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Reader Success Story: Alana Books A $5,000 Spanish Vacation for $106.12

Guest Post By: Alana

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I decided my husband and I were going to need a vacation after he spent a year in a very intense program earning two master’s degrees. I also had heard about using miles and points to travel through others around my community, specifically two close friends who saved a TON of money on a trip to Italy.

I figured if we were going to pay so much for tuition, it should at least help us take an extravagant vacation in the end!

We chose Barcelona, Spain for our eight-day adventure and it was amazing!

Points covered our flights, hotels, transportation from the airport and six tours throughout the city.

Here is how we did it on points:

Alana - 10xTravel Success Story

Flights to Barcelona

My husband opened the United Mileage Plus Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and we used them to pay off his tuition.

We then transferred all of our bills over to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and before we knew it – in less than three months – we had easily reached the minimum spend and then some on both cards.

We saw that two round-trip economy flights to Barcelona for 120,000 United miles were available when were ready to book. We had exactly 120,000 miles and points. We transferred our Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United and booked our flights. We only had to cover the $106.12 in taxes and fees. 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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What I’ve Been Up to – Points/Miles Moves for September 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.

Hi Travel Junkies,

Every couple of months I publicly share my own points/miles moves to help pull back the curtain on how the pros are able to travel for next to nothing.

So without further ado, here is what I have been up to lately:

  • I applied and was immediately approved for a Citi Thank You Premier card. 50,000 Citi Thank You Points after $4,000 spend in 3 months, no fee first year. I have no specific plans for these points but the 50,000 bonus makes it an easy choice for anyone over 5/24.
    • This is my second Citi Thank You Premier card, having had it a little more than 24 months ago. Which qualifies me for another bonus per Citi’s new bonus rules.
  • I applied and was immediately approved for a Barclays AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite MasterCard. 60,000 bonus AA miles after first purchase, $95 fee is not waived. No immediate plans for these points but I always enjoy having a large number of AA miles on hand. Particularly with the amount of award space that they have released in the past couple of months.
  • I applied and was rejected for a Merrill Plus Visa Signature card from Bank of America. I knew this was a long shot but decided to go for it based on rumors that the card will be discontinued this month. My attempts at reconsideration did not go well, to say the least.
  • I finally was able to product change my Chase Ink Bold to the new Chase Ink Preferred card. Chase was not allowing anyone to do this until recently, despite my almost weekly requests. I won’t get a signup bonus for doing this (and can’t anyway because I am well beyond Chase’s 5/24 rule) but the 3x points on social media advertising will be huge given how much 10xT spends in that category.
  • I cashed in 110,000 Lufthansa miles and ~$2,000 to book two round-trip business class tickets to Italy this coming January. Yes, the $2,000 in fees is not ideal, but I had to use these miles before they expired this month and had no other need for them. Truth be told, I had completely forgotten I had these Lufthansa miles until a few weeks ago. A rookie mistake on my part.
  • I redeemed 17,000 Southwest points to book a weekend getaway to Washington D.C. with my wife and daughter. Each of them flew free thanks to my Southwest Companion Pass and a lap child ticket. I stayed at the beautiful W Hotel Washington D.C. for just $188 per night thanks to some rewards from Hotels.com and the fact that D.C. is pretty slow this time of year.

Continue Reading

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How to Earn the Southwest Companion Pass for 2018 & 2019

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.

Hi Travel Junkies,

The end of the year is fast approaching, which means it is time to talk about one of my favorite perks in the points and miles world.

The Southwest Companion Pass.

The Southwest Companion Pass is arguably the most lucrative airline perk on earth and an absolute must get for anyone who frequently travels with multiple people (couples, families, etc.).

Today we are going to cover how the Companion Pass works, how to maximize its value, and how to earn and use it for almost 2 full years.

Let’s get to it.

 

What is the Southwest Companion Pass?

The Southwest Companion Pass (often abbreviated as “CP”) is a perk that allows you to bring a companion on any Southwest flight that you fly. All you need to do is pay your companion’s taxes and fees, just like any other award booking.

Unlike most other “companion passes”, the Southwest Companion Pass can be used on both paid and award flights. Even if you weren’t the one who paid for your flight (work travel, generous friends/family, etc.).

Bryce in Hotel

Southwest Companion Pass = more trips to Vegas with friends

There are no blackout dates and there is no limit to how many times you can use your Companion Pass (trust me, I would have hit any limit long ago). As long as there is an open seat on the plane it can be booked with a Companion Pass. Continue Reading

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Hotel Review: W Hotel Washington DC – Wonderful Room

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.

Hi Travel Junkies,

I just got back from a quick weekend trip to our nation’s capital that featured a stay at W Hotel Washington D.C. Though I have been to this hotel many times to visit their incredible POV Bar I had not yet stayed there, so I figured a family trip was the perfect chance.

W Hotel Review - 10xTravel

The W Washington D.C., formerly known as Hotel Washington

The W is just a short walk from the National Mall and many other famous D.C. attractions, making it an incredibly convenient choice for me as my wife and I were traveling with our 8 month old daughter.

It took us less than 10 minutes to walk from the hotel to the Washington Monument, Smithsonian Museums, and dozens of fantastic restaurants and bars.

The W Washington D.C. is a Category 6 Starwood property, meaning it can be booked for a rate of 20,000 Starpoints per night. With rates often exceeding $500+ per night this would typically be a great use of one of my favorite hotel loyalty currencies. Continue Reading

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Best Credit Card Offers – September 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.

