Monthly Archives

April 2017

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: A $6,000 Vacation Of A Lifetime For $230

By: Eric August

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

Hey, 10xTravel readers!

My name is Eric August. I’ve been in the miles and points game for a little over a year now, and with the help of Bryce and the 10xTravel team (and other readers) my friend Joe and I were able to take a two week vacation to Australia and New Zealand in November.

I’ll show you how we did it, how much we spent, and how much we would’ve spent, so I hope you enjoy!

Since 2013, Joe and I have taken a trip together just about every year. We began with Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, then Toronto, Canada in 2015, and so when it came time for 2016’s trip, we discovered a crucial difference in our planning: points!

 

Next Stop, Los Angeles

We began our journey at Midway Airport in Chicago. Using my Southwest Companion Pass (and redeeming 17,399 Southwest Rapid Rewards points), we flew from Chicago to Los Angeles for a fun weekend in L.A. before our flight to New Zealand.

Joe rented a Mustang Convertible (utilizing Emerald Status from National), and our luck instantly took a turn for the worse as our rental car was broken into and my passport was stolen.

They didn’t steal my Gameboy color with Pokémon so it wasn’t a total loss.

Not to be deterred, we still enjoyed our weekend in L.A. meeting with friends, somehow getting into secret clubs, and making the most of our vacation (although I could’ve used some Xanax).

Luckily, I applied and was able to receive a new passport on Monday before we left. Continue Reading

Blog

3 Best Ways to Fiji on Points and Miles

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,

Whether it’s the white-sand beaches or the world-class snorkeling or the tantalizing cuisine, everyone is dying to get to Fiji – and we’re going to help you get there!

Fiji is the definition of a tropical paradise (I looked it up), but if you’re just now typing it into Google Maps… yeah, it’s way out there. Not to worry, we’ve compiled 3 of the best ways to get there on points and miles.

Sit back, click through a few of those drop-dead gorgeous Fiji beach pics, and let us help you map out your journey to this South Pacific oasis.

Although there are less options for getting to Fiji than some tropical islands (like Hawaii), Fiji Airways offers direct service from the U.S. – making it easier than you might think.

More importantly, Fiji Airways has 3 major airline partnerships – Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Cathay Pacific – which make finding award availability to Fiji much more possible.

So, check out these 3 options and choose the one that fits your points and miles stash the best.

 

1) Alaska Airlines Miles for Fiji Airways Flights

You can book award tickets on Fiji Airways from Los Angeles to Fiji with Alaska Airlines miles:

  • 40,000 miles one-way between Los Angeles and Fiji in economy
  • 55,000 miles one-way between Los Angeles and Fiji in Business

How to get Alaska Airlines miles:

 Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) is a transfer partner of Alaska Airlines. SPG Starpoints transfer at a 1:1 ratio and points transferred in 20,000 increments will get you an extra 5,000 bonus miles, which means transferring 20,000 SPG points would total 25,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles. These points generally take a couple days to post to your Alaska Mileage Plan account.

If you want to earn SPG Starpoints, the easiest way is with either business or personal version of the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card.

How to book Fiji Airways award space with Alaska Airlines miles:

Continue Reading

Blog

Let’s talk about the United Debacle (And What to Do if It Happens to You)

Hi Travel Junkies,

By now I am going to assume you have seen the recent video of a man being literally dragged off a United flight from Chicago to Louisville.

Here’s the video for those of you who haven’t.

I was hesitant to even discuss this on the blog, as it has been analyzed to death, but the recent tone-deaf response from United Airlines has prompted me to say something.

First let’s quickly review the details:

  • United Airlines flight 3411 was scheduled to fly from Chicago O’Hare to Louisville on Sunday evening.
  • United claims they had an overbooked situation because they needed to transport 4 crewmembers to Louisville for a flight the next day. Failure to transport the crew could have resulted in future flight delays and cancellations.
  • United offered passengers on the plane $400 vouchers and then $800 vouchers to give up their seats. Nobody volunteered.
  • United claims they “randomly selected” 4 passengers for involuntary denied boarding and asked them to deplane. One of the four passengers selected refused to deplane, saying that he “was a doctor and had patients waiting for him”.
  • United gate agents decided to call the aviation police to assist in removing the man from the plan. Which you see in the above video.
  • The flight eventually departed after a 2 hour delay.

