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We Threw a Party for 10xT Readers in Vegas and It Was Awesome (Video Inside)

Hi Travel Junkies,

After months of buildup and hype, the first ever 10xT Las Vegas Reader Meetup finally took place last weekend at the Venetian Las Vegas.

We rented a Penthouse Suite, filled it with snacks and booze, and invited 60+ readers to join us for an entire weekend of socializing and fun.

Truth be told, we weren’t sure what to expect when we first announced the event in May. I had already written a chain of emails to convince readers to attend, hoping that the event would be at capacity when the big day finally rolled around.

When tickets sold out < 3 minutes after launch I knew this was going to be special. And trust me, it was. We even have the video to prove it.

Special thanks to 10xT Reader Kennedy Carey for putting that video together. You can find Kennedy on Instagram or check out his company website here.

Also a special thanks to King of Clubs Las Vegas, who helped us score the Penthouse Suite and block of rooms for readers staying at the Venetian. If you find yourself headed to Sin City you’ll want to talk to Johnny with KOCLV and tell him Bryce sent you.

And lastly, thanks to all the 10xT Readers who attended the weekend’s events. I had a blast meeting all of you and hearing your amazing travel stories.

We also got our entire security deposit back, which is always a good thing when you are popping bottles of champagne right next to a $40,000 piano.

So what do you think? Should we do this again next year?

Happy Travels,

Bryce

Blog

How Are Award Tickets Actually Priced?

By: Julie Szpira

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

Every traveler is trying to maximize the value of the miles and points they have earned. Understanding how award tickets are priced is essential when trying to maximize the value of your hard earned points and miles.

Award ticket pricing is not standard across all airlines, so you need to learn the different award pricing schemes to find the best use of your miles and points.

There are three basic types of award programs: revenue-based, region-based, or distance-based. Which program is best for a particular trip will depend on a few variables including the cash cost of the ticket and particular region definitions.

 

Revenue-Based Award Programs

In revenue-based award programs, the award ticket cost is directly related to the cash price of the ticket. As the cash price of the ticket increases, the number of points or miles needed to book the ticket will increase as well.

The U.S. carriers that use revenue programs are Southwest and JetBlue. It is most advantageous to book flights when prices are low, as low cash prices mean the amount of points needed to book the award will be low as well.

Unfortunately, this type of award system does not allow for spectacular redemption values, as far as cents per point calculations go. Within these revenue based award programs, the maximum value is generally between 1.3 and 1.7 cents per point.

However, these systems are generally free from “blackout dates”. If there is a seat available for purchase, you would be able to use your points or miles to purchase the seat.

For example, when booking a one way flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Boston (BOS), the cash price on Southwest is between $137 and $359.

Award Tickets Continue Reading

Blog

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

Blog

Aloha, Southwest! Hawaii Service Announced for 2018

By: Bryce Conway – Founding Editor of 10xTravel.com

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

After weeks of speculation and rumors, Southwest has finally announced their intention to add flights to Hawaii beginning in 2018.

Southwest Twitter Hawaii

Southwest Airlines will be flying to Hawaii beginning in 2018

This is particularly great news for anyone who is in the process of earning their coveted Southwest Companion Pass, which Southwest has confirmed will be able to be used on flights to Hawaii. The Companion Pass effectively creates a “buy one get one free” scenario for flights to Hawaii, including those booked with points.

And with the ability to transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest, many points/miles enthusiasts (myself included) will now have a number of ways to earn and use points to get to the Hawaiian islands.

Bryce

Companion Pass + Routes to Hawaii = 2 trips for the price of 1!

Southwest still has not released details on routes, aircraft, etc. though I would imagine we will see those in the coming weeks. Here’s to hoping they launch direct routes from the West Coast to multiple islands as well as intra-island flights.

Southwest’s entry in to the Hawaii market should also put added pressure on other carriers to slash fares, which is a win for everyone with plans to travel to the Aloha State.

I think I might have a Mai Tai to celebrate.

 

Happy Travels,

Bryce

Blog

Using Miles to Upgrade Your Cash Flights

By: Julie Szpira

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 travelers, flying in economy is the most accessible way to travel. With rock-bottom cash fares available to locations around the world, a cash booking is often a decent way to fly economy.