Hi Travel Junkies,

Summertime is finally coming to an end. And while for most people this means the start of a season filled with falling leaves, football, and pumpkin spiced everything, my mind is fixed on something entirely different.

For me the end of summer means that 2018 summer award travel is now available to be booked on many airlines.

So, if you’re thinking about taking a big trip next summer (or any time before that), the best time to get started earning those valuable points/miles is right now. There is no better way to get started than to grab a new credit card with a lucrative sign-up bonus offer.

Last month, we decided to divide our top credit offers into 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)

This new method received quite a bit of positive feedback so we’re going to do it again for September.

And while the best offer for you will vary depending on a number of factors, we’re going to rank the top offers based on the order in which we think they should be chosen by the average person.

As always, feel free to email me with questions about your own situation. (bryce[at]10xtravel[dot]com)

Here we go!

Beautiful Clouds over Beach

 

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:

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has firmly established itself as the best overall card to start with because of its great sign-up 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 7 airline partners and 4 hotel partners – though, Hyatt is usually the only useful one.

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, at a bare minimum, $625 toward travel. Your points can be worth even more in the travel portal when you pair this card with the Chase Sapphire Reserve (see below for more details). Continue Reading

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Citi Prestige Credit Card Benefits

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,

The Citi Prestige Card is Citi’s flagship premium credit card. The unique benefits you get from the Citi Prestige really set this card apart from other premium cards on the market. If you don’t have the Citi Prestige already, you might want to consider it. Let’s talk about why.

Citi Prestige Credit Card - 10xTravel.com

4th-Night Free on Hotel Stays

You‘ve probably heard us talk about using points for free nights at hotels, but sometimes paying for hotel nights instead of using points can make sense. Additionally, if you want to stay at a boutique hotel that isn’t part of a large loyalty program, you’ll need to find a way to pay for it. Finally, if you travel for work, this can be a great way to save money on hotels.

With the Citi Prestige Card’s 4th-Night Free, whenever you book at least 4 consecutive nights at a hotel, you will receive a free night on the 4th night. Continue Reading

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Breaking: New Major Restrictions Being Applied to Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve

Hi Travel Junkies,

Big news in the points/miles world today courtesy of Doctor of Credit. This broke just minutes ago.

Before sharing it let me just say that this is not “official” just yet, but it certainly looks to be legitimate. I have not personally confirmed this with any of my own sources.

But here is what is rumored to be happening to the Chase Sapphire family of cards (Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and Chase Sapphire):

As of August 27, Chase will no longer approve you for one of these cards if you have already had another one of them. Specifically, you cannot receive more than one bonus from any of these cards in a 24 month period.

Or said in plain English, you can no longer get multiple Sapphire card bonuses.

Here is the text from today’s memo:

Beginning August 27 our same-product eligibility requirements have been updated for all Sapphire Credit Card products, which include Chase Sapphire, Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Here’s a look at what’s new: Continue Reading

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United Routing Rules: The Excursionist Perk (Part 2)

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.

In The Excursionist Perk Part 1, you learned the basics of United’s routing rules.

The Excursionist Perk allows for a free one-way segment when booking multi-city awards, provided certain conditions are met. The conditions can be summarized as follows.

  • The Excursionist Perk is triggered when three or more segments are booked as part of a single award ticket.  
  • Travel must start and end in the same region. The Excursionist Perk (or free one-way segment) must be within a single region, but that region has to be different than the first region.
  • Only one free segment is allowed, no matter how many segments the multi-city award comprises.

In Part 1, simple examples of the Excursionist Perk were discussed.

The Excursionist Perk was designed to allow you to explore a second city in your destination region as part of a round-trip ticket.  

What United figured people would use the trip for was be a flight similar to the one illustrated below. The trip comprises three separate segments: Chicago (ORD) to Prague (PRG), Prague to Athens (ATH) and Athens to Chicago.  

The Excursionist Perk - 1

If booked in economy, as separate one-way tickets, the price would be as follows:

ORD-PRG: 30,000 miles

PRG-ATH: 15,000 miles

ATH-ORD: 30,000 miles

The itinerary would cost a total of 75,000 miles plus $142.66 in fees and taxes.

However, when booking as a multi-city trip, the Excursionist Perk is triggered for the PRG-ATH segment.

The Excursionist Perk - 2 Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: A Dream $5500+ Italian Vacation for Two for $224

Guest Post By: Alex B.

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

Editor’s Note: The sign-up bonuses mentioned in this Reader Success Story might not be current. Please see current offers for details.

Background

Since I was 10, I’ve dreamed of going to Italy. I loved reading about Roman history – the legions, Caesar, Roman gods and goddesses. The history of the country entranced me, and it has always held the #1 spot on my travel bucket list.

I never thought I’d have the money to go anytime soon – until I discovered 10x Travel.

I was raised to think that credit cards were bad, and only irresponsible people used them. My parents struggled with credit card debt in their 20’s, and didn’t want their children to go through the same thing.

10xTravel’s material showed me that, used responsibly and intelligently, credit cards can make your travel dreams a reality.

10xTravel - Reader Success Story Alex B

The Strategy

I told my girlfriend (now my fiance!) about my plan in April 2016, right when I discovered 10xTravel. She didn’t exactly understand right away, but loved the thought of an Italian vacation. She was on board and played a key role in planning the trip.

Here are the cards I used to take our dream Italian vacation:

I opened the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points + 5,000 points for authorized user.

I was approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred in June. My fiance paid her entire year of health insurance on the card, and we put all of our spending on the card. We hit the minimum spend within a month, which led to our next card. Continue Reading