Monthly Archives

September 2017

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The Best Debit Cards for International Travel

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.

Longtime 10xTravel readers know you can get flight and hotels at huge discounts using points acquired from credit cards. Unfortunately, not all parts travel can be nearly free. Food, souvenirs, and drinks can’t readily be purchased with points.

While you should use a credit card for these purchases whenever possible, you won’t be able to do so everywhere you go. Having access to cash is important, especially in the local currency. But this often requires subjecting yourself to terrible exchange fees if you get money from a local exchange shop.

To get the best exchange rate when you need cash, you’ll want to get money from an ATM. However, picking the right debit card can prevent you from paying fees on top of that.

Let’s explore some options to help avoid those pesky fees and save you money.

10xTravel Picking the Best Debit Card for International Travel Continue Reading

Blog

Using Positioning Flights for the Best Flight Deals

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.

As a travel junkie, I’m constantly looking for the best flight deals. When I was living in Los Angeles (LAX), deals were always popping up: $377 to Europe! $545 on ANA to Japan! $798 on Singapore Airlines to Bali!

I even snagged an error fare from LAX to Auckland (AKL) for $211!!

Right now, I’m living in New Orleans (MSY), which is a great city, but has only six international routes operating from the airport. New Orleans is not a hub city for any airline, so in order to take advantage of great flight deals, I often have to use positioning flights.

 

What Is A Positioning Flight?

A positioning flight is a flight booked separately from your main flight, in order to get you from your home airport, to the airport where the main flight originates. Positioning flights can be used to when booking award flights, as well.

 

Using A Positioning Flight For A Flight Deal

I have friends and family living in Chicago, so I often use Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) as a starting point for international travel.

I recently saw a fare sale for economy flights from Chicago (ORD) to Prague (PRG).  The flight cost $437!

Using A Positioning Flight

Roundtrip to Europe for less than $500? Yes, please!! Continue Reading

Blog

How To Combine Chase Ultimate Rewards 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.

Hey Travel Junkies,

Many of you have nailed how to earn lots of points thanks to credit card sign-up bonuses and your everyday spending.

One of the biggest challenges after earning these points is maximizing their value to make them stretch as far as possible. In this guide, we’ll discuss how to combine Chase Ultimate Rewards points to help you get started.

 

Why Should You Combine Ultimate Rewards?

Combining Ultimate Rewards can help increase the value of your Ultimate Rewards. If you have the right credit cards and combine correctly you can increase the value of each point by a minimum of 50%!

Typically, Chase Ultimate Rewards are worth 1 cent per point. However, they are worth more if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card which both give you a bonus when you redeem your points in the Chase travel portal.

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, your points are worth 1.25 cents each and if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, they are worth 1.5 cents each.

Another reason to transfer points is to take advantage of travel partners. Not all Ultimate Rewards earning cards can be transferred to travel partners, like United Airlines and Hyatt. By transferring your points to a card with travel partner transfers, you can!

If you’re trying to figure out which cards have the ability to transfer, it basically comes down to this: if the card has an annual fee, it allows transfer to partners. This means the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Ink Preferred provide access to transfer partners while the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited do not.

 

How to Combine Between Your Personal Cards

When you log into your Ultimate Rewards portal, you’ll see a screen showing the number of points you have with each card.

 

Although most of my points are on my Sapphire Reserve, I do have a few on my freedom. If I redeem them on the freedom, they are only worth 1 cent each. By transferring these points onto my Sapphire Reserve, they will be worth at least 1.5 cents each. Thankfully, transferring points between your own personal cards is really easy! Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: Alana Books A $5,000 Spanish Vacation for $106.12

Guest Post By: Alana

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 decided my husband and I were going to need a vacation after he spent a year in a very intense program earning two master’s degrees. I also had heard about using miles and points to travel through others around my community, specifically two close friends who saved a TON of money on a trip to Italy.

I figured if we were going to pay so much for tuition, it should at least help us take an extravagant vacation in the end!

