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Bryce Conway

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Why I Upgraded my Sapphire Preferred to Sapphire Reserve (Without Getting a Bonus)

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,

Anyone who has been reading 10xTravel for longer than a couple weeks can tell you that I am adamantly opposed to upgrading credit cards. The mere thought of doing so causes me physical pain.

By upgrading a credit card instead of applying for it separately you voluntarily give up any sort of sign-up bonus offered by the card, which is basically throwing away free money.

But, I had to break my own rule recently when I upgraded my Chase Sapphire Preferred to a Chase Sapphire Reserve.

I finally caved and upgraded my CSP to a CSR

We’ll talk about why I did that in a moment, but first let’s cover the basics.

Here are the details on the Chase Sapphire Reserve:

  • 3x points on dining and travel, 1 point per $1 on everything else
  • Points transfer 1:1 to many major airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • $450 annual fee not waived first year
  • $300 annual travel credit good for any form of travel
  • Priority pass membership, which gives you (plus guests) access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide
  • Up to $100 credit for application fees for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: $15,000 European Honeymoon for Almost Nothing!

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

If you’ve ever wanted to see how you can put together an amazing honeymoon to Europe, this is the success story for you. Brett is going to tell you all about how took this amazing trip with his wife.

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)


Planning a honeymoon was the last thing my fiancé wanted to worry about. The wedding took precedent for her and so the task was passed to me.

Luckily I had been following 10xTravel for a few years and already had a simple plan. Acquire as many points as possible to make our honeymoon as long as possible.

So, where did I begin you might ask?

It all started about two years ago while dating my now fiancé. I knew even back then that she was the one I was going to marry, and knew I wanted to surprise her with the honeymoon of a lifetime.

After using other miles and points for beach getaways, cruises, and family gatherings, these are the points we used to book this trip:

Chase Ultimate Rewards: 250,000

Capital One points: 120,000

Marriott Rewards: 240,000

We earned the Ultimate Rewards points through our Chase Sapphire Preferred cards as well as a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The Capitol One points were earned through each of our Capitol One Venture cards.

We were fortunate to earn the Marriott Rewards points through my fiancé’s work travel. However, we could have easily earned the points through the Chase Marriott cards.

Now that we had the needed points, we had to decide where to go!

We immediately agreed that Italy and Greece were perfect for our honeymoon and that we’d spend two and a half weeks enjoying ourselves.

Here’s how we booked our trip:

Genoa, Italy Port

Flight to Genoa, Italy

To start, we wanted to go to Cinque Terre as we had heard wonderful things, so I transferred 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points to United and booked our flights to the closest airport. We used our Capital One to cover the taxes and fees.

 

Continue Reading

Blog

Introducing the 2017 10xT Las Vegas Giveaway!

Hi Travel Junkies,

Last week I told you about the amazing party we are throwing in Vegas this October and started accepting RSVPs.

The tl;dr details are this: We booked a ~3,000 square foot penthouse suite, are filling it with food and drinks, and we are opening up 60 spots for 10xT Readers to attend.

Why are we doing this?

I think the better question is, why not?

This free event is our way of saying thank you for being the best readers on the internet.

Today I am happy to announce that we will be giving away 2 free trips to Vegas to attend the event, complete with all the extras that any epic Vegas trip should include. This is the first major giveaway we have ever done here at 10xT so of course we wanted to go all out.

Here’s what each prize package includes:

  • A round trip flight to Las Vegas
  • Free limo ride from the airport to your hotel
  • Two free nights in a Bella Suite the Venetian
  • Two tickets to our 10xT Vegas Reader Meetup (so you can bring a friend)
  • $100 in cash to spend however you like
  • Brunch with Bryce and the 10xT team at the Grand Lux Café

Continue Reading

Blog

I’m Throwing a Party In a Las Vegas Penthouse (And You’re Invited)

Hi Travel Junkies,

Mark your calendars, on October 7th 10xTravel is going to throw the party of the year at the Venetian Las Vegas and YOU are invited.

We have reserved a ~3,000 square foot Penthouse Suite just for the occasion and plan on filling it with food, drinks, and up to sixty 10xT readers. There will be prizes, giveaways, and other great events throughout the weekend all leading up to the big blowout on Saturday night.

Here’s the tentative agenda:

  • Friday, October 6th  8PM: 10xT Happy Hour at The Dorsey (Venetian Las Vegas, open to anyone)
  • Saturday, October 7th  10AM: Brunch with Bryce + the 10xT Team (Grand Lux Café @ the Palazzo, open to anyone)
  • Saturday, October 7th  8PM: 11:00pm 10xT Reader Meetup (Penthouse Suite at the Venetian, must RSVP to attend)

The Penthouse Suite can only accommodate 60 people so we are taking RSVPs on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

Here’s how to claim your spot:

  • Enter your info below and we will reach out if you are one of the first 60 people.
  • We will send instructions on how to send your $50 deposit via PayPal.
  • You will have 48 hours to send your deposit before we open up your spot to someone else.
  • UPDATE: All spots for the party were claimed in about 3 minutes so we have removed the 10xT Vegas Party entry form below. We will be having more of these events in the future – so keep an eye out!

We are requiring a $50 deposit to RSVP, which will be refunded to you the day after you attend the event (our way of cutting down on no-shows).

Should you decide to RSVP and not attend, we will likely withdraw your $50 in quarters, have everyone in attendance use them to play slots, and donate any winnings to a worthwhile charity.

I’m only half kidding about that.

 

Hotel Accommodations:

We have reserved a block of rooms at the hotel for 10xT readers at a discounted rate. If you are interested in booking please email me (Bryce[at]10xTravel[dot]com) for more details. Don’t delay, these are going to go fast.

Thanks for being the best readers on the internet and I hope to see you in Vegas!

Happy Travels,

Bryce

P.S.  We will be kicking off the festivities with a giveaway next week. Keep an eye out for the details.

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

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.

————————

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