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Luke Sims

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What To Do With Chase Sapphire Reserve (One Year Later)

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.

Around this time last year, one of the most lucrative offers in travel credit card history hit the market – the Chase Sapphire Reserve. If you were one of the lucky people who got in on the original 100,000 Ultimate Rewards sign-up bonus offer than the $450 annual fee was easy to swallow, but now, one year later, that gut-punch annual fee is due again and it’s time to decide if the Chase Sapphire Reserve will retain a spot in your wallet.

As is true with all decisions to keep a credit card beyond year one, there is no right answer for all. Lucky for you, we have an extremely accessible team at 10xTravel and we are more than happy to help each of you personally figure out what the best decision is for you.

That said, I have put together a list of things to consider that will help you decide what to do with your Chase Sapphire Reserve. If you don’t reach perfect clarity about your decision by the end of this, then please reach out and we would love to help!

Koh Phi Phi Thailand

$300 Annual Travel Credit

The first place we have to start is with the $300 annual travel credit that is automatically applied toward any eligible purchase you make with your Sapphire Reserve.

That means, the first $300 you spend on your Sapphire Reserve on airfare, airline fees, hotels, Airbnb, car rentals, parking, Uber/Lyft/taxis, cruises, tolls, and more (see Chase’s website) will be given back to you in the form of statement credit.

If you spend at least $300 in those eligible purchases in one year, that travel credit is like subtracting $300 from the $450 annual fee, making your net effective annual fee $150. Continue Reading

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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

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The 7 Best Credit Cards For Lounge Access

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.

Hi Travel Junkies,

It was only a few years ago (before I found 10xTravel) that I was sitting in an uncomfortable chair, listening to the gate agent announce the fifth flight delay, and being pelted by cheerios by the curly-headed brat in the seat behind me. You’ve been there, right?

Today, I want to help you break free from the chains of sub-par airport comfort and discover the oasis you deserve – airport lounges.

If you’re new to the concept of airport lounges, check out our primer on what to expect in a lounge. If you’re tired of settling for mediocre and ready to reclaim your freedom, it’s time for you to check out 7 of the best credit cards that give you free access to airport lounges.

1) The Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum Card and the Business Platinum Card from American Express give you access to tons airport lounges across the globe. Most notably, you receive access to perhaps the most luxurious lounges in the United States, Centurion Lounges – available in New York (LaGuardia), Dallas, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Miami, and Seattle.

Although each Centurion Lounge is different, some of the features that go beyond normal lounge amenities include micro-spas, a soundproof family room, premium bars, and hot buffets. You can bring two complementary guests per visit (so spread the love). I fly out of New York often and, although this is probably the weakest Centurion Lounge of the collection, it’s always nice to sling back a few free whiskeys and stay out of the mess that is LaGuardia. Continue Reading

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3 Best Ways to Fiji 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.

Hi Travel Junkies,

Whether it’s the white-sand beaches or the world-class snorkeling or the tantalizing cuisine, everyone is dying to get to Fiji – and we’re going to help you get there!

Fiji is the definition of a tropical paradise (I looked it up), but if you’re just now typing it into Google Maps… yeah, it’s way out there. Not to worry, we’ve compiled 3 of the best ways to get there on points and miles.

Sit back, click through a few of those drop-dead gorgeous Fiji beach pics, and let us help you map out your journey to this South Pacific oasis.

Although there are less options for getting to Fiji than some tropical islands (like Hawaii), Fiji Airways offers direct service from the U.S. – making it easier than you might think.

More importantly, Fiji Airways has 3 major airline partnerships – Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Cathay Pacific – which make finding award availability to Fiji much more possible.

So, check out these 3 options and choose the one that fits your points and miles stash the best.

