Browsing Category

Success Stories

Success Stories

Reader Success Story: European Honeymoon

By: Chris Centeno

After my trip to Thailand and an upcoming proposal and wedding, I was already planning to use miles and points to plan our honeymoon.

Knowing that money was going to be spent regardless, all I really had to do was plan ahead.

We both opened a Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard which was offering a sign-up bonus of 60,000 American AAdvantage miles at the time. I also opened a Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard which offered 50,000 points as a sign-up bonus and a Capital One Venture card also offered 50,000 points. We then spread the ring and wedding expenses across the four cards and immediately paid down the balance.

And just like that, we had knocked out the minimum spends and had earned the sign-up bonuses!

From there, we were off to the races. We knew we wanted to visit Paris, Barcelona, Santorini, and London. We also knew that Santorini was not the easiest place to visit with miles and points. But, it was our honeymoon and we wanted to make it work so we needed to cover the other three cities with points.

When earning the points for our Thailand trip, we actually overshot the amount of points we needed which left us with enough Chase Ultimate Rewards points for one business class flight on United Airlines for 57,500 United miles. Between travel for work and other spend on my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, we earned another 57,500 Ultimate Rewards points that we transferred to United. With that we had two business class tickets from Chicago (ORD) to Paris (CDG).

Off to Paris! A literal cherry on top the sundae to start us off right.

For the Paris hotel stay, we both opened the Chase Hyatt Card that was offering 2 free nights at any of their properties. We used those 4 nights to book a stay at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, which was a truly amazing hotel and would have cost us $2,428 for the 4 nights.

We needed one more night in Paris and chose to do it on the first night. We booked a room at the Wilson Opera hotel with a view of the Eiffel Tower and erased that charge with my Barclaycard Arrival Plus card. We had a great balcony view of the Eiffel tower and champagne to welcome us to the room.

Next up was Barcelona. I used my Capital One points to book a flight through their portal for 120 dollars’ worth of points.

We got a little lucky (or unlucky) as I had a very unfortunate stay at the W in New York (a Starwood property) for work. Due to that stay, they deposited 80,000 SPG Starpoints into my account as a courtesy. With 60,000 Starpoints, we booked the W Barcelona for 3 nights and woke up with an amazing view every morning!

Click image to play video.

Santorini was next on the list. I again used Capital One points to book a low-cost carrier, Vueling, through their portal for only $120 more points.

We weren’t happy with our points booking options in Santorini, so this was the part of the trip we knew was going to require some cash. We stayed at Astra Suites and it is one of the most beautiful hotels I’ve ever seen.

This is why I use miles and points. We saved money everywhere else so that we were able to splurge on our honeymoon! We woke up to a hotel employee knocking on our door each morning with breakfast. How awesome is that?! And the view was amazing.

Astra Suites Santorini

I used my Barclaycard Arrival Plus to book the flight from Santorini to London, where we spent our last 2 days in Europe. The tickets were $360 I erased the purchase with the points I’d earned with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus.

We stayed two nights at Le Meridien Piccadilly, another Starwood property, in the heart of London and again used Arrival Plus points to erase one night. To take care of the other night, we use the remaining points from my Capital One card.

For the return flights, we used the American AAdvantage miles to book business class tickets. Unfortunately, flying British Airways meant a hefty carrier-imposed surcharge of about $260.

To be clear, if we had decided not to visit Santorini, this trip would’ve cost us only $271 for 10 nights in hotels and round-trip business class flights for two.

Using points allowed us to splurge on things like Michelin Star restaurants, Santorini sunset boat tours, and more wine and food than you could imagine.

From seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night, checking out some of the best restaurants and cocktail bars in Paris, Barcelona, and London, and waking up to the most beautiful view we’ve ever seen in Santorini… it was the trip of a lifetime and there’s no way we could have done it without using miles and points.

Santorini Honeymoon

All in all, here’s what the trip looked like:

  • Chicago (ORD) to Paris (CDG in business class on United Airlines
  • Paris for 5 nights
  • Barcelona for 3 nights
  • Santorini for 7 Nights
  • London for 2 Nights
  • London (LHR) to Chicago (ORD) in business class on British Airways

After all was said and done, we booked a $41,829, 17-day trip through Europe for $4,448 — and most of that was for Santorini. Needless to say, we’ll never forget our honeymoon.

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: A $3,800 Caribbean Anniversary for $310

Guest Post By: Robert

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

My wife and I were married last September and spent 12 beautiful days in the Greek Islands on our honeymoon. We used 120,000 American AAdvantage miles for the flight, but I was still just a beginning to understand what miles and points could do for me.

So, we went with a travel agency and got taken to the cleaners, spending over $3,000. Luckily, we had the American miles to cover the flights!! I have since learned a ton about how to earn and redeem credit card rewards and frequent flyer miles for travel.

