About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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Tomorrow: Heading to Iceland + Greenland! Plus, Some Life Updates

Tomorrow, I’m flying AUS-DFW-KEF, with a looong layover in Dallas. Then flying to Iceland in a… coach middle seat on American Airlines. 😩

But it’ll be worth it, because shortly after, I’ll be off to Narsarsuaq, Greenland! I’ve wanted to travel to Greenland for so long. This really is a dream come true for me. And a huge bucket list item. ✔️

This time last year, I was in the Faroe Islands, and I tell ya, nothing compares to experiencing the Summer Solstice in 24 hours of constant sunlight.

Next year, I’d like to visit the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut – as I find myself drawn to increasingly far-flung places. And of course, I still need to get to Tierra del Fuego.

But I’m ahead of myself. Next up is Iceland and Greenland. I can’t forking wait!

Soon I’ll have my own collection of images from the shores of Greenland

I also have life updates to share.

Visit to Greenland 2019 + bric a brac

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Announcing the Next DALLAS Meetup on July 11 – Meet Fellow Points & Travel Peeps!

We’ll have our next Out for Miles frequent flyer meetup in Addison, very close to North Dallas and near the Tollway, I-635, and PGBT.

This one will be Thursday, July 11, at 5:30pm – just in time for Blue Mesa’s reasonably priced happy hour. We’ll plan to hang out for a couple of hours the week after the long 4th of July holiday.

If you’re in the Dallas area, feel free to join!

dallas travel meetup

The next Out for Miles meetup will be 7/11 @ Blue Mesa in Addison/Dallas

Out for Miles July event details

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Review: 3 Ways the Amex Platinum Card Is Worth the $550 Annual Fee

If you can’t tell, I’ve been thinking about ultra-premium cards a lot lately. Which ones to keep and pick up… and my overall card strategy.

All roads lead back to the Amex Platinum Card (learn more here) – the original, and a current stronghold.

Several years ago, it was my first card that had a big annual fee. Lots has changed in the industry since, but it’s held up remarkably well. It’s still the card to have if you’re seeking lounge access (though admittedly denigrated a bit in the past few years).

Among ultra-premium cards, it holds its own – especially if you can get maximum value from the long list of benefits.

There are three main ways to approach recouping the cost of the $550 annual fee: through lounge access, with statement credits, or from ancillary bennies.

In each case, the card earns its keep – making the rest of the perks gravy. 🤤 Let’s dig in a bit more.

And don’t forget the 60,000-point welcome bonus, worth ~$1,200 by itself!

amex platinum card review

Use the Amex Priority Pass to take a nap in airport Minute Suite locations – and many other lounges around the world

Here’s my expert analysis. 🧐

Amex Platinum Card review – how to make the $550 fee worth it

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PSA: Don’t Make This Mistake With US Bank Altitude Reserve Travel Credits

Upon logging into my US Bank online account, I noticed something weird.

I have a decent amount of points from using mobile pay at Costco for 3X points (a 4.5% return because each point is worth 1.5 cents toward travel). And I have my Real-time Rewards threshold set to $10.

So when I make a travel charge over $10, I get a text asking if I’d like to redeem points to “erase” it.

altitude reserve travel credits

Just say the magic word and your charge is gone. (The magic word is “Redeem”)

I used this for a few Uber rides recently. Great, great, love it.

But then… I noticed my $325 annual travel credit had recently reset – and doubly covered the charges.

~$82 of charges got double credited – one from Real-time Rewards, the other from my travel credits

Not only did I redeem points for those charges, but somehow it ate up ~$82 worth of my travel credits, too. If I’d known this would happen, I would’ve saved my points.

So when your travel credits reset, DO NOT use Real-time Rewards to erase your charges. You’ll end up paying double!

Oh, and US Bank was beyond lame when I alerted them to what happened. So lame that I’m thinking of dumping this card altogether – after I drain the remaining credits and points, of course.

US Bank Altitude Reserve travel credits don’t play well with Real-time Rewards redemptions

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Does Your Biz Spend $6,000+ a Month? Get 95,000 Points, $700+ in Credits, Lounge Access, Elite Status…

Who’s never had the small business version of the Amex Platinum Card? *raises hand*

This card doesn’t count against your Chase 5/24 status. But I didn’t include it on my list of 6 best cards if you’re over 5/24 because:

  • It will only appeal to a small segment of people
  • The minimum spending requirement to earn the welcome offer is $20,000 (!) in the first 3 months of account opening

But there are several huge reasons to get this card, namely 75,000 Amex Membership Rewards points as a welcome bonus. Plus it comes with a long list of benefits – like $200 in airline credits, 5x points on flights, and 35% points rebate on an airline of your coach (for coach flights, and any airline for Business or First Class).

