Monthly Archives

March 2017

Blog

Introducing the Newest Members of the 10xT Team!

Happy Friday Travel Junkies,

Today we are proud to announce the addition of three new members to the 10xT Team! Each of these incredibly talented individuals will be helping to create content for the blog as well as assisting with answering reader questions via email and social media.

I wanted to let each of them take a moment to introduce themselves. Here’s what each of them have to say, in their own words:

 

Jeff Brownson

Miles and points have taken Jeff to 39 countries, flying in first class, business class, and sometimes even in coach. Whether he’s staying in a hostel dorm, or in a luxury suite at a 5 star hotel, Jeff is constantly looking for the best deal to make travel as close to free as possible. A background in math and science provides the analytical basis necessary to manage more than 80 loyalty accounts for his family, with millions of points at his disposal for booking. Jeff holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, is a contributor to TravelingDad, and has been a featured speaker at the Chicago Seminars and Family Travel for Real Life Conferences.

 

Julie Szpira

I love to travel, but I don’t like to spend money, so learning how to maximize points and miles made sense to help me achieve my travel goals. My favorite part of knowing about using points and miles is helping friends and family book vacations that would have cost thousands of dollars for a fraction of that cost.

I don’t really know.  I like crocheting, regularly drink whole bottles of wine, care way too much about college football, watch all the reality TV shows on the Bravo Network and am always planning my next vacation.  I always find “about me’s” so weird.

 

Travis Cormier

Travis HammockMy name is Travis and I started collecting points about a year ago to get my fiancee and myself to the Maldives for our honeymoon. In that time I’ve collected almost 2,000,000 points, and counting! I love using points to travel to destinations that have gotten many people to ask me “how do you afford to travel so much?” I love helping friends and family get points and realize their travel dreams. I hope I can help you make your dream trips come true!

 

Happy Travels,

Bryce

P.S. We are finalizing details for the first ever 10xT Reader Meetup and it’s going to be incredible. Stay tuned for more details.

Blog

Increased Sign-up Bonus Ends Next Week, Get Your 35,000 SPG Starpoints Now

By: Bryce Conway

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

Hi Travel Junkies,

Just a heads up, next Wednesday (April 5) is the last day to apply for the the American Express Starwood cards and receive their limited time offer of 35,000 bonus Starpoints.

NOTE: This bonus is no longer active as of April 5th, 2017.

The standard offer on these cards is only 25,000 bonus points, so the 35,000 bonus Starpoints is a fantastic opportunity to earn a large chunk of this valuable rewards currency.

Here are the details of the offer for the personal version of the card:

  • Earn 25,000 SPG Starpoints after spending $3,000 in the first three months with the card
  • Earn 10,000 SPG Starpoints after spending an additional $2,000
  • $95 annual fee is waived for the first year
  • 5 nights and 2 stay credits toward elite status
  • Earn SPG Gold status when you spend $30,000 in a calendar year
  • Offer expires April 5, 2017

The business version is slightly different:

  • Earn 25,000 SPG Starpoints after spending $5,000 in the first three months with the card
  • Earn 10,000 SPG Starpoints after spending an additional $3,000
  • $95 annual fee is waived for the first year
  • 5 nights and 2 stay credits toward elite status
  • Earn SPG Gold status when you spend $30,000 in a calendar year
  • Sheraton Club Lounge Access
  • Offer expires April 5, 2017

The Amex Starwood cards have been a 10xT favorite for a very long time because of their ability to score some amazing hotel deals or be transferred to more than a dozen airline partners. As an added bonus, you receive a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 SPG Starpoints transferred to partner airlines.

Personally, I have been spending most of my SPG Starpoints on high-end hotel bookings in Europe lately. Those private balconies and multi-room suites just can’t be beat.

Continue Reading

Blog

How to Get Your Real Credit Score (Without Having to Pay for It)

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.

Not a day goes by that we don’t get questions about credit scores. Sometimes it’s as simple as someone wondering where to find their credit score, other times it’s a momentary freak out when a reader looks at Credit Karma and sees their score has dropped.

