Reselling an iPad Air 2 128GB

I am very encouraged with my recent success selling an iPad on Amazon so when I saw another sale at Best Buy I decided to try again. Here are the details.

  • iPad Air 2 128GB
  • MSRP: $699
  • Purchase Price: $534.99
  • Amazon List Price: $645.59
  • Expected Amazon Fees: $38.38
  • Anticipated Profit: $71.82
  • Points Earned: 534 Southwest points and 534 Best Buy reward points

I am currently trying to meet the minimum spending on my wife’s Southwest card so the purchase was made with that.  After meeting the minimum spend on the Southwest card that will trigger a bonus of 50,000 points.  The minimum spend is $3,000.  The profit from the resale will also offset the cost of the annual fee, $99, which was not waived.

As for the deal itself, how did I get a $699 iPad for $534.99?  It was a combination of taking advantage of a sale, using a 10% off coupon, and redeeming a best buy rewards gift certificate.  You can get Best Buy 10% off coupons at the post office in their change of address packet.

I could have made this deal stronger in a couple of ways.  First, I didn’t use a portal like I did in my last deal.  I totally brain farted that.  In looking back at the portals the deals were not that strong so I didn’t miss out on much.  I would have been kicking myself more if there was a 5% cash back offer.

Second, I could have bought Best Buy gift cards at at discount from Cardpool.com.  The current discount is 6%.  That would have brought my cost down by another $32.   I did contemplate doing that but it would have required me to buy $535 worth of gift cards spread across 8 gift cards.  I have not done that before so was not comfortable with going all in like that.  I think next time I will test it out by buying a couple and seeing how it works.

Fingers crossed this attempt works out as well as the last one.

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Adventures in Reselling, First Success!

This is an update on my second attempt at reselling.  My first attempt did not go so great. The second attempt was a great success.

To recap, I bought a 16GB iPad Air for $244.99 at Best Buy.  I did so through Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan shopping mall.  At the time they were offering a 2x bonus at Best Buy so I earned 540 miles on the purchase.  I listed the iPad on Amazon using Fulfilled by Amazon.

I initially listed the iPad at $365.  There were a couple of iPads listed at a lower price but I decided to be a little greedy and hoped those would sell quick and then mine would be next in line.  The iPad ended up sitting for a few days and I grew impatient.  I dropped the price by $10 and it sold within 3 hours of the price drop.  After Amazon’s fees I ended up with a profit of $89.  Not too shabby.

Summary:

  • iPad Air 16GB
  • Purchase Price: $244
  • Sale Price: $355
  • Net to me after fees: $333
  • Profit: $89
  • Miles: 540 Alaska Air miles.

At first blush you may think what’s the big deal, it is only $89 and 540 miles.  True, but the potential is in scalability.  I’m not in the comfort zone yet of buying in bulk and will probably continue to do one at a time for awhile, but imagine this times 5 or 10?

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The Death of Old Portland

In the last week both Portland Monthly and Willamette Week have brought up the topic of the death of Old Portland.  Willamette Week is conducting a poll online about when Old Portland was born and when did it die.  I think it is an interesting question.  Those of us who have been in Portland for 20+ years can feel that there is something different.  What it is different is hard to say.  This is going to be my probably lame attempt at putting a finger on it.

First we have to answer the question of what is Old Portland? Old Portland is hard to explain but this poster about sums it up.

What is the significance of this poster?  Well the guy would be Portland’s former mayor Bud Clark.  He was a bar owner in Goose Hollow who was elected mayor in the mid 80’s. If a picture is worth a thousand words, that poster sums up Old Portland better than anything I could write.  To me it demonstrates a city that is gritty, blue collar, but also likes some of the finer things in life.  The photo was taken in 1978, before Bud Clark was elected mayor but it made him famous and probably helped his bid for mayor.

In 1984 Bud Clark was elected Mayor, Higgins Restaurant opened, and BridgePort Brewing Company opened.  Higgins was one of the first restaurants in Portland that focused on local fresh ingredients and was a seminal restaurant in Portland that started the foodie craze that we all know and love today.  BridgePort was the first craft brewery in Oregon and is a founding father of the craft beer industry.  The confluence of the food, the beer, and the attitude represents to me the birth of Old Portland.

Is Old Portland Dead?

Hand2Mouth seems to think so and will be hosting a funeral with eulogies and all.  I think I tend to lean towards yes and the death was recent.  While I don’t think I can pinpoint Old Portland’s exact death, I am pretty confident that I know when the terminal illness kicked in.

