READER SUCCESS STORY: A YOUNG FAMILY GOES TO MAUI HAWAII USING POINTS AND MILES
Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: Maui, Hawaii Using Points and Miles for $670

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

By: 10xT Reader Damien Boulat

The Strategy

My wife and I have found that early to mid-November, before the madness of the Thanksgiving crowds takes hold, is a wonderful time to travel. This time around, Maui was on the wish-list, so I started exploring a strategy to get us and our 2-year old son there for a relaxing 10-day vacation.

Being based in Los Angeles, there are plenty of non-stop flight options to the Hawaiian islands. As I am well above 5/24 myself, I applied and was approved for the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa, which at the time offered a welcome bonus of 30,000 miles, a Companion Pass fare for just taxes, and a $100 statement credit, after $2,000 in spend in the first 3 months.

Maui Hawaii using Points and Miles

All in all we made a dream vacation happen for $670 out of pocket. Had we not used points and miles strategies our cost would have been over $3300. That’s more than $2630 in savings, with minimal effort on our part (2 new credit card sign-ups and an easy booking process).

As my son is over the age of two, we needed three flights. The Companion Pass fare covered my wife and son amounting to $422 total for both, or $322 if you consider the $100 statement credit.  My own flight would need to be booked using Alaska Miles; Saver Awards are 17,500 miles each way for mainland flights to Hawaii and were easy to find for our low-season dates. That’s 35,000 miles + $11 in taxes for the round-trip, so I just needed a little bit of extra spend on the Alaska Visa to earn the miles needed. The card also gave us one-free checked bag, which for our little family was plenty, saving us another $50 roundtrip.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card Earn 30,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days

As we began to look at accommodation options, we quickly realized 9-nights in Maui, can be quite expensive. Not for us 10xT Insiders us though! We had about ~40,000 leftover Ultimate Rewards points in my wife’s Chase Sapphire Reserve account, opened the previous year, but that wouldn’t be nearly enough. My wife being at 3/24 we applied for the Chase Business Ink Preferred card, offering us another 80,000 points, and closer to 90,000 after our spend to reach the bonus. All in all, that put is around 130,000 UR points, which we combined into the CSR account to get the maximum 1.5 CPP valuation on the UR portal for travel bookings.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Earn 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months(Learn more)
Ink Business Preferred 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after $5,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More

Although we considered some of the hotel options (there are beautiful resorts from Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton), given the length of our stay and the fact we were traveling with a toddler, a condo-style property made the most sense for us to have room to spread out and take things easy.

The Luana Kai’s living room at the ground floor so our son could run out directly on the big open grass area to play.

Turns out, there are quite a few condo-style options available directly through the UR portal. Our priority being a nice view at a location convenient to the beach, we settled on Luana Kai in Kihei, booking a direct-oceanfront 1-bedroom unit. We chose to be on the ground floor so our son could run out directly on the big open grass area to play.

Maui Hawaii using Points and Miles

The Luana Kai’s Bedroom

All in all, the unit would have costs us ~$1,850 for the 9-nights, but we paid nothing out of pocket by using ~123,500 UR points. The rate we booked was inclusive of a cleaning fee so that was covered as well.

The only thing left was a car rental. I did have a few UR points left, but after comparing with rates on AutoSlash, I determined the portal rates were not competitive and chose to save my points for future travel. We paid $337 total out of pocket for the duration of the trip and the Chase Sapphire Reserve we used for the booking provided us with our insurance needs.

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How to Travel as a Couple using Rapid Rewards points with the Companion Pass with savings on flights with Southwest
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A Year with the Southwest Companion Pass

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

By: Matt Brown

This year was the first time I’ve ever had the Companion Pass from Southwest Airlines. Even though the year isn’t over, with no more planned Southwest travel for the rest of 2018, I wanted to tally things up and walk through how we saved almost $2,500 with our Southwest Companion Pass.

Yes, you read that correctly. We saved almost $2,500 on flights! Read on to learn how we did it and how we’re going to be able to do it again in 2019.

How To Use Southwest Companion Pass

We saved $2,471.31 PER PERSON in 2018 by using Rapid Rewards points plus another $2,471.31 with the Companion Pass, for a grand total of $4,942.62 in savings on flights with Southwest.

What Is the Companion Pass

Southwest Rapid Rewards has consistently been ranked highly by travelers who enjoy the simplicity of the program.  If there’s an empty seat on the plane, you can either pay in cash or use miles. It’s that simple.

