Blog

10xTravel Team: Our Favorite Award Stays

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

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

Something we’re asked daily in the 10xTravel Insider’s Facebook group is what hotel to book in Hawaii, Paris, the Maldives, and the list only grows from there.

It’s tough to tell people what they should book, though. The points you have and your personal preferences play a huge role in hotel choices. While we can’t tell you there’s a perfect hotel that everyone should want to book, we thought it would be fun to share our favorite award stays.

Today the 10xT Team will be sharing our favorite award stays

While some of these stays are pure luxury, I think you’ll find that an over the top luxury hotel is not enough to make a hotel stay amazing. In fact, sometimes a mid-range or high-end stay is just what you need for a memorable experience.

Now, let’s get into it!

Bryce Conway

The best award stay I have yet to experience happened almost completely by luck at the Renaissance Koh Samui.

My wife and I were on the last leg of a 2-week trip to Thailand and were booked to stay 7 nights at the Renaissance before flying home to the states. The days leading up to this stay were jam-packed with adventurous activities so we were looking forward to a few days of relaxation on the beach.

I booked our award stay by taking advantage of one of the Marriott Hotel + Air Packages (pre-merger). We used 310,000 Marriott Rewards points for 7 nights at a Category 7 property and earned 100,000 bonus Southwest Rapid Rewards points.

Continue Reading

Blog

Plastiq: A Complete Guide To Earning Points When Paying Bills

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

By: Spencer Howard, Editor-in-Chief

If you’re anything like us, you’re always looking for a way to earn more points and miles so you can take more trips at a fraction of the cash cost. Since you’re here, I’m going to assume you think about this too.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

One of the biggest concerns we hear from people just starting to explore how to maximize credit card spending for travel is that they can’t pay rent, student loans and more with a credit card.

Well, that’s where Plastiq comes into play.

Let’s take a look at how Plastiq can help you earn more points so you can start traveling more (and better).

How to use Plastiq

Plastiq can help you earn more points so you can start traveling more (and better)

CURRENT PROMO – Masterpass

Get fee-free payments when you pay with a Mastercard via Masterpass.

Terms and conditions from Plastiq:

  • Maximum of $250 per payment
  • Payment delivery date must be no later than September 30, 2018
  • To be eligible, you must have already paid $500 in bills with Plastiq

What is Plastiq?

Plastiq at its simplest is a bill pay service that allows you to use a credit card to pay billers that otherwise wouldn’t accept a credit card payment. If you’re a business owner, you can even use Plastiq to pay vendors that don’t accept credit cards. Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: Roundtrip to South Korea and Taiwan

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

This is a guest post by 10xT Reader Nilesh. For more examples of readers using points/miles to take amazing trips to check out our 10xT Insiders Facebook Group.

By: Bryce Conway, Founder of 10xTravel

Gwangandaegyo Bridge in Busan, South Korea (the bridge from Black Panther)

Gwangandaegyo Bridge in Busan, South Korea (the bridge from Black Panther)

When I first started researching the credit card points and miles world, I was definitely a skeptic. I still remember my mom, an accountant, having me sign up for my first credit card before college and to only use for emergencies.

She also stressed the importance of paying off the statement balance in full every month. I figured having one card is what responsible people did. After 7 years with that card (a non-rewards card), I decided to be bold and get a second card, the Capital One Quicksilver Card.

I wanted to kick myself for waiting so long to get a card that had the benefits of 1.5% cash back (I was still naïve to the points and miles world). As I started to travel more in my mid-20s (for fun), I began to wonder how much I’d actually have to travel to get upgrades on flights and hotels. I do not travel for work so I quickly realized that it would be nearly impossible to achieve any airline or hotel status.

In 2016, as I was dreaming of my next trip, I began reading about points and miles and I haven’t stopped collecting points since then.

Today, I want to share my biggest points redemption.

My girlfriend and I had our sights set on visiting South Korea in April 2018 for cherry blossom season and the amazing food. Since this was going to be a graduation gift, I wanted to make it extra special.

Using Miles To Fly To Asia

Bryce (10xTravel’s Founder) recommended starting with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Chase Sapphire Preferred 50,000 bonus points after $4,000 spend in 3 months(Learn more)

I started slowly and, after hitting the minimum spend, I moved onto the Chase Sapphire Reserve (at the time you could have both). At this point, I was hooked!

Continue Reading

Blog

Barclaycard Arrival Plus Credit Card: Our Full Review

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

By: Julie Szpira

Credit cards that offer transferable points such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Platinum Card by American Express are the card of choice for many travel enthusiasts.