We chose Barcelona, Spain for our eight-day adventure and it was amazing!

Points covered our flights, hotels, transportation from the airport and six tours throughout the city.

Here is how we did it on points:

Alana - 10xTravel Success Story

Flights to Barcelona

My husband opened the United Mileage Plus Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and we used them to pay off his tuition.

We then transferred all of our bills over to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and before we knew it – in less than three months – we had easily reached the minimum spend and then some on both cards.

We saw that two round-trip economy flights to Barcelona for 120,000 United miles were available when were ready to book. We had exactly 120,000 miles and points. We transferred our Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United and booked our flights. We only had to cover the $106.12 in taxes and fees. Continue Reading

Blog

Everything You Need to Know About Using Chase Ultimate Rewards 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.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are some of the most useful points in all of award travel. At 10xTravel, we are borderline-obsessed with Ultimate Rewards points because of their versatility and value potential.

Of all miles and points, people ask us about Ultimate Rewards the most. That is why we have created this overview, to be your one-stop shop for answering all of your questions about Ultimate Rewards points.

To make life easier on you, we wanted everything in one place. We have organized it based on the most frequent questions and topics we receive and have done our best to leave no stone unturned.

If you want to be a master of Ultimate Rewards points, bookmark this post so it’s only a few clicks away whenever you have a question. Let’s start from the top.

Planning a Trip

What are Ultimate Rewards points worth?

The value of Ultimate Rewards points varies depending on how you use them.

The lowest possible redemption value is 1 cent per point, which is what you get if you choose to redeem your points for cash or statement credit (don’t even think about it).

If you transfer Ultimate Rewards points to airline or hotel partners, you could easily get a value of 3 or 4 cents (or more) per point.

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, your points are worth 1.25 cents per point and 1.5 cents per point in the Chase travel portal, respectively.

To sum it up, when you consider redeeming Ultimate Rewards points, you should not settle for 1 cent per point. If you are booking an economy class flight or hotel, you shouldn’t settle for anything below the value of the points in the Chase travel portal. Continue Reading

Blog

What I’ve Been Up to – Points/Miles Moves for September 2017

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.

Hi Travel Junkies,

Every couple of months I publicly share my own points/miles moves to help pull back the curtain on how the pros are able to travel for next to nothing.

So without further ado, here is what I have been up to lately:

  • I applied and was immediately approved for a Citi Thank You Premier card. 50,000 Citi Thank You Points after $4,000 spend in 3 months, no fee first year. I have no specific plans for these points but the 50,000 bonus makes it an easy choice for anyone over 5/24.
    • This is my second Citi Thank You Premier card, having had it a little more than 24 months ago. Which qualifies me for another bonus per Citi’s new bonus rules.
  • I applied and was immediately approved for a Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard. 60,000 bonus AA miles after first purchase, $95 fee is not waived. No immediate plans for these points but I always enjoy having a large number of AA miles on hand. Particularly with the amount of award space that they have released in the past couple of months.
  • I applied and was rejected for a Merrill Plus Visa Signature card from Bank of America. I knew this was a long shot but decided to go for it based on rumors that the card will be discontinued this month. My attempts at reconsideration did not go well, to say the least.
  • I finally was able to product change my Chase Ink Bold to the new Chase Ink Preferred card. Chase was not allowing anyone to do this until recently, despite my almost weekly requests. I won’t get a signup bonus for doing this (and can’t anyway because I am well beyond Chase’s 5/24 rule) but the 3x points on social media advertising will be huge given how much 10xT spends in that category.
  • I cashed in 110,000 Lufthansa miles and ~$2,000 to book two round-trip business class tickets to Italy this coming January. Yes, the $2,000 in fees is not ideal, but I had to use these miles before they expired this month and had no other need for them. Truth be told, I had completely forgotten I had these Lufthansa miles until a few weeks ago. A rookie mistake on my part.
  • I redeemed 17,000 Southwest points to book a weekend getaway to Washington D.C. with my wife and daughter. Each of them flew free thanks to my Southwest Companion Pass and a lap child ticket. I stayed at the beautiful W Hotel Washington D.C. for just $188 per night thanks to some rewards from Hotels.com and the fact that D.C. is pretty slow this time of year.