But another perk that makes Southwest Rapid Rewards fantastic is the Companion Pass. It is often heralded as the single best domestic frequent flier perk on the market.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority 40,000 Southwest points after $1,000 spend in 3 months, an additional 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 in the first yearLearn More

You can bring a designated companion on any Southwest flight for just the taxes and fees. On domestic flights, your companion’s ticket is just $5.60 each way. This is the best part of the Companion Pass – it works for any flight, regardless of whether you pay cash for your ticket or use Rapid Rewards points.

Aside from a few simple and basic rules, there are very few limitations surrounding the Companion Pass and using it. So it provides tremendous value for users year after year, and surprisingly isn’t super difficult to earn!

Check out our complete guide to earning the Southwest Companion Pass for 2019 and beyond.

How I Earned the Companion Pass

You may find this hard to believe, but before I earned my Companion Pass, I had only booked one round-trip on Southwest in my entire life. So, if you’ve heard of this perk before, but thought it was only attainable for Southwest elite fliers, you couldn’t be more wrong.

I earned the Companion Pass by strategically timing when I opened 2 Southwest credit cards – the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card. That’s it. That’s the big secret to making this easy.

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AMERICAN EXPRESS GOLD CARD FULL REVIEW
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American Express Gold Card: 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. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

By: Caroline Lupini

Credit cards that offer transferable point currencies are a great choice for many people who like to travel, and Amex just relaunched one of our long-time favorites!

American Express Gold Card Earn 25,000 points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. Terms apply. Learn More by visiting our credit cards page

Previously called the Gold Premier Card from American Express, the American Express Gold Card has great benefits — including some fun new ones!

Here’s what you need to know about this refreshed credit card.

Content

American Express Gold Card Quick Stats
American Express Gold Card Perks

Should I Sign Up for This Card?
American Express Gold Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Bottom Line


American Express Gold Card Quick Stats

amex gold card full review - dining credit

The American Express Gold Card has gone from a somewhat standard travel credit card to a fantastic card for people who dine out in the U.S. restaurants.

The American Express Gold Card currently offers a welcome bonus of 25,000 Membership Rewards points after spending at least $2,000 within the first three months of account opening. As with most Amex products, the welcome bonus and minimum spend requirement often varies. With this card, we’ve seen offers as high as 50,000 points.

If you apply by January 9, 2019, you’ll also receive 20% back on dining purchases at US restaurants in the form of a statement credit, up to $100, for the first three months of card membership.

Here’s a quick rundown of the Amex Gold’s benefits:

  • 4X Membership Rewards per dollar spent at US restaurants
  • 4X Membership Rewards per dollar spent at US supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year)
  • 3X Membership Rewards per dollar spent on airfare purchased directly from the airline
  • 1X Membership Rewards per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • $120 Annual Dining Credit
  • $100 Annual Airline Fee Credit
  • $250 Annual Fee

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IHG all-inclusive resorts for families
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IHG ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORTS – A GREAT OPTION FOR FAMILIES

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

By Travis Cormier

Hey Travel Junkies,

Understandably, families traveling with kids often find travel costs can be a bit steep. You’ll be paying for your kids’ food and activities in addition to your own. Many parents are drawn to all-inclusive resorts to help minimize these extra costs.

IHG all-inclusive resort | Holiday Inn Resort

IHG all-inclusive resorts are great options for families because Holiday Inn Resorts don’t charge extra for kids. You’ll find some great options – two on the Pacific side of Mexico and one on the beaches of Jamaica.

If you’re looking to travel to an all-inclusive resort on points, a great option for families is one of IHG’s Holiday Inn Resorts – IHG all-inclusive resorts.  Holiday Inn Resorts have one of the best benefits for families: kids stay free! This can really help keep costs down because you’re paying with points and not having to pay extra cash for the kids.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card 80,000 points after $2,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More

Let’s first take a look at resort fees and what you should expect. Then, let’s explore the Holiday Inn Resort all-inclusive options that you can book with points.

Resort Fees

Some hotel brands have started charging resort fees to cover the costs of amenities like gyms and pools but resort fees often aren’t mentioned upfront. Instead, you’ll only discover them upon check-in when it is too late to change plans and IHG is no exception.

Award nights through the IHG program do not cover resort fees. Fees are set by the property and vary, typically costing $20-$40 per night. Thankfully, there are no resort fees with IHG all-inclusive resorts which means you won’t be out any cash for booking any of these family-friendly resorts.