Ok, ok, I don’t think Portlandia killed Portland, but it represents something that did. Portland becoming popular both nationally and internationally.  The popularity combined with the economic recovery and growth in Portland killed Old Portland.

There has been an explosion of growth in parts of Portland.  Portland has become an it thing, which is decidedly not Old Portland.  There are more out of staters moving to Portland, the housing inventory and rental inventory is non-existent and it is pushing Portland into unaffordability.

Is the growth and change in Portland a bad thing?  Well, certainly the traffic sucks a lot more than it used to.  But the answer to that probably depends on who you ask.  The one fight I find to be an entertaining side show is the hipster vs. yipster fight.

Portland has changed, Old Portland is dead, but such is life; cities evolve just like people. No doubt there are cool things to come in the New Portland (MLB anyone??).  But I do miss the Old Portland.

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Ranking Portland Airport’s Restuarants

In recent years PDX has really transformed the food options available at the airport.  They have really taken on the foodie culture that exists in Portland and put it in the airport.  The restaurant options in the airport have been substantially upgraded as a result.  There are now 27 restaurants at PDX, which considering the small size of the airport seems like a lot to me.  With so many options to choose from, lets break them down from the bottom of the barrel to the cream of the crop.

Bottom of the Barrel:  Skip these.  This is the fast food list. There are better options that serve the same type of food and better quality.

  • McDonald’s
  • Burgerville
  • Panda Express

Third Tier:  This is your average standard airport fare.  Not bad, not great, but will fill you up and might be overpriced for what it is.

  • Capers Cafe
  • Mo’s
  • Beaches
  • Beach Shack
  • Henry’s
  • Roses
  • Sandoval’s
  • Tequila Grill

Second Tier:  These are solid choices that would probably be top offerings at most other airports, but not at PDX.

  • Elephant’s Delicatessen
  • MOD
  • Pot Belly
  • Cafe Yum
  • Petite Provence
  • Hissho Sushi
  • Stanford’s

First Tier:  This is the cream of the crop at PDX, these are restaurants that are worth going to outside of PDX.

  • Koi Fusion (Food Cart)
  • Pok Pok (Food Cart)
  • Bro Dogs (Food Cart)
  • Laurelwood
  • Rogue
  • The Country Cat

Left off the list were Starbucks and Coffee People.

 

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Reselling Attempt No. 2

Ok, so I finally got around to taking another crack at reselling.  Hopefully this works out better than my first attempt.  I’m feeling pretty confident in this one.  Here is the deal breakdown.

On Saturday I was kicking myself in the pants for having not caught the Black Friday in July sale that Best Buy had over the weekend. They were selling iPad Air 2s with a $125 discount . When you combine that with an Amex offer of $25 off $250 at best buy it is a winner.  Well by time I noticed they were sold out.

Today, when I got an email about a Cyber Monday in July sale, I jumped on it.  iPad Air 2s were not on sale but iPad Air’s were.  They were $100 off.  I was also able to take advantage of the same Amex offer and I had a 10% off coupon.  The deal broke down as follows.

  • Purchase Price = $244.99
  • Best Buy Rewards = 269
  • Alaska Air Miles (I used shopping portal) = 538
  • Amex “Old” Blue Cash points (.5%) = 134

About the Blue Cash points.  This month we got the Amex “Old” Blue Cash card. This card will earn 5% cashback on gas and groceries after spending $6500. Ordinarily I would not have used that card for this purchase.  However, this purchase put us over the $6500 mark.  So moving forward we will get 5% cashback on all gas and grocery purchases.

 

How much do I hope to earn in profit?  Currently this iPad is selling on Amazon for $365. After Amazon takes their commision I hope to earn $338.  That is a profit of $93, plus 538 Alaska miles, $2.69 in Best Buy Rewards, and triggering my 5% cashback bonus on the Blue Cash card.  Not too shabby for about 30 minutes work this morning.

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Oregon Brewers Festival Starts Today

Image from oregonbrewfest.com

Portland has lots of fairs, festivals, and celebrations.  Pretty much year round there is a good chance something is taking place.  But without a doubt, my favorite is the Oregon Brewers Festival.  It is the largest outdoor craft beer festival in the country and I find it to always be a good time.

