Blog

Getting A Skeptic Partner Into Points and Miles

By: Julie Szpira

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

I’ll admit it. Some of the stuff we do here at 10xTravel can seem crazy. If you’re not familiar with points and miles, you might be surprised by the lengths we’ll go to earn some extra points.

From opening credit cards to using shopping portals, the quest to accrue points and miles can incite fanaticism in travel enthusiasts.  So, what happens when points/miles people, like our own Bryce Conway or Luke Sims, fall in love with non-points and miles people?

Well, I spoke with Bryce’s wife, Alexandra, and Luke’s wife, Libby, to ask them about their experience in getting to know their husbands’ hobby.

It turns out that their experiences are very similar, and they helped me understand the hesitation some people might have about jumping into this hobby.  

Skeptic Problem #1: I Don’t Even Know What Points and Miles Are!

Even if you have read the free e-book for beginners, read every article we’ve published and have been talking about all the great credit card bonuses that are being offered, your skeptical partner might be hesitant to jump into the hobby because they just don’t “get it.”

For Alexandra, her knowledge of points and miles was very limited.   

“I had zero knowledge prior to Bryce introducing me to the hobby! I went to college out of state, and my first time in an airport alone was coming home for Christmas. That first time changing planes alone felt like such a win! My parents booked all my flights so I’m not sure if points were involved.”

Libby was similarly unfamiliar with the game.

I did not have much knowledge of points and miles before Luke started his obsession. My dad always flew Delta for work, so he had accrued miles through that. However, he didn’t really understand their value, so I had no idea the depth and breadth of possibilities.”

Now that they have each enjoyed multiple trips both domestically and internationally, I was curious to know if they had expanded their knowledge of points and miles.

Well, despite being married to points and miles gurus, Alexandra and Libby both remain fairly removed from the points and miles hobby.  

Continue Reading

Blog

Reader Success Story: Darren Goes to Amsterdam and Budapest on $600

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

This past fall, I set off on a Euro Trip adventure funded almost entirely by miles and points that I earned through the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Chase Ink Plus Card. In total, my flights and hotels only cost $520.

I’m going to discuss each flight and hotel I booked, but I’m also going to share some of the alternate options I considered so I can explain how I landed on each decision.

In the end, the choices I made were the ones that fit my wants and needs. While yours might be different, I hope seeing how I booked my Euro Trip can help you consider what is important to you.

Editor’s Note: The Chase Ink Plus card is no longer available for application, but you can get the Chase Ink Cash or Chase Ink Business Preferred Card if you’re looking for a business card.

Let’s dive in!

Miami to Budapest on Air France With Flying Blue Miles

anastasia zhenina 39177

Let’s start with my flight from Miami (MIA) to Budapest (BUD). I transferred 42,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to my Air France/KLM Flying Blue account. For 42,500 miles plus $105.51, I flew economy class on Air France which included a 3-hour layover in Paris. If I had paid cash for this flight, would have cost me $758.

While there were cheaper options (in both points and taxes/fees), I wanted to experience Air France’s in-flight service. 

Continue Reading

Blog

5 Great Ways to Fly to Thailand with Miles

By: Jeff Brownson

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

From the luxury resorts and beautiful beaches of Koh Samui to the street markets and elephant adventures in Chiang Mai to the amazing food and bustling atmosphere of Bangkok, Thailand is a country that has something for everyone.

16345629343 b64796c5c0 kKhao Lak Beach Resort

Once on the ground, things are generally inexpensive but, for those of us in the United States, it’s quite far away. Getting there can get pricey, especially if you want to fly in business or first class. Staying at that luxury hotel overlooking the beach isn’t cheap either.

Luckily, we have a better way to travel for less.

Miles and points can get us to Thailand in comfort and make sure we are ready for fun when we arrive. Points can even pay for your hotels if you need that special luxury stay. With miles and points, taking a trip to Thailand can be cheaper than you think.

Here are 5 great ideas for using miles and points to get to Thailand that will help jump-start your planning.