 

1) Alaska Airlines Miles for Fiji Airways Flights

You can book award tickets on Fiji Airways from Los Angeles to Fiji with Alaska Airlines miles:

  • 40,000 miles one-way between Los Angeles and Fiji in economy
  • 55,000 miles one-way between Los Angeles and Fiji in Business

How to get Alaska Airlines miles:

 Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) is a transfer partner of Alaska Airlines. SPG Starpoints transfer at a 1:1 ratio and points transferred in 20,000 increments will get you an extra 5,000 bonus miles, which means transferring 20,000 SPG points would total 25,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles. These points generally take a couple days to post to your Alaska Mileage Plan account.

If you want to earn SPG Starpoints, the easiest way is with either business or personal version of the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card.

How to book Fiji Airways award space with Alaska Airlines miles:

Continue Reading

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5 Best Ways to Fly to Hawaii Using 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.

Hi Travel Junkies,

Hawaii is that dream destination on your bucket list that feels more like a fantasy than a possibility. You lean back in your chair at the office, close your eyes and picture yourself sipping a Mai Tai with the ocean breeze gently passing through your half-buttoned Hawaiian shirt.

You then snap back to reality when you realize it’s a billion miles away (I measured) and in the middle of the ocean… there can’t be an affordable way to get there.

At 10xTravel, we are determined to make Hawaii a reality for you. Today, I want to share with you five of the best ways to use points and miles to fly to Hawaii.

Bali Hai from Tunnels Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

 

1) Korean Air SKYPASS Miles For Delta Flights

You can book a round-trip economy flight on Delta, from anywhere in the United States to any of the four major Hawaiian islands, for 25,000 Korean Air SKYPASS miles.

Korean Air does not fly from the US to Hawaii, so they rely on their Skyteam Partner, Delta, to service their customers. Although Delta prices its lowest award flights to Hawaii at 45,000 for roundtrip in economy and 90,000 for round-trip in first class, you can book the exact same Delta flights using 25,000 Korean Air SKYPASS miles in economy and 45,000 Korean Air SKYPASS miles in first class. I think the correct term for this is, “BOOYA”.

How to get Korean SKYPASS miles

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Starwood Preferred Guest points at a 1:1 ratio to Korean SKYPASS miles. SPG points transferred in 20,000 increments will earn you an extra 5,000 bonus miles, which means transferring 20,000 SPG points would equal 25,000 SKYPASS miles. Continue Reading

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Our Trip To Paris 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.

Bonjour Travel Junkies,

I studied French in high school, but I never imagined I would be strolling down the Champs-Élysées, with a full Movember mustache, in the City of Love – all for next to nothing!

Maximizing our PTO before Thanksgiving, my wife and I took a much-needed escape to Paris.

I wish I could say those two years of French came in handy, but really we were just a couple of Yankees lost in a beautiful city – and we loved every minute of it.

I want to share with you how we minimized our travel costs. Because with a little hard work and some help from the 10xTravel team, Paris is a whole lot closer than you think!

 

Flight: NYC to Paris

  • Points Used: 75,000 Delta SkyMiles
  • Cost Out of Pocket: $11.20
  • Cost Without Points: $5,323.80

Continue Reading

Blog

How Miles and Points Can Keep You Connected To Family

By: Luke Sims

About a year ago, I fell hard for the points and miles hobby. I was captivated by the idea of taking extraordinary trips for a fraction of the cost.

Now, one year wiser and ten pounds chubbier, I’ve discovered a more meaningful element that’s pulled me deeper in love – the freedom to visit family and close friends whenever I want.

I can remember the first headline that drew me in, “How I Booked a $28,000 Trip to Thailand for $326.42” – I was hooked. At the time, I was struggling to find an affordable way to take an incredible honeymoon and this was the ticket I was looking for, so I jumped in head first.

Over the past year, this hobby has taken me on some thrilling adventures. From my honeymoon in the Canadian Rockies to my all-inclusive weekend getaway to Cancun to my latest five-day trip to Paris (post coming soon). I never would have thought that I could take all of these trips for next to nothing.

