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Citi ThankYou Points – A Simple Guide on Earning and Redeeming

Hi Travel Junkies,

There are many different kinds of points in the travel game, which can make things a bit confusing and complicated. So today I want to break down one of the most overlooked points currency, Citi ThankYou Points, and talk about how to use them for maximum value without making your head spin.

Let’s get right to it.

 

How to Earn Citi ThankYou Points

By far the fastest and easiest way to earn Citi ThankYou Points is to take advantage of one of Citi’s credit card offers.

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The Citi Prestige CardCiti Prestige is currently offering a signup bonus of 40,000 points after you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months. Prestige earns 3x points on travel, 2x points on dining and entertainment, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.

Citi Prestige has an annual fee of $450 that is not waived for the first year. It does however come with a $250 annual airline credit, which can be applied to flight-related expenses such as airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades, and more.

Prestige also comes with a number of other premium benefits, including Priority Pass membership and a $100 Global entry application fee credit.

(You can read more about Citi Prestige by clicking the banner on our credit cards page)

 

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5 Thoughts, Blog

Guest Post: 5 Thoughts – Florence

Hi Travel Junkies,

Today I want to introduce you to Preedee Chenhansa, an avid traveler and longtime reader of 10xT. Preedee sent me a wonderful “5 Thoughts” piece after a recent trip to Italy that was too good not to share with the rest of the 10xT community.

So I asked him to share it with all of you here on the blog, complete with a few amazing photos.

Take it away, Preedee.

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Florence is my favorite city in Italy and I don’t mind going back there year after year, even if I haven’t explored other cities in the country. Florence is one of those charming cities that simply puts a smile on my face, similar to Portland, Oregon. I have nothing but good memories from there. Here are my 5 thoughts of Florence:

 

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1. Florence is underrated when compared to Rome and Venice – Florence doesn’t have the same name recognition as Rome, Venice, and Milan. Rome has The Colosseum, Venice has the famous canals, and Milan is known as one of the fashion capitals of the world. But what comes to mind when you think Florence? Before I visited Florence, I had no idea what to expect. Now, I think of a big town (not to be mistaken with being a small city) with lots of culture, great food, beautiful sites, and deep Italian history. I’ve spent time in Florence both by myself in hostels and with friends, both of which were very positive experiences, so it’s great for solo travelers, as a couple, or in a group. Continue Reading

Blog

7 Sneaky Travel Fees (And How to Avoid Them)

There are few things that I despise more than hidden travel fees that chip away at your vacation budget. Unfortunately these fees have become much more prevalent as hotels, airlines, and other travel companies fight to show the lowest rate on travel booking websites.

Today we are going to talk about seven of the most common hidden travel fees and a few tips on how you can avoid them. Let’s get started.

1) Checked bag fees – Most airlines charge ~$25 per bag each way, with that number being closer to $50 per bag for some of the budget airlines. And of course that fee can more than double if your bag exceeds the posted weight limited for each airline.

Sure, you can try to fit everything in to a carry-on bag to avoid this fee, but that just isn’t realistic for some trips.

A better way to get around checked bag fees is to consider picking up the airline’s credit card before booking and taking your trip. Most major airline credit cards provide free checked bags as one of their many perks, which can add up to some serious savings if you travel frequently or with a large group.

Another option is to consider using points from a card such as the Barclays Arrival Plus or Capital One Venture card, which earn points that can be used to erase any travel charge made with the card (including checked bag fees). You can read more about those cards by clicking the banner on our credit cards page.

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You can erase checked baggage fees with the Capital One Venture Card

 

2) Resort fees – Resort fees are mandatory fees added to a hotel stay in exchange for the use of amenities such as Wi-Fi, fitness centers, parking, etc. These fees have become incredibly common over the past few years, particularly in popular destinations like Las Vegas and the Caribbean.  Continue Reading

Blog

Introducing Two New Members of the 10xT Team – Dillon and Spencer!