Transferrable currency offers flexibility in the use of rewards, and some amazing deals can be redeemed using transfer partners.

Transferrable currency offers flexibility in the use of rewards, and some amazing deals can be redeemed using transfer partners

When it comes to utilizing transfer partners, the redemptions can be spectacular, but can also be confusing.

If you’re looking for a simple way to reduce the cost of travel, credit cards that offer the ability to redeem points for any travel purchase can be very attractive. The Capital One Venture card is one of the most popular of this type, but the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card is the Venture card’s brother from another mother.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus Quick Stats

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus offers a welcome bonus of 60,000 miles after spending at least $3,000 within three months of account opening.  Since each mile is worth 1 cent, the bonus is worth $600.

Since each Barclays mile is worth 1 cent, the bonus is worth $600.

The card also offers:

  • Earn 2X miles per $1 on all purchases
  • 5% miles back on redemptions
  • Chip and PIN Technology
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

As is standard with most credit cards offering a large sign-up bonus, this card does have an annual fee. That fee isn’t ideal, however, the sign-up bonus more than makes up for having to pay an annual fee.

What is an Arrival Mile Worth?

As stated above, each mile is worth 1 cent toward travel purchases.  The miles can be redeemed for other purchases, or as a statement credit, but the highest value will be from redeeming toward travel.

Using Arrival Miles

Arrival Plus miles are redeemable for 1 cent per point toward travel purchases.  Obvious travel purchases such as flights, hotels, cruises, taxis, trains and rental cars qualify. Less obvious travel purchases, such as campgrounds, tolls, and public transit also qualify. You can even use Arrival Miles to cover tickets to Disney!

Arrival Plus miles are redeemable for 1 cent per point toward travel purchases

Barclaycard even allows you to use miles to erase the cost of your credit card annual fee!

The redemption process is easy:

  1. Make a travel purchase of $100 or more on your card.
  2. Log into your online account within 120 days of the purchase and redeem your miles as “payment” for the travel purchase.

Arrival miles can only be redeemed toward travel purchases greater than $100 so you will need to have at least 10,000 miles in your account to erase travel purchases.

Since a purchase of at least $100 is required to be able to use miles, it’s unlikely that you’ll use the Arrival Plus to cover a bus ticket. However, you can use the Arrival Plus to load funds onto a transit pass, and then use miles to erase that purchase.

Arrival miles are a type of “purchase eraser”, wherein you can use your miles to “erase” cost of your travel purchases. Continue Reading

Blog

Best Ways To Fly To Australia and New Zealand Using Points/Miles

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

By: Caroline Lupini

Getting to Australia or New Zealand can be one of the more difficult redemptions to put together. Not only do you need to amass a huge number of miles to get to the region, but you also need to find award space which can be tough.

Best Ways To Fly To Australia and New Zealand Using Points/Miles

In this article, we’ll show you seven different programs that can help you get to Australia and New Zealand with points and miles

But, fear not. In this article, we’ll show you seven different programs that can help you get to Australia and New Zealand with points and miles. Armed with this information, you’ll have a better chance of finding the award availability you need.

  1. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
  2. ANA Mileage Club
  3. Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
  4. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  5. Air Canada Aeroplan
  6. United Airlines MileagePlus
  7. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Let’s get started!

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

One of the best ways to fly to Australia with points is using Alaska Mileage Plan miles. Though Alaska doesn’t actually fly to Australia or New Zealand, many of its partners do. From the U.S., its partners  Qantas and American Airlines will provide the most direct path but you’ll have a couple other options as well.

Alaska Mileage Plan has different award charts for each partner so you’ll want to keep an eye out for sweet spots in each chart. Qantas is the better deal for first and business class, but American Airlines is the best choice for economy seats. Here are the one-way award rates when booking with Alaska miles:

Class of ServiceAmerican AirlinesCathay PacificFiji AirwaysQantas
Economy40,000 miles40,000 miles40,000 miles42,500 miles
Premium EconomyN/A47,500 milesN/A47,500 miles
Business80,000 miles60,000 miles55,000 miles55,000 miles
First110,000 miles80,000 milesN/A70,000 miles

Not only are awards on Qantas cheaper, but it also has a very nice first class and solid business class product. Though the hard product leaves a bit to be desired in business class on the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747, the soft product is incredible for a round-trip price of only 110,000 miles. If you find yourself on one of Qantas’ Boeing 787 Dreamliners, you’ll get to experience one of the better business class options in the sky.