To prevent these freakouts and make it easier for you to find your credit score, we’re going to discuss where you can find your credit score. Not an estimated FICO score, but your actual FICO score. This is what you really need to know.

 

Does Credit Karma Actually Provide Your FICO Credit Score?

Let’s just get this out of the way now: NO!!!

Credit Karma provides a VantageScore which is not a commonly used score for credit card applications. We have found that the score it provides can vary by 50+ points compared to a true FICO score.

It seems to be very sensitive to credit utilization, which is what causes such anguish for readers who rely on Credit Karma. They see a huge drop and, understandably, are not pleased.

It is because of situations like this that we felt it was necessary to address Credit Karma.

Now, that does not mean Credit Karma isn’t a useful for a miles and points connoisseur like you. Credit Karma is a big help if you want to see credit card inquiries on your Equifax and TransUnion reports. Additionally, you can see what open accounts you have reporting to each credit bureau.

This can be particularly helpful if you are unsure of your 5/24 status with Chase.

 

Get Your Actual FICO Score

There are several free ways to get your actual FICO score from each of the three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

FICO

Let’s start with Experian, as you don’t even need a credit card to get your FICO score from Discover through their Free Credit Scorecard. The scorecard provides your true Experian FICO credit score as well as a bunch of other great information including: total accounts, length of credit, inquiries, utilization, and missed payments.

Continue Reading

Blog

5 Best Ways to Fly to Hawaii Using Points

By: Luke Sims

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

Hi Travel Junkies,

Hawaii is that dream destination on your bucket list that feels more like a fantasy than a possibility. You lean back in your chair at the office, close your eyes and picture yourself sipping a Mai Tai with the ocean breeze gently passing through your half-buttoned Hawaiian shirt.

You then snap back to reality when you realize it’s a billion miles away (I measured) and in the middle of the ocean… there can’t be an affordable way to get there.

At 10xTravel, we are determined to make Hawaii a reality for you. Today, I want to share with you five of the best ways to use points and miles to fly to Hawaii.

Bali Hai from Tunnels Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

 

1) Korean Air SKYPASS Miles For Delta Flights

You can book a round-trip economy flight on Delta, from anywhere in the United States to any of the four major Hawaiian islands, for 25,000 Korean Air SKYPASS miles.

Korean Air does not fly from the US to Hawaii, so they rely on their Skyteam Partner, Delta, to service their customers. Although Delta prices its lowest award flights to Hawaii at 45,000 for roundtrip in economy and 90,000 for round-trip in first class, you can book the exact same Delta flights using 25,000 Korean Air SKYPASS miles in economy and 45,000 Korean Air SKYPASS miles in first class. I think the correct term for this is, “BOOYA”.

How to get Korean SKYPASS miles

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Starwood Preferred Guest points at a 1:1 ratio to Korean SKYPASS miles. SPG points transferred in 20,000 increments will earn you an extra 5,000 bonus miles, which means transferring 20,000 SPG points would equal 25,000 SKYPASS miles. Continue Reading

Blog

How to Use Balance Transfer Cards to Eliminate Credit Card Debt

By: Bryce Conway

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

It’s no secret that we here at 10xTravel are big fans of earning points and miles through the responsible use of credit cards. These rewards are essentially “free money” that is given to you just for using a particular credit card.

And, in our little 10xTravel fantasy world everyone uses rewards credit cards responsibly, pays their bills in full each month, and never pays a dime of interest to credit card companies. Getting all the positives out of using credit cards with none of the drawbacks.

But the reality is that many credit card users do not behave that way. According to Nerd Wallet, slightly under half of US households have credit card debt. Of those that do, the average outstanding balance was $16,747.

This adds up to an average of about $1,300 per year in interest charges alone. Ouch!

But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, this issue can be solved with a somewhat counterintuitive solution; more credit cards.

Specifically, a type of card called a balance transfer card. Let’s talk about how they work.

