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Bryce Conway

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How to Save Money on Last Minute Flights

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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.

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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

Blog

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

Blog

Reader Success Story: A First Class Honeymoon In Switzerland

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By: 10xT Reader Matthew F

After getting into the points and miles game almost two years ago we decided to take the plunge and go all out for our honeymoon.

We started planning almost a year out. At first, we couldn’t decide where we wanted to go, but knew we wanted to go to see snow since we were getting married on December 16 and the mountains are very special to us.

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W Hotel in Verbier

We finally decided to go to Switzerland, as it was at the top of our bucket list.

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Ski Slopes Verbier

How we earned the points and booked the trip

We had enough American AAdvantage miles thanks to the sign-up bonus we each earned with the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select credit card. At the time, the sign-up bonus was 60,000 American miles. We also opened a Citi gold checking account which offered 50,000 American miles for doing so.

For a round-trip first class award ticket, we each needed 170,000 American miles. However, one of the perks of the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card is that you get a 10% rebate on the miles you redeem up to 100,000 miles (10,000-mile rebate). Since we both have the card, we each maxed out the rebate and now have American miles left for another trip.

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British Airways 787-9 First Class, London to Atlanta

British Airways, London to Atlanta

We still had to figure how to get our hands on the rest of the miles, so we ended up doing a few things such as transferring some SPG Starpoints (and other obscure hotel points) and buying some American miles during a sale.

Editor’s note: Make sure you understand the pros and cons of buying miles as the times when it makes sense to buy are few and far between.

To make the experience really special, we decided to see if we could experience a true international first class flight. We found first class award space on American’s partner British Airways from Atlanta (ATL) to Geneva (GVA) with a connection at London Heathrow (LHR). Our return started in Zurich (ZRH) and again connected at LHR on our way to ATL.

The cash rate for this would have been over $5,700 round-trip per person. While we did have to pay taxes and fees including the high surcharges required by British Airways, we felt it was more than worth it for our honeymoon. Continue Reading

Blog

Making The Most Of The Amex Platinum Welcome Bonus: What The 10xTravel Team Would Do

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: 10xT Staff

The Platinum Card from American Express has long been a staple in the travel world thanks to the ability to earn valuable Membership Rewards points and a long list of perks to take your travel experience to the next level.

Did that sound salesy and overdone? Well, stick with us.

The Platinum Card has been a staple in the points/miles world for a long time

To start, the Amex Platinum ranks first on our list of card of best cards for lounge access. As a cardholder, you’ll receive a Priority Pass Select membership which allows you to access over, 1,200 airport lounges and restaurants around the world—you can even bring 2 guests with you. On top of that, you’ll also have access to Centurion Lounges and Delta SkyClubs—when you fly Delta.

Platinum Card by American Express: Learn More

You’ll also receive complimentary gold elite status with Hilton and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)—soon, this will be with Marriott). While gold status with Marriott won’t be crazy valuable as of August 1, 2018, gold status with Hilton is enough to get you free breakfast at a number of Hilton brands.

When it comes to the limited time offer, the standard offer is 60,000 Membership Rewards points with a $5,000 minimum spend. However, some have had success getting a higher welcome bonus of 100,000 points with a $5,000 minimum spend by using the Card Match Tool.

Here are some of the other details you should know about the Amex Platinum:

  • 5X on airfare purchased directly with airlines and airfare/hotels purchased through AmexTravel
  • 1X on all other purchases
  • $200 Uber credits—$15 per month with an additional $20 in December
  • $200 airline fee credit
  • $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
  • Access to Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR)

To provide you with a little travel inspiration, the 10xTravel team has put together how we would use the Amex Platinum’s welcome bonus. For the purposes of our examples, we’ll assume that you earn 1X point per dollar on $4,400 while spending $600 on airfare purchased from airlines and prepaid hotels with Amex Travel.

This leaves us with 68,000 Membership Rewards points to use.

We’ll also cover how we’d use 108,000 Membership Rewards points just in case you happen to get that offer through the Card Match Tool.

Now, let’s get into it! Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

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

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: 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

Making The Most Of The Chase Sapphire Preferred Bonus: What The 10xTravel Team Would Do

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: 10xT Staff

We all love earning points and miles but, if you don’t know what to do with them, there isn’t much point in getting them! Since the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of the most popular choices for folks just starting their points journey, we wanted to share how 10xTravel team members would utilize the sign-up bonus.

Before we get to that, let’s review the sign-up bonus and some of the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred:

  • Sign-up bonus: 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you spend $4,000 within 3 months
  • 5,000 Ultimate Rewards points if you add an authorized user (AU) within 3 months
  • 2X points per dollar on travel and dining purchases
  • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases
  • Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)

Chase Sapphire Preferred (learn more)

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. Third, you will add an authorized user within 3 months.

The math on this works out as 50,000 points for the sign-up bonus, 5,000 points for the authorized user bonus, 3,000 points for the unbonused spend and 2,000 points for the spend on travel and dining. This brings us to a total of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points.

