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December 2017

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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A Long Weekend In Montreal Booked With Miles And Points

Guest Post By: Rachael Olson

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

Montreal Weekend with Points and Miles

Today, 10xTravel reader Rachael Olson is going to guide you through booking a fun Canadian getaway.

Ah, Montreal: A city that feels decidedly European, with amazing culture and food, minus the long transatlantic flight. I know we’re approaching winter, but Montreal isn’t as cold as you think – and a big part of the city is entirely underground!

Plus, the U.S. dollar is very strong right now relative to the Canadian dollar (CAD $1 = ~$0.8 USD), which means you’ll be able to enjoy fabulous food and culture at a huge discount compared to most major American cities.

That’s why I’m going to talk about how you can spend a three-day weekend in Montreal for (almost) free without even using up a big stash of your points. With just a few points, you’ll feel like you’re in Paris listening to French, visiting top-notch museums, and enjoying some of the most incredible restaurants in the world – including the not-to-be missed Au Pied de Cochon.

 

What Points Do You Need For A Weekend Getaway To Montreal?

To start, we’re going to use British Airways Avios for the flight. Don’t worry if you don’t have any in your account because you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, or SPG Starpoints to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio. Continue Reading

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Guest Post: Use This Free App to Save More of Your Your Hard-Earned Cash

Today, we have a guest post from 10xTravel reader, Anton Pronichenko, about a fun money-saving service he has been using to save money that he can put toward travel.

Hello 10xT readers,

Hopefully, you have already experienced or will soon experience some amazing travel thanks to miles and points. I believe the possibilities that are created out of earning lots of points can usually be categorized in two ways: saving money, and lifestyle inflation.

Let’s say you’ve been saving up for years to visit your parents and extended family abroad, planning for $1,000 round-trip tickets to a destination for you, your spouse, and your children. Points make it possible for you to save those thousands of dollars that you would have spent on flights and reunite your family for a much cheaper price.

The other alternative is lifestyle inflation. Arguably the next step of your development as a points expert; you may have never dreamed of flying first-class and would never have spent the money on the sky-high first-class ticket prices. Now, all your points make it possible for you to push your lifestyle to new heights and make the impossible possible: first class flights.

Though both are equally amazing and inspiring, in this post we will focus on a new way for you to save some hard-earned cash that you can put towards your travel.

Introducing Trim.

What is Trim?

Trim (no 10xT affiliation) is a free financial assistant in the form of a Facebook Messenger or text message chatbot that saves you money while you do pretty much nothing. It includes some pretty cool basic financial tracking features and it’s quickly become my favorite recent money-saving scheme for the following reasons:

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5 Things To Remember When Using Credit Cards During The Holidays

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.

For many, the holiday season is a time that includes a lot of spending. Well, if you’re going to be making lots of purchases anyway, you might as well get the most out of each one! This could mean signing up for a new card to earn a sign-up bonus or using a card that provides some protection for your purchases.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons to open a new credit card this holiday season.

Price Protection

In addition to receiving bonus points from meeting minimum spend requirements, some credit cards also offer price protection benefits which can be incredibly useful in this season of sales.

Major cards from Barclaycard, Capital One, Chase, Citi, Discover, and even USAA offer price protection of some sort. With claim maximums up to $500 and yearly maximums up to $2,500, these cards can easily cover their annual fees with a single claim.

It’s important to check the benefits and exact terms of a specific credit card but many of the cards on our list of best cards for December include price protection including the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Ink Business Preferred Card, and Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard.

Some of our members even had the opportunity to buy some pre-Black Friday deals that were advertised at a lower price on Black Friday and successfully submitted claims for the difference in price.

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The Guide to Redeeming AAdvantage Miles

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.

I love seeing the success stories of our 10xTravel readers. Every story provides some fun insights into the earning and redemption strategies our readers have used to take some amazing vacations. What often isn’t mentioned is what goes on behind the scenes.

Behind the scenes is where the real work happens. To connect your miles and points to travel, you have to know the rules and restrictions on award travel. You have to know how many points an award ticket is going to cost and you have to know how to find the award space you need.

This guide doesn’t have pictures that will inspire you to travel more. It isn’t about awesome planes or luxurious hotels and resorts. This guide is instead full of the essential information that you’ll need to use your American Airlines AAdvantage miles to book award flights.

This guide will give you the necessary information so that you don’t have to just look at pictures online—you can be the one taking them.

Maybe your pictures will be part of our next reader success story!

Understanding American Airlines’ Region-Based Award Chart

American Airlines uses a zone-based award chart. A zone-based award chart groups countries into different zones. When you book a ticket from one zone to another, you pay a set number of miles.

If you’re flying from the US to Europe, it doesn’t matter if you’re departing from New York or Los Angeles, you’ll need the same number of miles. Below is a table listing every country by zone.

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How to Get to Bora Bora 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.

You know those times when you are freezing your buns off waiting for your car to warm up so you can drive to work on a dreaded Monday morning? You tell yourself to imagine your feet dangling in perfect blue water in a warm tropical paradise somewhere.

Yeah, that somewhere is Bora Bora.

World-famous for its crystal clear turquoise water, bleached-white sand beaches, and luxurious overwater bungalows, Bora Bora is near the top of many dream vacation bucket lists – and for good reason.

While it’s nearly a perfect vacation destination, getting there, on the other hand, can be expensive and tricky. So, let me share with you how you can use points and miles to get there so that beautiful place you imagine can become a reality!

four seasons bora bora

To get there, you’ll need to fly through Tahiti (PPT), the only international airport in French Polynesia, and then catch a flight or take a boat to Bora Bora. From the U.S. you have three options to Tahiti:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Tahiti (PPT) on Air Tahiti Nui
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Tahiti (PPT) on Air France
  • Honolulu (HNL) to Tahiti (PPT) on Hawaiian Airlines

From Tahiti, your best option is to then take a quick flight on Air Tahiti to Bora Bora. Air Tahiti does not have a frequent flyer program, so you will need to pay around $350 roundtrip in cash per ticket. This would be a great opportunity to use the Barclaycard Arrival Plus or Capital One Venture Card, which allow you to use your points to erase any travel-related charge made with the card in the previous 90 days.

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How Much Does a Credit Card Denial Hurt Your Credit?

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.

Readers often ask, “what happens if I’m denied after submitting a credit card application?”

Everyone is worried about what effect a denial will have on their credit report. The short answer is it has very little effect, but I know the devil is in the details and you want to know exactly what happens when you’re denied.

Your Credit Score

First, let’s looking into the details of what factors influence your credit and help to determine your credit score.

The first, and biggest, credit factor is your payment history. This factor is determined by things such as late or missed payments, bankruptcy, tax liens, collections, etc. These can have a very negative impact on your credit score. Unfortunately, too many people in the US rack up credit debt with no way to pay it back.

This can not only kill your credit score but also makes the points and miles hobby almost useless as the interest you will be paying on credit cards will outweigh the benefits you’re receiving from any given credit card. It is important to make sure you are always paying off your credit card balances in full each month to get the most bang for your buck in this hobby.

The second major factor of your credit score is how much you owe which is referred to as your credit utilization. This often holds people back at first before they understand how it works. Generally, banks report how much of your credit line you have used to all three credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—when your statement closes.

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