The festival starts today at noon.  There is also an opening day parade which will start at 11:30 from Metalcraft Fabrication at 723 N. Tillamook Street.  The parade usually involves a few hundred people and this year the grand Marshal will be Kurt and Rob Widmer.  They along with a couple other of local brewers started the OBF 28 years ago.  The parade goers will also be accompanied by the Transcendental Brass Band (who by the way are awesome),  The parade is a goofy fun time and I encourage you to take part if you can.

Admission to the festival is free.  However, to taste beer you will need to buy a mug and tokens.  A piece of advice, and I have no scientific validity to what I am about to say and may also be attributed to beer goggles, however…  A full mug is four tokens, a partial mug is one token.  I’m convinced that two partials equals a nearly full mug, close enough that it is not worth paying the extra two tokens to make the difference.  So, if you are going to be there for multiple days.  Considering buy two mugs, get a partial pour in each for 1 token, and then combine the two.  I would only advise this if you are planning on going for multiple days because it takes a few beers to make up the difference and even come out ahead due to the cost of the extra mug.  Have fun and be safe.

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Why I moved to the ‘Burbs

It was not too long ago, where I would have scoffed at the idea of moving out of the city and off to the suburbs.  The following commercial pretty much sums up my life trajectory in the last 10 years.

There are many things that I will miss about Portland, and some things that I won’t.

THINGS I WILL MISS ABOUT LIVING IN PORTLAND

  1. Restaurants
  2. Trimet
  3. Easy Entertainment Options
  4. Parks Galore
  5. My Favorite Neighborhoods

THINGS I WILL NOT MISS ABOUT PORTLAND

  1. Tweakers
  2. Tent Cities in Downtown Portland and Central Eastside
  3. Terrible Public Schools
  4. Hipsters

The bottom line for us that pushed the move out of the city was two things.  One, was space.  We needed a bigger house.  We were living in your classic Portland craftsman bungalow.  We had about 1200 square feet of actual livable space in our house.  When it was just my wife and I it was not a problem.  When we added our oldest son it was doable.  When our youngest arrived it was manageable until the last year when we were living with a toddler and a pre-k in 1200 square feet.

The second reason for moving is public schools.  Portland, along with many other public school districts in Oregon, has been in a downward spiral since Measure 5 passed in the early ’90s.  West Linn some how has managed to avoid that trajectory and is one of the best public school systems in the state.  We went from sending our children to a failing school to one that is a spanish immersion school and in the top 10% of statewide performance standards. While I realize that urban flight of highly educated professionals to suburbs does not help urban schools, it can hardly be blamed for the failure of Portland’s schools.  If anything it is just a symptom of a larger problem.

I miss already the easy access to fantastic restaurants and neighborhood pubs.  Thank goodness it is summer and I love barbecuing.  Today on the menu are smoked spare ribs! So time to go mow the lawn, turn on the barbie, go to home depot, and maybe bed bath and beyond if we have time.

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Rental Car Upgrades After Winning a Bid on Priceline

Reader, htownzsos, left the following question on my using Priceline for rental cars page. The question brings up some good points so I thought I would answer the questions here on the main page.

Awesome article Scott really appreciate your post on the matter, never tried it this method but got a trip to the DC area and nyc week long in the works so have hit the internet for planning.

 

I was wondering if the method above works in this situation if I win the bid for a compact, midsize or even full size, at my comfortable price, would I be able to get to the rental counter and ask for an upgrade for a full SUV such as a chevy suburban and pay $10 – $20 extra per day?

 

My ultimate intent is to get the chevy suburban or similar for 8 people we actually have 12 people so might be getting two rentals, or do you think it’s better to get a 15 pass van, not much room for price discounts if we get a 15 pass van since limited places would have them in my opinion but would like your thoughts on it.

 

I’m aware how the rental sales men work on commission and that things like upgrades and the damage waiver are what they try to target to sell anyway. So I assume it would work anyways but just wanted your thoughts on it?

 

I know this would work under normal conditions had i just made a reservation then ask for the upgrade because my buddies do it when they go to vegas by booking a minivan then at the counter ask for the suburban for extra $10 per day, and works just fine, and they don’t use priceline bidding just normal travel sites.

When it comes to upgrading a rental car you got through bidding on Priceline, I would say that 80% of the time I get an upgrade from lot attendant and I have never paid for the upgrade.  In December when we went to Hawaii, I got a full size car and ended up being upgraded into our choice of a minivan or SUV (we went with the SUV).

