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June 2018

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Chase Ink Unlimited: Our Full Review

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By: Caroline Lupini

The Ink Business Unlimited Card is the latest business card offered by Chase. New cards are always a good thing because they mean new sign-up bonuses and, sometimes, it’s actually even a good card!

The Chase Ink Business Unlimited is one of those good ones. There are a lot of reasons to consider getting this card, which I’ll outline below. I’ll also mention why it may not make sense to apply for this card right now.

The Chase Ink Unlimited is the newest business card to be released by Chase

First, let’s take a quick look at the offer details.

Chase Ink Unlimited (learn more)

  • $500 bonus cash back (50,000 Ultimate Rewards points) after $3,000 spend in the first 3 months
  • Unlimited 1.5x points on every purchase
  • No annual fee

Great Features of the Ink Business Unlimited Card

First off, as already mentioned above, a new card means a new sign-up bonus. The Ink Business Unlimited Card currently offers a sign-up bonus of $500 after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months after opening your account.

However, when spend on the Ink Business Unlimited Card, you’re not really earning simple cash back, you’re really earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points which can be even more valuable! We like to think of the sign-up bonus as really 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

These points can be redeemed for $500 in cash back, but can also be transferred to Chase’s travel partners like United, Hyatt, and British Airways as long as you also have a premium Chase credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred.

Chase Sapphire Preferred (learn more) Continue Reading

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The Interesting Tale of How I Booked ANA First Class to Tokyo (Twice)

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By: Bryce Conway, Founder of 10xTravel.com

Hi Travel Junkies,

I just booked two round-trip flights for my wife and I to fly to Tokyo this October on ANA First Class!

After a couple weeks of searching, much of it with the help of 10xT Editor-in-Chief Spencer Howard, I was able to secure two first class tickets from Houston to Tokyo, then home via Washington D.C. for just 120,000 Virgin Atlantic miles (transferred from Amex Membership Rewards) and $256.51 per ticket.

This is arguably one of the best redemptions in all of points/miles, as these first class tickets typically go for ~$20,000 each. And for good reason, each passenger has their own little “cubicle” type seat complete with a 23″ TV to make the 15+ hour flight a little less painful.

ANA First Class seat, image courtesy of ANA.com

Oh, and they serve Krug Champagne and Hibiki 21 Whisky on board, which retails for ~$500 a bottle if you can find it. So bank on a boozy flight review from me this coming October.

ANA serves Hibki 21 Whisky in First Class, which retails for ~$500 a bottle

Anyway, booking ANA First Class with Virgin Atlantic miles is nothing new in the world of points/miles. But my process of securing this tickets was a bit unique.

Here’s how it went down.

The Initial Search

My wife and I had a couple million points/miles to burn and our sights set on taking another trip to Asia this coming fall for ~7-10 days. To be honest, the flights themselves were just about as important as the destination. We were open to going just about anywhere if we could score First or Business Class flights at saver level with convenient itineraries.

So Spencer and I started running through all the options and comparing notes.

ANA First Class was easily the top choice because it is one of the best products in the sky and you can book it for just 120,000 miles round-trip via Virgin Atlantic. But there were a few problems with this strategy:

  1. ANA generally only releases 2 first class saver-level seats per flight
  2. You have to book a round-trip flight to get the 120k price, meaning you have to find saver space both to and from Tokyo
  3. ANA only flies to Tokyo from a handful of US airports (and my hometown of Columbus, OH is definitely not one of them)
  4. Most folks in the points/miles world are aware of how to use just 120k miles to book ANA F round-trip and…
  5. Those folks had a 6+ month head start on me in booking these tickets

Naturally, I was not very optimistic that I would find availability.

And I was right. After days of searching Spencer and I were only able to find one single option that worked for the rest of the year. Which of course fell on the few dates that I was not able to travel for the remainder of 2018. I had to pass on it.

But having spent a few days reading about ANA First Class I was determined to book via any other available method. Even if it was going to cost a substantial amount of points/miles.

Booking ANA First Class (The First Time)

So I found saver space on United from Houston to Tokyo for 110,000 miles and $5.60 per ticket, transferred 220,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United, and booked two one-way flights. Continue Reading

Blog

How to Get the Best Rate on Rental Cars

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By: Travis Cormier

One of the most amazing experiences I’ve had while traveling is driving a Jeep along the road to Hana in Maui. It was an amazing day and easily the highlight of my trip.

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Having a rental car let’s you get out and explore! (image courtesy of Miryea Ayala)

Getting a rental car can quickly consume a large part of your travel budget, but it doesn’t have to. Let’s look at some of the best ways to save money on your rental car so you can have more cash to spend at your destination.

Should You Use Cash Or Points?