1)  Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles

Using your Alaska Mileage Plan miles to fly on Cathay Pacific takes the least amount of miles to get to Thailand in every class of service. You will need 60,000 miles to fly round-trip in economy class, 100,000 miles for business class, and 140,000 miles for first class.

6991572028 3ed6f802ff z

In comparison, United will charge you 140,000 miles to fly just one way in first class with one of their Star Alliance partners.

Using Alaska miles on Cathay Pacific is a great deal to fly an amazing airline!

Continue Reading

Blog

3 Types of Points: Which One Should You Prioritize?

By: John Tunningley

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

One of the most important things to learn when you get started in the points and miles game is that there are three types of points: transferable, fixed-value, and hotel points/airline miles.

Now, as many of you know, we publish a list of the best card offers every month. We split this list in two: one for those under 5/24 and the other for those over 5/24. Something you might notice is that the cards that earn transferable points such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card are almost always towards the top of our list. The value in these cards really comes from the transferability of the points, and often the ability to earn valuable points quickly.

There are also cards with fixed-value points such as the Barclaycard Arrival Plus that make our list or are listed as honorable mentions. However, they aren’t usually ranked as highly as those with transferable points. It’s important to note there are two types of fixed-value points.

Separately, there are also cards that earn airline miles and hotel points with specific programs such as Delta SkyMiles or Marriott Rewards. Airline miles and hotels points, like fixed-value points, play an important role in travel but aren’t as valuable as transferable points.

We’ll give each a look so it’s clear what each has to offer.

Transferable Points

There are four major transferable points currencies:

  • American Express Membership Rewards
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Citi ThankYou Points
  • Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)

You might be wondering why we included a hotel loyalty program. Well, SPG Starpoints can be used to book hotel award stays but they can also be transferred to over 30 airlines partners.

For those of you collecting miles and points for future trips to unknown destinations, transferable points are incredibly valuable because of the flexibility they offer. For example, if you want to go to Hawaii, you could book an award ticket on Delta from Los Angeles using the  Korean Air SkyPass program—a partner of both Chase Ultimate Rewards and SPG.

Since your points aren’t attached to a particular airline, you might change your mind and decide to go somewhere else before transferring your points—once you transfer, there is no reversing it. Let’s say you decide you want to visit Tokyo instead. You could transfer to Virgin Atlantic to book an awesome first class award ticket on All Nippon Airways (ANA).

Continue Reading

Blog

5 First Class Awards For An Awesome Luxury Experience

By: Spencer Howard

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

1) Cathay Pacific First Class with Alaska Mileage Plan Miles

Cathay Pacific First Class Seat

Cathay Pacific first class should be near the top of your list of amazing flights to try if you like great service and champagne. Courtesy of Spencer Howard

Cathay Pacific really is a luxury experience from the moment you set foot on the plane and are presented with an amenity kit and some extremely comfortable pajamas. And don’t forget the champagne. Who doesn’t like starting off a flight with a refreshing glass of champagne?

It has a well-earned reputation as one of the premier airlines in the world due in large part to their amazing first class product. Not only will you be able to enjoy a massive lie-flat seat, but the service provided by the Cathay Pacific crew is fantastic.

If you’re departing or connecting, you can visit one of Cathay Pacific’s two first class lounges: The Pier and The Wing. If those lounges aren’t convenient for your connecting flight, you can visit one of the business class lounges: The Bridge or The Cabin. Regardless of which lounge you choose, these lounges are a great place to relax before a flight.

You can book a first class flight on Cathay Pacific from one of five US airports:

  • Boston (BOS)
  • Chicago-O’Hare (ORD)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • New York City (JFK)
  • San Francisco (SFO)

Regardless of which US airport you are flying out of or into, you can use 70,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles to book your first class award to Hong Kong (HKG). In fact, you can even connect another city in Asia for no extra miles (some of these connections will be in business class). You can also use 110,000 American AAdvantage miles if you have a stockpile ready to burn.

Continue Reading

Blog

Best Credit Card Offers – January 2018

By: Bryce Conway – Founding Editor of 10xTravel.com

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

Every month I share a post with what I believe are the top credit card offers on the market according to the 10xT staff. Today we are going to take a look at the best offers for January 2018.