You can learn more about the card here.

amex platinum business

I always make sure to eat full meals and enjoy a couple free cocktails at Amex Centurion Lounges

The annual fee is NOT waived the 1st year. But man, if you make good use of the lounge access and annual statement credits… it’s a total GOAT.

Amex Platinum business 75K card offer

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Today Only (5/28): Get $10 When You Download the Pei App & Link a Card

pei $10

Hope you had a good holiday weekend! Wanted to share this one day only promotion for the best cashback app out there right out – Pei.

Get a free $10 in your account when you:

  • Download the app
  • Link a credit or debit card
  • Enter promotion code “2pur1z” to get 1,000 points worth $10

That’s it!

Of all the cashback and card-linked apps, Pei is by far the most rewarding and easiest to use. The normal bonus for getting the app is 200 points ($2), so this is an easy win.

Plus, you can get $2 in points for every Uber and Lyft ride you take.

pei app $10

On May 28, 2019, you can get $10 for downloading the Pei app instead of the usual $2

I’ve been impressed with how easily the cashback rolls in for my normal spending. And whereas other cashback apps have gone downhill, Pei is holding strong. Get in on the good stuff while you can, especially with this today-only increased bonus!

Have a great week! 🙂

Earn Points + Cashback With Every Uber & Lyft Ride: The Complete List to Save the Most

I’m always torn between taking Uber and Lyft when it comes to rideshares. I mostly base the decision on which promos I’m chasing at the time. Because both companies let you stack several offers to earn points and cashback rewards every time you ride.

Here’s what you can get with Uber:

  • 200 points (worth $2 in cashback) for each ride when you link your card through Pei – download the app here and enter code “2pur1z” for 500 free points
  • 250 to 500 Freebird points (5,000 points = $10 cashback) when you start your ride through Freebirddownload the app here and enter code “OUTANDOUTfor $10 back
  • 1% cashback when you link your card through Hoochdownload the app here
  • $1 in Shop Your Way rewards for every ride, up to $20 per month – link accounts here
  • Up to 10% back in credits with Visa Local Offers (opt-in through the Uber app)
  • 10 Drop points per $1 for when you link your card with Dropdownload the app here
points cashback uber lyft

Get to saving every time to rideshare

And here’s what you can do with Lyft:

  • 3X Hilton points per $1 – link accounts
  • 1X Delta mile per $1, and 2X Delta miles on rides to/from the airport – link accounts
  • 30 JetBlue points for rides to/from the airport (up to 1,200 points per year) – link accounts
  • 200 points (worth $2 in cashback) for each ride when you link your card through Peidownload the app here and enter code “2pur1z” for 500 points
  • 250 to 500 Freebird points (5,000 points = $10 cashback) when you start your ride through Freebirddownload the app here and enter code “OUTANDOUT for $10 back
  • 25 cents for each ride when you tap through Ebatessign up here (this does NOT stack with Freebird, so choose one or the other – I recommend Freebird!)
  • 10 Drop points per $1 for when you link your card with Dropdownload the app here
  • $10 in credit for every 5 rides when you link and pay with a World Elite MasterCard

And that doesn’t count their respective loyalty programs that are slowly rolling out.

It’s kind of incredible you can get all this back from each ride – when you stack multiple opportunities, the rewards amount to a big rebate, particularly if you take a lot of quick rides around town.

So which one is the better choice?

Points & Cashback for Uber & Lyft

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Have You Checked Your Small Business Credit Score Lately? Get It for Free Here.

Nav is a service that’s primarily set up to match small businesses to financing options, loans, and credit cards. And as an added resource, they let you pull your small business credit report for free.

If you’ve ever opened a small business credit card, you probably have a business credit score. Through Nav, you can see your business risk grade from Experian, Equifax, and Dun & Bradstreet.

Experian and Equifax give you a grade of A through F, while Dun & Bradstreet use their own scoring model with a rank between 0 and 100.

But small business credit reporting is still the Wild West, because they match business names and addresses – and these aren’t always unique, so they do a lot of “near matching.” It’s a good idea to check the information that’s out there, particularly if you have a generic business name.

Plus, it’s free to check with Nav, so why not?

nav credit report

I still rent my spare room on Airbnb, and use the income I make to apply for small business credit cards. My Experian credit grade is a B 

Here’s more about your business credit score.