Although, I would never plan on an upgrade because I am not willing to pay for it, your situation is different given your willingness to pay.  However, I think the cost of upgrading from a compact or full size to a suburban would be prohibitive, assuming they even offer you such an upgrade.  Your friend’s situation is a little different given that they are not bumping up as far category wise.

My advice, since Priceline does not allow bidding on 15 person passenger vans, would be to go get the smallest car you can live with, in this case probably a mid-size SUV, and work the upgrade at the counter from there.

Bottom line is that more often than not you will get an upgrade for free, either at the counter, or from the lot attendant.  But to make your vacation more enjoyable plan around your minimum needs.  The last thing you want to do is get stuck with a car that won’t work.

Good luck and when bidding on Priceline, don’t forget to use my link, it helps support this blog.  Your support is appreciated.

 

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July is Craft Beer Month

If you have not heard by now, Portland is a beer city.  Portland’s craft beer tradition got started 30 years ago with breweries like Bridgeport and Widmer.  Today, Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world.  You can hardly turn a corner in this city without running into a brewery, take a look here.

July is our designated craft beer month.  All month long there is some sort of event, special tasting, or gathering nearly everyday.  OregonCraftBeer.org has the full list here.  In this post however, I want to highlight the festivals, starting with the Portland Craft Beer Fest which starts today.

PORTLAND CRAFT BEER FEST JULY 3 – 5.

The Portland Craft Beer Festival takes place in the Pearl at Fields Park.  The PCBF is a celebration of Portland beer and features only beer brewed within Portland city limits. Given that there are 50+ breweries in town, there will be no shortage of beer.  The PCBF starts today at 4 (although may open early) and admission is $20.

SOUR BEER FESTIVAL JULY 14 – 20

The Sour Beer Festival is hosted by the best bottle shop in Portland, Belmont Station.  If you have yet to try sour beer I highly recommend giving the sour beer festival a try.  Sour beer is actually pretty good and it is fun to try something from brewers who are not trying to out hop each other.

OREGON BREWERS FESTIVAL JULY 22 – 26

The Oregon Brewers Festival is the granddaddy of all Oregon beer festivals.  What started out as a couple of brewers tapping some kegs on the waterfront has turned into a premier beer event attracting people from all over the world.  This year’s event will feature 90 craft beers from across the country and 15 international beers.  Admission is free, however, to taste beer you will need to purchase a $7 mug and $1 tasting tokens.  As all always the event will be on the Waterfront.

 

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I’m back!

Sorry for the dry spell folks.  The last few months have been crazy.  We sold our house back in March.  We closed in April and moved out without having found a new home.  I had incorrectly assumed that the craziness of the Portland housing market was contained to areas close in to downtown.  Turned out I was half right.  We were focussing our search in the Murray Hill and Bethany areas in Beaverton.  Two months and 8 offers later!!! I was about ready to call it quits and get a rental.  It had not occurred to me that thanks to Nike and Intel expansions those housing markets were almost as crazy as Portland proper.

Before giving up a colleague convinced me to look at homes in West Linn.  A small city about 20 minutes south of downtown Portland.  That turned out to be a wonderful bit of advice and we purchased the first house we made an offer on.  We are very happy with the situation and in hindsight glad it did not work out on the west side of town.  For those who are unfamiliar with West Linn here is UFC fighter Chael Sonnen describing his home town.

So now we have moved to the mean streets of West Linn, Oregon and hopefully I won’t see any littering.  Soon I will post about why I left Portland (although is 20 minutes south really leaving Portland??)

In other Portland news:

  • Portland’s annual world naked bike ride is tonight and it is of course not without some controversy.
  • The temperatures are going to be nasty this week. If you want to stay cool head for the coast or go hang out in Oneonta Gorge.
  • I will have a separate post on this soon but July is the beginning of the best beer month in Portland and things are kicking off early with the International Beer Festival which started yesterday.

On the mile and points front:

  • I have not earned any serious frequent flyer miles in the last 18 months.  I put all that stuff on hold in preparation for buying a new home.  I am jonesing to get back in the fold.  I have some trips coming up and my miles balances are low.
  • Although I have been quiet in my own miles earning and blogging, I have still been active with my miles and points consulting.  In fact just had a client return from a trip to South Africa flying Cathay business class that I had helped him book.  He said the trip and flights were amazing.
  • During this hiatus I have also not done any reselling which is something I wanted to get into for meeting spends.  I am going to start doing that and will be writing about my experiences here.
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