Technically United has the law on their side here. By purchasing a ticket with United you are agreeing to their contract of carriage, which offers them the right to remove passengers at their discretion.

United is then required by law to compensate these displaced passengers depending on the length of their delay and the price of their ticket.

The reason things got so out of hand in this case is because all of the passengers had already boarded the plane. So rather than simply preventing passengers from boarding, United had to physically remove some of them from the plane. Which is never a good look.

United also claims to have rules against offering more than $800 in compensation in exchange for bumping from your flight. Which was certainly a factor here as well. Certainly someone would have volunteered when the offer went to $1,000+.

 

What to Do If This Happens to You

10xT Contributor Luke Sims recently dealt with this situation when his wife was denied boarding on a flight home to New York City.

You can check out his article here for more information on how to handle this situation.

Put simply, when you find yourself in this situation you need to 1) not voluntarily accept being denied boarding and 2) comply with any crewmember instructions.

By doing these two things you will (hopefully) prevent yourself from being physically harmed and remain eligible for compensation from the airline.

You can also protect yourself by using a card such as Chase Sapphire Preferred to pay for your airfare, which offers trip interruption insurance for situations just like this.

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Here’s to hoping this man is properly compensated by United for the physical harm and embarrassment he was subjected to. And here’s to hoping United learns from this incident and gets back to helping their customers “fly the friendly skies”.

 

Happy Travels,

Bryce

Blog

American Express Platinum Card Major Changes

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.

The Platinum Card by American Express has been a hot topic since the benefits and annual fee changed about a week ago. Many of you often ask if it is a good time to get the card. Especially since you can only get the sign-up bonus for this card once per lifetime!

If you’re looking to apply soon, be aware that Amex has announced some major changes to this card. Make sure you consider whether the changes to the card make it a good choice for you at this time.

Let’s dive into these changes so you can get a lay of the land.

 

Increased Annual Fee

Let’s be honest, when you think about signing up for a new card, you want to know the annual fee. You want to be sure the annual fee is worth it, and with the new increase, that’s something to consider.

In the past, the Amex Platinum card had an annual fee of $450 which is comparable to other high-end cards. That’s no longer the case as American Express has decided to increase it to $550 per year.

If you are an existing card-member, you may get the $450 for another year. If your annual fee posts before September, it will only be $450.

New card-members and those whose annual fee posts in September and beyond will pay the increased annual fee. Either way, you can start taking advantage of the new benefits now.

 

Uber Ride (or Dine!) Credits & VIP Status

To help offset the increased annual fee, you’ll receive $200 in Uber credits each calendar year and complimentary Uber VIP Status. Continue Reading

Blog

5 Awesome Ways to Use SPG Starpoints

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.

SPG Starpoints are considered one of the most valuable point currencies on the market today. From amazing hotel redemptions to some fun airline transfer partners, SPG Starpoints provide you with the flexibility to book whatever you need for your trip.

With the Starwood and Marriott merger the program is only guaranteed to last through the end of 2017. Here at 10xTravel, we are certainly hoping Marriott will maintain the SPG Starpoints program in the future, but just in case they don’t, let’s check out some great ways to use those SPG Starpoints now.

 

1) Emirates First Class through Japan Airlines Mileage Bank

One of the most raved about redemption option with SPG Starpoints is Emirates first class, without a doubt. SPG Starpoints transfer to most of their airline partners at a 1:1 ratio, however transfers to airlines provide a unique opportunity to earn bonus miles.

For every 20,000 SPG Starpoints you transfer, you will receive an additional 5,000 airline miles. Thanks to this feature, you can earn your Emirates first class flight that much quicker.

Keep in mind, you can only transfer 60,000 SPG Starpoints to a partner airline per day and receive the 5,000 mile bonus on each 20,000 point chunk. You will not receive the 5,000 mile bonus if you transfer another 20,000 points.

Now that you have a little background on how SPG Starpoints transfer, let’s get into the best way to book your Emirates first class!

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank. Bet you weren’t expecting that! Unlike many award charts, Japan Airlines uses a distance based award chart for partners. Remember to add the distance of each segment to determine how many Mileage Bank miles will be required. Continue Reading