Due to work scheduling conflicts, we had to take our first anniversary trip a few months early this year during the Fourth of July holiday—one of the most expensive times to travel.

We originally planned to visit Thailand but, given that we had less than 2 weeks, we elected to do a Caribbean cruise to Curacao and Aruba instead to cut down on transit time. This also gave us more time to relax on the beach with drinks.

Here’s how we booked this amazing trip on points:

Flying from Dallas to Puerto Rico

With the Chase Ritz-Carlton Card’s annual $300 airline fee credit and 12,500 American miles we covered my wife’s flights from Dallas to San Juan—my flights were covered by some by some work travel. Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

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

Guest Post By: Alana

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

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

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

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: A $7,700 Honeymoon For $66

Tommy V

By: Tommy N

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

Without a doubt, last year was one of the best of my life. I married my best friend, Emma, and we celebrated this new chapter with an amazing honeymoon.

Financially speaking, we weren’t really in a position to plan a luxurious and expensive honeymoon. In the span of 6 months, we had planned a wedding, moved across the country, quit one of our jobs and relocated the other. Never mind the fact that we were trying to manage our student loans and a car loan. We were in debt with half the income and double the rent.

However, I really wanted Emma to have an amazing honeymoon. She’s an adventurer at heart and is truly at her happiest when she is traveling. For that reason, we were determined to deliver on the perfect vacation in spite of the obvious financial constraints.

Considering our love for both hiking and sipping cocktails on the beach, we soon set our sights on Hawaii. I then stumbled across 10xTravel and read everything I could. As I would soon learn, with some planning and discipline, there is no reason for anyone to not have the honeymoon of their dreams.

Side note: Wedding and Honeymoon planning is the perfect time to start this hobby. All the spending required will cut through minimum spending requirements on credit cards like a knife through hot butter to help you earn tons of miles and points.

Without further ado, here’s how we booked an amazing honeymoon adventure to Hawaii on miles and points.

Disclaimer: To find the cash value of each hotel and flight, I used proxy reservations, inclusive of any upgrades we received. Therefore the value is based on the same flight or hotel, on the same days of the week, during comparable times of the year for travel. These values are just a barometer; your experience may vary.

 

Flights: Boston -> Kaua’i; Honolulu -> Boston; Delta Air Lines 

  • Points Used: 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points transferred to Flying Blue for flights on partner airline, Delta
  • Source of Points: Chase Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus (50k) + 1 referral (5k) + add authorized user (5k)
  • Cost Out of Pocket: $22.40 (taxes and fees)
  • Cost Without Points: $2,100.00
  • Redemption Value: 3.5 cents per point

Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: $15,000 European Honeymoon for Almost Nothing!

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

If you’ve ever wanted to see how you can put together an amazing honeymoon to Europe, this is the success story for you. Brett is going to tell you all about how took this amazing trip with his wife.

If you’d like to share your story with the 10xTravel readers, drop us an email and share how you did it! (bryce [at] 10xTravel [dot] com)


Planning a honeymoon was the last thing my fiancé wanted to worry about. The wedding took precedent for her and so the task was passed to me.

Luckily I had been following 10xTravel for a few years and already had a simple plan. Acquire as many points as possible to make our honeymoon as long as possible.

So, where did I begin you might ask?

It all started about two years ago while dating my now fiancé. I knew even back then that she was the one I was going to marry, and knew I wanted to surprise her with the honeymoon of a lifetime.

After using other miles and points for beach getaways, cruises, and family gatherings, these are the points we used to book this trip:

Chase Ultimate Rewards: 250,000

Capital One points: 120,000

Marriott Rewards: 240,000

We earned the Ultimate Rewards points through our Chase Sapphire Preferred cards as well as a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The Capitol One points were earned through each of our Capitol One Venture cards.

We were fortunate to earn the Marriott Rewards points through my fiancé’s work travel. However, we could have easily earned the points through the Chase Marriott cards.

Now that we had the needed points, we had to decide where to go!

We immediately agreed that Italy and Greece were perfect for our honeymoon and that we’d spend two and a half weeks enjoying ourselves.

Here’s how we booked our trip:

Genoa, Italy Port

Flight to Genoa, Italy

To start, we wanted to go to Cinque Terre as we had heard wonderful things, so I transferred 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points to United and booked our flights to the closest airport. We used our Capital One to cover the taxes and fees.

 

Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: A $6,000 Vacation Of A Lifetime For $230

By: Eric August

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, 10xTravel readers!

My name is Eric August. I’ve been in the miles and points game for a little over a year now, and with the help of Bryce and the 10xTravel team (and other readers) my friend Joe and I were able to take a two-week vacation to Australia and New Zealand in November.

I’ll show you how we did it, how much we spent, and how much we would’ve spent, so I hope you enjoy!

