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Bryce Conway

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

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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

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 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

Blog

Highest Ever Offer on Starwood Credit Card is Back!

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, American Express just upped the offer on their Starwood Preferred Guest Credit card to 35,000 bonus points! This is the highest offer I have ever seen on the card, which usually offers only 25,000 bonus points.

NOTE: This bonus is no longer active as of April 5th, 2017.

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

  • Earn 25,000 Starpoints after spending $3,000 in the first three months with the card
  • Earn 10,000 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 Starpoints after spending $5,000 in the first three months with the card
  • Earn 10,000 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

Starwood points are one of my favorite loyalty currencies because of their flexibility. You can use Starpoints to book free or discounted nights at many Starwood properties or transfer them to more than 30 different airline partners at a rate of 20,000 Starpoints > 25,000 frequent flyer miles.

Just this past year I used Starpoints to score some amazing hotels on long weekend trips to Central Europe and the Iberian Peninsula.

And don’t forget that Starpoints now transfer to Marriott at a rate of 3:1. Meaning the 35,000 Starpoints could potentially become 105,000 Marriott points. Opening up a TON of additional redemption options for you.
Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story – A $2,412 Trip to Bali for Only $255

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

We’re back with another amazing readers success story. Today Shannon is going to tell us how she used miles and points to take a dream vacation in Bali, Indonesia. If you’ve been wondering how you can use make credit cards work for you, this is a must-read.

If you have your own dream vacation story that you’d like to share, send Bryce a quick email and you could see your story on the blog next time!

With that we’ll turn it over to Shannon!

 

Hey 10xTravel Friends!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably looked at your points balances and thought, “ugh, there’s no way I’m going to have enough for a round-trip!” Fortunately, that doesn’t have to derail your dream vacation.

I knew I didn’t have enough miles in any of my accounts to for a round-trip flight from Minneapolis to Bali, Indonesia, so I decided I would book one-way flights on two different airline programs. I did a little research and decided to use United miles for my flight to Bali and Delta SkyMiles for my return flight.

I booked my flight to Bali on United with thanks to the sign-up bonus I received from the Chase United card. At the time, the bonus was 50,000. A one-way flight from Minneapolis to Bali only cost 40,000 miles and $52 (taxes and fees), so my 50,000 United miles were more than enough to take care of this flight.

I used my CapitalOne Venture card to pay for the fees and was able to erase all $52 of these taxes and fees. A free flight to Bali? Yes, please!

Continue Reading