About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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FoundersCard Review 2019: Benefits, Updates, Cost – And Is It Worth It?

I’ve been a FoundersCard member for 5 years. Each year, they add more (and more useful) benefits, keep the best ones, and refine their partnerships based on member demand and use.

The upshot is making the most of even ONE perk can outweigh the $395 membership – and the rest is gravy. And when you sign-up with my link, your rate will never go up.

I’ve used the 15% AT&T discount, Hilton Gold elite status, and Caesars Total Rewards Diamond elite status (which is back this year through January 2020!) to cover and exceed the membership cost.

And there are new benefits for 2019!

Wow, has it really been 5 years? Just renewed my FoundersCard membership again

Here’s everything to know before you apply for membership.

FoundersCard Review 2019: Overview

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8,500 Miles for Spending $1,000 With a Quick Phone Call (Always Do This With Citi Cards!)

I love when an annual fee posts on a Citi card.  Because that means it’s time to pick up the phone and ask for Citi retention offers.  While Amex is sometimes generous, I’ve found Citi is the best at giving incentives to keep their cards – especially those with annual fees.

I currently have 6 Citi cards (3 AA cards, Prestige, AT&T Access More, and Rewards+). And called because the fee on my Citi Prestige just posted.

While I’m excited about keeping that card this year, I figured I’d ask if they could scoot bonus points my way, especially since I depleted them to go to Puerto Vallarta again.

There was nothing available for that card, but then I asked the helpful agent to check the others.

I call about once every 6 months – every single time, I’ve gotten at least 1, and usually more, worthwhile deals. This time was no exception.

citi retention offers

If you have Citi credit cards, it’s always worth calling for a retention offer

Here’s my latest!

Citi retention offers: Spend $1,000, get 8,500 AA miles – done!

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Awesome Targeted Deal: Up to 50% Off at Amazon With 1 Amex Membership Rewards Point

Talk about an amazing deal – you can get $30 off a $60+ Amazon purchase when you use 1 Amex Membership Rewards point and put the rest on a qualifying Amex card.

This deal is targeted. You can check your account at this link to see if you’re eligible.

It was in my account, so I immediately got a $60 Whole Foods gift card for only $29.99. That’s 50% off!

The deal works on items sold and shipped by Amazon, and excludes digital content. I love easy wins like this.

Amazon Amex 30 off

I can get everything I need for my heavy metal detox smoothie for 50% off with this latest Amazon Amex promotion

Here are more deets!

Amazon Amex $30 Off $60+

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The Easiest Path to the US Bank Altitude Reserve (The Best Card for Costco Shopping & Mobile Payments)

Since Costco rolled out Apple Pay to all their stores, I’ve used my US Bank Altitude Reserve card to earn 3X points every time I shop there. That’s because this card earns triple points on mobile payments and travel purchases.

Each point is worth 1.5 cents toward travel (which you can redeem in real-time after they post!), so that’s like getting a 4.5% return on every shopping trip (3 X 1.5). With prices already low, this is an easy way to save even more.

Plus, you can stack coupons through Ibotta for cashback when you buy certain items.

The card has a $400 annual fee, which easily pays for itself. The bigger issue is getting it in the first place – you need to have a “relationship” to even apply.

But there’s an easy and free workaround if you want to open this card.

us bank altitude reserve approval

Getting a 4.5% return on every shopping trip and mobile payment is awesome!

Here’s how to do it!

The easy way to get US Bank Altitude Reserve card approval

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How Many $400+ Annual Fee Cards Is Too Much (or Just Enough)?

Right now, I have 3 ultra premium credit cards with annual fees of $400 and up:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve – $450
  • Citi Prestige – $495 (though mine renewed at $450 for one more year)
  • US Bank Altitude Reserve – $400

That’s $1,345 in annual fees! 😵

Still, I find myself wanting the Amex Platinum biz card ($595, but $450 through January 2019) and Amex Hilton Aspire ($450), both for vastly different reasons.

But I can’t justify getting another ultra premium card with a big annual fee. Am I capping out at 3?

I’m really considering downgrading my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Getting a 4th – or 5th – would be overkill, wouldn’t it?

ultra premium credit cards

No way I’m dumping the best card for Costco shopping! All my high AF cards have a special utility

Here’s a rundown of the major cards with annual fees – and how I get value from them.

Ultra Premium Credit Cards – How Many Does One Need?

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The 5 Best Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners Are…

Citi ThankYou points are easier than ever to earn.

I plan to put airfare and dining on my Citi Prestige to earn 5X points per $1 spent, and use my Citi AT&T Access More card (not open to new applicants) to get 3X points for online shopping. Between these 2 cards, I’ll be flush with Citi ThankYou points this year.

And peeps with the Citi Premier can earn 3X points on all travel, including gas, and 2X points on dining.

In that light, I’m giving thought to Citi’s 15 airline transfer partners. But in my eyes, a solid 2/3 of them are total caca.

That means only 5 are worthwhile.

Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners

Man, I gotta get back to Hawaii this year. You can use Flying Blue or Singapore miles to get there cheap!

Let’s take a looky loo, shall we?