Now, let’s check out how the team would use these 60,000 points!

Bryce Conway, Founder

One word, three syllables as to how would spend 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points.

Hawaii.

I haven’t been to Hawaii since honeymooning there in 2014 and I have been itching to go back. Particularly when I see so many success stories of 10xT Readers traveling to these beautiful islands for next to nothing.

Hanging in Maui on my honeymoon

There are a number of ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points to fly to Hawaii, but none are better than transferring them to Korean Air SkyPass to book round-trip economy flights on Delta for just 25,000 miles per ticket.

Yes, you read that right. 25,000 miles per ticket round-trip. This is one of the best “sweet spots” in the entire world of points and miles.

Booking these tickets through Korean Air is slightly more complicated than your average award booking, which is why we put together a complete guide to booking. Finding availability can be tricky but not impossible. Particularly if you are flexible with your dates and can avoid peak season.

(Note: Don’t plan on being able to do this over spring break or the holidays)

At 25,000 miles per ticket, I could use my 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book two tickets and still have 10,000 points left over.

With those 10,000 points I would likely do a cash + points booking at the Hyatt Place Waikiki, which can be booked for 6,000 Hyatt points + $75 per night. Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer 1:1 to Hyatt so I would just have to come up with the $75.

You can book the Hyatt Place Waikiki for 6,000 Hyatt Points + $75 per night. Image courtesy of Hyatt

Or, I could book any other type of travel (other hotels, ground transportation, etc.) via the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal at a value of 1.25 cents per point. Meaning my 10,000 leftover points would save me $125 on whatever I ended up booking without requiring me to come out of pocket.

I would happily say Aloha to 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points if they allowed me and another person to say Aloha to Hawaii!

See what I did there? Aloha can be used to say hello or goodbye….. anddddd I’ll see myself out now. Who’s next?

Julie Szpira, Contributor

After experiencing my first Mardi Gras in 2017, I fell in love with the festival. I would use the points to book a round trip flight and three nights at a hotel for Mardi Gras 2019.

For my flight, I would transfer 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways to book a round-trip economy flight, operated by American Airlines.

British Airways utilizes a distance-based award chart and a one-way, non-stop flight from Chicago (ORD) to New Orleans (MSY) is 836 miles. That distance falls into “Zone 2”, and would require 7,500 Avios, plus $5.60 in taxes and fees.

An American Airlines flight departing Saturday, March 2nd and returning Tuesday, March 5th is currently $458 round-trip. Spending 15,000 Avios and $11.20 in taxes and fees would provide a 2.9 cent per point valuation.

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I have NO interest in paying $450+ for a domestic economy flight!

Just by booking the flight, things are already sounding pretty good, but I still have 45,000 points to work with! Since I’ll be spending my days at the parades and my nights in the French Quarter, I’ll need a place to rest my weary bones.

As you might imagine, hotel rates in New Orleans during Mardi Gras are insanely high. It’s not uncommon to see rates around $500 per night, and that’s for a simple hotel room! Therefore, I would transfer the remaining points to Hyatt and book the Hyatt Centric French Quarter New Orleans.

Booking the Member Rate for three nights, a room with two queen beds would cost $1,713.  pasted image 0 1

That’s A LOT of money. If you used your Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly through the portal at the standard 1.25 cent per point redemption, the stay would require 137,085 points.

However, by transferring Ultimate Rewards points to you World of Hyatt account, the stay can be booked at a rate of 15,000 Hyatt points per night—a total of 45,000Hyatt points for the three night stay. Using 45,000 points for a $1,713-stay would give you a 3.8 cent per point redemption for the hotel reservation.

Furthermore, since occupancy at the Hyatt Centric French Quarter New Orleans accommodates up to four adults, you can invite three of your friends to join you. Usually if you provide a free hotel room, your friends will offer to pay for your drinks and food for the weekend, which would make your trip totally free!

Hyatt Centric French Quarter, image courtesy of Hyatt

In total, you would redeem 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for over $2,000 worth of flights and hotels, and get to experience one of my favorite events of the year.

Caroline Lupini, Contributor

The Chase Sapphire Preferred was my first credit card after I got into points and miles, so it holds a special place in my heart – and the current 50,000 point sign-up bonus makes it a great starting point for just about anyone!

One of my favorite airline programs is Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer because they are transfer partners of all major transferable points currencies: Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou points and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)—until Marriott finishes combining loyalty programs on August 1. Even when I don’t have enough points in one currency, I can still transfer to Singapore Airlines as a way to combine miles.

I’m a digital nomad and I’m planning to spend the end of 2018 in Australia. While I’m there, I might try to visit some South Pacific islands that are usually very difficult to get to. With Singapore KrisFlyer, you can book one-way economy flights within the South Pacific for only 12,500 miles or 17,500 miles in business class—these are normally very expensive flights! Availability can be tough to find, so I don’t have my heart totally set on this just yet.

