About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

More articles by Harlan »

[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

Read More

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?

Read More

Must-Haves of Travel: Sesame Oil

Also see: 

When I was in Chicago in March, I wasn’t prepared for how cold it got. And, I’d forgotten my ultra-moisturizing coconut oil. (I also didn’t pack nearly enough layers, but that’s another story.)

In my quest for moisture, I headed to a drugstore for chap stick and… something. I didn’t want to get a huge container because my trip was only 5 days. I thought maybe they’d have a travel pack of coconut oil since it’s gotten so popular recently. No luck there, but they did have… sesame body oil

sesame oil

Curious little container

Once I got it back to The Drake, I popped open the little container and took a whiff. This stuff smells amazing. And I quickly learned a dab’ll do ya.

A quarter-sized amount in the palm is all you’ll need to cover yourself in the softest, sheerest moisture. Since that trip, I’ve added it to my arsenal as a supplement for coconut oil when I don’t want as much moisture.

Why pack sesame oil?

Read More

Allbirds: The Perfect Travel Shoe?

When I saw an article with the kinda clickbait-y title, “The Most Comfortable Shoes in the World,” I rolled my eyes a bit but definitely clicked on it. Because I like to take one pair of shoes with me when I travel: the ones on my feet. So I was curious what had been singled out as “the one.”

My go-to for the past XX years has been New Balance, which are comfy as heck. But they do have that appearance of “casual athletic” and of course the big reflective “N” logo all over them. I’ve been comfort-over-style, essentially. When I spend hours a day walking, I’d rather be comfortable and dowdy-looking than the alternative.

Enter Allbirds (what a name, eh?).

allbirds review

Hanging in my new Allbirds shoes

The idea of a comfortable and attractive shoe lured me in. They come in a limited range of basic colors, they’re $95 a pop, and the founders are super committed to design, sustainability, and high ethical standards.

“What the heck,” I thought as I placed my first order. If they last 6 months, it’ll be worth it.

They arrived this week. Here’s what I think so far.

My Allbirds research Read More

Taking Stock: The 29 Credit Cards I Currently Have – and Why

Time for a credit card inventory. Over the years, my collection of credit cards has grown. I now have 29 credit cards to my name.

(I did have 30, but closed my Citi ThankYou Premier last week. Because the Chase Sapphire Reserve is better for the same 3X categories. And Citi is changing the Prestige and AT&T Access More cards next month – which is causing me to significantly rethink my relationship with them.)

Ah, but a small sample of the 29 cards I currently hold

And, I’m paying annual fees on many of my cards. So I thought I’d put the complete list together to take stock of what I have – and what I’m getting in return. I’ll write a little snippet for each card, but will try to keep it brief. 29 cards is a lot!

Let’s jump right in.

Amex

Read More

Update: My Credit Score Is Recovering After Disputes With All 3 Bureaus

Also see: 

Well, it’s been nearly a year since a $6 charge from Dollar Shave Club on an Amex card plunged my credit score over 100 points.

At the time, my credit score was 803 – the first time I’d ever gone over 800. I know it doesn’t intrinsically “matter,” because a score over 750 is as good as it gets. But I did have some pride at earning an above-800 score.

So I was pretty horrified when one stupid error brought me down to ~700. All the work I’d done to build my credit was instantly erased. And, Amex was totally clueless, unhelpful, and actually prolonged the repair process by saying they’d corrected it on their end when in actuality they hadn’t done anything.

I dragged my feet on filing a dispute with the 3 major credit bureaus because I knew it would be a slog – and it was. No sugar-coating that ish.

 

credit score recovery

Only 13 points to go before I get to 800 again

But, as of last month, my score is now above 780 across the board!

It’s not over 800 yet – I doubt that will happen any time soon – but I am happy my score is recovering. Here’s how it went down.

The long, long dispute process

Read More

Gasp! Citi AT&T Access More Will No Longer Earn 3X for Rent & Mortgage Payments

I am in a slough of despond. Following this morning’s depressing news that you can no longer use Visa cards for Plastiq rent and mortgage payments, I received the following email from Citi:

citi at&t access more

Crying

As of July 22nd, 2017, “rental and real estate” payments will only earn 1 point per $1 spent instead of the current 3X points. This was definitely going to be my backup for Visa cards.

And, given that Citi Prestige is getting poopier on July 23rd, 2017, I am suddenly rethinking my entire relationship with Citi cards.

If only 1X, which 1X?

Read More

Still Available: Ameriprise Amex Platinum Card, $0 the 1st Year and 1.25 Points per $20K Spent

Also see: 

I wrote back in November how you can get an Ameriprise Amex Platinum Card with a $0 annual fee the first year. The fee on all personal Amex Platinum Cards has since gone up to $550 – but this deal is surprisingly still kicking.

