About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

More articles by Harlan »

Why I’m Moving (Even More) to Citi ThankYou Points – And Away From Chase

Like most points fanatics, I held Chase Ultimate Rewards points in the highest regard. It was my primary points program for years. At a recent Meetup, I asked everyone to include their favorite points program on their name tag. Literally everyone put Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

I was the odd one out. I proudly put Citi ThankYou points – which spurred interesting conversation. Because I haven’t really used my Chase cards since January 2019, when Citi Prestige unveiled 5X points earning for flights and dining with the Citi Prestige card.

Chase’s nearest competitor to Citi Prestige, the famed Sapphire Reserve, slid to ye olde sock drawer. Then, when the $450 annual fee came due, I downgraded it to the Freedom Unlimited, which I’ve used exactly never.

Why? Well, for my spending patterns, ThankYou points are much easier to earn. Combine that with the fact that Ultimate Rewards points aren’t as shiny as they once were and you have a recipe for saying “Chase Ultimate… who?

Sorry, Chase. It’s not me, it’s you.

citi thankyou points

One’s in, one’s out – which is which?

I say this as someone who is soon to be 2/24 (did I hear you gasp just then?). I mean sure, I’ll prolly get a couple more Chase cards for the sign-up bonuses. But I doubt it’ll change my long-term spending strategy.

Here’s my reasoning.

Chase No-Longer-Ultimate Rewards points

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Free Food! Get $7 Toward Your First Meal With Uber Eats Promo Code “EATS-RFUFR”

Sharing an easy win for $7 off a meal with this Uber Eats promo code: “EATS-RFUFR

Uber eats promo code

Easy $7 discount with Uber Eats

If you’re in a city where UberEATS participates (and there are many – here’s the full list), you can get $7 off your first order when you use an existing user’s promo code after you download the app for iOS or Android.

It only takes a few minutes and you can get a nice discount out of it. I’ll show you how easy it is.

$7 off Uber Eats promo code

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Mexico City Trip Report: Teotihuacan Ruins, Xochimilco Canals, & Frida Kahlo’s Blue House

This time a month ago, I was headed to Mexico City for Round Two, after a pretty terrible time there in November 2018. I’m happy it turned out to be the quintessential visit, including:

  • Amazing food
  • Aztec ruins at Teotihuacan
  • A boat ride in Xochimilco
  • Frida Kahlo’s studio home
  • A walk through Chapultepec Park
  • Shopping at one of the sprawling street markets

Mexico City is vibrant, welcoming, safe… and brimming with attractions. There are museums galore, amazing restaurants, tons of green spaces, architecture, historical sites, nightlife, and so much more to enjoy. And, it’s easy to get around, considering everything is a ~$10 Uber ride away (Lyft isn’t there as of August 2019). We didn’t even bother with the subways.

I could’ve spent a month there and it wouldn’t have been enough. Considering it’s only a ~2-hour flight from Dallas, I can see myself returning for a quick weekend visit. Plus, temps are in the 70s (with lows in the 50s/60s) all year, because it’s set in the temperate basin of a mountain valley. So coming from Texas, I got a mid-summer cool-down. 🤠

Mexico City Trip Report

Here I am with a shirt and bag from the street market, trying pulque for the first time in Mexico City

I’ll share the trip highlights!

Mexico City trip report 2019

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Trip Report: Endless Ice, Incredible Nature, & Traditions in Qaqortoq, Greenland

Whew! In the 6 days since I’ve been back from Greenland, I moved all my stuff from Austin to Dallas, unpacked, and am now getting ready to head to Mexico City tomorrow for Round Two.

As soon as I arrived to Greenland, I sensed it’s a special and magical place on Earth. And immediately knew I had to go back.

Because it’s the largest island in the world that’s not a continent. The stats are vast. Greenland:

  • Is 21 times the size of Iceland
  • Has an ice sheet three times larger than the size of Texas
  • Is covered in 80% ice, which is over a mile thick in some spots
  • Has over 27,000 miles of coastline (!!!)

And yet, only 56,000 people live there. At this scale, it would take years to explore the entire country. Though I saw the tiniest sliver, it’s an incredible and challenging environment to explore.

I dare say it’s the most remote place I’ve ever visited.

visit greenland

Yours truly became an Arctic explorer at the base of the massive Greenland ice sheet

Here’s a glimpse of my time there.

Visit Greenland 2019 – Holy wow

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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 you 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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