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How Work Travel Can Help You Reach Your Personal Travel Dreams

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By: John Tunningley

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking after reading the title of this article.

“This isn’t for me. I never travel for work.”

Maybe you’re thinking, “my business provides a credit card and I can’t use my own.”

While one of these statements may be true at the present time, they likely might not always be true for you. Personally, I think if you get the opportunity to travel for work, you should go for it.

Today, I want to tell my own story about how work travel has helped to change my life and how it can help you earn points and miles for your next vacation.

Finding the Right Job

First and foremost you have to find a job that you enjoy doing and that may have some opportunities for travel. One of my go-to interview questions is always how much travel will be involved.

Often, employers will worry you don’t want to travel which is completely understandable in many circumstances. I have been fortunate over the years to have incredibly supportive family and friends.

When considering a new job, always be sure to ask about travel requirements

I have a dog that my parents or girlfriend watch while I travel for work but don’t have any children to worry about which has made my work travel easier on me. I travel almost every other week in my current position and when I asked how much travel would be involved in my interview, I was pretty much told however much I wanted.

I don’t think they expected me to want to travel every week. Continue Reading

Blog

New Credit Cards on the Market in 2018

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By: John Tunningley

This year has already been filled with lots of activity in the points and miles world. From the new Chase rules on the Southwest Rapid Rewards personal cards to the SPG/Marriott merger news and, of course, a slew of new cards.

So, let’s get into the cards, the bonuses and figure out which cards are worthwhile.

New Avios Cards

Avios is the airline currency for British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus. All three programs have distance-based award charts—though there are rumors of a switch to revenue-based redemptions in the near future.

Right now, all three Avios earning cards have a 100,000 point sign-up bonus tiered as 50,000 Avios for making $3,000 in purchases within three months of card opening, an additional 25,000 Avios for an additional $7,000 in the first year (for a total of $10,000), and the last 25,000 Avios for making an additional $10,000 in purchases in the first year (for a total of $20,000).

This is very similar to the British Airway bonus that was around last year. With none of these cards being restricted by the Chase 5/24 rule they are very tempting cards to pick up for anyone over 5/24

You can learn more about the British Airways card here.

New Marriott Cards

With the details of the Marriott and SPG loyalty program merger finally being announced, there is a ton to take in but also some new cards coming out. Chase will continue to issue the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card but has also released a new Marriott card, the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus.

(Learn more about the Marriott Rewards card here)

The new card has a $95 annual fee but comes with a 100,000-point sign-up bonus after $5,000 in spend in the first 3 months. Like the existing Marriott card, we expect it to be restricted by the Chase 5/24 rule but that hasn’t been confirmed yet.

Meanwhile, the new Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Luxury Card will come with a $450 annual fee but an extensive list of perks including complimentary Gold Elite Status, a $300 statement credit for purchases at Marriott properties and a Priority Pass Select membership.

While the bonus for this card hasn’t yet been released expect it to be sizeable to try to entice new customers. Continue Reading

Blog

How to Get to South Africa with Points and Miles

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By: Caroline Lupini

South Africa is a great country to visit with something to fit every travel style. You have amazing hiking, world-class vineyards, safaris and more! Unfortunately, travel times to South Africa are generally quite long with many routings going through countries in the Middle East or Europe.

When you’re flying that far, upgrading to business class is the best way to make your journey more comfortable and when cash tickets for economy class are high, it can be a pretty good deal.

Below, I’ll show you some of the best ways to get to South Africa with miles and points in economy, business, and even first class!

Economy

32,500 ANA Mileage Club Miles (Round-Trip Booking Required)

ANA Mileage Club offers the cheapest award flights between the U.S. and South Africa, but only if you book round-trip flights. This means you’ll need to have plans for round-trip travel and be able to find award availability in both directions.

However, you will also pay fuel surcharges of $500-600 round-trip depending on which airline partner you fly. It may not be worth paying extra cash to save 5,000 miles, but it depends on how many and what type of miles you have as well as what airlines have award space when you want to travel.

You can transfer SPG Starpoints or American Express Membership Rewards points to ANA Mileage Club at a 1:1 ratio. Don’t forget, if you transfer 20,000 Starpoints, you will receive a 5,000-mile bonus with any of its airline partners.

(Also note that Starwood is being fully merged with Marriott on August 1, though this will not fundamentally change this strategy)

 You can fly round trip to South Africa for just 32,500 ANA miles. Just watch out for those fees!

37,500 American AAdvantage Miles

American Airlines partners with two airlines that can get you to South Africa with your miles: Qatar Airways and British Airways. Either way, you’ll pay 37,500 American AAdvantage miles to fly one-way between the U.S. and South Africa. However, British Airways does pass on steep fuel surcharges so you’ll pay a lot more cash if you fly on British Airways than Qatar Airways.