Qantas Dreamliner Business Class

Photo courtesy of Qantas

While you can add a connection on Alaska Airlines, you are only allowed to include one partner on award bookings. This means you cannot fly both American Airlines and Qantas on the same award.

Since Qantas flies out of Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK) via LAX, and San Francisco (SFO), you may find yourself positioning on an Alaska flight before your flight abroad.

Continue Reading

Blog

How to Use Your Cell Phone Abroad: A Breakdown of Each Major Carrier

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

By: Caroline Lupini

A common concern of travelers is how to communicate with friends and family holding down the fort at home and traveling partners when you’re doing different activities.

Deciding on a telecom carrier based on their international plan is a smart tactic if you know you’ll be traveling beyond the United States and needing to stay connected the entire time.

Keep in mind that connecting a smartphone to wifi will give you many services you need, but you may not be able to text and call over wifi. It’s also useful to know the cost of data wherever you’re traveling.

Here’s a breakdown of the international phone plans offered by all of the major U.S. telecom carriers.

International Phone Plans

Connecting a smartphone to wifi will give you many services you need, but you may not be able to text and call over wifi.

AT&T

AT&T has a variety of phone and data plans ranging from prepaid minutes, texts and data to unlimited plans. Its international plans vary almost as much as their domestic counterparts, which gives customers plenty of flexibility depending on how much they plan to use their device while abroad.

The best deal for talk and text is the $10 International Day Pass, which gives you unlimited calls within the countries that qualify for using the pass, as well as back to the U.S. The pass also gives you unlimited texts worldwide.

Your data use will count toward your monthly allowance based on your cell plan. You can use the International Day Pass in many countries but there are somewhere it won’t be an option.

In this case, your best option is probably AT&T Passport which starts at $60 and gives you 1 GB to use for talk, text, and data. This can be used one time, or monthly.

The Pay Per Use option charges $2.05 per MB of international data for talk, text, and data.

International Phone Plans with At&T

AT&T has a variety of phone and data plans ranging from prepaid minutes, texts and data to unlimited plans. Its international plans vary almost as much as their domestic counterparts, which gives customers plenty of flexibility depending on how much they plan to use their device while abroad.

Continue Reading

Blog, Top Credit Cards

Best Credit Cards: September 2018

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

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

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 credit card offers for September 2018.

I rank these offers by looking at their signup bonuses, 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.

Best credit cards september 2018

Quite a few changes this month as many cards are offering peak bonuses to round out the summer. There are also a couple new cards that just hit the market.

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) 

And finally, I added a list of the cards to the beginning of the post for easier reading. You can simply click on “the list” or “the details” below to read more about each card.

As always, feel free to email me with questions (Bryce@10xTravel.com) about your own situation and I would be happy to help you select the best card for you.

Under 5/24:

The List

The Details

Over 5/24:

The List

The Details

Best Credit Cards Under 5/24

 

 

Best Credit Cards Over 5/24

The Details: Best CardsUnder 5/24

 

1) Chase Sapphire Preferred (50,000 – Learn More)

Image result for chase sapphire preferred

Current Offer:

  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases 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

(Full offer details here: Learn More)

Continue Reading

Blog

WOW air vs Icelandair: Getting Cheap Flights To Iceland

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

By: John Tunningley

Hey Travel Junkies,

As some of you know, I spent a few weeks in Iceland in May and took advantage of cheap round-trip airfare to get there. I flew Icelandair while my friend who is a photographer out of Los Angeles flew WOW air to get to Reykjavik (KEF).

We both got there safely on relatively uneventful flights, however, we stepped off the planes with vastly different experiences.

Iceland is an interesting mix of Volcanic Activity and a far north location make for some stunning landscapes

First, I’ll break down my experience with Icelandair.

My Icelandair Experience

My planning kicked in to high gear after I found a deal from Los Angeles (LAX) to KEF for $330 for my buddy.

I looked at the WOW air flights out of my home airport of Cincinnati (CVG) and other options at airports near me. Having some friends in Chicago I decided to look at Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and found a cheap flight on Icelandair.

I booked the “Economy Standard” ticket which included a checked bag. But unlike WOW air, even the “Economy Light” tickets come with seat selection, a carry on bag and non-alcoholic beverages on the flight. In short, it’s essentially the economy ticket that we’ve all come to know.

It was a pretty nice experience boarding the plane where I was greeted with a bottle of Icelandic water and had a pillow and blanket waiting for me when I reached my seat.

In addition to having the comforts of most international economy tickets (including a screen in the seatbacks) for a low price, there are “Saga Class” tickets similar to some other international premium economy or domestic first class seats including food, drinks a more comfortable seat— you also get access to the Saga Lounge when departing from KEF.

