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Luke Sims

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Now Or Never: Earn Up To 60k Bonus Miles with Delta (Expires Tomorrow 7/6/16)

Luke Sims – 10xTravel Contributor

[Please note – these deals have since expired. For updated information – visit our Credit Cards page here.]

Unless you’re brand new to 10xT you’ve probably noticed that Delta SkyMiles don’t get a lot of good coverage in the points/miles world.

SkyMiles generally don’t stack up in value to many of the other frequent flyer programs because of their lack of transparency and generally high number of miles required to book otherwise inexpensive flights.

However……. (in a melodramatic tone)

When you have the opportunity to earn up to 60,000 of them at once we are obligated to let our friends know that this is a great opportunity.

So, whether you frequently fly with Delta or not, let me show you why you should consider taking advantage of a Delta Airlines credit card before the current offers expire tomorrow, July 6.

 

Where Delta SkyMiles Shine

One of the major reasons that I am not a big fan of Delta SkyMiles is because they do not have an award chart.

That’s right. NO award chart.

With nothing set in stone, it’s hard to plan on using Delta SkyMiles for award travel for any specific flight. (And I’m an obsessed over-planner)

That said, because they don’t publish an award chart… that also leaves opportunities for some pretty good finds if you are 1. Lucky or 2. Know where to look.

Let me walk you through my top 3 uses of Delta SkyMiles. Continue Reading

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How I Did It: All-Inclusive Long Weekend In Cancun For Next To Nothing

Luke Sims – 10xTravel Contributor

Hola Travel Junkies,

About a month ago I was de-stressing with my wife at our favorite diner, after yet another long week of work.

We were in one of those moods where we we’re ready to quit our jobs, move to some remote island in the Maldives and live off the land. (I’m sure you can relate)

We needed a weekend getaway.

Before sitting down to dinner I was scrolling through my emails and a reminder popped up on my phone: “Two Free Hyatt Nights Expire Soon”

Suddenly it struck me. I had two free nights at any Hyatt in the world (thanks to my new Hyatt credit card) and a long Memorial Day weekend only a few days away. So I motioned to the waiter for a round of cheesecake and flipped over my placemat for brainstorming space. It was time to get to work.

While scanning the Internet for the best hotels to use our two free nights, my wife politely suggested, “we need a beach and tropical drinks” – and she was right.

Four days later I was lying in a hammock in sunny and beautiful Cancun, Mexico.

Here’s how I did it.

Luke-Sims-10xTravel Continue Reading

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Plastiq: How to Pay Any Bill with a Credit Card

Luke Sims – 10xTravel Contributor

About twice a year I get into an argument with my mom about why she is not using a credit card for her purchases. “You do realize you could be earning miles to fly to Cancun next winter, right?”

(Being sassy with your mom is never a good idea…)

Traveling the world using points and miles can be chiseled down to two very basic ideas:

  1. Earn as many points and miles as possible
  2. Accomplish goal #1 with as little spending as possible

The absolute best way to earn points and miles is by taking advantage of points earning credit cards (so listen up, momma).

Introducing, Plastiq.

Plastiq is an online bill payment service that lets you pay just about any bill with a credit card, and that’s a big deal to those of us in the points/miles world.

If you’re going to pay a bill you might as well get rewarded for it, right?

Plastiq

 

Continue Reading

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Card Intervention: Southwest Airlines Premier Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Luke Sims – 10xTravel Contributor

Intervention

Here at 10xT we have noticed a trend that’s hurting our readers and its time we say something about it. So we have decided that its time for an intervention.

You might want to sit down for this next part.

Many of you have fallen deeply in love with Southwest’s co-branded credit cards and your love affair is keeping you from your full travel potential.

Yes, we know that you think the Southwest card has been treating you well. After all, those easy redemptions, no blackout dates, and free changes/cancellations are great.

But, we think think that you should dump your Southwest credit card for someone better, the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Here’s why.

Southwest Cards, Good But Not Great

Let me start off by saying that I am not bashing any of the Southwest credit cards. In the grand scheme of things, you could do a lot worse credit card wise.

I personally have had both the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card in the last year alone (mainly to earn the coveted SW Companion Pass).  

Thanks to my shiny new Companion Pass, my wife will fly for free with me whenever I fly Southwest for the next 16+ months. We actually just used this perk to spend last weekend in Cancun.

Luke10xTravel

But, where the Southwest credit cards really fall short is their benefits after you earn the signup bonuses. They each only offer 1 Southwest point per $1 spent (2 points per $1 on Southwest purchases) and don’t have any ancillary perks such as priority boarding, airline status, free checked bags, etc. Continue Reading

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5 Common Points/Miles Mistakes Made By Beginners (And How to Avoid Them)

Luke Sims – 10xTravel Contributor

Hey there, newbie points/miles enthusiast.

Welcome to a world where flying to Vegas for a weekend can be cheaper than taking a taxi downtown. Feel like Don Draper yet?

Whether you are a rookie to the game or a seasoned veteran ready to crown thyself as “Travel Guru of House Lannister” (if you’re not watching Game of Thrones, you should be), you are probably making a few mistakes that could be limiting you from the full potential of this glorious game.

Today, I’m going to share with you some of the most common beginner mistakes in the world of points and miles. Maybe then, you can shed your newbie label and become the master you were born to be (cue Star Wars theme song).

 

1) Assuming all points/miles have the same value

The most common mistake made in the points and miles world is the assumption that 2 points is always better than 1.