The first question you should be asking is whether you should use points or cash to book a rental car. I’ll be up front, I’ve never used points for a rental car and there are a few reasons why you should think otherwise before using points.

One of the biggest reasons you shouldn’t use points is because you’re getting the minimum value for your points. If you go through the Chase Portal and have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’re locking in 1.5 cents per point for your rental car. You can often get more value by transferring Ultimate Rewards to a partner like Hyatt or United.

Chase Sapphire Reserve (learn more)

The absolute biggest reason why you shouldn’t use points to book a rental car is because you can’t take advantage of the many discounts available. Booking through a portal doesn’t always allow you to enter a variety of discount codes that may be available to you when booking directly.

This isn’t the case all the time, sometimes the prices available through the Chase or American Express portal will be better. But before you use points, you should be sure that you’re getting the best deal.

The Best Tool for Searching Rates

The one tool to rule them all, for rental car purposes at least, is Autoslash which checks discounts that may be available to you from your credit cards and various memberships.

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Use AutoSlash to Compare Rates with Many Discount Options

Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: A $38,000 Southeast Asia Trip for $1,827.38

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By: 10xT Reader Sarah Swank

I started out dabbling in the points world with the Chase Southwest credit cards years ago, but I didn’t realize at the time how much bigger this hobby could be. In 2015 I was introduced to 10xTravel by my friend Nicole and I quickly became obsessed and started learning as much as I could.

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10xT Reader Sarah flying in Asiana Business Class

When my husband and I began discussing our home remodel plans, I knew it would be a great time to earn some BIG points. Many 10x team members helped me along the way, but Bryce and Spencer definitely got majority of my questions and held my hand as I figured out the game.

Thanks to them, I was able to plan a 19 day trip to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam for my husband’s very first trip outside of North America!

I didn’t have a full game plan for our trip before I signed up for cards, so I basically got the recommended cards from the 10xTravel monthly list in order as I went along. Once it was time to book flights, I took Bryce’s advice and found business class award space from Tampa (TPA) to Hanoi (HAN) in Vietnam on Asiana Airlines via United MileagePlus miles.

We used 160,000 Ultimate Rewards points accrued from the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve and paid $28.80 out of pocket total.  Here is a screenshot of what our flights would have cost (each) without points.

Editor’s note: You can no longer get both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred.

$14,990.80 worth of business class flights for $28.80. That was the most exciting purchase I had made in a long time…maybe ever! The service and food on Asiana Airlines was amazing, I would be happy to fly with them again.

 

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At first, I booked our return flight the same exact way using United miles, then a couple months later I caught wind of the Etihad Apartments, and waited patiently for a change to our return flight so we could cancel. Luckily, that happened—I’ll touch on our experience with the Etihad Apartments later.

So, we flew into Hanoi and stayed at the Hilton. The going rate was $70/night or 10,000 points. Three nights there, 30,000 points.  We earned 75,000 Hilton points from the Citi Hilton Honors card that had $0 annual fee.

Editor’s note: Citi no longer offers Hilton cards. All Hilton cards are now issued by American Express.

Hanoi is a really cool city to experience. The traffic is intense, almost as if you’re living within a game of Frogger as you try to cross the street. We quickly learned that the best thing to do is to cross the street at a steady pace and don’t even look at the vehicles coming at you or you might hesitate out of the natural desire to live, and it’s the hesitation that would cause you to get hit! It was so entertaining to watch that we spent a few hours drinking and eating on the balcony of a 3rd floor restaurant just watching the traffic.

We decided to take a two-night cruise in Ha Long Bay from Hanoi, and we are so happy we did. This was going to be an out of pocket expense, but luckily we had built up a good spending cushion by getting a few particular cards. Continue Reading

Blog

Guide to Credit Card Purchase Protections

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,

Here at 10xTravel we love showing you how to use miles and points to travel the world without going broke. We do that by sharing tips and tricks to maximize the rewards you get from travel rewards credit cards.

Travel isn’t the only benefit you get from using credit cards. Most credit cards offer consumer protections for the things you buy using your cards. Today, let’s shift our attention away from travel and focus on the purchase protections that could help you save money on your day-to-day purchases.

Before we get into the benefits of purchase protections, I have some bad news…

Chase is dropping price and return protection across all of its cards. Yes, this includes the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Additionally, Chase is reducing the trip cancellation/interruption insurance on its United co-branded credit cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred (learn more)

Chase Sapphire Reserve (learn more)

These changes will go into effect on June 1, 2018. It’s currently unclear as to the amount the trip cancellation/interruption benefit will be decreased. If there are any other updates before then, we’ll make sure to update you.