The 5 Best Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners

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Booking Puerto Vallarta 2.0: $3,000+ Vacation for 131,000 Citi ThankYou Points, Prestige 4th Night Free, & AA Business Extra

Last February, I spent 3 glorious nights at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta. And next month, I’ll spend another 4 nights there! For $0 out of pocket, I used:

  • 131,088 Citi ThankYou points + 4th night free to save $1,721 on the hotel stay
  • 4,000 American Airlines Business Extra points for $1,423 flights
  • Citi Prestige annual travel credits to cover ~$187 in taxes and fees

The total cost would’ve been $3,331. And I used ALL my Citi ThankYou points.

But after slipping the Citi Prestige card back into my wallet this week, I can build up my balance with new 5X earning on airfare and dining. Plus, they’d been hanging around for a while.

Learn more about the best travel rewards cards here.

puerto vallarta points 2019

This time, I saved over $3,000 to go back to Puerto Vallarta for 4 nights 🍹

Here’s how I put it together!

A $3,000+ vacation to Puerto Vallarta for $0

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‘Tis the Season to Use 0% APR Cards to Avoid Interest for up to 21 Months (If You HAVE to Carry a Balance)

Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s 2019! I’m working on travel plans and my credit card strategy – and soon I’ll have gigantic news to share.

If you spent too much over the holiday season, and carrying a balance is inevitable, consider transferring your balance to a new card with a 0% APR period.  They vary from 12 months to a staggering 21 months! This will hugely minimize the interest you’ll pay.

Depending which card you get, you won’t have to pay it off until January 2020 at the shorter end – or October 2020 at the longer end. That’s awesome!

Or if you have a big purchase coming up, opening a card with a 0% APR period gives you time to pay it back.

I’ve used both strategies successfully. But beware – pay close attention to the dates (which are listed on every statement you’ll get), or you’ll be right back where you started.

Still, it’s a LOT better than carrying a balance and paying huge interest rates. NEVER carry a balance if you can help it!

balance transfer cards

Paying interest negates any rewards you earn. Your balance will grow and you’ll get stuck on a debt treadmill – don’t do it!

Here are card options for balance transfers and big-ticket purchases. Because yes, life happens. Just try to control the damage as best you can.

Get unstuck with balance transfer cards

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Acorns Found Money: Automatic Cashback With 8 Merchants (BarkBox, Gas, Sam’s Club) & $60+ Free for Completing Offers

File this under semi-interesting. It’s niche, but worthwhile if you spend with any of the participating stores.

Acorns is offering free cashback (Found Money) for spending with a linked card at 8 merchants. Some are set amounts, others are a percentage back in your account.

And, you can earn $60+ for completing offers with their partners – things like free trials and insurance quotes.

I’ve earned $50+ for riding with Uber, filing taxes, and booking a pet sitter. So if these current offers don’t interest you, know they’re always rotating – and something’s bound to catch your interest sooner or later.

Acorns is an investment account that costs $1 per month. But considering how much free cash I’ve earned, it’s already paid for itself for several years.

You get a free $5 bonus when you signup using this link.

acorns found money

Don’t turn down free money! Just link your cards and spend like normal

Here’s how to get free cash coming your way.

Free Found Money with Acorns at 8 merchants (and it’s always changing)

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Dog Owners! Get Acorns & Earn Automatic Cashback to Invest With Rover & BarkBox Purchases – Just Link Your Card

It’s always nice to earn unexpected rewards for expected spending. That’s exactly what happened to me this week.

After I dropped my pup off at his sitter’s house (who I booked on Rover), I got an email saying I just got a $25 bonus from Acorns.  And when I checked my account, I saw another 5% back from his monthly BarkBox!

This is free, easy money if you use either service with regularity. All you have to do is link your card within your Acorns account. Nothing to activate!

But of course me being me, I had to go and stack it to the Nth degree. 😬

acorns rover barkbox

I love spoiling my critter. And getting free money for spending on him is even better!

I’ll share deals going on with both these popular merchants!

Get Acorns, Save With Rover and Barkbox

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Dealing With Travel Setbacks: Faceplanting & Montezuma’s Revenge in Mexico City

Visiting Mexico City for the first time was a dream come true. What happened in Mexico City… was not. To put it mildly.

I’ve traveled near and far and surely gotten colds or allergy attacks. Or tripped in the street or something. All par for the course.

But as I laid in bed the last full day of my 4-day trip, I couldn’t help but think… this isn’t how I thought it would be.

Even still, it’s been one of my favorite destinations so far.

travel setbacks

Got banged up Mexico City, dang

Also, falling in front of hundreds of people really sucks.

And, he’s down

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Targeted: 20% Off (up to $100) at Amazon When You Use 1 Amex Point – Easy Savings!

Too good not to share. When you shop at Amazon, you can get 20% off items sold and shipped by Amazon when you use 1 Amex Membership Rewards point as part of your payment method – if you’re targeted.

The discount is good for up to $500 in purchases, which means you can save a maximum of $100.  But you can only use the discount once, and it’s good through December 23, 2018 – so use it for a big purchase this holiday season! Although Amazon could pull it way before that date.

20% off at amazon

Click the page and “Click to activate” 20% off at Amazon

Easy win if you shop at Amazon!

Save up to $100 (20% off) at Amazon with this promotion

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