Nav credit report – pull it for free

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Good Deal: Get a Year of VPN Service for $24 – Secure Your Desktop & Mobile Traffic

I’ve been looking to get a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for a while now. While there are pros and cons to using a VPN, the good stuff far outweighs the bad.

Having a VPN:

  • Lets you steam content from anywhere (no geoblocks!)
  • Gives you a new IP address
  • Protects you when using unsecured public wifi (like in airports)
  • Secures VOIP phone calls
  • Prevents your ISP from tracking BitTorrent and other torrent sites
  • Helps you get around bandwidth throttling tied to your IP address

I primarily use a VPN to stream content from other countries (like when Spotify or YouTube says “this isn’t available in your country” – problem solved), and torrenting. Though when I’m connected to a VPN, I have to go through the whole security routine with bank logins (they want to send a text or email to confirm it’s me – which is a PITA).

That said, I found a deal to get 12 months of NordVPN service for $24 – and so far, I really like it! Particularly because they have apps for every device. So I can secure the traffic on my iPhone. Because I already use Face ID for most apps, the security is actually much easier for mobile.

I’ll show you how to stack the deal to pay $24 for a year of service.

nordvpn coupon

Get a year of NordVPN for $24 – better than a sharp stick in the eye

They also have a 30-day money back guarantee, and make it super easy to cancel auto-payments.

NordVPN coupon + TopCashback = $2 a month for a year of VPN service

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Using Points for Emergency Travel: Why Having a Stash Is a Huge Relief for Same-Day Flights

What a week. Just got back from Memphis. Last Friday, I got one of those phone calls. One of those drop everything and fly home right this minute phone calls.

My dad was in the ICU with a brain lesion near his optical nerve – and no one knew why. Doctors thought it could be anything from a simple infection all the up to brain cancer. He had to have biopsy surgery to find out.

Tickets home were $659 round-trip, or $329 each way. I didn’t want to spend the cash, so I went to my usual tricks: using miles and points to fly cheap or free.

I threw clothes in a bag and headed to the airport. This was the first time I’d ever had to fly back so quickly. It was a bizarre experience I don’t want to repeat any time soon.

And it showed me why having a stash of points ready to use at all times is so important for these situations.

points for emergency travel

I hate hospitals. Using points got me home the same day my dad went to the ICU

Here’s the series of quick steps I used to fly home right away.

When you have to fly immediately, having points for emergency travel can help so much

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The Top Card for Beginners? Yeah, the Chase Sapphire Preferred

I’m sure it’s happened to you at some point. A friend asks, “How do you do it?” Take all these trips to places like Hawaii, Tokyo and Osaka, Dublin, Barcelona, and more. How do you get free hotel rooms that cost hundreds of dollars a night?

“I want to travel like you do,” they say. “Where do I start?”

And you have that moment where you’re thinking, “Well for starters, using that debit card for everything you buy isn’t helping anything.” *cough*

You ask about their spending habits. “Do you shop online?” Definitely use a shopping portalget free miles for clicking a link.

You can stay at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta for FREE with Chase Ultimate Rewards points

And sign up for dining rewards while you’re at it because you never know when you’ll get some extra miles in your account – especially if you live in a mid-sized to large city.

But as far as cards go… where to begin?

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Get the Capital One Savor $500 Sign-Up Offer While You Can (Dropping to $300?)

Update: This offer is no longer available. Check here to see the latest card offers!

Right now, the sign-up bonus for the Capital One Savor card is showing as a $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening on the Capital One website.

But through affiliates like CardRatings, it’s shown with a $500 cash bonus upon meeting the same minimum spending. There’s some speculation it’ll drop to $300 across all channels, although nothing’s confirmed. So if you’ve been thinking about this card, I’d recommend getting the higher bonus while it’s still up, as these links can be pulled at any time.

You’ll also earn:

  • 4% cashback on dining and entertainment
  • 2% cashback at grocery stores
  • 1% cashback everywhere else
  • Free Postmates Unlimited membership through December 2019 (as a statement credit)
  • Learn more here

The $95 annual fee is waived the first year. If you spend even moderately on dining or entertainment, this is a great card to consider with a really generous $500 cash bonus.

If I weren’t trying to stay under 5/24, I’d get this in a heartbeat. Keep in mind Capital One pulls from all 3 credit bureaus when you apply for a new card.

Capital One Savor $500

How about $500 smackaroos right back in your pocket? Hit up this offer sooner rather than later if you’re interested

And I’ll remind you about those bonus categories!

Capital One Savor $300 Bonus

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