After people book these cheap economy tickets, we get one question over and over again.

“How can I upgrade my economy ticket?”

This is usually for those who discovered the points and miles game after booking a long flight in economy. For many of us, once we try the luxury of business or first class, the idea of flying in economy is horrifying!

While using miles to upgrade economy tickets to business class is usually a poor use of miles, it’s a good idea to understand your options.

 

General Upgrade Rules

Upgrade rules vary between the airline programs, however, there are couple pretty standard guidelines.

  • You can only upgrade one class of service. So you can only upgrade from economy to business, or from business to first. You can not use miles to upgrade from economy to first.
  • Upgrades are dependent on availability. There may be premium cabin seats available for purchase, but that does not mean that they will be available for upgrades.
  • The miles earned for the flight are based on the original fare class you booked, not the upgraded fare class that you actually fly.

Modern Airport - 10xTravel.com

Upgrade Rules By Airline

United Airlines (MileagePlus)

You can use MileagePlus miles to upgrade paid tickets booked in any fare class.  

However, tickets that are booked as discount fares will require miles as well as a cash co-pay.

The miles and cash co-pay vary depending on the fare class you originally booked in and your origin and destination regions.  All upgrades awards are for one-way travel, but apply to all the segments of the one-way trip.

The upgrade price can vary from 7500 miles and no-copay to upgrade a full fare economy ticket to business class for a US domestic flight, up to 35,000 plus a $600 co-pay to upgrade from a discount economy ticket to business class for a flight to the Middle East region.

10xTravel MileagePlus AwardChart Continue Reading

Blog

Use One of These 2 Credit Cards to Buy Your New iPhone (Free Insurance + Save $200)

By: Bryce Conway – Founding Editor of 10xTravel.com

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

Like many of you, I am eagerly awaiting the launch of the new iPhone X at 12:01am Pacific Time on October 27. I am long overdue for a phone upgrade and am a sucker for being an early adopter of new tech products.

Also like many of you, I am a bit concerned about carrying a $999+ device in my pocket day in and day out. Particularly when I am on the go or traveling to locations that would cause even the most seasoned tourists to consider wearing one of those absurd money belts.

10xTravel Money belt

Money belts = perfect for holding anything except a conversation

Which is why I plan on carrying a backup solution in my pocket. Literally.

I’m talking about automatic cell phone protection, a free perk offered by select credit cards that can help you save a ton of money should your phone decide to stop working, break, or walk off with a new friend.

More importantly, this perk will prevent you from wearing a money belt and help put your mind at ease.

Let’s take a look at some of the best options:

 

Continue Reading

Blog

Best Credit Card Offers – October 2017

By: Bryce Conway – Founding Editor of 10xTravel.com

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

Every month I share a post with what I believe are the top credit card offers on the market according to the 10xT staff. Today we are going to take a look at the best offers for October 2017.

I rank these offers by looking at their signup bonus, cardholder perks, ongoing value, and any fees they may charge. And while the best offer for you will vary depending on a number of factors, I am going to rank the top offers based on the order in which I think they should be chosen by the average person.

If you’ve ever watched the NFL Draft before, consider this list my version of “Todd’s Big Board”. It’s simply the best overall cards available without regard to a specific points/miles need.

I also divide these top credit offers in to two lists, one for those of you who are over 5/24 and one for those of you who are under.

(If you don’t know what the Chase 5/24 rule is you’re going to want to give this a read)

As always, feel free to email me with questions about your own situation and I would be happy to help you select the best card for you.

Here we go!

Travel Planning October 2017 - 10xTravel Credit Cards

If you are under 5/24, here are the best cards available right now:

1) Chase Sapphire Preferred

Current Offer:

  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months
  • 2 points per $1 spent on dining and travel, 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • Trip delay and primary rental car insurance
  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year 

Commentary:

Once again, the Chase Sapphire Preferred comes in at #1 overall because of its incredible signup bonus, reasonable annual fee (that is also waived for the first year), and the amazing value of the points it earns.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are widely considered to be among the best points in the industry thanks to their ability to be transferred to multiple airline and hotel partners. This gives you a ton of options for redeeming your points no matter where you want to travel.

