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How I Did It: A $1,300 Trip to Oregon for $22.50

Hey guys!

I recently got back from a four-day trip to Oregon with my girlfriend. From hot springs to waterfalls to snow capped mountains, it was was an amazing adventure.

I had been sitting on some points for a while and finally had a short break from class, so we quickly decided to book a trip. The whole booking process took less than an hour.

Dillon's Trip

As everyone knows, trying to make time to travel can be particularly frustrating, so we booked this three months in advance. As a budding entrepreneur, this gave me enough lead time to ensure I had everything in place so I could relax on my vacation.

For those who don’t think you can take the time away from work, I’m here to tell you that it is possible. With a little planning, you can not only take a great vacation, but enjoy it too! Continue Reading

Blog

The Marriott-Starwood Merger and What It Means For You

By: Spencer Howard

If you have been following the merger between Marriott and Starwood, you know many points’ enthusiasts have been having panic attacks over what this will mean for their SPG points.

Well, the merger was finally completed and… everything is okay. In fact, the merger has been handled quite well for those with loyalty to either program.

Let’s check out the opportunities the merger has presented us.

Marriott-StarwoodMerger

Linking Your Accounts

To get started, you will want to link your Starwood (SPG) and Marriott (or Ritz-Carlton*) accounts. Marriott has set up a site to make this a simple process. Just have your log-in info on hand for the two programs you are linking.

*Marriott and Ritz-Carlton are part of the same program already. The difference between them is mostly in the promotions they market to you. You can only have one or the other, but the points you earn work with both.

Transfer Points Between Programs

One of the great aspects of this merger is that points may now be transferred between programs, and at a fair rate of three SPG points per Marriott Rewards point. This provides some intriguing options for hotel stays in both programs, and possibly some interesting flight options. If you’ve been wanting to try a Marriott or Starwood property, but haven’t had the appropriate points, this could be your chance. Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story – A Couple’s Trip to Europe for Next to Nothing

By: Bryce Conway

Hey Travel Junkies,

We love when we get the opportunity to tell you about our amazing readers.

But, you know what we love more than that? Hearing how our awesome readers took action after reading our how-to posts to take trips that most people could only dream of taking!

A reader recently emailed me about a trip he took with his wife by using our strategies to Europe. I was blown away by his success. Instead of giving you a quick recap of his trip, I thought you’d enjoy hearing directly from him.

With that… I give you, Tomas.

—————————-

Last month, my wife, Aileen, and I had the opportunity to travel to Europe for 18 days. We visited London, Paris, Venice, Rome, Madrid, Lisbon, and Barcelona.

Let me just start by saying that we have been dreaming of this trip for a while, but it seemed like it was going to be a long time before we could save up for it.

I’m a structural engineer and my wife is currently a student. Even though our income allows us to travel about once a year, it seemed like this kind of dream vacation would require us to drop some serious cash.

That changed in September of last year when I stumbled across 10xTravel ad online. I read about how Bryce was able to use points and miles to take his wife all over the world. Then and there, I decided to try it myself.

Long story short, following Bryce and the rest of the 10xTravel team’s advice, I was able to book round-trip flights, all the hotels, and all the inter-city flights and trains for approximately $600 out of pocket.

Here’s how I did it:

 

Flights

My wife and I each signed up for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum select card, as we wanted to fly on American Airlines. She received 60,000 miles and I received 50,000 miles from the sign-up bonuses (we signed up at different times using different offers). Those were then combined with a few thousand miles we already had from flying and a few thousand more from regular use of the cards. All told, we ended up with about 120,000 AA miles.

We used all 120,000 miles (60,000 per round-trip ticket) to book two tickets from Boston to London, which were going for $1,480 per person at that time. That would have cost us $2,960 Our two tickets from Barcelona to Boston would have cost $430.70 per person and $861.40 total. Instead, we only spent $129.32.