Credit Cards Balance Transfer

How do Balance Transfer Cards Work?

Balance transfer cards do exactly what their name implies, they allow you to transfer balances from other credit cards to your new balance transfer card. The idea being that you transfer balances from cards with higher interest rates to a new card with a low or 0% interest rate.

Once transferred, you will typically be given about 12-15 months of low or no interest on your new balance. Which (in theory) allows you to pay off your debt faster and with less money lost to interest expense.

So what’s the catch? Continue Reading

Blog

Tomorrow is the Last Day to Earn 100,000 Bonus Points with Chase Sapphire Reserve

Hi Travel Junkies,

Just a heads up, tomorrow is the last day to apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve and receive the 100,000 point signup bonus. This 100,000 point offer is available exclusively in Chase branches through March 12th (which is a Sunday, so most branches will be closed).

The Sapphire Reserve is arguably the best travel credit card ever released and great choice for anyone who values travel rewards. The card comes with a hefty $450 annual fee but a variety of perks to justify that fee, including a $300 annual travel credit.

You can more about the details of the Chase Sapphire Reserve by checking out our overview of the card or visiting a Chase branch.

After March 12th the signup bonus will drop to match the online offer, which is 50,000 points after $4,000 in spending in the first 3 months.

So make some time after Saturday brunch to stop by your local Chase branch and get in on the offer that we have been talking about since the card launched last fall.

Happy Travels,

Bryce

Blog

Big News: We’re hiring 2 new people to work for 10xT!

Hi Travel Junkies,

We are looking for two new team members at 10xT to help with content development. Ideally people who can start right away.

10xTravel_LOGO

Skills required:

  • Intermediate to advanced knowledge of earning and redeeming miles/points for award flights and hotel stays (6+ months experience desired)
  • Understanding of previous 10xT published material
  • Writing skills, particularly for online consumption
  • Ability to meet deadlines, no exceptions
  • Research skills to find information about credit cards, loyalty programs, and other necessary subjects.

This is a part time opportunity with negotiable compensation. Hours are flexible and this is a remote position.

You’ll also have an opportunity to learn from the best as you work with the entire 10xT team in building the business.

Interested? Send an email to bryce@10xtravel.com with the subject “I Want to Work for 10xT” and tell me why we should select you.

No formal format required, and extra points for creativity. If you’ve been around for awhile you know exactly what we need. Feel free to include work samples, resumes, or whatever you think is relevant.

There’s no deadline for applying. Once we find someone we find someone, so don’t delay.

Happy Travels,
Bryce

P.S. Just so you know what you’re up against, we had 35+ people apply for the last position. We want people who aren’t intimidated by this.

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: A $50,000 European Adventure for Under $3,000

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, we’re going to hear from Lalaine Mackey about an amazing European adventure she and her husband, Russ, had last year.

If you’d like to share your story with the 10xTravel readers, drop us an email and share how you did it! (bryce [at] 10xTravel [dot] com)

 

A September to Remember

It all started when we got a bill from the IRS – we needed to pay more on our income tax in the prior year (UGH!). My husband said, “Wouldn’t it be nice to get a free trip out of this payment?”

So, he decided to research everything he could find about travel with frequent flyer miles and found 10xTravel. Then he found the 10xTravel Facebook group. That’s where the fun really began!

In October 2015, his initial goal was to earn enough points for a week in Hawaii! By January 2016, he had already earned enough for this trip! Take note insiders – this is how you convince your skeptical significant other to join in the fun!!!

He introduced me to the world of miles and points when he had enough points for a week stay in Hawaii for pennies on the dollar!

Who wouldn’t want to be here?!

 

Let’s Go To Europe!

I was convinced and raised the stakes for our next vacation – I asked about Europe! I jumped into miles and points by applying for the same cards as my husband. By March 2016, we had enough points and miles to get round-trip tickets to Europe and some hotel stays on points. By June, we had enough for business class! Continue Reading