Home > Delta, Gift Cards, US Bank > Tips and Tricks: Free Experian Score, Avoiding Authorization Charges on Gift Cards, and Boarding with a Frequent Flyer Card

Tips and Tricks: Free Experian Score, Avoiding Authorization Charges on Gift Cards, and Boarding with a Frequent Flyer Card

Free Experian Credit Score from US Bank
If you got in on the US Bank FlexPerks Olympics deal, you can get a free Experian Credit Score by logging into your US Bank online account.


What’s great about this is that it’s an Experian score. CreditKarma checks TransUnion, which is useful, but Experian is the most used credit bureau whenever I apply for new cards. You can imagine how ecstatic I was when I saw I had a 768 even after 10 inquiries in the past 2 years! For comparison, my score was a 744 in October 2011 from the same Experian site. Not bad!

US Bank also sent out letters with credit scores if you applied for the card. I got this in order to see where I stood after all my applications, as I won’t be applying for any new credit cards until 2013. I don’t know how long this offer will last, but it would be a great thing to check before your next set of credit card applications.

Avoid temporary authorization charges online
Kudos to gezzuzz at Flyertalk for bringing this my attention.

This really has to do with gift cards or prepaid cards. When you add these cards to your online accounts (on places like Amazon.com), the merchant takes a $1 temporary authorization to validate the card. On a non-credit card, this temporarily reduces your balance by $1, which can make it difficult to cash it out completely.

For example, if I get a $25 Visa gift card and add it to an online payment account, the merchant might take a $1 temporary authorization, making my balance only $24. The authorization can last for as long as a week, meaning I have to wait 7 days to cash out the gift card. It’s really a #FirstWorldProblem more than anything, but with multiple gift cards, this can add up.

One way to try and avoid this is to enter the card with a wrong expiration date. After the card is in the system, go back in to edit it and change the expiration date. In true science nerd fashion, I experimented with 2 gift cards, using one as a control: entering a correct expiration date at first created a $1 test authorization, while entering a wrong one and editing it a minute later did not.

Use a Delta Skymiles card to board
Lucky recently posted about 7 things not to do while flying.

One of the things to not do was to use an e-boarding pass. I have had mixed experiences with e-BPs and so usually have a paper boarding pass with me. However, one trick I learned last year is that many Delta airports will take a Skymiles or Skymiles Medallion card as a boarding document. If the gate machine is the one that scans a ticket barcode, it should be able to read the barcode on the back of your Medallion card. When you scan it, a receipt should print with your flight number and seat assignment.

You still need a BP for security, since those aren’t Delta-specific readers, but many security stations accept e-Boarding Passes as well. I know from experience that these technique works at LAX (I was running late for a flight and had just enough battery life to get through security, then pull out my Gold Medallion card to board).

I’m not sure what other airlines allow this — feel free to comment if you know of another airline that allows this!

Categories: Delta, Gift Cards, US Bank
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