Since 2013, Joe and I have taken a trip together just about every year. We began with Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, then Toronto, Canada in 2015, and so when it came time for 2016’s trip, we discovered a crucial difference in our planning: points!

 

Next Stop, Los Angeles

We began our journey at Midway Airport in Chicago. Using my Southwest Companion Pass (and redeeming 17,399 Southwest Rapid Rewards points), we flew from Chicago to Los Angeles for a fun weekend in L.A. before our flight to New Zealand.

Joe rented a Mustang Convertible (utilizing Emerald Status from National), and our luck instantly took a turn for the worse as our rental car was broken into and my passport was stolen.

They didn’t steal my Gameboy color with Pokémon so it wasn’t a total loss.

Not to be deterred, we still enjoyed our weekend in L.A. meeting with friends, somehow getting into secret clubs, and making the most of our vacation (although I could’ve used some Xanax).

Luckily, I applied and was able to receive a new passport on Monday before we left. Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: A $50,000 European Adventure for Under $3,000

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

Today, we’re going to hear from Lalaine Mackey about an amazing European adventure she and her husband, Russ, had last year.

If you’d like to share your story with the 10xTravel readers, drop us an email and share how you did it! (bryce [at] 10xTravel [dot] com)

 

A September to Remember

It all started when we got a bill from the IRS – we needed to pay more on our income tax in the prior year (UGH!). My husband said, “Wouldn’t it be nice to get a free trip out of this payment?”

So, he decided to research everything he could find about travel with frequent flyer miles and found 10xTravel. Then he found the 10xTravel Facebook group. That’s where the fun really began!

In October 2015, his initial goal was to earn enough points for a week in Hawaii! By January 2016, he had already earned enough for this trip! Take note insiders – this is how you convince your skeptical significant other to join in the fun!!!

He introduced me to the world of miles and points when he had enough points for a week stay in Hawaii for pennies on the dollar!

Who wouldn’t want to be here?!

 

Let’s Go To Europe!

I was convinced and raised the stakes for our next vacation – I asked about Europe! I jumped into miles and points by applying for the same cards as my husband. By March 2016, we had enough points and miles to get round-trip tickets to Europe and some hotel stays on points. By June, we had enough for business class! Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story – A $2,412 Trip to Bali for Only $255

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

We’re back with another amazing readers success story. Today Shannon is going to tell us how she used miles and points to take a dream vacation in Bali, Indonesia. If you’ve been wondering how you can use make credit cards work for you, this is a must-read.

If you have your own dream vacation story that you’d like to share, send Bryce a quick email and you could see your story on the blog next time!

With that we’ll turn it over to Shannon!

 

Hey 10xTravel Friends!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably looked at your points balances and thought, “ugh, there’s no way I’m going to have enough for a round-trip!” Fortunately, that doesn’t have to derail your dream vacation.

I knew I didn’t have enough miles in any of my accounts to for a round-trip flight from Minneapolis to Bali, Indonesia, so I decided I would book one-way flights on two different airline programs. I did a little research and decided to use United miles for my flight to Bali and Delta SkyMiles for my return flight.

I booked my flight to Bali on United with thanks to the sign-up bonus I received from the Chase United card. At the time, the bonus was 50,000. A one-way flight from Minneapolis to Bali only cost 40,000 miles and $52 (taxes and fees), so my 50,000 United miles were more than enough to take care of this flight.

I used my CapitalOne Venture card to pay for the fees and was able to erase all $52 of these taxes and fees. A free flight to Bali? Yes, please!

Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story – A $10,000 European Honeymoon for Next to Nothing

We talk a lot about how you can take amazing trips around the world with the help of miles and points. I’m sure some of you have wondered why we’re so obsessed with credit cards and using the points we earn to travel. Well, let me introduce you to Vincent.

Vincent has planned an amazing European honeymoon with his wife for later this year. I’ll let Vincent show you how he did it…

——–

Making honeymoon decisions can be particularly stressful, but thanks to miles and points we are going on a seven-day adventure that will take us to Athens and Crete. Not only will we spend time in two amazing cities, but we will be staying at 4 and 5 star hotels.

You might be thinking, “that’s great, but I don’t have that kind of money.” Well, neither do we! Thanks to the strategic use of credit cards, we have planned the trip of a lifetime and saved a TON of money.

The card that is the driving force behind our honeymoon is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. We wanted to show you what a couple lovebirds can do with this amazing card.

So, let’s get into it!

 

The Journey Begins: Dayton to Athens

We are flying from Dayton to Athens, Greece thanks to 30K United points and $25 in taxes and fees per person. That’s 60,000 total United miles and $50 dollars for the two of us. All it took was a quick transfer of Chase Ultimate Rewards to United to make it happen.

To make this journey just that little bit better, we also have Priority Pass lounge access thanks to the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Nothing beats cocktails and Wi-Fi in the lounge while waiting for your flight!

Continue Reading