About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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Lower Plastiq Fees With Drop + 5,000 Drop Points for Out and Out Readers! 💸

Spencer from Straight to the Points is back to talk about a new Plastiq promotion… and an exclusive offer for Out and Out readers to earn 5,000 points with Drop! 

Save on Plastiq Fees (Plus a Special Offer from Drop for Out and Out Readers)

A few months ago, Drop launched in the US to much fanfare in the miles and points world as the hot new shopping portal. You just needed to attach your credit or debit card (or cards) and shop as usual.

drop plastiq promotion

You can easily earn and redeem Drop points at lots of merchants

Redeem the points you earn for merchant gift cards like Hotels.com, Amazon, American Airlines, and Starbucks to help offset future expenses.

The launch was rough.  But Drop is starting to get a handle on the US market. Shortly after launching, they limited the number of points you could earn with their ongoing offers to 5,000 points per week. That definitely put the brakes on some people, but there are still one-time offers to help boost your rebates!

That brings us to today.

A New Drop Plastiq Promotion!

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Free Food for Atlanta / Dallas / SoCal: $20 Off $35+ in Groceries at Aldi (And $5 Off Booze Delivery for Everyone Else)

Saw a deal I couldn’t pass up – had to share!

If you’re in Atlanta, Dallas, or Southern California, see if these Instacart deals will work for you. You can get $20 off an order of $35+ with promotion code “ALDIDELIVERY” – that’s over half off your groceries!

instacart drizly

Irresistible! Even with the 10% service fee, I still saved over 50% on groceries

Instacart does add a service fee. But even with that considered, I still saved a heap on groceries. Can’t beat free food!

Plus, your first delivery is free!

Instacart $20 off details

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MoviePass + Theater Rewards Program = Heaven for Movie Lovers 🎬

My sordid MoviePass history

I had a MoviePass back when it first came out in… 2012? I was in New York at the time. And IIRC, it cost $30ish a month. But in New York, that was still a great deal… when it worked.

The service was glitchy AF. For one, you had to be within 100 yards of the theater to activate the card. That’s fine, except the GPS back then couldn’t locate me properly. Other times, I’d check in via the app but the card would be declined and I’d end up paying for the movie myself.

moviepass

It’s baaaack

If you have an issue, they say to “chat” them through the app – which simply is NOT practical when you’re standing in a line with a movie about to begin. Worse, if you call, they say to leave a voicemail. 🙄

A couple of times, I just went ahead and bought my ticket and asked for reimbursement later. But that was a days-long process that was tedious for something as small as a movie ticket.

The final straw was when – I remember it – I wanted to see Lincoln in Brooklyn. It was a cold winter day… Seriously, it was freezing. I got the GPS to work but had to go outside the theater in the gross snow.  Then the ticket machine inside kept declining the MoviePass card. So, on my phone, I brought up the theater’s mobile site and bought the ticket online. Somehow, the MoviePass worked.

But they knew. Like clockwork, the next morning, they told me my account was canceled. By that point I was so frustrated with the whole thing that…

…I said eff it!

And the whole thing left me feeling bitter.

A new MoviePass deal

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DENIED! No 3rd Discover It Card for Me 😿

Also see:

Right after I got a 2nd Chase British Airways card, I trotted over to the Discover website hoping to pick up a 3rd Discover It card.

Last week, I had 2 Discover It cards. So I closed Discover It #1. With Discover It #2, I’m expecting a sweet $800+ cashback match next month:

discover it 3rd year

#ReadyForIt

Last year, I got back $1,100 in cashback match. So Discover has been generous to me, doubtlessly.

But, you can only have 2 Discover cards at once, so if I wanted #3, that meant #1 had to go.

I checked to make sure over a year had passed since I opened #2.

Good to go?

I waited until September 8th passed, and then a few extra days to be on the safe side. Then, with zeal in my little eye, I prepared my grubby mitts for a new Discover It – and a new year of that sweet cashback match.

PWND! No Discover It for you!