You can transfer SPG Starpoints to your American AAdvantage account at a 1:1 ratio. You can also earn American miles directly through one of their co-branded cards provided by either Citi or Barclays. Both banks provide business and personal versions of these co-branded cards Continue Reading

Blog

Stopovers and Openjaws

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By Caroline Lupini

Stopovers and open jaws are a great way to stretch your miles even further, but what are they exactly? And how can you make the most of them? This article will help you understand the basics of stopovers and open jaws, what airlines allow them, and how you can best use them for your next mileage redemption.

What is a Stopover?

A stopover is an extended stop enroute to your destination. Extended has a different definition depending on whether your trip is domestic or international. On domestic trips, a stopover is any stop greater than four hours but on international trips, a stopover is any stop greater than 24 hours.

A stopover is an extended stop enroute to your destination

Let’s say that you are flying from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to Milan (MXP). On that trip, you stop in London for 4 hours. This would not be a stopover because it is less than 24 hours. If, however, you stopped in London for 72 hours, this would be considered a stopover.

Note that not all airlines allow stopovers on award tickets, but we’ll look at what some popular airlines allow below.

What is an Open Jaw?

An open jaw is a little bit simpler to understand, and it doesn’t depend on whether your flight is domestic or international. When you fly to a destination and then fly back from a different airport, you have an open jaw. For example, if you fly from ORD to MXP and then you fly from Paris (CDG) back to ORD, you have an open jaw between MXP and CDG.

An open jaw is when you fly to one destination and home from another

An open jaw doesn’t necessarily have to be between two cities that are close together, but what is allowed depends on the miles that you are using to book your tickets.

What Do Airlines Allow?

As mentioned above, different airlines allow different things when it comes to stopovers and open jaws, and these rules aren’t always straightforward or easy to find. Below, I’ve collected information for the airlines you are most likely to use for award tickets. Continue Reading

Blog

Best Credit Card Offers – May 2018

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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 offers for May 2018.

Apologies for being a few days late this month. A number of cards have shuffled their offers so I wanted to wait for everything to shake out before publishing the monthly list.

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

This month features a few changes as a number of cards have raised and lowered their offers in the last month. To be honest it was hard to rank some of them because I had to weigh “this is the best offer we have seen on this card in a while” against “which has the higher overall value”. So there will be some variability based on your individual circumstances.

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

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

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

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

Here we go!

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 

(Full offer details here: Learn More)

Continue Reading

Blog

10 Great IHG Hotels Where You Can Still Use Your Free Night Certificate

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

The Chase IHG Reward Club Credit Card (no longer available for new sign-ups) used to be one of the best kept (not so) secrets in the points and miles world. It had a $49 annual fee but came with an annual free night certificate (issued on your cardmember anniversary) that was good at any hotel in the world.

Yes, even the $1,000+ per night InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso Resort. Of course, that only got you one night there, but what an incredible free night nonetheless!

InterContinental Bora Bora, image courtesy of ihg.com

Sadly, a new restriction has been put in place for old cardholders as well as for people who apply for the new IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit card ($89 annual fee). The annual free night certificate will now be capped for use at hotels that cost 40,000 points per night or less. Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: Our Amazing Trip to Vietnam on Points and Miles

By Anna Zaks

Strangely enough, Vietnam was not on my radar until a couple of years ago. Southeast Asia looks so far away and getting to Vietnam from the US.. is not an easy feat. But, as I recently discovered, all the planning and hours spent on planes and in airports are so worth it.

Vietnam is a great country and you should definitely put it on your must-see list. So, drop everything right now and start planning your trip. Here’s how my husband and I did it.

image310xT Reader Anna in Vietnam

Vietnam is a big country and unless you can spend 3-4 weeks there I would suggest you don’t try to see everything on one trip. Because we were traveling in February, we decided that we wanted to see central and south Vietnam. This time of year, the weather is still a bit chilly in the North and I really wanted to get as much sunshine and warm weather as possible.

There are quite a few flight options and redemption opportunities if you travel from the U.S. to Vietnam’s major airports – Hanoi (HAN) and Ho Chi Minh City (SGN). My plan, however, was to fly to Da Nang (DAD) and fly back from SGN. Because Vietnam is so far away, we wanted to enjoy the comfort of business class!

Our Flights and Hotels

Cleveland (CLE) to Boston (BOS)—positioning flight

BOS to DAD

Da Nang (1 night)

La Siesta Resort and Spa Hoi An (3 nights)

Hoi An to SGN

Park Hyatt Saigon Ho Chi Minh City (3 nights)

SGN to Phu Quoc (PQC)

JW Marriott Phu Quoc (5 nights)

PQC to SGN

Park Hyatt Saigon (1 night)

SGN to CLE

It was not easy finding award flights to DAD from the US but I was able to snag a business class seat on Cathay Pacific from BOS with a stopover in Hong Kong (HKG) for 70K American AAdvantage miles.

I earned the miles with the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Cardand I topped off my AAdvantage account by transferring SPG Starpoints I earned with the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express.

