Monthly Archives

August 2018

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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

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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

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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

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New Card Alert: Amex SPG Luxury Card is Now Live!

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

American Express just launched a new card today, the Starwood Preferred Guest Luxury Card!

Let’s be clear off the bat, if you’re under 5/24, stop reading now and just continue taking advantage of welcome bonuses that get you tons of Ultimate Rewards points (or United miles or Southwest points). If you have already hit 5/24, this might be a good pickup in some circumstances.

Considering the SPG Luxury Card comes with a $450 annual fee that isn’t waived the first year, you’re going to want to put some thought into this one.

SPG Luxury Card Details

  • 100,000 points if you spend $5k in 3 months (Note: These are now Marriott points, not the old Starwood points)
  • Annual $300 SPG/Marriott credit
  • Annual free night award at property costing no more than 50,000 points per night (received on your account anniversary)
  • Spend $75,000 for Platinum Elite status (really? pass.)
  • Complimentary Gold Elite status as a cardholder
  • 15 elite qualifying nights per year starting in 2019
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application credit every 4 years
  • Earn 6X at SPG/Marriott properties
  • Earn 3X at restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2X on other purchases
  • Premium internet access at SPG/Marriott properties
  • Complimentary Boingo WiFi

Why You Don’t Want The Card

Marriott points are not worth what the old SPG Starpoints were worth. Rather than transferring to airlines at a 1:1 ratio, it’s now 3:1. Rather than transferring 20,000 SPG points and receiving the 5,000-mile bonus to get 25,000 airline miles, you’ll now have to transfer 60,000 Marriott points to get the same.

Note that you now have to transfer 60,000 points to get the airline transfer bonus

This would be fine IF this card earned 3X on all purchases since that would be the equivalent of the olde earn rate of 1X on SPG cards. However, that’s not the case. As a result, this card is not useful for everyday spending.

Even if you used this card at Marriott/SPG hotels, you’d only earn 6X which is worth 2X airline miles per dollar. The Chase Sapphire Reserve gets you 3X as does the Citi ThankYou Premier. Continue Reading

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Amex Platinum Review: Is It Worth the Fee?

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 The Platinum Card from American Express has long been regarded as the travel card to have. After all, it comes with a ton of benefits such as lounge access, flexible points and even Uber credits.

But, is the card worth a place in your wallet? In this article, we’ll give you a rundown of the American Express Platinum Card and discuss whether it’s worth the hefty annual fee.

Is the Amex Platinum worth the fee?

This is not the Amex Platinum card (aren’t stock photos fun?)

The American Express Platinum Card has a long list of benefits. Here are some of the most important for travelers like you.

Is the Amex Plat worth the fee

American Express Platinum: Learn More

Let’s dive in!

Lounge Access

The American Express Platinum might be most well known for providing access to tons of airport lounges. With this card, you’ll have access to the following lounges:

  • American Express Centurion Lounges
  • Delta SkyClub  (when flying Delta)
  • Airspace Lounges
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • Lufthansa Business Lounges when flying SWISS, Austrian, or Lufthansa through Munich and Frankfurt in any class of service. Lufthansa Senator Lounges when flying these airlines in Business Class.

Amex Centurion Lounge SEA – Image Courtesy of TheCenturionLounge.com

The highlight of the list is the American Express Centurion lounges. These lounges offer high-quality food and beverage options and are a step above many U.S. domestic lounges. You can find a Centurion Lounge at several major airports in the United States including:

  • Dallas (DFW)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • Las Vegas (LAS)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • New York (LGA)
  • Philadelphia (PHL)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Seattle (SEA)

If you find yourself flying out of Hong Kong (HKG), you’ll even find a great Centurion Lounge there. American Express continues to expand the number of airports with Centurion Lounges and currently has plans to open

Amex Centurion Lounge Hong Kong – Image Courtesy of TheCenturionLounge.com

$200 Airline Incidental Fee Credit

  Continue Reading

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How to Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Airline and Hotel Partners

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

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are a go-to choice for many miles and points fans. In large part, this is because they have a ton of different uses and can be transferred to valuable airline and hotel programs including United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards and World of Hyatt.

How to Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Airline and Hotel Partners

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points can be transferred to many airline and hotel partners, including Southwest Airlines

In this article, I’ll show you how to transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to any of its transfer partners. We’ll also give you a look at the most valuable partners and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about transferring Chase points.

Let’s dive in!

How to Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points To Airline and Hotel Partners

First thing’s first: let’s learn how to transfer points.

To transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to airline or hotel partners, you must have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Ink Business Preferred Card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred: Learn More

The Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Ink Business Cash Card and Chase Ink Business Unlimited Card each earn Ultimate Rewards points, but do not let you transfer to airline partners.

Chase Freedom: Learn More

However, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points from a card that doesn’t have an annual fee to one that does. More on that in a bit!

Additionally, you can only transfer points to your own loyalty program accounts or the account of one person in your household. Some have reported being able to transfer points to another person’s account, but this often leads to account shutdowns by Chase. We do not recommend that you do this.

Now, let’s talk about the transfer process.

Start by navigating to the Chase website and logging into your Chase account.

Scroll to the bottom of your dashboard and click the blue Chase Ultimate Rewards button. This button will display the number of points in your account. You’ll be taken to your Ultimate Rewards account page.

UR Button

Now, look towards the top of the screen and click the Transfer to Travel Partners button or select this option from the dropdown menu in the top left hand corner of the page. You’ll be redirected to a page that lists all of Chase’s transfer partners.