You can also redeem Ultimate Rewards to book travel via the Chase travel portal at a value of 1.25 cents per point, meaning the 50,000 bonus points offered by this card are worth $625 toward travel.

Transferring them to Chase’s many transfer partners can provide the highest redemption values if you know where to look.

One of the best examples of this is round trip to Hawaii for just 25,000 Korean SKYPASS miles. Meaning that the 50,000 point signup bonus from this card could score you two round-trip flights to Hawaii.

Note that Chase has imposed new restrictions on the Chase Sapphire cards that limit your ability to get multiple versions of them. [More details on that here]. Continue Reading

Blog

The Best Debit Cards for International Travel

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.

Longtime 10xTravel readers know you can get flight and hotels at huge discounts using points acquired from credit cards. Unfortunately, not all parts travel can be nearly free. Food, souvenirs, and drinks can’t readily be purchased with points.

While you should use a credit card for these purchases whenever possible, you won’t be able to do so everywhere you go. Having access to cash is important, especially in the local currency. But this often requires subjecting yourself to terrible exchange fees if you get money from a local exchange shop.

To get the best exchange rate when you need cash, you’ll want to get money from an ATM. However, picking the right debit card can prevent you from paying fees on top of that.

Let’s explore some options to help avoid those pesky fees and save you money.

10xTravel Picking the Best Debit Card for International Travel Continue Reading

Blog

Using Positioning Flights for the Best Flight Deals

By: Julie Szpira

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

As a travel junkie, I’m constantly looking for the best flight deals. When I was living in Los Angeles (LAX), deals were always popping up: $377 to Europe! $545 on ANA to Japan! $798 on Singapore Airlines to Bali!

I even snagged an error fare from LAX to Auckland (AKL) for $211!!

Right now, I’m living in New Orleans (MSY), which is a great city, but has only six international routes operating from the airport. New Orleans is not a hub city for any airline, so in order to take advantage of great flight deals, I often have to use positioning flights.

 

What Is A Positioning Flight?

A positioning flight is a flight booked separately from your main flight, in order to get you from your home airport, to the airport where the main flight originates. Positioning flights can be used to when booking award flights, as well.

 

Using A Positioning Flight For A Flight Deal

I have friends and family living in Chicago, so I often use Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) as a starting point for international travel.

I recently saw a fare sale for economy flights from Chicago (ORD) to Prague (PRG).  The flight cost $437!

Using A Positioning Flight

Roundtrip to Europe for less than $500? Yes, please!! Continue Reading

Blog

How To Combine Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

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,

Many of you have nailed how to earn lots of points thanks to credit card sign-up bonuses and your everyday spending.

One of the biggest challenges after earning these points is maximizing their value to make them stretch as far as possible. In this guide, we’ll discuss how to combine Chase Ultimate Rewards points to help you get started.

 

Why Should You Combine Ultimate Rewards?

Combining Ultimate Rewards can help increase the value of your Ultimate Rewards. If you have the right credit cards and combine correctly you can increase the value of each point by a minimum of 50%!

Typically, Chase Ultimate Rewards are worth 1 cent per point. However, they are worth more if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card which both give you a bonus when you redeem your points in the Chase travel portal.

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, your points are worth 1.25 cents each and if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, they are worth 1.5 cents each.

Another reason to transfer points is to take advantage of travel partners. Not all Ultimate Rewards earning cards can be transferred to travel partners, like United Airlines and Hyatt. By transferring your points to a card with travel partner transfers, you can!

If you’re trying to figure out which cards have the ability to transfer, it basically comes down to this: if the card has an annual fee, it allows transfer to partners. This means the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Ink Preferred provide access to transfer partners while the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited do not.

 

How to Combine Between Your Personal Cards

When you log into your Ultimate Rewards portal, you’ll see a screen showing the number of points you have with each card.

 

Although most of my points are on my Sapphire Reserve, I do have a few on my freedom. If I redeem them on the freedom, they are only worth 1 cent each. By transferring these points onto my Sapphire Reserve, they will be worth at least 1.5 cents each. Thankfully, transferring points between your own personal cards is really easy! Continue Reading