To get from my hometown of CLE to BOS, I used 10,000 United MileagePlus miles for my positioning flight.

The flight from BOS to HKG was in business class and the flight from HKG to DAD was in economy—it’s a 2-hour flight and I got bulkhead seats, so it wasn’t a problem at all. I was able to use the business class lounge at HKG to shower and to have some breakfast, as Cathay Pacific allows you to use lounges on arrival when you are connecting. My husband was already in Asia for work, so we didn’t have to worry about getting him to Vietnam on points and miles. Continue Reading

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Amazing Places To Visit With The Southwest Companion Pass

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By: Travis Cormier

Many of you have already earned the Southwest Companion Pass for 2018 (and possibly 2019 as well). Unfortunately, it will be harder to earn in the future since Chase restricted the bonus on personal cards to one every 24 months. If you have the Companion Pass, now is the time to get the most value possible out of it.

With that in mind, I wanted to share with you some of awesome destinations you can get to using the Companion Pass.

Aruba

Aruba is one of my favorite Caribbean destinations. The resort area runs up and down the west coast of this small island nation and the water is extremely calm. I recommend Aruba to all of my friends with small children, because the calm ocean helps make it a great family friendly destination.

If you’re an adventurous traveler, Aruba also has plenty of adventure for you too. When I visited last year I rented a motorcycle and road along the desert sands of the west coast, and explored the caverns and natural pools (not for the faint of heart to get there!) in Aruba’s Arikok National Park.

Use Your Companion Pass to Explore the Caves of Aruba’s National Park

Southwest flies nonstop to Aruba from 3 U.S. cities:

  • Baltimore/Washington (BWI)
  • Ft. Lauderdale (FLL)
  • Houston Hobby (HOU)

From HOU and BWI , typical rates are around 26,000 Rapid Rewards points and $75 in taxes and fees per person. The best deal I’ve found is from FLL, where prices are as low as 14,500 Rapid Rewards points and $75 in taxes and fees. With the Companion Pass, that means you and your companion can take fly to Aruba for only 14,500 points and $150 in taxes and fees!

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The Calm Waters of Aruba are Great for Families

I know not everyone lives in these three cities – and they’re pretty popular Southwest hubs – so let’s explore some connecting options.

If you’re trying to fly from Denver, you will pay a little bit more in Rapid Rewards points, but with the Companion Pass you’re still getting an amazing deal. You can travel round-trip for as low as 40,000 Rapid Rewards points and $75 in taxes and fees. Although it seems like a lot initially, breaking it down you quickly realize that is only 20,000 Rapid Rewards and $75 per person to get to one of the farthest and hardest to reach Caribbean vacation spots. Continue Reading

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What is a Cash + Points Hotel Booking?

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By: Julie Szpira

When you are ready to use your points to travel, the number of options for booking can be overwhelming. Should you use one of the credit card portals? Use points? Use a discount rate?

One booking option people might not be familiar with is the Points + Cash option provided by many chain hotels. This option allows you to redeem points from your account in combination with a cash co-pay. This can be tremendously useful if you are short on points, but want to book an award stay.

Fixed Value Points + Cash Rates

World of Hyatt and Starwood Preferred Guest offer fixed Points + Cash rates, based on the hotel category.

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World of Hyatt Points and Points+Cash rates

The cash + points rate at Hyatt and Starwood hotels allows you to “buy” points for a set rate. For example, at a Hyatt Category 4 hotel, you would use 15,000 points, or use 7,500 points, and “buy” the other 7,500 points for a cash rate of $100 USD.  That would mean that you are buying your points at a rate of 1.33 cpp.

This is calculated by dividing the amount of the cash co-pay by the number of points saved by using cash. For a Hyatt Category 4, the calculation would be $100 USD / 7,500 points = 1.33 cpp.

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Starwood Preferred Guest Points + Cash Rates

Continue Reading

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How to Meet Chase Freedom’s Q2 5X Spend

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By: Caroline Lupini

The Chase Freedom—no-annual-fee—is attractive to many miles and points enthusiasts because of its quarterly bonus categories. For each quarter of the year, Chase announces categories that will earn 5% cash back on up to $1500 in purchases.

Screenshot 2018 04 13 19.44.20

This “cash back” is actually provided in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points, meaning you get 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent—if you also have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Business Preferred, you can combine your Ultimate Rewards points and transfer them to airline partners. You can learn about these cards and more by visiting our credit cards page.

This also works if you happen to have one of the no-longer-available business cards – the Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Bold.

If you maximize the bonus categories every quarter, you’ll earn 30,000 points per year—$450 towards travel purchases if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve or 30,000 points to transfer to airlines such as United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, British Airways or Korean Air.

Very important: these bonus categories are not automatic, so you must manually activate them. You have until about two weeks before the end of the quarter to register. As long as you register before the deadline, you will receive bonus points for all transactions made during the quarter—even ones made before you registered. Continue Reading