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Travis Cormier

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Buying Miles: Is It Worth It?

By: Travis Cormier 

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 Travel Junkies,

Airlines and hotels frequently offer massive sales to purchase points. I’ve certainly been tempted by some of these sales. But, before you jump to make a purchase you need decide if it’s worth it. In this article, I’ll share with you when it’s really worth it to buy miles.

10xTravel Buying Miles - Worth It?

Why Buying Miles Is Almost Always A Bad Idea

Assuming you are able to open credit cards, buying miles is rarely a good idea. Thanks to credit card sign-up bonuses and bonus categories, there are plenty of ways to earn the necessary miles for flights.

When you think about it, why spend beyond what is necessary just for some miles? If you’re spending money, you should be getting something for it. Considering the fact that nearly all of your purchases can be made with a credit card, you’re better off not buying miles in almost all cases.

 

Only Buy Miles for Immediate Use

If you decide that buying miles is worth it because it saves you time and energy, only buy them for immediate use. Sales can make it tempting to buy for future use but, remember, miles are not an investment that become more valuable.

Buying miles to use later is a risky proposition. Devaluations aren’t a regular thing but they can happen without notice – Delta actually does this somewhat regularly. If you buy miles to use later, the value of the miles may drop leaving you in need of even more miles.

This happened last year, when Alaska Airlines had a 40% off sale on miles. The day after the sale ended, Alaska Airlines devalued its redemption rates with Emirates, one of their partner airlines, which nearly doubling the cost for some flights!

For this reason, you should only buy points when you are ready to redeem them right away.

 

Topping Off Your Balance

Speaking of redeeming immediately, topping off your balance for an immediate redemption is where you can get the best value from buying points.

Award availability, specifically business and first class, can be sparse at times. If you know you need a flight on a day that award space is available but are short the required miles, it might make sense to buy some.

In this case, you aren’t spending a ton of money on miles and you’re using them immediately.

 

Pick the Right Credit Card to Buy Miles

If you do find yourself needing to buy miles, make sure you know who is selling the miles. Some airlines allow you to buy directly from the while others let points.com run handle the process.

If the airline handles it, the purchase will code as travel so you should use a card that will earn bonus points such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2 points per dollar), Chase Sapphire Reserve Card (3 points per dollar), Citi Prestige Card (3 points per dollar), The Platinum Card from American Express (5 points per dollar), The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express (3 points per dollar), and more!

These airlines sell their miles directly to you:

  • American Airlines
  • Avianca
  • British Airways
  • Delta Air Lines

If points.com runs the sale, the Blue Business Plus from American Express (2 points per dollar) or the Chase Freedom Unlimited (1.5 points per dollar) are great choices.

These airlines sell their miles through points.com:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Southwest Airlines
  • United Airlines

 

Alternatives

If you need miles there are better alternatives to buying them. One of my favorite ways of topping off my account is using shopping portals. If you’re going to spend money on miles, why not get something in addition to miles!

Nearly every major airline program has a shopping portal, and many of the bank programs such as Chase Ultimate Rewards have them too. If you need to top off your account, you might even be able to ‘buy’ miles for cheaper through a shopping portal.

The only drawback is shopping portals don’t post immediately. So, if you have a specific flight that you want to book immediately, your only guaranteed way is through buying miles. If you can wait a few weeks for the points to post, portals are a great alternative!

Let’s be clear though, you should just spend money for the sake of it. Buy things you know you’re going to need if you must take this route.

 

Conclusion

Buying miles is rarely worth it. With credit card sign-up bonuses and plenty of other ways to earn miles, buying them is often a very pricey way to go.

If you don’t have time to earn the required miles, buying miles might be worth it though. In these rare situations, it’s much better to top off an account with a small purchase rather than spending a ton of money on a large purchase of miles.

If you don’t need the miles to book an award flight immediately, consider the many other options you have to earn the miles. It might not happen as quickly, but you’ll save a lot of money.

Safe Travels,

Travis

Blog

Best Trip Delay Protection Credit Cards

By: Travis Cormier 

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 Travel Junkies,

At 10xTravel, we like to be optimistic–often writing about awesome trips you can take from the miles and points you earn thanks to credit cards. However, travel doesn’t always go as planned. Delays happen and, at one point or another, they happen to all of us.

Thankfully, many credit cards offer trip delay protection.

If you purchase your flight with the right credit card, you can help yourself out of this travel nightmare. You may find yourself eating a nice dinner out and sleeping in a comfortable bed instead of eating chips from the vending machine and sleeping on the airport floor.

Bored in Airport

What is Trip Delay Protection?

Trip delay protection is a perk offered on many credit cards. If you find you get stuck with a severely delayed (or canceled) flight, trip delay protection will reimburse you for reasonable expenses incurred due to the delay.

To qualify, you must have to paid for the ticket-sometimes you only have to pay for part of the ticket-with the card. These do not stack on top of any vouchers offered by airlines, so don’t think you can double up (I know what many of you were thinking!). Continue Reading

Blog

Chase Hyatt Card: Is The 40k Bonus A Good Deal?

By: Travis Cormier 

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

Travelers of all types love the World of Hyatt loyalty program. Hyatt award nights start at 5,000 points per night for Category 1 hotels while Category 7 hotels cost 30,000 points per night. Whether you’re just looking for a nice bed for the night or a luxury experience, Hyatt has you covered.

Historically, the Chase Hyatt credit card had a bonus of 2 free nights. Recently, this bonus was changed to 40,000 Hyatt points. While the bonus of 2 free nights was famous for the ability to book hotels such as the Park Hyatt Sydney and Park Hyatt Paris – Vendome, for many people the 40,000 points is going to be a better option.

