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John Tunningley

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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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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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Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which One Is Right For You?

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.

Two of the most common questions we get at 10xTravel are: “What card should I get first?” and “With the new Chase Sapphire rules which Chase Sapphire card should I get?”

The answer to both of these questions is the same. To put it simply, the card that is better for you depends on your spending habits and travel habits (and goals).

If you spend a lot on travel and dining and you travel quite a bit, the answer is probably the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. If you just want to dip your toe in the water and start earning points or already have one of the other premium cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is probably your best bet.

Comparing the Benefits and Perks

Let’s take a quick look at what each card has to offer and what the current bonuses are.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

  • $95 annual fee (waived the first year)
  • Sign-up bonus: 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you spend $4,000 within 3 months of opening the card
  • Authorized User (AU) bonus: 5,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you add an AU within 3 months of opening the card
  • 2x points per dollar spent on travel and dining
  • 1.25 cents per point redemption rate in the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal
  • Trip delay insurance when flights are delayed by at least 12 hours or overnight
  • Authorized Users are free
  • No foreign transaction fees

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The Revamped American Express Hilton Cards

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.

There’s been a lot of talk about the changes coming to the American Express Hilton Honors credit cards. Let’s take a look at what you can expect going forward.

In January, all Citi Hilton cardholders will be converted to American Express Hilton cards and existing American Express Hilton cards will be modified slightly.

Additionally, American Express will be releasing two new credit cards and rebranding one of the existing cards.

These are the changes you can expect to see:

  • Current Citi Hilton HHonors Card members will receive a new Hilton Honors Card from American Express in January
  • Current Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card members will receive a new Hilton Honors American Express Ascend card
  • Current American Express Hilton Honors Surpass Card members will be switched to the rebranded Hilton Honors American Express Ascend card

Before we dive in, it’s important to remember that Hilton Honors points are not as valuable and lack the flexibility of points currencies such as Chase Ultimate Rewards points and American Express Membership Rewards points.

 

Hilton Honors Card from American Express

Existing cardholders of the Hilton Honors Card from American Express won’t see many changes. The big difference in benefits comes in the elimination of the foreign transaction fee which merely brings it inline with most cards offered by American Express.

The other benefits of the card include:

  • 7x Hilton points on spend at Hilton hotels
  • 5x Hilton points on spend at US supermarkets, US restaurants, and US gas stations
  • 3x Hilton points on all other eligible purchases
  • Hilton Silver status
  • Hilton Gold status if you spend $20,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • No annual Fee

 

The New Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card

The Hilton HHonors Surpass Card from American Express is being transitioned to the rebranded Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card with a slew of new benefits included.

The biggest addition comes in lounge access with 10 Priority Pass lounge passes included each year and the ability to earn a free weekend night.

Benefits with the new card include:

  • 12x Hilton points on spend at Hilton hotels
  • 6x Hilton points on spend at US supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations
  • 3x Hilton points on all other eligible purchases
  • 10 Priority Pass lounge passes
  • Hilton Honors Gold status
  • Hilton Diamond status if you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • 1 weekend night at any Hilton hotel after spending $15,000 in a calendar year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 yearly fee

 

The New Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

The new Hilton Honors American Express Business Card is similar to the new Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card with the addition of some bonus spend categories and the ability to get a second free night based on card spend.

These are the benefits the new business version of the card will provide:

  • 12x Hilton points on spend at Hilton hotels
  • 6x Hilton points on spend at US gas stations, restaurants, shipping purchases, cell phone services, flights booked with airlines or through Amex Travel, and spend at select car rental agencies
  • 3x Hilton points on all other eligible purchases
  • 10 Priority Pass lounge passes
  • Hilton Honors Gold status
  • Hilton Diamond status if you spend $40,000 on the card in a calendar year
  • 1 weekend night at any Hilton hotel after spending $15,000 in a calendar year
  • A second weekend night at any Hilton hotel after spending $60,000 in a calendar year
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 yearly fee

 

The New Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

This new credit card will be Hilton’s entrance into the premium card market with a $450 annual fee but a list of features that draw some attention, especially for those enjoy staying with Hilton brands.

The benefits will include:

  • 14x Hilton points on spend at Hilton hotels
  • 7x Hilton points on spend at US restaurants, flights booked with airlines or through Amex Travel, and spend at select car rental agencies
  • 3x Hilton points on all other eligible purchases
  • Hilton Diamond status for as long as you hold the card
  • 1 weekend night stay at any Hilton hotel or resort per year
  • A second weekend night at any Hilton hotel after spending $60,000 in a calendar year
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • $250 airline fee credit per calendar year
  • $250 Hilton resort statement credit per cardmember year
  • $100 credit at Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts and Conrad Hotels and Resorts when booking the “Aspire Card Package”
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $450 annual fee

 

What You Need To Know About the Hilton Cards Changes

With three new cards coming out there could be a lot of activity coming up with the Hilton rewards program. While there have been no details about what the sign-up bonuses might be for the new cards there are some interesting perks being released for each of the four card offerings.