LukeSims

(Honeymoon in the Canadian Rockies)

These were the spectacular escapades I was seeking. They’re what I thought this hobby was all about.  

But no matter how magical a trip I conjure up, the best part of this hobby has been how it’s allowed my wife and I to stay connected to our family and close friends from 600 miles away. Continue Reading

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3 Weekend Getaways You Can Do For Next To Nothing

By: Luke Sims – 10xT Contributor

Whether you’ve been grinding away at work for the last few months or you’re just tired of the same old Friday night routine of Netflix and wine, there’s nothing like a weekend getaway to revitalize the soul.

I don’t care if you’re a newbie points enthusiast or a seasoned vet. I don’t care if you support Hillary or Trump. I don’t care where you live, how you dress, or if you pee standing up or sitting down. I want to help you get out of this rut you’re in and get the hell out of town.

So, I’ve narrowed it down to three of my favorite options and focused on the best flight and hotel opportunities – all you have to do is pick one and go!

Las Vegas Strip at Night

1.) Las Vegas

Is there anything better than Vegas to cure the office blues? The answer is NO. It is hands down our favorite weekend getaway here at 10xTravel. Vegas will chew you up and spit you out – in the best way possible.

Getting There

Vegas is one of the most popular destinations in the world, leaving you with a lot of options for redeeming miles for flights. However, the best option for most people is likely to be Southwest Airlines.

Southwest has THE most direct flights to/from Vegas of any major airline, which means no matter where you live there’s a good chance you can get to Vegas without a connection (vitally important on a short weekend trip). Continue Reading

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7 Tips for Choosing Your Honeymoon Destination

Luke Sims – 10xTravel Contributor

About a year ago my fiancé summoned me to the dreary wedding planning dungeon and placed a task on me so heavy my knees nearly buckled at the weight, “plan our honeymoon.”

Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but that’s how I remember it. I was 22, so I hadn’t traveled much and I certainly had no experience figuring out what were the top priorities to consider for the most important trip of our lives (let’s be honest, sex was the only priority I could think of).

Choosing our destination was the first step. So, like with everything I do in life (even choosing the right bug spray) I started with an absurd amount of research.

I spent weeks drowning in “top 10 honeymoon” lists and rather unhelpful advice from family and friends. What I discovered is that there is plenty of information out there about what destinations are most visited for honeymoons and what spots have the most romantic views, but there is little about how to choose the right one for you.

Couple in white relax on a tropical beach at Maldives

So, I’ve developed a list of tips to ease your pain. This won’t be a step-by-step manual that leads you to the perfect destination. But, in a sea of unhelpful honeymoon information, I hope these tips simply help you narrow it down. (And I’ll sprinkle in some points/miles advise as a bonus)

Let’s face it, your honeymoon is a big damn deal and those U.S News Travel top 10 lists just aren’t cutting it. Continue Reading

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Step-by-Step How to Profit When Denied Boarding Due to Overbooking

By: Luke Sims

Last week I received this text from my wife, “Sooo I may not have a seat on the plane… what do I do?!”

Like any good husband, I turned off my phone and continued stuffing my face at Smorgasburg so she could figure out her own problems. Just kidding.

I sprang to action, like a superhero, to save my damsel in distress. I remembered reading somewhere that being denied from your flight can turn into some big bucks, so I texted Bryce to confirm my game plan and then walked my wife through the steps.

About three hours after her original arrival time, my wife walked in the door with a tired smile and a check for $1,100. Here’s how she did it.

People Waiting to Board Flight

What Is Overbooking And Why Does It Happen

Before I explain how to capitalize on your poor situation, let me briefly outline the overbooking conundrum that airlines put you in.

Airlines oversell flights because they expect a certain percentage of passengers not to show up.

There’s a bunch of math and diagrams I could bore you with that explain why airlines do this, but I’d rather get to the part where I tell you how get back at these evil airlines for the crap they pull. Continue Reading