Now that we know there won’t be any surprise charges, let’s take a look at the three IHG all-inclusive properties that you can book with points. 

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Chase Sapphire Preferred vs chase sapphire reserve
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Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)® Luxury 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. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

By:  Caroline Lupini

The Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)® Luxury Card from American Express launched in August 2018, after the new Marriott Rewards program replaced the SPG, Marriott Rewards, and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards loyalty programs as part of the Marriott-Starwood merger.

While the card doesn’t have a particularly impressive earn rate for everyday spend, it comes with some unique benefits that could be valuable for frequent Marriott hotel guests.

Let’s take a look at what you need to know about the SPG Luxury Card.

Starwood Preferred Guest - spg - luxury credit card review - Benefit - Complimentary Marriott Gold Elite Status

Opening the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Luxury Card from American Express will give you automatic Gold Elite status in the Marriott Rewards program – normally you’d have to spend 25 nights at Marriott hotels to reach that level.

Welcome Bonus

The SPG Luxury Card offers 75,000 Marriott Rewards points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of holding the card.

 

Bonus Categories

The SPG Luxury card has the following bonus categories:

  • 6X at Marriott hotels (including former Starwood brands and Ritz-Carlton)
  • 3X at U.S. restaurants
  • 3X on flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2X on all other purchases

There is no limit on the number of bonus points you can earn in these categories.

Benefits of the SPG Luxury Card

The SPG Luxury Card doesn’t have particularly compelling bonus categories – but what makes it interesting are the extra benefits it offers. Here are a few of the perks that you get in exchange for the $450 annual fee:

  • $300 Annual Marriott Statement Credit

Every card member year you’ll receive a statement credit for the first $300 you spend at Marriott properties worldwide, including room charges and anything billed to your room. That means if you were planning to stay at a Marriott hotel anyway, this is a cool $300 back in your pocket. This benefit follows your account year, so you have 12 months to use the credit from when you open the card, and the limit will reset every year on your account anniversary.

SPG Luxury Card | Benefit | $300 Annual Marriott Statement Credit

Every cardmember year you’ll receive a statement credit for the first $300 you spend at Marriott properties worldwide, including room charges and anything billed to your room.

  • Annual Free Night Award (Up to 50,000 Points)

Every year, after your account anniversary, you’ll receive a free night certificate valid at properties that cost up to 50,000 points per night. (This kicks in after you’ve held the card for a year – you won’t receive a free night certificate when you open the card.)

By the time you’ve had the card for a year, Marriott will probably have rolled out their new rewards chart, so your free night certificate will work at category 1-7 properties during off-peak dates, and category 1-5 properties during peak dates.

Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card Two free nights, up to 35,000 points each, after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months Learn more

 

  • Complimentary Marriott Gold Elite Status

Opening the card will give you automatic Gold Elite status in the Marriott Rewards program – normally you’d have to spend 25 nights at Marriott hotels to reach that level. Gold status gives you a 25% bonus on points earned from Marriott stays, 2:00 pm late checkout (based on availability), room upgrades, 250-500 bonus points per stay and free enhanced in-room internet access.

  • 15 Bonus Elite Nights

If you’re working on earning Marriott Elite Status, the SPG Luxury Card will give you a jump-start by crediting your account with 15 elite nights every calendar year starting in 2019.

You can receive a maximum of 15 bonus elite nights per Marriott Rewards account, regardless of how many Marriott or SPG credit cards you have.

  • Platinum Elite Status After Spending $75,000

While we don’t necessarily recommend putting this much spend on the SPG Luxury Card (other cards will earn you more points), if you spend $75,000 on this card in a single calendar year, you’ll receive Platinum Elite status with Marriott.

Platinum Elite gives you access to hotel lounges at participating Marriott brands, an exclusive welcome gift at check-in (points, breakfast vouchers or a welcome amenity), 50% bonus points on stays and enhanced room upgrades (including Select Suites).

  • Priority Pass Select Membership

Like pretty much every other high-end travel credit card out there, the SPG Luxury Card comes with a Priority Pass Select membership, which gives you and up to two guests access to more than 1,000 airport lounges (and restaurants) around the world.

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) |Luxury Credit Card Review | Benefit | Priority Pass Select Membership

SPG Luxury Card comes with a Priority Pass Select membership, which gives you and up to two guests access to more than 1,000 airport lounges (and restaurants) around the world.

  • Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check Statement Credit

If you, or someone you know, don’t have Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check, you’ll get a statement credit for $100 or $85, respectively, when you pay the application fee for either program using the SPG Luxury Card. You can use this benefit once every four years.