See below:

TomasSuccessStory1 Continue Reading

Blog

The Ultimate Guide to the Southwest Companion Pass

By: Bryce Conway

Hi Travel Junkies,

It’s that time of the year again!

Time to make holiday travel plans, get going your Christmas shopping, and start thinking about earning the coveted Southwest Companion Pass.

The Southwest Companion Pass is arguably the best airline perk in the business and an absolute must for anyone who frequently travels with friends and family.

My wife and I each have the Companion Pass (we love to take friends with us when we travel) and we have used it to travel to Vegas (six times), Disney World, Austin, New Orleans, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, NYC, and many other destinations in the last 12 months alone.

Unlike my Companion, this money suit did not make it home from Vegas

Unlike my Companion, this money suit did not make it home from Vegas

Today we are going to talk about how you can do the same by earning the Southwest Companion Pass for almost 2 full years.

But before we do that, let’s take a quick look at Southwest Companion Pass works.

 

What is the Southwest Companion Pass?

The Southwest Companion Pass allows you to bring a companion on any Southwest flight that you fly on for free.   Continue Reading

Blog

3 Weekend Getaways You Can Do For Next To Nothing

By: Luke Sims – 10xT Contributor

Whether you’ve been grinding away at work for the last few months or you’re just tired of the same old Friday night routine of Netflix and wine, there’s nothing like a weekend getaway to revitalize the soul.

I don’t care if you’re a newbie points enthusiast or a seasoned vet. I don’t care if you support Hillary or Trump. I don’t care where you live, how you dress, or if you pee standing up or sitting down. I want to help you get out of this rut you’re in and get the hell out of town.

So, I’ve narrowed it down to three of my favorite options and focused on the best flight and hotel opportunities – all you have to do is pick one and go!

Las Vegas Strip at Night

1.) Las Vegas

Is there anything better than Vegas to cure the office blues? The answer is NO. It is hands down our favorite weekend getaway here at 10xTravel. Vegas will chew you up and spit you out – in the best way possible.

Getting There

Vegas is one of the most popular destinations in the world, leaving you with a lot of options for redeeming miles for flights. However, the best option for most people is likely to be Southwest Airlines.

Southwest has THE most direct flights to/from Vegas of any major airline, which means no matter where you live there’s a good chance you can get to Vegas without a connection (vitally important on a short weekend trip). Continue Reading

Blog

What Is the Chase 5/24 Rule and How Does It Impact You?

By Spencer Howard 

We receive hundreds of questions every day, but some questions repeat themselves so often that we know we need to dedicate some time to it. With that in mind, we wanted to address one of the most common:

“What is 5/24?”

No, it’s not May 24th. It is actually one of the most discussed topics in the miles and points community. It refers to Chase’s rule (guideline?) that anyone who has opened five credit cards in the previous 24 months may not open Chase credit cards.

This can be tremendously frustrating for responsible credit users who want to utilize the perks of various credit cards.

Let’s dig in and see how we should handle things with this in mind.

5/24 Credit Cards

 

What Cards Are Included in Your 5/24 Count

We often see confusion regarding which cards count according to Chase. Many assume that this means five Chase cards when, in fact, it means cards from any bank are included in the count.

If you have opened cards with American Express, Citi, Barclaycard, Capital One, Discover, etc. They count.

Remember that: Credit cards from all banks count toward 5/24. Continue Reading

Blog

How I Did It: $35,619 Honeymoon in Thailand for $914.60

Hey team, Curtis here.

Earlier this year, I got married to my beautiful wife Nicole and went on the honeymoon of a lifetime. It was a two-week vacation to Phuket/Chiang Mai, Thailand and Tokyo, Japan. Needless to say, it was amazing and simply wouldn’t have been possible without the power of points and miles.

I want to share my experience so you can see how this is also possible for you.

All you need is a little planning, a decent credit score (680+), a little help from the 10xT community, and you can literally save thousands of dollars on travel.