Scenic Landscape with Andes Mountains in Mendoza, Argentina

New Hyatt Bonus Practically The Same

Many people, myself included, consider the 2 free nights to be worth at most 50,000 Hyatt points. Of the 667 Hyatt properties, 13 are a Category 7. Since it is unlikely you’ll use free nights at one of these few properties, the most value you will typically get is 2 nights at a category 6 hotel, worth 50,000 points total.

You probably think I’m crazy saying 40,000 points is nearly the same value as 50,000, but it is true! Calling the bonus only 40,000 points is misleading. When you add in the 2,000 points you’ll get from meeting the spending requirement, you have 42,000 points. Continue Reading

Blog

American Express Bonus and Application Rules

By: Travis Cormier

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 Travel Junkies,

Recently, we’ve discussed some big changes to the American Express Platinum Card and how to use SPG Starpoints. With so many great offers coming from American Express, you should know what rules Amex places on its applications and bonuses.

credit card up close

Charge card vs Credit Card

American Express offers two types of cards – charge cards or credit cards. Understanding the difference is important if you want to be sure that you can open a new account with American Express.

Credit cards are lines of credit with a pre-set spending limit that does not have to be paid off monthly. Many of the co-branded cards provided by American Express are credit cards including the Gold Delta SkyMiles and Platinum Delta SkyMiles cards, the Starwood Preferred Guest card, and the Hilton Honors Surpass card.

Charge cards are lines of credit without a pre-set spending limit, but must be paid monthly. Several cards that earn Membership Rewards are charge cards, including the American Express Platinum and Premier Rewards Gold cards.

There are also some co-branded charge cards, including the American Express Platinum cards by Charles Schwab and Mercedes-Benz.

 

Two credit cards every 90 days

American Express has limitations on credit card applications. You can only open two new credit cards every 90 days. This same limitation does not apply to charge cards. Continue Reading

Blog

New Premium Card – The US Bank Altitude Reserve!

By: Travis Cormier

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 Travel Junkies!

By now I’m sure you’ve heard about a new premium card that hits the market today! US Bank is introducing the Altitude Reserve! This card will be issued as a Visa Infinite card with a $400 annual fee.

With the recent changes to the American Express Platinum Card, and Chase introducing the Sapphire Reserve, there have been a lot of changes to the premium card market. The Altitude Reserve comes with many of the same benefits too – rental car insurance, travel insurance, etc.

Let’s look into some of the benefits that set this card apart, some of the downsides, and explain how to get it.

 

What Are The Points Worth?

If you’re going to lay down $400 for a credit card, you want to know what you can do with the points you earn.

Altitude Reserve points will be worth a flat 1.5 cents per point. The points must be redeemed using the Altitude Reserve travel portal. This is the same redemption rate through the Chase travel portal if you hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Continue Reading

Blog

American Express Platinum Card Major Changes

By: Travis Cormier

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

The Platinum Card by American Express has been a hot topic since the benefits and annual fee changed about a week ago. Many of you often ask if it is a good time to get the card. Especially since you can only get the sign-up bonus for this card once per lifetime!

If you’re looking to apply soon, be aware that Amex has announced some major changes to this card. Make sure you consider whether the changes to the card make it a good choice for you at this time.

Let’s dive into these changes so you can get a lay of the land.

 

Increased Annual Fee

Let’s be honest, when you think about signing up for a new card, you want to know the annual fee. You want to be sure the annual fee is worth it, and with the new increase, that’s something to consider.

In the past, the Amex Platinum card had an annual fee of $450 which is comparable to other high-end cards. That’s no longer the case as American Express has decided to increase it to $550 per year.

If you are an existing card-member, you may get the $450 for another year. If your annual fee posts before September, it will only be $450.

New card-members and those whose annual fee posts in September and beyond will pay the increased annual fee. Either way, you can start taking advantage of the new benefits now.

 

Uber Ride (or Dine!) Credits & VIP Status

To help offset the increased annual fee, you’ll receive $200 in Uber credits each calendar year and complimentary Uber VIP Status. Continue Reading

Blog

5 Awesome Ways to Use SPG Starpoints

By: Travis Cormier

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

SPG Starpoints are considered one of the most valuable point currencies on the market today. From amazing hotel redemptions to some fun airline transfer partners, SPG Starpoints provide you with the flexibility to book whatever you need for your trip.

With the Starwood and Marriott merger the program is only guaranteed to last through the end of 2017. Here at 10xTravel, we are certainly hoping Marriott will maintain the SPG Starpoints program in the future, but just in case they don’t, let’s check out some great ways to use those SPG Starpoints now.

 

1) Emirates First Class through Japan Airlines Mileage Bank

One of the most raved about redemption option with SPG Starpoints is Emirates first class, without a doubt. SPG Starpoints transfer to most of their airline partners at a 1:1 ratio, however transfers to airlines provide a unique opportunity to earn bonus miles.

For every 20,000 SPG Starpoints you transfer, you will receive an additional 5,000 airline miles. Thanks to this feature, you can earn your Emirates first class flight that much quicker.

Keep in mind, you can only transfer 60,000 SPG Starpoints to a partner airline per day and receive the 5,000 mile bonus on each 20,000 point chunk. You will not receive the 5,000 mile bonus if you transfer another 20,000 points.

Now that you have a little background on how SPG Starpoints transfer, let’s get into the best way to book your Emirates first class!

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank. Bet you weren’t expecting that! Unlike many award charts, Japan Airlines uses a distance based award chart for partners. Remember to add the distance of each segment to determine how many Mileage Bank miles will be required. Continue Reading