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Get 6X British Airways Avios Points Everywhere on $20K in Spend – Why I Caved

You might’ve heard a version of the infamous British Airways 100,000 points deal is back.

It’s a beast of a deal – there’s no doubt about that. And I mean that in a good way AND a bad way.

chase british airways 100,000

Maybe I’ll use my British Airways Avios to visit these ragtag streets in Barcelona again

There are many cons to accept with this deal: the minimum spending, the materiality of the points themselves, and a gigantic black hole of opportunity cost. But let’s call a spade a spade here: at this point I’m taking what I can get.

I hated this card. Now I’m crawling back on hands and knees. My, how the winds have shifted

And 100,000 of any kind of points is nothing to sniff at. So I got the Chase British Airways card again – even after I brutally dumped it a little over 2 years ago.

A hard look at this 100K offer, OK

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Some Plastiq Mortgage Payments With Visa Cards Working Again!

Update: Some readers let me know not all mortgage payments are working, but many are!

Here’s an example from my account:

A mortgage payment you can still pay with Plastiq

As long as the “Submit Payment” button isn’t grayed out, you should be good to go! Let me know if it works for you!


More data points slash adventures with Plastiq.

So I just got a new Bank of America Alaska Airlines card – I get a new one every 45 days for a quick injection of 30,000 Alaska miles. Those are, of course, Visa cards, which Plastiq said would no longer work.

Well today, I paid the rent for one of my Airbnbs with this card on Plastiq.

plastiq visa payments

This Plastiq payment is clearly marked as rent

And it went through without a hitch:

Boom

Considering the minimum spending on this card is only $1,000, I was able to knock most of it out with a single rent payment. Then I sent $50 to my utility company to trigger the sign-up bonus. Minimum spending done in under a minute. AWESOME!

This isn’t a fluke. My friend Angie used her Chase Fairmont card to pay her mortgage via Plastiq recently, too – that’s also a Visa card. And I’ve heard others have had success, too.

Plastiq Visa payments

While I think 3X with the Chase Sapphire Reserve is long gone, using Plastiq to meet minimum spending on Visa cards is extremely easy. Even with the 2.5% fee considered, having it done in seconds sure beats having to monitor it for a few months. Especially if you need to spend a few thousand.

I also just confirmed 3X still works with the Citi AT&T Access More card. And wrote about why you’d even consider using the new Blue Business Plus Amex for Plastiq payments, too.

But given that I can still get 3X, the gravy train is still on – at least for now.

And moreover, it seems you can use your Visa cards again. So if you have a Visa and want to make some Plastiq payments for rent, mortgage, or HOA, they should go through just fine. 🙂

Have you had recent success using a Visa card for a rent payment through Plastiq? 

It Lives! 3X ThankYou Points on Plastiq Payments With Citi AT&T Access More Card

Also see: 

I suspected this might be the case!

My statement closed last night and I just got the PDF. I can confirm all my rent payments made through Plastiq on my last Citi AT&T Access More statement earned 3X Citi ThankYou points. Even the ones made after July 22nd.

citi plastiq 3X

3X is alive and well

The only things that didn’t earn 3X coded as utility payments… which Citi has always said will earn 1X anyway.

The other payments are coding as “Misc Government Services.”

My test payment from August 1st earned 3X and coded this way

I’m not sure what this means, but it looks like 3X is alive and well!

Citi Plastiq 3X is still around

Reader Amar confirmed on August 8th that his mortgage payment earned 3X as well.

Further, I made a rent, mortgage, and HOA payment – all earned 3X.

Interestingly, a student loan payment I made on my new Citi Diamond Preferred also coded as “Misc Government Services.”

 

Effin’ Mohela, man

I made the payment this way to avoid paying interest until 2019. But that it coded the same way leads me to believe some student loan payments will earn 3X as well. Previously, these payments coded as “Education” (which makes sense).

Somewhere along the line, the coding changed. And while I’d say to keep an eye on it, it seems 3X is good to go – for now at least.