  • Roadside Assistance

If you find yourself stranded in the U.S. or Canada – even in your own driveway – being an SPG Luxury Card holder means American Express will cover the cost for emergency services like replacing a flat tire, towing your car up to 10 miles, jump-starting the battery, retrieving your key from inside the car and delivering up to 2 gallons of fuel up to 4 times per year. However, note that the terms for this service exclude rental vehicles.

SPG Luxury Credit Card | Benefits | Roadside Assistance

Being an SPG Luxury Card holder means American Express will cover the cost for emergency services like replacing a flat tire, towing your car up to 10 miles, jump-starting the battery, retrieving your key from inside the car and delivering up to 2 gallons of fuel up to 4 times per year.

  • Extended Warranty, Purchase Protection and Return Protection

If you use the SPG Luxury Card to purchase something, American Express will add up to two years to the manufacturer’s warranty (if it’s five years or less), reimburse you for purchases you’re unable to return within 120 days (up to $300 per purchase and $1,000 per year) and reimburse you for lost, stolen, or damaged items (up to $10,000 per incident and $50,000 per year).

SPG Luxury Credit Card | Benefit | Extended Warranty, Purchase Protection and Return Protection

If you use the SPG Luxury Card to purchase something, American Express will add up to two years to the manufacturer’s warranty.

How to Use Marriott Rewards Points

Marriott Rewards points can be used to book nights at any of the 29 brands in the combined Marriott, Starwood and Ritz-Carlton portfolios – over 6,800 hotels in 150 countries!

Here’s what the Marriott award chart looks like. Note that prices will increase in 2019 for peak dates and top-tier properties, so if you know your travel plans for 2019, it’s best to book now – if prices later drop for your dates, you can usually change to the lower rate without penalty (but check the change/cancellation policy before booking just to be sure).

image2 3

The real sweet spot with Marriott Rewards points is the ability to transfer points to over 40 airline partners, including many airlines that don’t have other transfer partners like Alaska, American, Japan Airlines, and Lufthansa.

Almost all airlines receive points at a 3:1 ratio (3 Marriott Rewards points = 1 airline mile), and for every 60,000 points you’ll receive a 5,000-mile bonus – so, 60,000 points = 25,000 miles.

Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express Earn 75,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Terms apply.(Learn more)

 

Is the SPG Luxury Card Right for You?

One important factor in deciding whether to apply for this card is making sure you can get the welcome bonus. As with most American Express bonuses, you aren’t eligible to get a welcome bonus if you’ve held this card before. Given that this card didn’t exist before August 2018, that’s unlikely to be a problem.

However, because Marriott offers credit cards with both American Express and Chase, there are also restrictions based on credit cards you’ve opened with Chase. You will not be eligible for the welcome bonus if any of the following apply:

  • You currently have the Chase Ritz-Carlton Rewards card or have had it open within the past 30 days
  • You opened a Chase Marriott Rewards Premier, Premier Plus or Premier Plus Business card in the past 90 days
  • You received a welcome bonus or upgrade offer for a Chase Marriott Rewards Premier, Premier Plus or Premier Plus Business card in the past 24 months

Final Thoughts

The SPG Luxury Card may be a good fit for frequent Marriott guests who can make good use of the $300 annual statement credit, or for heavy spenders who want to shoot for the free Platinum Elite status with $75,000 in purchases.

You may also want to consider the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from Amex Personal and Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from Amex, which both have a $95 annual fee (waived for the first year) and include a free night (up to 35,000 points).


Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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Best Credit Cards: December 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. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

By: Bryce Conway – Founder 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 December 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.

Quite a few changes this month as Chase has expanded the 5/24 rule to more cards and a couple of cards have gone through dramatic transformations.

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

Chase Sapphire Preferred 50,000 bonus points after $4,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More
Ink Business Preferred 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after $5,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More
Chase Sapphire Reserve Earn 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months(Learn more)
Ink Business Cash $500 bonus cash back after $3,000 spend in the first 3 monthsLearn More
Ink Business Unlimited $500 cash back after $3,000 spend in the first 3 monthsLearn More
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority 40,000 Southwest points after $1,000 spend in 3 months, an additional 20,000 points after you spend $12,000 in the first yearLearn More
United Explorer Card 40,000 bonus miles after $2,000 spend in 3 months, an additional 25,000 miles after $10,000 spend in 6 months(Learn more)
Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card Two free nights, up to 35,000 points each, after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months Learn more
IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card 80,000 points after $2,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More
British Airways Visa Signature Card 50,000 Avios after $3k of purchases in the first 3 months, 25,000 Avios after $10k of purchases in the first year, additional 25,000 Avios after $20k spend in the first yearLearn More
Chase Freedom $150 cash bonus after $500 spend in 3 monthsLearn More
Chase Freedom Unlimited $150 bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months(Learn more)