Unfortunately, Chase isn’t alone in decreasing the value of these benefits to its users. Citi is changing its price protection benefit, known as Price Rewind as well. Citi will now offer a maximum of $200 per claim, and only $1,000 maximum per year. This is significantly decreased from the previous $500 per claim and $2,500 per year.

With these changes in mind, let’s take a look at the purchase protections you can get via credit cards.

Price Protection

We all like saving money, and that’s what price protection is here to do. Price protection allows you to receive a refund on a purchase you made if the price drops after your purchase. Continue Reading

Blog

How to Use Points/Miles to Get to Israel

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By: Caroline Lupini

Israel is a highly popular travel destination for all who are fascinated by history and want to experience some gorgeous natural scenery. With all of this demand for travel, award seats are tough to come by – in any class of service.

If you want to use your miles to fly to Israel, the best way might be whatever award space you can find when you need it. That being said, it’s good to keep in mind what airlines offer better redemptions to Israel.

Below, we’ll discuss you some of the best ways to get to Israel with points and miles in economy and business class.

Economy

25,000-29,000 Air France-KLM Flying Blue Miles

Air France/KLM Flying Blue gets a lot of press when it comes to redeeming miles between the U.S. and Israel. That’s because Flying Blue considers Israel to be part of Europe. So, you’ll pay the same number of miles to fly from the U.S. to France as you will pay to fly from the U.S. to Israel when you use Flying Blue miles.

There are some changes coming to the Flying Blue program coming June 1, 2018, but awards from the U.S. to Israel will still be an absolute steal! Depending on your departure city, you’ll be able to find one-way economy awards for 25,000 to 29,000 Flying Blue miles

Note that when booking with Flying Blue, you will pay fuel surcharges. In economy class, these will likely run you about $300 on a round trip booking. You can keep the surcharges lower by flying out of the U.S. on Delta.

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, SPG Starpoints, and American Express Membership Rewards to Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio.

Chase Sapphire Preferred (learn more) Continue Reading

Blog

Introducing the 2018 10xTravel Las Vegas Giveaway!

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By: Bryce Conway

Hi Travel Junkies,

Earlier this month I told you about the upcoming 2018 edition of our 10xTravel Las Vegas Reader Party.

The quick recap is that we booked a ~3,000 square foot Penthouse Suite at the Venetian Las Vegas and will be filling it with 70+ 10xT Readers, premium booze, snacks, etc. This is our second go-around with a Vegas Reader Party and hopefully the first of many more to come.

Today I am also thrilled to announce the 2018 10xTravel Las Vegas Giveaway! We are giving away two all-expenses paid trips to Sin City to attend the party and you can enter to win right now via this widget.

10xTravel 2018 Las Vegas Giveaway

Here’s what each prize package includes:

  • A round trip flight to Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Free limo ride from the airport to your hotel
  • Two free nights in a Bella Suite the Venetian
  • Two tickets to our 10xT Vegas Reader Meetup (so you can bring a friend)
  • $100 in cash to spend however you like

Continue Reading

Blog

Making The Most Of The Citi ThankYou Premier Bonus: What The 10xTravel Team Would Do

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By: The 10xT Staff

Often forgotten in the hustle to get Chase Ultimate Rewards points and even Amex Membership Rewards points is that Citi ThankYou Points can provide big boost to your ability to book award flights.

If nothing else, having Citi ThankYou Points on hand can help you save Ultimate Rewards points and Membership Rewards points for other redemptions. For example, if you want to use Air France-KLM Flying Blue miles or Singapore KrisFlyer miles, you can save your Ultimate Rewards points for Hyatt stays by transferring ThankYou Points instead.

Today we will be looking at the Citi ThankYou Premier, which is currently one of the highest ranked cards on our top list for June 2018.

Here are the current offer details:

  • Sign-up bonus: 50,000 Citi ThankYou Points if you spend $4,000 within 3 months
  • 3X on travel including airfare, hotels, rental cars, Uber, Lyft, taxis, public transportation, tolls, parking and even gas stations
  • 2X dining and entertainment including concerts, movie theater tickets and music downloads
  • 1X on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee (waived the first year)

For the purposes of the following examples, we’re going to make a couple assumptions. First, you will hit the minimum spend requirement to earn the sign-up bonus. Second, that $1,000 of the $4,000 minimum spend will be met with dining and travel purchases.

That means we’re looking at 50,000 points for the sign-up bonus, 3,000 points for the unbonused spend and 2,000 points for the spend on travel and dining. That brings us to a total of 55,000 ThankYou Points.

With that, let’s get into it! Here’s what each member of the 10xT Staff would do with those 55,000 ThankYou Points.

Bryce Conway, Founder

This is an easy one. I’m cashing in my 55,000 Citi ThankYou Points for $550 of Krispy Kreme gift cards.