I rank these offers by looking at their signup bonus, cardholder perks, ongoing value, and any fees they may charge. And while the best offer for you will vary depending on a number of factors, I am going to rank the top offers based on the order in which I think they should be chosen by the average person.

If you’ve ever watched the NFL Draft before, consider this list my version of “Todd’s Big Board.” It’s simply the best overall cards available without regard to a specific points/miles need.

I also divide these top credit offers into two lists, one for those of you who are over 5/24 and one for those of you who are under.

(If you don’t know what the Chase 5/24 rule is you’re going to want to give this a read.)

As always, feel free to email me with questions about your own situation and I would be happy to help you select the best card for you.

Here we go!

If you are under 5/24, here are the best cards available right now:

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Current Offer:

  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
    5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months
  • 2 points per $1 spent on dining and travel, 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • Trip delay and primary rental car insurance
  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year

Commentary:

Once again, the Chase Sapphire Preferred comes in at #1 overall because of its incredible signup bonus, reasonable annual fee (that is also waived for the first year), and the amazing value of the points it earns.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are widely considered to be among the best points in the industry thanks to their ability to be transferred to multiple airline and hotel partners. This gives you a ton of options for redeeming your points no matter where you want to travel.

Continue Reading

Blog

5 Great Redemptions For Some Business Class Fun

By: Spencer Howard

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

In my last post, we talked about some cheap economy class award redemptions you’ll want to check out. These economy awards are great for those trying to see as many places as they can and for those looking for cheap short flights—even if you usually fly business or first class.

Today, we’re going to take a look at five awesome business class awards that will not only help you get to your destination but help you enjoy the journey. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the great business class redemptions out there, but it will provide you some food for thought.

In this list, you’ll find ways to use American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and SPG Starpoints. Some you might already know, but I’d bet many of you will learn something new that could help you book a fun adventure.

Let’s dig in!

1) Use ANA Mileage Club Miles To Visit Japan

If you’re not familiar with All Nippon Airways (ANA), one of Japan’s major airlines, you should change that. ANA Mileage Club partners with both the Amex Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) programs making it quite easy to earn the necessary miles.

On top of that, ANA Mileage Club has some really solid redemption rates on their own flights. In fact, if you want to visit Japan, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better way to book a business class award.

ANA’s award chart includes three seasons: low, regular, and high—which we discussed in our guide to booking flights to Tokyo. If you want to use the fewest miles possible, you’ll want to book during low season as it will only require 75,000 Mileage Club miles for a round-trip business class award.

Regular season will require 85,000 Mileage Club miles while high season will require 90,000 Mileage Club miles for a round-trip award. Even at these rates, you’ll still get a better deal than almost every other frequent flyer program.

Continue Reading

Blog

3 Great Ways To Fly To Tokyo With Points

By: Travis Cormier

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

Tokyo is a destination on almost every traveler’s bucket list, and for good reason. The city has culture, phenomenal food, and adventure right on its doorstep. There are a lot of options for flying to Tokyo. Let’s look at how you can use points and miles to fly in comfort and style.

Japan Airlines

What better way to get to Tokyo than on the airline with the country’s namesake. Japan Airlines is a fantastic way to get to Tokyo. Whether you’re traveling in economy, premium economy, or the front of the plane you will have a phenomenal experience.

It isn’t often you’ll hear me excited about economy class flights—I’m 6’5”—but Japan Airlines has an economy product that makes giants like me excited to fly.

The economy seats on select Japan Airlines flights are some of the best you’ll find on any airline. On most international routes, you will find economy class are Japan Airlines’ “SkyWider” seats. These seats have more leg room and width than you’ll find on almost any other international carrier.

You can book these seats round-trip for only 50,000 Japan Airlines Miles. Even better, if you have flexible travel dates there is a discount price of 40,000 Miles. The dates vary year-to-year, but for 2018 if you travel between January 10th – February 28th, or April 1 – May 31st you can get these discounted prices.