SelectPartner

Next, click on the Transfer Points button to the right of the partner you want to use to start the process. For this example, we’ll transfer points to United MileagePlus. Continue Reading

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Why Venture Cardholders Should Consider Chase Sapphire Preferred

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 Capital One Venture Card is probably one you’re familiar with, even if you don’t have it in your wallet. It’s a card you’ll often see advertised on TV by Jennifer Garner. You know, the “what’s in your wallet?” commercial.

You have probably seen commercials for the Capital One Venture Card before

Well, I’m here to tell you today that the Capital One Venture card shouldn’t be in your wallet – or at least not the only card there. You might not believe me yet, but there’s another card out there that will be better for most people, instead of, or in addition to the Venture card.

Enter the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred: Learn More

The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar at restaurants and on travel purchases while all other purchases earn 1X point per dollar.

Right off the bat, this might not sound as good as the Venture card, but that’s because Venture uses very clever marketing that doesn’t provide the full picture.

Let’s address why the “double miles is better than 1” marketing slogan from Venture is incomplete. Yes, all else equal, double miles is better than one but it’s not a one to one comparison when examining Venture miles and Ultimate Rewards points.

With the Capital One Venture Card, you do earn 2X points per dollar on all purchases, but these points are worth one cent each when the points are redeemed for travel. They’ll never be worth more, and they’ll never be worth less. Really, what this means is that the Venture card is a flat 2% back credit card when redeeming points for travel. Unlike other cash back cards, it has an annual fee.

The Venture Card’s “double miles” pitch is the grown up equivalent of the classic “I’ll trade you 2 pennies for 1 dollar because 2 > 1”

Continue Reading

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Last Chance to Win a Free Trip to Vegas! Contest Ends Thursday at 11:59pm EST

Hi Travel Junkies,

One last reminder to enter to win one of two FREE trips to Las Vegas to attend the 2018 10xTravel Las Vegas Reader Meetup! Contest ends at 11:59pm on Thursday, August 16.

Last year’s winners, Kelsey and Stephanie!

It takes ~30 seconds to enter and the prize packages are awesome

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

Use the widget below to enter. There are a number of ways to increase your number of entries, and therefore your odds of winning.

10xTravel 2018 Las Vegas Giveaway

Winners will be announced on Friday, August 17, 2018 and are subject to the terms & conditions here: https://10xtravel.com/10xt-giveaway-rules/

Good luck!

Happy Travels,

Bryce

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How to Save Money on Last Minute Flights

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

Many people think airlines will have great discounts for last minute flights as they try to fill their empty cabins. This is one of the big travel myths out there, and in fact the opposite is true. Airlines know that people who have to travel last minute have little flexibility, and prices often increase dramatically.

This can be extremely frustrating when you need a last minute flight and don’t have the flexibility to wait. Thankfully, you can use miles and points to help save some cash.

Let’s explore a few of the ways you can save by booking award tickets with miles and points.

The idea that “airlines will discount empty seats to fill them” is mostly a myth

Avoid Close-In Booking Fees

One of the easiest ways to save money is to use an airline program that doesn’t charge you a close-in booking fee. Fortunately, you can access all three major airline alliances without paying close-in booking fees if you know which programs to use.

Use British Airways Avios For Oneworld Flights

Using British Airways Avios to book a last minute flight is my go to method. You can use Avios to book a flight on Oneworld partners. For domestic flights, this means you can avoid paying close-in booking fees on an American Airlines flight which can run you $75 — yikes! Think about how annoying that would be if traveling with a family.

pasted image 0 4

Avoid Close In Booking Fees – Here Called “AAdvantage Award Fees”

Take the above image as an example, American AAdvantage would cost 7,500 miles and $80,60. Instead, why not book the same ticket for  7,500 miles and $5.60 from Houston (IAH) to Dallas (DFW) with Avios. Continue Reading

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The Most Common Credit Mistake I See (And Most People Have No Idea They’re Doing It)

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, Founder of 10xTravel

Hi Travel Junkies,

Today, we’re going to set travel aside and talk about the often overlooked, but vitally important subject of your credit.

Sexy topic, I know. But, hear me out.

Over the past 5 years, you’ve seen me write a lot about credit cards, travel and a little bit about credit. The first two subjects certainly make for more exciting articles than the last one.

I’m guessing you don’t follow a lot of “credit influencers” on Instagram

What you haven’t seen publicly is my one-on-one work with thousands of people to help eliminate credit card debt, repair credit scores and optimize credit prior to applying for a mortgage, student loan, etc. I’m convinced that I’m one of the less than 10 people on earth who actually enjoys talking about these things.

Anyway, like anyone who has been working in a field for a long time, this has allowed me to spot common trends in the way people approach their credit.

So, today I want to cover one of the most common mistakes I see in the world of credit and credit scores.

We’ll use a recent client of mine who we will call “Jeff”, as an example.

Meet “Jeff”

Jeff is your typical upper 20-something year-old guy who is in the market to buy his first home. He has been putting money aside for years to save for a down payment and finally has enough to make his move.

This is a stock photo. I have no idea what “Jeff” actually looks like

Like most people, Jeff has never actively paid attention to his credit score. He checks it on occasion, often using websites that don’t provide a “real” FICO score, but only has a general idea of how his score is calculated.

Jeff opened one credit card after graduating from college (with a $5,000 limit), pays his bill in full each month and hasn’t made any other major credit mistakes (missed payments, collections accounts, etc.).

But, he was confused as to why his credit score was only 705, which is what led him to me.

His initial email to me read like the dozens of others I see on a monthly basis, “I don’t get why my score isn’t higher. I’ve done everything right so far. Is it just because I am young and don’t have much credit history?”

Nope. Continue Reading