About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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Hotel Review: Granite Park Chalet, Glacier NP, Montana

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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

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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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Is Marijuana Tourism a New American Trend?

I recently had the good fortune to visit Denver and Colorado Springs to hang out with some of the BoardingArea crew.

Marijuana Tourism

With Grant, Jeanne, Ben, and my awesome BA peeps

I also recently took a trip to Brussels, Amsterdam, and Prague (which I’m still trying to catch up writing about) but the key word in this sentence is… Amsterdam.

After that experience, I was looking forward to visiting some homegrown (American) dispensaries now that weed is legal in Colorado (and Washington, and Nevada).

In fact, there was one right across the street from the Sheraton Denver Downtown: Euflora. It got me thinking… would I go back to Denver just to smoke a bunch of weed?

As it turns out, the trail has already been thoroughly… blazed.

Would you fly to buy?

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So You Wanna Be an Airbnb Host? Part 3: Attracting Guests

Now that you’ve found a place and set it up, you’ll want to get it listed as quickly as possible so guests can book it. And by far the best way to attract bookings is so have a ton of photos.

airbnb hosting

You’ll want to have lots of crisp, clear photos to show your listing to guests

You’ll also want to hit a good mark with your pricing. But at first, I drop my prices as low as possible to get a few bookings.  And therefore a few positive reviews – they’re another huge opportunity to get more bookings.

Airbnb Hosting Index:

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

The price is right

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Blue Business Plus Amex: New Card for Plastiq Payments?

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I’ve come out of my slough of despair (kinda slash not really) following the news that Citi AT&T Access More cards won’t earn 3X on rent and mortgage payments starting July 22nd, 2017. And the Chase Sapphire Reserve trick stopped working, too – although I’ve heard you can still make payments with it for 1X (AKA it does NOT code as travel).

In the midst of all this, Amex came out with a brand new card: the Blue Business Plus. And it holds some promise for payments with Plastiq. Of course, the numbers aren’t as good as they once were. But you can earn 2X on the first $50,000 spent per calendar year on the card.

Blue Business Plus Amex

Newest card

I got the card last week. And starting next month, it will be my go-to for Plastiq payments. Because I still want the points.

Here’s a look at how it works, by the numbers.

About the Blue Business Plus Amex

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So You Wanna Be an Airbnb Host? Part 2: Setting It Up

Next comes the most expensive – and most fun – part of listing a home on Airbnb: setting it up!

You’re probably going to be in shock at how much it costs to get set up. But in my experience, you recoup all of the costs and get to pure profit in 8 to 10 weeks. I know of very few investments that provide a 100% return in such a short span of time.

airbnb hosting

It’s crazy how much “STUFF” people need

At the beginning, you’ll have seemingly innumerable things to set up and buy. But if you plan it right, you can have it ready in 3 to 4 days.

Airbnb Hosting Index:

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

For best results, start with a theme

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Booking Glacier: I Used Points for Free Flights and Hotel Nights – and Still Paid $1,000

Later this week, I’m heading to Kalispell, Montana, to hike in Glacier National Park with my friend Angie. I can’t wait – it’s been 10 years since I’ve been in Montana!

glacier national park

Me in Montana – 2007

Though I’m excited, I found it admittedly difficult to cobble this trip together with points and miles – rural places are not kind to our hobby. So I paid about $1,000 out-of-pocket because I really wanted to go.

Here’s how I minimized costs as much as possible.

Flights to Glacier National Park with US Bank Altitude Reserve points

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[DEAL IS DONE] Tomorrow at Exactly 12:00 PM Eastern: $1,300 in Free Credit Card Spending, Plus $25

Update: As of 5:32 pm Eastern time, PFS Buyers Club is not letting anyone else opt-in to the offer. DEAL IS DONE.

That went fast

Congrats to those who got in on this! Sign-up for PFS Buyers Club so you don’t miss the next deal when it pops up!


Via my friend Meghan, you can purchase a Platinum coin from the US Mint tomorrow for $1,300 + $4.95 in shipping, then get paid $25 a week later. And yes, you can use a credit card.

The coins become available at exactly 12:00 pm Eastern time tomorrow, July 6th, 2017. Sometimes these deals go within minutes, so set a reminder for 11:50 am so you can be ready, if you’re interested. And be sure to opt-in (details below).

PFS buyers club

Buy this coin, get free points and cash

Then, PFS Buyers Club will send you a pre-paid label and pay you $1,330 for your effort – which yields a profit of $25. They send a check or PayPal payment within 7 business days of when you send them the coin.

Here are a couple of tips if you’re interested in this deal.

About PFS Buyers Club

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So You Wanna Be an Airbnb Host? Part 1: Finding the Right Place

I’ve had Airbnb listings since 2014. In New York, I had 4 listings. And now that I’m in Dallas, I have 2 here.

I get asked a lot about how it all works. Peeps are interested because it’s a fairly low-maintenance source of extra income. I recently wrote I make an extra ~$18,000 a year from my Dallas listings.

While that doesn’t replace the income from full-time work, it sure is a nice boost as it rolls in throughout the year!

airbnb hosting

Finding an in-demand location is step numero uno

The first step is to find an attractive place in the right location: somewhere tourists want to stay. And as always with me, it comes down to the numbers.

Airbnb Hosting Index:

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

Can you even do it?

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