Iceland air vs wow air

Icelandair’s Saga Class (Photo Courtesy of Icelandair)

These seats are still quite cheap for what they are and offer great value. However, Icelandair has its own points system that’s not a part of any major network and Alaska miles are the only available partner miles to use. To redeem Alaska miles costs anywhere between 22,500 and 40,000 miles for an economy ticket and 50,000 miles for a business ticket.  The base fare for my flight was $329 so even at the lowest redemption point it wasn’t a great use of miles and I would have had to pay the taxes and fees anyway so I opted to pay for the flight instead of redeem miles. Continue Reading

Blog

Capital One Venture Credit Card Review

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

By: Julie Szpira

The Capital One Venture offers a straightforward rewards earning structure and extremely easy redemption options.

For many people, the Capital One Venture card seems to be the best path to free travel.

Venture Card by Capital One: Learn More

Jennifer Garner espousing the benefits of earning 2X miles for every dollar spent, the ability to redeem points with no blackout dates and tauntingly asking “What’s in your wallet?” has made more than a few credit card newbies hurry to grab a Venture card.

Capital One Venture Card Review

This is not Jennifer Garner. This is the stock photo version of Jennifer Garner.

With a sign up bonus of 50,000 miles worth $500 toward travel purchases, this card seems like a no-brainer!

However, the Capital One Venture doesn’t even crack the top 5 in our monthly credit card rankings.

One of two things is happening here; the 10xTravel staff has no idea which credit cards are valuable OR Capital One put together one heck of a marketing campaign that has been luring customers into opening a mediocre credit card.

Hint: The 10xTravel staff knows some things.

Capital One Venture Quick Stats

The Capital One Venture credit card offers a welcome bonus of 50,000 miles after spending at least $3,000 within three months of account opening.  Since each mile is worth 1 cent, the bonus is worth $500.

Capital One Venture Card Review

The Capital One Venture card bonus is worth $500 toward any type of travel

The card also offers these benefits:

  • Earn 2X miles per $1 on all purchases
  • Earn 10X miles per $1 on hotel stays booked through the Capital One Venture Hotels.com link
  • A Global Entry or TSA PreCheck statement credit (up to $100 value)
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees

As is standard with most credit cards offering a large sign-up bonus, this card does have an annual fee. However, the first-year annual fee waiver allows you to try out the card for the first year and see how it works for you.

What is a Capital One Venture Mile Worth?

As stated above, each mile is worth 1 cent toward travel purchases. The miles can be redeemed at a lesser rate for gift cards or statement credits, but the best redemption will be toward travel. Continue Reading

Blog

How To Beat American Airlines Basic Economy

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

By: Travis Cormier

Hey Travel Junkies,

I love to travel as much as possible. Despite what it may seem, I do fly economy from time to time.

Just last year, I even made the journey to Hawaii in economy and survived just fine. You can even catch me on Spirit Airlines for domestic flights — albeit, usually in the Big Front Seat.

Even avid points/miles geeks travel in economy from time to time

To compete with low cost carriers like Spirit, legacy airlines have introduced a new fare class called Basic Economy. I’ll go into more detail about basic economy later, but 10xTravel Editor in Chief Spencer Howard summed it up well:

“Basic economy comes with little more than a spot on the plane.”

Unfortunately, many unsuspecting travelers see the lower costs of a basic economy ticket without knowing what they’re really getting. This can lead to extra fees that add up quickly.

Today, I’m going to show you how to beat American Airlines basic economy.

Major carries have launched basic economy fares to compete with budget carriers

First, we will look at the benefits you can get from a Co-Branded American Airlines Card. Second, we will look at American Airlines Basic Economy limitations and how your credit card benefits can help you beat them.

Beat Basic Economy with a Co-Branded American Card

With a co-branded credit card you can save a lot of money on your American Airlines basic economy ticket. The following cards have benefits that will help you beat basic economy:

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World EliteTM Mastercard®
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select World EliteTM Mastercard®
  • CitiBusiness / AAdvantage® Platinum Select World EliteTM Mastercard®
  • AAdvantage® AviatorTM Red Mastercard®
  • AAdvantage® AviatorTM Business Mastercard®

You can learn about these cards and more by visiting our credit cards page.

american airlines basic economy

Airline credit cards are a great way to “beat” basic economy

With one of these co-branded credit cards, your first checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines flights. This benefit even extends to 4 travel companions on your reservation. If you have the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World EliteTM Mastercard® this benefit extends to 8 travel companions on your reservation. Continue Reading