Just wanted to share the newest data point. Let me know if it works for you, too!

Hotel Review: Granite Park Chalet, Glacier NP, Montana

Also see: 

To start, Granite Park Chalet isn’t a hotel in the usual sense of the word. One review on TripAdvisor called it a “high-end hiker’s hostel” – which is apt.

There are two ways to get to the chalet: you can hike 7.6 miles on the Highline Trail, or 4 miles on the Loop Trail. The former is longer but not as steep while the latter gains 2,220 feet – so it’s pretty much climbing straight up.

Granite Park Chalet review

First approach into Granite Park Chalet

I stayed here with my friend Angie for 3 nights in July 2017.  We opted to park at Logan Pass and hike the 7.6 miles in and out (so 15.2 miles round-trip). It cost about $200 per night with the linens package. And I paid an extra $106 for 3 days’ worth of food.

This was a perfect place to spend a few days and use as a base for other shorter hikes in the area.

Arrival and check-in

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A Ray of Hope for Plastiq 3X With Citi AT&T Access More Card?

I just made my last round of rent, mortgage, and HOA payments through Plastiq with my Citi AT&T Access More card because Citi is removing those transactions from earning 3X starting next week.

But as I reviewed the transactions, I noticed they weren’t coding as rent like they had before. Instead, they’re coding as “Misc Government Services.” That gave me pause because of the language in Citi’s T&Cs:

Plastiq 3X With Citi AT&T Access More Card

Quoth Citi

But upon further review, I earned 3X in this very same category as early as this month. Which makes me wonder… will 3X live on for rent and mortgage payments with the Citi AT&T Access More card?

A history of Plastiq 3X With Citi AT&T Access More Card

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So You Wanna Be an Airbnb Host? Part 5: Taxes, Expenses, and Making It All Work

You got an Airbnb so you could make extra money, yeah? Well, congrats, you’re officially a small business owner. You can get business credit cards based on your yearly income. Those cleaning supplies I mentioned in Part 4 are now expenses. And, you might be on the hook to pay taxes.

airbnb hosting

Evernote is key to keeping track of receipts and expenses

I personally use Evernote to save every single receipt. And tag them with the tax year and “expenses” for easy work at tax time. After a while, you definitely find your rhythm with this Airbnb stuff. You might even want to get another.

Airbnb Hosting Index:

This series is meant for peeps who want to list an entire home separate from their primary residence on Airbnb.

Do you have to pay taxes?

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Flight Review: Brussels Airlines Business Class JFK-BRU

Also see:

Back in August 2016, I booked round-trip Business Class flights from JFK to Brussels on Brussels Airlines using ~37,000 Etihad miles (transferred 1:1 from Citi ThankYou points). That was an incredible value. Now it’s 44,000 Etihad miles each way, which is still a cheap price for Business Class to Europe. But not nearly as awesome, obvi.

I took the flights in May 2017 – a full 9 months after booking. It’s the farthest in advance I’ve ever booked a trip. So I was looking forward to it for a long time.

Brussels Airlines Business Class

Our bird to Brussels

As the date neared, I firmed up my intra-European itinerary. And booked positioning flights to and from New York.

Here’s a look at what Business Class on Brussels Airlines looks like.

Brussels Airlines Business Class seat

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So You Wanna Be an Airbnb Host? Part 4: Ongoing Maintenance

After you get a few reviews and bookings, you’ll need to figure out how to keep the gravy train rolling. But, good news – the hard parts are over!

If you found a place, set it up, and listed it on Airbnb’s site, that is easily 90% of your whole Airbnb journey. The rest is just pruning and perfecting.

airbnb hosting

Your Airbnb calendar will be your lifeline

This is the part where you can be hands-off, travel, drop things off here and there. Basically, the whole reason you started this whole crazy thing: to have mostly passive income roll in.

Airbnb Hosting Index:

This series is meant for peeps who want to list an entire home separate from their primary residence on Airbnb.

Stock it up

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