Continue Reading

Blog

How to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass for 2018 & 2019

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.

Hi Travel Junkies,

The end of the year is fast approaching, which means it is time to talk about one of my favorite perks in the points and miles world.

The Southwest Companion Pass.

The Southwest Companion Pass is arguably the most lucrative airline perk on earth and an absolute must get for anyone who frequently travels with multiple people (couples, families, etc.).

Today we are going to cover how the Companion Pass works, how to maximize its value, and how to earn and use it for almost 2 full years.

Let’s get to it.

 

What is the Southwest Companion Pass?

The Southwest Companion Pass (often abbreviated as “CP”) is a perk that allows you to bring a companion on any Southwest flight that you fly. All you need to do is pay your companion’s taxes and fees, just like any other award booking.

Unlike most other “companion passes”, the Southwest Companion Pass can be used on both paid and award flights. Even if you weren’t the one who paid for your flight (work travel, generous friends/family, etc.).

Bryce in Hotel

Southwest Companion Pass = more trips to Vegas with friends

There are no blackout dates and there is no limit to how many times you can use your Companion Pass (trust me, I would have hit any limit long ago). As long as there is an open seat on the plane it can be booked with a Companion Pass. Continue Reading

Blog

Hotel Review: W Hotel Washington DC – Wonderful Room

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.

Hi Travel Junkies,

I just got back from a quick weekend trip to our nation’s capital that featured a stay at W Hotel Washington D.C. Though I have been to this hotel many times to visit their incredible POV Bar I had not yet stayed there, so I figured a family trip was the perfect chance.

W Hotel Review - 10xTravel

The W Washington D.C., formerly known as Hotel Washington

The W is just a short walk from the National Mall and many other famous D.C. attractions, making it an incredibly convenient choice for me as my wife and I were traveling with our 8 month old daughter.

It took us less than 10 minutes to walk from the hotel to the Washington Monument, Smithsonian Museums, and dozens of fantastic restaurants and bars.

The W Washington D.C. is a Category 6 Starwood property, meaning it can be booked for a rate of 20,000 Starpoints per night. With rates often exceeding $500+ per night this would typically be a great use of one of my favorite hotel loyalty currencies. Continue Reading

Blog

Best Credit Card Offers – September 2017

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.

Hi Travel Junkies,

Summertime is finally coming to an end. And while for most people this means the start of a season filled with falling leaves, football, and pumpkin spiced everything, my mind is fixed on something entirely different.

For me the end of summer means that 2018 summer award travel is now available to be booked on many airlines.

So, if you’re thinking about taking a big trip next summer (or any time before that), the best time to get started earning those valuable points/miles is right now. There is no better way to get started than to grab a new credit card with a lucrative sign-up bonus offer.

Last month, we decided to divide our 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)

This new method received quite a bit of positive feedback so we’re going to do it again for September.

And while the best offer for you will vary depending on a number of factors, we’re going to rank the top offers based on the order in which we think they should be chosen by the average person.

As always, feel free to email me with questions about your own situation. (bryce[at]10xtravel[dot]com)

Here we go!

Beautiful Clouds over Beach

 

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:

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has firmly established itself as the best overall card to start with because of its great sign-up 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 7 airline partners and 4 hotel partners – though, Hyatt is usually the only useful one.

You can also redeem Ultimate Rewards to book travel via the Chase travel portal at a value of 1.25 cents per point, meaning the 50,000 bonus points offered by this card are worth, at a bare minimum, $625 toward travel. Your points can be worth even more in the travel portal when you pair this card with the Chase Sapphire Reserve (see below for more details). Continue Reading