Nicole and Curtis Riding Elephants

Not going to lie – I copied a lot of Bryce’s honeymoon route because it was awesome. (plus, the fact that he got a $28,000 trip for only $326 didn’t hurt)

(Side note: if you’re just starting to think about your honeymoon, check out 7 Tips For Choosing Your Honeymoon Destination)

There are 3 key points to remember:

  1. Start planning and earning early and you’ll have more options
  2. Let your travel goals determine which cards, and in what order, are necessary
  3. If you can dream up a trip, this approach can get you there

 

The Honeymoon

First, here’s a quick rundown of our honeymoon:

  • Cleveland to Chicago O’Hare
  • Chicago O’Hare to Phuket, Thailand
  • Westin Siray Bay Resort – Phuket, Thailand
  • Phuket, Thailand to Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Le Meridien – Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand to Tokyo, Japan
  • Park Hyatt – Tokyo, Japan
  • Tokyo, Japan to Cleveland

Ok, let’s jump into the good stuff.

Continue Reading

Blog

7 Tips for Choosing Your Honeymoon Destination

Luke Sims – 10xTravel Contributor

About a year ago my fiancé summoned me to the dreary wedding planning dungeon and placed a task on me so heavy my knees nearly buckled at the weight, “plan our honeymoon.”

Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but that’s how I remember it. I was 22, so I hadn’t traveled much and I certainly had no experience figuring out what were the top priorities to consider for the most important trip of our lives (let’s be honest, sex was the only priority I could think of).

Choosing our destination was the first step. So, like with everything I do in life (even choosing the right bug spray) I started with an absurd amount of research.

I spent weeks drowning in “top 10 honeymoon” lists and rather unhelpful advice from family and friends. What I discovered is that there is plenty of information out there about what destinations are most visited for honeymoons and what spots have the most romantic views, but there is little about how to choose the right one for you.

Couple in white relax on a tropical beach at Maldives

So, I’ve developed a list of tips to ease your pain. This won’t be a step-by-step manual that leads you to the perfect destination. But, in a sea of unhelpful honeymoon information, I hope these tips simply help you narrow it down. (And I’ll sprinkle in some points/miles advise as a bonus)

Let’s face it, your honeymoon is a big damn deal and those U.S News Travel top 10 lists just aren’t cutting it. Continue Reading

Blog

Introducing 10xT’s New Editor-in-Chief – Spencer Howard

Happy Friday Travel Junkies,

Today I want to take a moment to introduce you to 10xTravel’s new Editor-in-Chief, Spencer Howard!

Spencer Howard

Spencer is a veteran of the points and miles world and an expert on all things travel. He has been with us at 10xT for a few months already and has been a hit with our growing number of readers.

From this point forward Spencer will be overseeing all of the written content published on 10xT in addition to helping all of you with award bookings, travel recommendations, and any general questions that you may have.

You can reach Spencer by email at Spencer@10xTravel.com. Please join me in congratulating Spencer on his new role!

Happy Travels,

Bryce

 

Blog

How to Get More Excitement Out of Your Next Vacation

Do you remember how you felt as a kid when you got a new toy?

I know I certainly do.

I don’t remember every experience, of course, but I do remember that feeling of unbridled excitement. The world just seems a bit brighter when you opened the wrapping and saw something so new. Your mind ran with ideas of how you would play and your creativity flowed without limits.

Little boy with wooden airplane in the field

But day by day that excitement waned. The toy became just another meaningless object in your endless box of toys and you were on to the next new thing.

The same phenomenon occurs when traveling.

Most travelers could experience this new excitement every single trip, but they don’t realize it. Every year they go to the same place, stay in the same hotel (even the exact room) and call it a “vacation”.

This is the old way of thinking about traveling. Choosing what is known and safe over adventure and excitement.

I want to encourage you to do the opposite.

Why? Continue Reading