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Hi Travel Junkies,

Today I am very proud to announce that we have added two very talented individuals to the 10xT team, Spencer Howard and Dillon Carter!

Spencer and Dillon will be joining as Contributor/Travel Gurus, so you’ll be seeing a lot of them both on the blog and one-on-one as they work with you to accomplish your travel goals.

I’ll let them introduce themselves in their own words. Take it away guys!

 

Spencer Howard

Hello, fellow world travelers!

My name is Spencer and I’m told that I’m obsessed with miles and points. Just because I spend three to four hours a day reading, talking, or thinking about points and the many ways to use them to travel doesn’t mean… fine, I’m obsessed.

I spend my days working for a trade association in D.C. (and thinking about travel). Fortunately, my office has made it their mission to get employees to use their vacation time and I’m happy to live the mission, and live it in style. Continue Reading

Blog

Now Or Never: Earn Up To 60k Bonus Miles with Delta (Expires Tomorrow 7/6/16)

Luke Sims – 10xTravel Contributor

[Please note – these deals have since expired. For updated information – visit our Credit Cards page here.]

Unless you’re brand new to 10xT you’ve probably noticed that Delta SkyMiles don’t get a lot of good coverage in the points/miles world.

SkyMiles generally don’t stack up in value to many of the other frequent flyer programs because of their lack of transparency and generally high number of miles required to book otherwise inexpensive flights.

However……. (in a melodramatic tone)

When you have the opportunity to earn up to 60,000 of them at once we are obligated to let our friends know that this is a great opportunity.

So, whether you frequently fly with Delta or not, let me show you why you should consider taking advantage of a Delta Airlines credit card before the current offers expire tomorrow, July 6.

 

Where Delta SkyMiles Shine

One of the major reasons that I am not a big fan of Delta SkyMiles is because they do not have an award chart.

That’s right. NO award chart.

With nothing set in stone, it’s hard to plan on using Delta SkyMiles for award travel for any specific flight. (And I’m an obsessed over-planner)

That said, because they don’t publish an award chart… that also leaves opportunities for some pretty good finds if you are 1. Lucky or 2. Know where to look.

Let me walk you through my top 3 uses of Delta SkyMiles. Continue Reading

Blog

How I Did It: All-Inclusive Long Weekend In Cancun For Next To Nothing

Luke Sims – 10xTravel Contributor

Hola Travel Junkies,

About a month ago I was de-stressing with my wife at our favorite diner, after yet another long week of work.

We were in one of those moods where we we’re ready to quit our jobs, move to some remote island in the Maldives and live off the land. (I’m sure you can relate)

We needed a weekend getaway.

Before sitting down to dinner I was scrolling through my emails and a reminder popped up on my phone: “Two Free Hyatt Nights Expire Soon”

Suddenly it struck me. I had two free nights at any Hyatt in the world (thanks to my new Hyatt credit card) and a long Memorial Day weekend only a few days away. So I motioned to the waiter for a round of cheesecake and flipped over my placemat for brainstorming space. It was time to get to work.

While scanning the Internet for the best hotels to use our two free nights, my wife politely suggested, “we need a beach and tropical drinks” – and she was right.

Four days later I was lying in a hammock in sunny and beautiful Cancun, Mexico.

Here’s how I did it.

Luke-Sims-10xTravel Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: 5 Star Hawaiian Honeymoon Using Points & Miles

Hi Travel Junkies,

Summer is finally here and with it comes more stores of 10xT readers taking amazing trips for next to nothing.

Today I bring you the story of Paul and Taryn, newlyweds who just got back from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Hawaii. Almost entirely booked with points and miles.

Take it away, Paul,

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Hawaii Success Story Paul - 1

I had got into the points/miles world one night while I was working in the ambulance. I stumbled across Bryce’s article on his big trip to Thailand randomly and was immediately intrigued.

I’m one that believes if it’s too good to be true then it probably is. But I decided to read anyways since I was bored. The more and more I read, the more and more I thought that it was actually plausible. And being a big traveler who has spent some real money on airplane tickets, I decided to email Bryce and read up on anything I could find.