The Hilton Honors Card from American Express offers an attractive no annual fee card with some bonus spending  categories and silver status. While no foreign transaction fees on a no annual fee card is no longer rare, this card still has some value for someone who stays at Hilton’s occasionally. If nothing else, silver elite status allows you to book five-night award stays for the price of four nights.

The New Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card and Hilton Honors American Express Business Card are very interesting for their Priority Pass lounge benefits. With 10 free passes per year you can easily make back the $95 annual fee in value if you don’t have a Priority Pass lounge membership from another card.

These two cards can give you a taste of the premium benefits for a reduced rate and with the broad categories for bonus spend on the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card, spending $15,000 for a free weekend night at any Hilton property may very well be worthwhile.

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is the card to get if you’re a regular at Hilton properties. This card could be a no brainer with the $250 airline fee credit and the $250 Hilton resort statement credit.

On the other hand, if you don’t stay at Hilton properties often and would have to go out of your way to stay at a Hilton resort every year this card probably isn’t the right choice for you. While automatic Diamond status seems like a great perk (no other hotel branded card grants you top status in a tiered program), it’s important to note that their Diamond status doesn’t even guarantee breakfast at all their properties.

When it comes down to it if you’re able to make full use of the benefits this card can be a great deal but if you think you’ll struggle and go out of your way to use the benefits there are likely better options for you.

 

Bottom Line

It’s a great sign that American Express is willing to increase their perks without having to make their annual fees hundreds of dollars more. The no annual fee and low annual fee cards offer a lot of opportunities for both casual travelers and seasoned veterans alike and the Aspire will surely add more competition to the elite level cards trying to keep top paying customers year after year.

Variety is truly the spice of life and having new options on the market always creates a lot of excitement for us. Here’s to hoping you’re able to find the right option for you!

 

Keep traveling,

John

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Premium Credit Cards: Which One Should You Keep?

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.

Ultimately, as we try out premium credit cards, we find ourselves having to make decide which one is right for us.. This isn’t an easy decision to make as the cards with higher annual fees often come packed with some of the best perks.  

So, let’s take a look at some premium credit card options and see what if they are worth a spot in your wallet.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card took the miles and points world by storm in 2016. when it was launched with a sign-up bonus of 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. Beyond the bonus though, it also has some great perks that make this a go-to card for many who enjoy traveling.

Here are some of the perks that it offers cardholders:

  • 3x points per dollar on travel and dining
  • $300 annual travel credit automatically credited to your statement and can be used for just about any travel purchase from rail tickets to uber rides to parking fees to airline tickets
  • Priority Pass Select membership with unlimited guest access
  • Primary insurance on rental cars
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement
  • Trip delay reimbursement (after 6 hours)
  • Points are worth 1.5 cents each in the Chase Travel Portal
  • Ability to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 ratio

The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card comes with a $450 annual fee.

 

The Platinum Card from American Express

One of the heavy hitters for many years and often seen as a status symbol of the elite is the The Platinum Card from American Express. This card has perhaps the longest list of benefits with many that can help offset the $550 annual fee.

These benefits include: Continue Reading

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Companion Tickets and The Cards That Will Give Them To You

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.

One of the best perks in the travel world is the Companion Pass offered by Southwest Airlines. Longtime 10xTravel readers will have heard all the details about it and how to get it about 100 times by now but I wanted to touch on the airlines that offer companion tickets and what credit cards offer them.

As a stipulation, it’s important to note that if you see a card offering a companion ticket it is not the same benefit as the Southwest Companion Pass. These tickets are only available for a single flight and, in some cases, there is still a charge for the ticket.

Now, let’s dig into which co-branded airline credit cards offer a companion ticket:

Beautiful Companion Flight

Bank of America Alaska Airlines Credit Card

Alaska Airlines likes to brand their companion ticket. In particular, you’ll often hear them call it their “famous companion fare”. Now, in the points and miles hobby, many people are aware of their companion fare but calling it “famous” might be overselling it a bit (especially when just about all of us prefer the Southwest Companion Pass mentioned above).

Typically, the way Alaska Airlines’ companion fare works is that each year you keep their co-branded Bank of America credit card, you will receive a discount code to book a companion fare for $99 plus taxes and fees.

This companion fare can be used on any itinerary on Alaska Airlines or Virgin America. The only stipulation is the travel must be booked (not flown) before the certificate expires. Both you and your companion can earn miles and you can even book it for a friend and their companion as long as your name is the one listed on the credit card used to pay for the tickets. Continue Reading