folks got the 75,000 Amex Membership Rewards point offer on the Amex Mercedes-Benz card earlier this year (including me).

If that’s you, you should’ve received a certificate in the mail for $100 toward “genuine Mercedes-Benz parts and accessories.”

I frequently pass a M-B dealership in Dallas, and one weekend afternoon, I decided to pop in and see what I could get.

So here goes!

My experience redeeming the $100 certificate

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Hilton Makes More Award Rooms Available for Diamond Elite Members

Works in Philly, worked in Hawaii too

I made a glancing comment on my Booking Hawaii: Part 3 post:

There were technically no award nights available, but I love the soft perk of Hilton giving Diamond guests enhanced award availability.

(Yasss, quoted myself!)

Which prompted some discussion in the comments. Drew asked for more detail. And Brandon reported getting more award space at a lower rate.

Aye verily, I was able to book an award stay when no award rooms were “technically” available:

hilton diamond

Boom

Hilton also has the room rate as “confidential.” Fancy!

This is, as far as I know, an unpublished benefit of the Hilton HHonors program.

They go on to say:

asd

How Hilton describes this perk

If you’re Diamond with Hilton, this could come in handy more often than you think.

Is this actually useful?

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Hotel Review: Homewood Suites Albuquerque Uptown

My view

Also see: 

I was in ABQ this past weekend checking out some potential investment properties.

I’m not sure I found a good mix of price, appreciation, rental demand, and location – but maybe I’m being too picky. It’s a whole other thing I’m thinking through now.

To set the stage for this heady trip, I booked 2 nights at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Albuquerque Uptown (and booked the flights and car rental, all within 10 minutes).

Breakfast area at the Homewood Suites Albuquerque Uptown

Breakfast area at the Homewood Suites Albuquerque Uptown

It was so good to remember the serenity of the high desert. The days were gorgeous. And the skies there are incomparable. I love seeing mountains in the distance. I’ll take mountains over sea any day.

After landing, I immediately drove to the East Mountains to meet the real estate agent. And checked in to the hotel around 8pm that night.

Arrival and check-in

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Booking Hawaii: Part 3 – Hilton Hawaiian Village and Tending Reservations

Just, yeah, gimme that!

Also see: 

I’ll go ahead and tell you the moral of this story: tend to your reservations.

After booking 4 flights to Honolulu, then adding my little brother into the mix, the final piece of the puzzle was to book the hotel rooms.

Step 1: The paid stay

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Promos Gone Wild: Earning Miles & Points For Rent (Guest Post)

Womp womp

Hey all! Meet Spencer!

He loves the Plastiq and Citi AT&T Access More combo as much as I do. I thought it would be fun to add his ideas about the recent RadPad promotion debacle that lead to the new Plastiq offer – to shake it up a little here at ol’ Out and Out. 🙂

A big thanks to Spencer for lending his thoughts!


Anyone who’s read Out and Out knows Harlan LOVES earning miles and points when he pays rent. When there’s a fun promo, you better believe he’s ready for it.

The Rent Promo Of The Year (Or Not)

Two weeks ago, RadPad rocked the points world with a promo that allowed fee-free credit card rent payments via Android Pay.

plastiq 1.75%

Gone too soon

This earth-shattering offer was set to run through the end of 2016. That’s four months of fee-free, points-earning rent fun!

Fast forward to last night.

RadPad posts an update on their blog. They have pulled the promo.

RadPad’s crushing announcement

RadPad’s crushing announcement

Only people who registered prior to August 24th, 2016, would be eligible and they will only be eligible for one rent payment that has to be paid by August 31st, 2016.

According to RadPad, Android Pay use increased from less than 5% of rent payments to 70% in the span of two weeks. That’s insane!

Well, so much for that points windfall.

If you were set on fee-free RadPad, where does that leave you?

The Consolation Prize (It’s A Good One)

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Get an Extra 3X on Gift Cards at Staples (So 8X If You Have a 5X Office Supply Card)

Update: Wow, instant response! Chuck from Doctor of Credit let me know this may or may not work. So for now, I think the best thing to do is start slow at your local Staples (like try $5 and see if it works) and go from there, should you decide to try this. Thanks all for any info you want to add!

I was poking around as I am wont to do and assembled an 8X combination that I think will work.

Now, I haven’t done this myself, but it seems totally do-able.

What you’ll need to get started is:

  • The MileagePlus X app (which I’ve written about) AND
  • If you want 8X points, a Visa or MasterCard that earns 5X at office supply stores

Such as:

You can also get 5X on top of what you’ll earn from any other card with the exception of a couple of Amex cards.

Or, if you’re trying to meet a minimum spending requirement and want to get an extra 3X at office supply stores, this should work nicely.

Stack 3X through MileagePlus X with 5X on another card

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Airbnb by the Numbers: An Update for 2016

I love my new Dallas Airbnbs!

Also see: 

Back in 2014, when I rented my first Airbnb apartment, I felt like I was doing something crazy. Then, in 2015, I made an extra $60,000 from Airbnb rentalsafter taxes and expenses.

I love my new Dallas Airbnbs!

I love my new Dallas Airbnbs!

Mike from Upgrd playfully calls me a slumlord. My Airbnb posts tend to get a LOT of polarity in the comments; I’ve addressed my moral and ethical position in this post.

I get a lot of questions about why I do it and how it’s going. So here goes.

Why I still love Airbnb

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AwardAce: An Awesome Companion for Your Miles & Points Programs

AwardAce is packed with great features

Whoa! I just discovered an incredible resource that will appeal to beginners of our little hobby, and to full-on points & miles addicts.  It’s super cool and geeky, so of course I had to share it with you guys.

AwardAce is packed with great features

AwardAce is packed with great features

Meet AwardAce. You can use the site for:

Now that I’ve found it, I’ll be playing around with it on the regs!

About AwardAce

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4 Useful Chrome Extensions for Travel & Shopping

Nope, nope, yes

Also see: 

I love using Google Chrome as a browser. It’s light, powerful, and has lots of good plug-ins… er, extensions.

Some of them have elevated to near-constant use territory.

I’ve written about useful apps because I love time-saving productivity stuff like a good millennial lol.

These 4 Chrome extensions come with my highest recommendation. They’ve helped me save a lot of time, money, and clicking around.

1. Hyatt – Show Me the Points

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How Out and Out Makes Money

I make huge piles of fake cartoon money

There’s been a lot of talk in the blog space this week about monetization, affiliate links, and the lengths bloggers will go to make revenue, including from Doctor of Credit and Rapid Travel Chai – people I hugely admire and respect. It all got me thinking.

Now feels like the right time to talk about this. Not because anyone’s ever asked. But because I want to finally put it out there so peeps can make their own informed decisions.

I make huge piles of fake cartoon money

Huge piles of fake cartoon money

Out and Out makes money in 3 ways:

  1. Credit card affiliate links through CreditCards.com
  2. Ad revenue and clicks from Amazon
  3. Advertising from BoardingArea

I’ll go into detail about each one.

1. Credit card affiliate links

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Chase OR Costco + Autoslash: Get the Best Price on Car Rentals

Laaaa!

I rented a car this past weekend in Albuquerque.

And I’m renting another one this upcoming weekend for a work trip to Austin.

I’ve rented enough cars by this point to rely solely on 2 places to look: the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and Costco Travel. One or the other of them has the best deal almost always.

car rental best price

Laaaa! Behold Costco Travel’s car rental search

For good measure, I usually run a search through Kayak, too – just to be sure.

Last week, I booked through Costco. And this week, I booked through Chase. One of them simply always works out for the best.

A quick comparison

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