Bryce talked me through a lot of the ins and outs of how points/miles work and helped me get started. I enjoyed reading his frequent emails and was immediately obsessed with this new hobby.

My wife and I at the time decided to do our honeymoon in Hawaii in April. I had some work to do. I had both myself and my wife Taryn apply for the Hawaiian credit card that was offering 50,000 bonus miles at the time. Easy. Those miles got us both a non-stop round trip to Oahu and back to Portland including two inter-island flights as well.

We flew into Maui and took a shuttle to Kaanapali, where we stayed for 5 nights at the Westin Maui Resort. We booked our room using Starpoints earned from the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card by American Express, which made our stay at this beautiful hotel almost entirely for free.

(Bryce note: You can find more information on these credit cards here)

While at the Westin we took all the spending at our hotel and charged it to our room, which had our Capital One Venture cards on file. This mean that things like poolside drinks and restaurant bills to become “travel” expenses, which allowed us to use our Capital One points to erase the charges.

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Blog

Plastiq: How to Pay Any Bill with a Credit Card

Luke Sims – 10xTravel Contributor

About twice a year I get into an argument with my mom about why she is not using a credit card for her purchases. “You do realize you could be earning miles to fly to Cancun next winter, right?”

(Being sassy with your mom is never a good idea…)

Traveling the world using points and miles can be chiseled down to two very basic ideas:

  1. Earn as many points and miles as possible
  2. Accomplish goal #1 with as little spending as possible

The absolute best way to earn points and miles is by taking advantage of points earning credit cards (so listen up, momma).

Introducing, Plastiq.

Plastiq is an online bill payment service that lets you pay just about any bill with a credit card, and that’s a big deal to those of us in the points/miles world.

If you’re going to pay a bill you might as well get rewarded for it, right?

Plastiq

 

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Blog

How Credit Card Trip Insurance Saved Me $200+ (And Why American Airlines is Awful)

“Flight 4568 has been cancelled due to weather”.

It’s one of the most frustrating sentences a weary traveler can hear, and last Sunday I had the misfortune of hearing it for the second time in as many months.

I was laying over in Philadelphia, on my way home from a quick weekend trip to Ireland when I received the dreaded news. We had been sitting on the runway for more than 45 minutes before the decision was made to cancel our flight due to incoming thunderstorms.

American Airlines didn’t even attempt to delay the flight and wait out the storm. It was flat-out cancelled, despite reports that the bad weather would be short-lived.

They later claimed it was due to the fact that we were flying on a small plane.

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And then proceeded to send two more flights on that same route, flying on the exact same plane. Continue Reading

Blog

Card Intervention: Southwest Airlines Premier Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Luke Sims – 10xTravel Contributor

Intervention

Here at 10xT we have noticed a trend that’s hurting our readers and its time we say something about it. So we have decided that its time for an intervention.

You might want to sit down for this next part.

Many of you have fallen deeply in love with Southwest’s co-branded credit cards and your love affair is keeping you from your full travel potential.

Yes, we know that you think the Southwest card has been treating you well. After all, those easy redemptions, no blackout dates, and free changes/cancellations are great.

But, we think think that you should dump your Southwest credit card for someone better, the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Here’s why.

Southwest Cards, Good But Not Great

Let me start off by saying that I am not bashing any of the Southwest credit cards. In the grand scheme of things, you could do a lot worse credit card wise.

I personally have had both the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card in the last year alone (mainly to earn the coveted SW Companion Pass).  

Thanks to my shiny new Companion Pass, my wife will fly for free with me whenever I fly Southwest for the next 16+ months. We actually just used this perk to spend last weekend in Cancun.

Luke10xTravel

But, where the Southwest credit cards really fall short is their benefits after you earn the signup bonuses. They each only offer 1 Southwest point per $1 spent (2 points per $1 on Southwest purchases) and don’t have any ancillary perks such as priority boarding, airline status, free checked bags, etc. Continue Reading