If Card A offers 2 points per dollar spent and Card B only offers 1, Card A must be better, right?

Wrong.

(If you subscribe to this logic please email me right away. I will gladly give you 2 pesos for every dollar you have).

What’s important here is the total value of the points you are earning, not the number, and that can be determined with a quick calculation that we in the points world refer to as “Value per mile”

Image1

Simply take the value of what your miles will get you and divide by the total miles needed to get said value, and voila! You have calculated the value per mile.

So for example, if you need to redeem 40,000 miles to book a $2,000 flight, your value per mile would be ($2,000/40,000=) 5 cents per mile.

This thinking is also very common when looking at credit card sign-up bonuses. Bigger is not always better.

Make sure to do the math and don’t fall for the marketing gimmicks.

 

2) Failure to diversify your points stash

Ah, yes. We call this “first miles love”.

You cash in your hard earned miles for your first free flight, love it, and spend way too much time trying to earn more of those same kind of miles (while ignoring other potentially better options).

Of course I can’t blame you. You’re simply “throwing what you know”, as the kids say these days.

But falling into this trap will severely limit your cheap travel potential.

Don’t fall in love with the first girl you kiss junior year of high school! Always be playing the field (wait, are we talking about love or cheap travel?).

There are other awesome points/miles opportunities all over the place.

(Note: I married the first girl I kissed junior year of high school, so I guess it works out sometimes.)

 

3) Shop first, save later

Always be earning. Say it with me, “always be earning.” Again!

That’s the mindset I would encourage you to take when it comes to earning points and miles.

You see, many people fall into what I call the “shop first, save later” trap. Meaning they start looking at trips they want to take before earning the required points to book said trips.

Which is a bit like looking at new houses before saving money for a down payment. Regardless of what you find, you’re probably not going to be able to save enough to buy it before someone else does.

The same is true in the world of points and miles.

Each month, you should be adding to your points/miles accounts. Taking advantage of the points/miles earning opportunities that we show you so you’re ready when the time comes.

That way, when you’re sick of your roommates and need a weekend getaway, you have the points to book that Vegas flight and get the hell out of there.

 

4) Overthinking the Small Stuff

Picture this. You’re in line at Starbucks about to get your morning coffee.

You finally reach the register, place your order, and pull out your wallet to pay.

All of a sudden, panic sets in. Do I pay with Card A? Earn double points with card B? Help!

To which my answer would be, it doesn’t matter!

You can spend hours sweating the small stuff, trying to make sure you optimize your spending to avoid missing out on any lost points.

But, unless you’re buying coffee for the entire office it really doesn’t matter. Just relax and focus on what really matters (that first sip of coffee, of course).

 

5) Letting valuable points and miles expire

I’ve got some good news and some bad news, which do you want first?

Bad news: your points/miles can expire.

Good news: if you pay a zombie’s level of attention, your points will never expire.

Most beginners fall into one of these two categories: you earn your bonus and never pay attention to the account again, or you nervously check your points/miles account thinking your points are going to expire after a week (like that moldy milk in your fridge).

Whichever is you, stop. Here is the most important thing to know:

Most US based rewards program points/miles expire after 18 months of no activity.

“No activity” being the key part of that sentence. Which means zero points earned and zero points redeemed.

That means that every time you earn or redeem a single point your 18-month clock starts over. Giving you more time to avoid the dreaded “your points are about to expire” email.

RELAX. Your points aren’t going anywhere.

Relax

So, forget your “newbie” label.

If you can conquer these 5 common beginner mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to the big leagues – where traveling the world for next to nothing is more than just a dream.

Wheels Up,

Luke

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Mother’s Day: Earn Bonus Points with Mom and AAdvantage Bonus Miles

Mother’s Day is this Sunday (May 8th) and if you’re anything like me, you forgot to get something nice for mom.

Lucky for you, I’ve got your back this year.

Check out these last minute opportunities to earn extra AAdvantage bonus miles shopping for Mother’s Day, and rack up bonus points with mom in the process.

MothersDay1

Shopping Portals Are The Key

Your key to acing Mother’s Day this year is unlocked through the wonderful world of shopping portals.

If shopping portals are new territory for you, check out How to Use Shopping Portals to Boost Your Millage Earnings to get the juicy details.

Basically, shopping portals are third-party sites that offer you an incentive for shopping at various retailers through their portal. Continue Reading

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My Honeymoon Cost Next to Nothing and How I Did It

Luke Sims – 10xTravel Contributor

I was twenty-two, fresh out of college, and about to marry my high school sweetheart – paying for a honeymoon was the last thing I wanted to do.

Oh yeah, did I mention I just bought an engagement ring, paid a NYC apartment deposit (ouch), and hadn’t started my job yet?

Enough of my pity party, the bitter truth is that we all want to take incredible trips and it’s never the right time to blow thousands of dollars.

But, this was my honeymoon… I wanted to take my wife on the trip of a lifetime.

That’s when I stumbled across 10xTravel. I read the free e-book, sent Bryce my sob story, and discovered that the honeymoon of our dreams wasn’t out of reach.

So, piece-by-piece I put together a honeymoon that was almost as great as the sex was (too personal?) and it was an adventure that we’ll never forget.

Luke_Honeymoon_1

 

Where are we going?

We had no idea where we wanted to go.

We didn’t want to do the typical Cancun sit-on-the-beach honeymoon (not bashing it), so we typed in “unique honeymoon destinations” and this picture popped up: Continue Reading