 

 

 

Best Credit Cards Over 5/24

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card 50,000 bonus miles (worth $500) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 monthsLearn More
The Business Platinum Card from American Express Earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000, an extra 25,000 points after an additional $10,000 all in the first 3 months. Terms apply.Learn More
American Express Business Gold Card Earn 4x points on select business categories. Terms Apply.Learn More
Capital One Spark Miles for Business 50,000 miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months, an additional 150,000 miles when you spend $50,000 in 6 monthsLearn More
Capital One Spark Cash for Business $500 cash back after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months, plus earn $1,500 when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 monthsLearn More
The Platinum Card from American Express Earn 60,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. Terms apply.(Learn more)
Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express Earn 75,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Terms apply.(Learn more)
Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card 125,000 Hilton Honors points after $2,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card 125,000 Hilton Points after $3,000 spend in the first 3 monthsLearn More
Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card $500 cash back after $3,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More

 

The Details: Best CardsUnder 5/24

 

1) Chase Sapphire Preferred  

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 )

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Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: A Family Adventure to Italy Using Points and 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. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

By: 10xT Reader Megan Parsons

We just came back home from a $16,000+ family adventure through Italy for less than $1,500!

I started earning points and miles in late 2015 and although we have used them for smaller trips, this was our first big international redemption.

Early this summer, my family and I took a wonderful 15 day trip to Italy using points and miles. This was planned as a trip for 4 but later changed to 3 as my son had enlisted in the National Guard and was away for training.

Deciding where to go was difficult, as my husband and I prefer to do a bit more wandering off the beaten track.  For this trip, our itinerary included Rome, Naples (incl Pompeii and Amalfi), Florence, Tuscany and Venice.

Trip to Italy Using Points and Miles | Reader Success Story: A $16,000+ Family Adventure Through Italy For Less Than $1,500

Booking Flights to Italy

We live in Milwaukee, which generally stinks as far as flight options, particularly when trying to use miles. We often fly out of Chicago and that’s just what we did this time. Our outbound flights for this trip were on Turkish Airlines with a connection in Istanbul (IST).

This was originally booked with my husband and me in business class and the two kids in economy — yes, I am a mean mom — but I couldn’t find both business and economy seats with the same program, so I booked the business class seats through Aeroplan and the economy seats through United.

The approximate cost of two business class seats would have been $6,840 but we used 55,000 Aeroplan miles plus 14.70 CAD (about $11) per ticket. Fortunately, when booking Turkish Airlines with Aeroplan, you won’t have to pay surcharges — though you will on a number of partners.

To get enough Aeroplan miles, I transferred a combination of SPG Starpoints (now part of Marriott Rewards) and American Express Membership Rewards points. I made sure to transfer chunks of 20,000 Starpoints so we could receive the 5,000-mile transfer bonus.

Editor’s note: When the SPG program was transitioned to Marriott Rewards, SPG points were converted to Marriott Rewards points at a 1:3 ratio. This means 20,000 SPG points became 60,000 Marriott Rewards points. You can now receive the 5,000-mile transfer bonus when transferring 60,000 Marriott points.

Italy Using Points and Miles | Reader Success Story: A $16,000+ Family Adventure Through Italy For Less Than $1,500

10xT Reader Megan in Turkish Airlines Business Class

Trip to Italy Using Points and Miles | Reader Success Story: A $16,000+ Family Adventure Through Italy For Less Than $1,500

For the kids’ economy tickets, I transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points to my United MileagePlus account. These award tickets cost 30,000 United miles each plus $22.60 in taxes/fees. The Approximate cash price of the tickets was $1,873.00

Editors Note: You could earn these same 30,000 bonus points (50,000 actually) with one Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus

Chase Sapphire Preferred 50,000 bonus points after $4,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More

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Why You Shouldn't use your credit card at the ATM | Reasons You Shouldn’t Use Your Credit Card At An ATM | Credit Card at an ATM
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Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Credit Card at the ATM

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

By Anya Kartashova

In the movie “The Wedding Date” — I’m probably the only one who watched it — the main character (Kat) hires an escort (Nick) to pose as her boyfriend at her younger sister’s wedding in London. She pays him $6,000 — which she took from her 401K — to travel with her to England for the weekend.