Ameriprise Amex Platinum Card

$0 the first year and 1.25 points on purchases

Even better, you get 5,000 bonus Amex Membership Rewards points for every $20,000 you spend on the card. You can earn 30,000 extra points this way – so it’s good for up to $120,000 in spending each calendar year. You also still get 5X points on airfare and travel booked through Amex.

Get the Ameriprise Amex Platinum Card while you can

Read More

Don’t Miss Out: Free Museums, One Month for 5X, Hilton Surpass 100K

Happy Wednesday!

Here are some deals still on the go – snag ’em while you can!

Through May 31st (today!)

Hilton Surpass Amex 100K offer

Last call to earn 100,000 Hilton points with the Amex Hilton Surpass. Here’s why I took the bait with this truly best-ever offer. Not into Hilton points? Think again. I estimate this bonus is worth at least $1,000 if you plan carefully.

June 3rd and 4th

Free museums

Free museums if you have a Bank of America debit or credit card. Only good for the cardholder and doesn’t include special exhibits. That said, there’s a participating museum in nearly every state, so check it out if you want some free culture this weekend.

limited time deals

Check out the Denver Zoo this weekend for F-R-E-E

Through June 30th

Get your 5X!

If you have Chase Freedom, get 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points and drugstores and supermarkets on up to $1,500 in spend. Can activate retroactively and still get bonus points. Easy categories here.

Activate your 5X – you have a month to max it out

With Discover It, get 5% back at home improvement stores and wholesale clubs on up to $1,500 in spend. Must activate BEFORE you shop. New cardmembers get their cashback matched after the 12th billing cycle, so it’s like getting 10% back. Discover is not accepted at Costco, but you can purchase cash cards online and use them in-store for a nice discount. Boom.

The Boxed deal is back

The Boxed deal might be in your Amex account

I wrote about how to save 50% on merchandise at Boxed with an Amex Offer. Instead of $15 back on $50+, it’s now $25 back on $65+. Still a dang good deal. Even better, you can tweet #AmexBoxed to add it to your synced card even if you weren’t targeted.

2X SPG points

Doctor of Credit has the details. You get 10,000 bonus SPG points for spending $10,000 on your Starwood business Amex through the end of June. So, 20,000 SPG points on $10,000 in spend = 2 SPG points per $1 spent. Great deal if you’re targeted – worth checking.

Bottom line

Get ’em while they’re around. Any other good ones to share? Let me know and I’ll add ’em!

Added My Brother as an Authorized User – His Score Went up 100+ Points in a Month!

Also see:

When my little brother (he’s 24) told me he wanted to get a place with his girlfriend – their own place – the first thing I asked was, “How’s your credit?” because I knew they’d check.

authorized user

Last month, his score was 586

He didn’t know. When we checked, his score was a dismal 586. It wasn’t because he had bad credit. But because he had no credit at all. Literally, zero accounts ever in his life.

I think I have 30 credit cards by now (?), a paid-off auto loan, and about to have two mortgages. With regard to my brother, hopefully I’ve helped create a path to his own points and miles journey.

But first things first.

Address matters when you add an authorized user

Read More

Last Chance to Get the Hilton Surpass Amex for 100,000 Points (And Why I Got It)

Also see: 

Through May 31st, 2017 (this Wednesday), the Hilton Surpass Amex has its best-ever sign-up bonus. Yes, it’s offered 100,000 Hilton points before. But this go-around, you also get a free weekend night certificate after your first cardmember year.

I wrote how 120,000 Hilton points can easily be worth over $700. But throw in the free night cert, and you’re approaching $1,000 in value from a single sign-up bonus.

hilton surpass amex 100,000

I used Hilton points to stay in colorful Colorado next week

Plus you get Hilton Gold elite status with the card which means… free breakfast! (My fave perk lol.)

I was low on Hilton points and am becoming intensely interested in a trip to Mexico City this year. There are lots of lower-category hotels there – and you get the 5th night free on any award stay.

In general, Hilton points go further at low-tier hotels. But it’s all about how you like to use them.

The Hilton Surpass Amex is worth it if you’ve never had it

Read More

Plastiq Rent Payments With US Bank Altitude Code as Travel but Do NOT Earn 3X

On May 1st, I got the US Bank Altitude Reserve card – the first day it was available.

I wrote how payments with Plastiq coded as travel with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card (lots of peeps on Reddit confirm this, too). So I was hoping that would be the case with the US Bank Altitude Reserve. Especially because the minimum spending requirement is $4,500 – that would’ve been a nice points haul at 3X.

us bank altitude

The merchant code gave me hope for 3X

And the charges did code as travel. But my statement just closed and I only got 1X point per $1.

This US Bank card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve are both Visa cards. So while it doesn’t work for the former, I’m hoping it will still earn 3X with the latter for a while longer.

Here’s what I found.

A charge that codes as travel but didn’t earn 3X

Read More