Japan Airlines also has one of the best business class products on the market if you want some space to lie down. If you want something really special, you can try first class where they serve champagne that costs about $400 per bottle.

Continue Reading

Blog

Flight Delays and Cancellations…What Compensation Is Appropriate?

By: Julie Szpira

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

Air travel is easy when everything goes right. Things like great weather, on-time departures, and early arrivals are what travel dreams are made of.

However, if there are travel dreams, that means there must be travel nightmares. Most travel nightmares begin with flight delays or cancellations.

This is definitely an unpleasant sight!

An hour delay is irritating, but when it causes you to miss a connection or results in an overnight stay in a strange city, it becomes a major inconvenience.

Thankfully, there are 10+ credit cards that offer trip delay protection, so you can enjoy a hot meal and warm bed if your flight is cancelled, or the delay becomes extended.

Even if you have a credit card with trip delay protection, you might find yourself wondering “What kind of compensation should I get from the airline?” when you are faced with a lengthy delay or flight cancellation.

Reasons for Flight Delays or Cancellations

Flight delays or cancellations can be caused by a variety of reasons. Common causes include:

  • Inclement Weather
  • Natural Disasters
  • Air Traffic Control Congestion
  • Airline System Glitches
  • Crew Delays or Timeouts
  • Maintenance Problems with an Aircraft

Delays or cancellations caused by weather, natural disasters or air traffic control are generally regarded as being out of the control of the airline. While the airline will help you rebook your flight, it is rare for them to provide compensation.  

The last three causes are generally considered “airline problems”, and when flights are delayed or cancelled for these reasons, requesting compensation from the airline would be appropriate.

Airline system glitches are IT problems that range from software outages within the check-in system, to printer issues that prevent the flight plan from being printed (True story, I was once delayed for over an hour because of a broken printer).

If there are glitches that cause extended delays, that can result in what is known as “crew timeouts.” 

Crew timeouts happen when the maximum number of hours allowed for a crew member to work is reached, resulting in that employee being barred from flying anymore that day.  If there isn’t a relief employee nearby, the flight may continue to be delayed, or even cancelled.

Maintenance problems are pretty self-explanatory. Sometimes cargo doors can’t close, toilets don’t flush or the engines won’t turn on. Those are some pretty important parts of the plane that the airline wants to ensure are operating correctly! If there is a maintenance issue, a flight will be delayed until the issue is resolved, or cancelled if the aircraft is not fit to fly.

Continue Reading

Blog

Reader Success Story: A $5,000 Costa Rican Getaway for $800

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support.

Today’s Reader Success story is from long-time reader and 10xTravel Insiders facebook group member, Lisa.

Our journey started in Pittsburgh where we were visiting for a work event. We booked a last minute flight to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to visit some friends before starting our journey to Costa Rica.

We used 6,814 points plus $11.20 for two tickets on Southwest Airlines thanks to the Companion Pass. To get around Fort Lauderdale for a couple days we booked a rental car with 5,570 Chase Ultimate Rewards points… and $23 for returning it late.

From Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to San Jose (SJO) we booked award flights on JetBlue for 13,300 True Blue points plus $44.16 as it was cheaper than flying Southwest, even with the Companion Pass.

Once in San Jose, we again rented a car with Ultimate Rewards points. It cost 6,679 points but no late fee this time! Costa Rica has a weird rule about getting their insurance, of which there are a few options, but we only took the minimal 3rd party liability which was an extra $12 a day, so it cost $53 out of pocket. We used our Chase Sapphire Reserve Card so the collision coverage would have covered us if we had gotten into any issues.

Our first stop was Baldi Hot Springs, which is a beautiful 5-star hot spring resort. Unfortunately, made the rookie mistake of not booking early enough, so the 3 nights we wanted were very expensive. However, we checked the night by night price and figured out that it was only the last night we wanted that tripled in price, so we booked two nights at Baldi for 42,181 Ultimate Rewards points.

We booked our third night at a 5-star backpackers resort, just to save points. We used 7,000 points from our Barclaycard Arrival Plus to erase the $70 purchase.

image2Lake Arenal

Continue Reading