Reasons You Shouldn’t Use Your Credit Card At An ATM

Kat makes poor financial decisions.

The movie itself is nothing to write home about, and I’ll spare you the details, but there is a scene in it that will make any savvy credit card holder angry.

We already know that Kat makes poor financial decisions. To make matter worse, she maxes out her many credit cards’ cash advance limits and withdraws a bunch of cash from several ATMs to pay Nick for extra services. She’s seen going from one machine to another collecting hundreds of British pounds without a care in the world.

Reasons You Shouldn’t Use Your Credit Card At An ATM

Kat maxes out her many credit cards’ cash advance limits and withdraws a bunch of cash from several ATMs to pay Nick for extra services.

For many, the fact that Kat takes out multiple cash advances at foreign ATMs so willy-nilly is flat out infuriating.

Maybe, if she’d hung out with us in the 10xTravel Insider’s Facebook group, she’d know better!

However, if you’re new to international travel, this faux pas might not be obvious to you. So, let’s talk about why you shouldn’t use your credit card at an ATM to take out a cash advance.

What Is A Cash Advance?

A cash advance is a service that your financial institution of choice likely provides. It lets you withdraw cash at an ATM or a bank counter from your credit card. Just like a standard credit line, a cash advance has a limit, and it is typically much lower than your credit line allows you to spend on the card.

For example, the total credit limit on my Chase Freedom Credit Card is $7,000, but only $1,400 is available for a cash advance.

Chase Freedom $150 cash bonus after $500 spend in 3 monthsLearn More
Chase Freedom Unlimited $150 cash bonus after $500 spend in 3 monthsLearn More

 

As with many things in life, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Here are the reasons why you shouldn’t use your credit card for a cash advance. Continue Reading

MARRIOTT REWARDS PREMIER PLUS CREDIT CARD REVIEW
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Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card Review

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By: Caroline Lupini

Chase launched the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card in May 2018 as part of the Marriott-Starwood merger. This card isn’t the best choice for everyday spend, but it comes with an annual free night certificate that easily makes up for the annual fee, and offers some minor benefits for Marriott guests.

Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card Two free nights, up to 35,000 points each, after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months Learn more

Welcome Bonus

The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card offers two free nights, up to  35,000 points each, after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months of holding the card.

Bonus Categories

The Marriott Premier Plus Card has the following bonus categories:

  • 6X at Marriott hotels (including former Starwood brands and Ritz-Carlton)
  • 2X on all other purchases

There is no limit on the number of bonus points you can earn in these categories.

Marriott Rewards Premier Plus - Credit Card Review - 6X at Marriott hotels (including former Starwood brands and Ritz-Carlton)

6X at Marriott hotels (including former Starwood brands and Ritz-Carlton)

Annual Fee

This card has a $95 annual fee, which is not waived for the first year.

Benefits of the Marriott Premier Plus Card

  • Annual Free Night Award (Up to 35,000 Points)

One of the best benefits of the Marriott Premier Plus card is that it offers a free night certificate valid at properties that cost up to 35,000 points per night. Unfortunately, you won’t get this certificate the first year that you have the card, rather it will kick in after you’ve had the card for a full year.

Since Marriott’s new award pricing chart out in 2019, but the time you’ve earned your first certificate it will be valid at Category 1-5 properties during off-peak times and Category 1-4 properties during peak times.

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Ways to fly to Hong Kong with miles - Cathay Pacific First Class
Best Ways, Blog

Best Ways to Fly to Hong Kong With 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

Hong Kong is a super accessible city to visit since English is one of its official languages.  Even better, you can often find award space from the U.S.

If a trip to Hong Kong is on your to-do list, check out the best ways to get there with points and miles!

Content

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

United Airlines Mileage Plus

Delta SkyMiles

ANA (All Nippon Airways) Mileage Club

Final Thoughts


Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

One of the best ways to fly to Hong Kong is with Alaska Mileage Plan thanks to is partnership with Cathay Pacific, which has nonstop flights to Hong Kong from Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), New York–JFK (JFK), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), and Washington–Dulles (IAD). It also partners with American Airlines, which has nonstop flights from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and Los Angeles (LAX).

You can also use Alaska Mileage Plan miles to book connecting flights to Hong Kong on Korean Air, Emirates (super pricey though), Finnair, Hainan and Japan Airlines.

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