You can redeem Citi ThankYou Points to get gift cards at 1 cent per point. Don’t do this.

At ~$0.66 cents per donut my 55,000 Citi ThankYou Points would score me 833 free glazed donuts! That’s an absolute steal for just one credit card signup bonus.

Maybe if I’m feeling generous I’ll share some of them with the 10xTravel Facebook Insiders.

In all seriousness, please never redeem your points for a gift card. Ever.

Editor’s note: Bryce knows his Editor in Chief would fly to Columbus and slap him if he did this.

What I would actually do is start by transferring 35,000 ThankYou Points to Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program to book a one-way first class ticket on Cathay Pacific from New York to Vancouver.

This is one of the more well-known sweet spots for Citi ThankYou points (and points and miles, in general) and a very popular choice among points and miles enthusiasts. Cathay Pacific’s First Class product is known to be one of the best in the sky and you can experience it on this ~5.5 hour flight for just 35,000 miles one way. Continue Reading

Blog

Lesser Known Credit Card Benefits That You Won’t Want to Miss

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 Tunningly

Hey Travel Junkies,

We all know that using credit cards can help you to be able to travel for free, but there are a lot of other benefits to having a credit card. Most of us know about the major benefits like travel credits and lounge access on some of the premier cards but don’t sleep on the other perks.

From price protection to warranty benefits to extra nights free with hotel stays to roadside assistance, there’s more than just free flights and hotels stays in your future.

Today, we’re going to go over some of those benefits that are sometimes forgotten and some of the cards that offer them.

Price Protection

One benefit that is often not openly advertised is purchase price protection, with the exception to that being Citi who has coined their price protection “price rewind”.

This benefit can be used to make up the difference between a sale price and the price you paid on an item bought with your credit card and is especially useful during the holiday season if you don’t want to deal with the black Friday madness. Unfortunately this seems to be a dying benefit as two of the most generous programs significantly reduced their benefits.

Chase recently removed price protection from all of their cards and Citi recently announced their “price rewind” benefit would have a lower max per claim and a lower total per calendar year.

Many cards offer price protection so we’ve outlined the general guidelines from issuers.

IssuerChaseCitiDiscoverCapital OneBarclaycardMastercardUSAA
Max amount per claim$200*$500*$250$250$250$250
Max benefit/ year$1,000*$2,500$1,000$1,0004 claims per 12 month period4 claims per 12 month period
Amount of time to claim60 days60 days60-120 days60-120 days60-120 days120 days

*These new terms start July 29th, 2018 so you may be able to use Citi’s old policy ($500 per claim and $2,500 per year) until then. Also as of July 29th Citi will exclude the following items:  Consumables, tires, watches, firearms, ammunition, or lower prices offered through a warehouse club where the merchant requires customers to pay a membership fee.

If you plan on using this benefit, check your specific card to make sure it applies. Also, make sure that the item you find advertised for a lower price is the exact same model number as the one you purchased. Continue Reading

Blog

Full Details of the New Marriott Credit Cards

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By: Caroline Lupini

As the Marriott and Starwood merger continues to move forward, more has become known about what the new program is going to look like. Part of that is the new credit cards that are going to be issued by both Chase and American Express.

New Marriott credit cards will be issued by both Chase and American Express

In this article, we’ll take a look at each of these cards. Some of the new cards are available already, so let’s take a look at those first!

Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card

The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card is the refreshed version of the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card. The sign-up bonus for this card is a respectable 100,000 Marriott points after spending $5,000 within the first three months.

Image result for marriott premier plus credit card

Additionally, you’ll get the following benefits:

  • Annual free night award after card renewal (up to 35,000 points)
  • Silver elite status
  • Gold status after spending $35,000 (starting in 2019)
  • 15 elite night credits (starting in 2019)
  • Complimentary in-room premium wifi (starting in August 2018)
  • 6X points per dollar spent on Marriott and SPG purchases
  • 2X points per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • $95 annual fee

Marriott Premier Plus credit card (learn more)

Overall, the Marriott Premier Plus card is a slight upgrade from the Marriott Premier card, but also comes with a slightly higher annual fee. The Marriott Premier card capped the free night at Category 5—equivalent to 25,000 points per night—and only offered 5X points per dollar spent on Marriott and SPG purchases and 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases. It also only has an $85 annual fee.

Those who have the Marriott Rewards Premier Card have the option to keep their card with the old benefits or upgrade their card to the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus. Chase has offered upgrade bonuses from 10,000 to 50,000 Marriott points, but this upgrade bonus is instead of the 100,000-point sign-up bonus. My upgrade offer was 20,000 bonus points and I elected not to take it for the time being.

Marriott Premier Plus credit card (learn more) Continue Reading