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Krisflyer to book flights from Australia to the South Pacific for 12,500 miles each way

I doubt that I would be able to justify spending the extra miles to fly in business class. If I stick to economy, I’d be able to fly two round-trip flights with miles left over. Or maybe I’ll take my boyfriend with me instead!

John Tunningley, Contributor

Not only is the Chase Sapphire Preferred (learn more) a great card for anyone starting out, but it also offers a great sign-up bonus with some of the most valuable points currently on the market. While I love traveling abroad and getting a taste of different cultures, the United States also has so much to offer.

With fantastic cities, beaches, and geological features alike sometimes the best trips are reached by getting in the car and driving someplace new. This is particularly true if you’re traveling as a family as the costs for air travel can add up fast— even with the help of points and miles.

That’s why I’m going to show you how to really stretch those Ultimate Rewards points and suggest you drive to a new destination and use the 60,000 points to cover the hotel(s) for an entire week.

Now, I know you might be thinking 7 days and 6 nights at a hotel is quite the vacation for 60,000 points and what’s even more surprising is that you will have anywhere between 12,000 and 30,000 left if you’re only staying for 6 nights at a Hyatt category 1 or category 2 property. This deal gets even sweeter if you stay at a Hyatt House or most Hyatt Place properties as they will also include breakfast.

The best part about this is if you transfer the points to Hyatt and manage to spend the entire week at a category 1 property you can get a second room for the kids or go on a second week-long vacation with the leftover points.

It can be a little more difficult to find these category 1 properties in some of the more desirable locations so to help get your brain turning and thinking about the possibilities, I’ve listed some of the locations below and also keep in mind all of the Hyatt House locations offer free breakfast and so do many of the Hyatt Place locations:

  • Phoenix, Arizona – 5 Hyatt Place locations
  • Tucson, Arizona – Hyatt Place
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado – Hyatt House
  • Fort Myers, Florida – Hyatt Place
  • St Petersburg, Florida – Hyatt Place
  • Atlanta, Georgia – 9 Hyatt Place locations
  • Chicago, Illinois – 3 Hyatt House locations, 5 Hyatt Place locations, and a Hyatt Regency
  • St. Louis, Missouri – Hyatt Place
  • Memphis, Tennessee – 3 Hyatt Place locations
  • Salt Lake City, Utah – Hyatt Place

You could use your Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus to book a week at Hyatt house Colorado Springs. Image courtesy of Hyatt

In addition to these locations, there are too many Hyatt category 1 locations to list in Texas as every major city seems to have a handful and, if you want to visit the nation’s capitol, there are 3 category 1 Hyatt Place properties near Washington Dulles (IAD).

For category 2 properties, there is an even more extensive list you can find here. These hotels might not be in the center of downtown but being able to visit a beach in Florida or visit Washington D.C. for an entire week for 30,000 to 48,000 Ultimate Rewards points is a great deal.

Travis Cormier, Contributor

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of best reward cards for new points enthusiasts. One of the easiest ways for people new to the points and miles game to see the value is to have a plan for an entire vacation. Sometimes this can take multiple cards, but not with the Sapphire Preferred. You can use the 60,000 points for an entire vacation in Cabo—flights and accommodations included for 2 people!

I’m based in Texas, so my wife and I start our trips from Dallas. We would transfer 30,000 Ultimate Rewards to British Airways Executive Club. We would then use 30,000 Avios to book two round-trip tickets to Cabo for 15,000 point each.

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These flights can cost $435 per person round trip. That’s almost $900 in flights for only 30,000 points. I’ll happily take that deal!

After booking flights, that leaves 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points for accomodations. My favorite hotel program is World of Hyatt. For this trip, I would target the Hyatt Place Los Cabos. It isn’t the most luxurious hotel in Cabo, but the price and location make it a really good option to stretch your points as far as possible.

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Image courtesy of Hyatt

The Hyatt Place Los Cabos is a Hyatt Category 1—5,000 Hyatt points per night. So, I would transfer 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points to my World of Hyatt account to book 6 nights. An extra benefit is the Hyatt Place comes with free breakfast, which will help save you money to enjoy the nightlife and other activities available in Cabo.

I’m sure there are some other great ideas here, but as a beach bum at heart, I can’t imagine a better way to use the sign-up bonus (and AU bonus) from the Chase Sapphire Preferred than to get an entire vacation for 2 to Mexico. I love it so much, I’m planning to make this trip myself later this year!

Spencer Howard, Editor in Chief

With 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points in hand, I’d look to book a one-way business class award between Chicago (ORD) and Dublin (DUB) on Aer Lingus. That’s right, with just one sign-up bonus, you have enough points to take a trip to Europe in business class.

For 50,000 Avios, you can book an off-peak business class award (peak level is 60,000 Avios). Aer Lingus business class provides fully lie-flat seats so you can get some rest on the overnight flight to Dublin. Additionally, the vast majority of seats have direct aisle access so you don’t have to stumble over a neighbor to stretch your legs.

You can use your Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus to fly Business Class to Europe

To book, you can either transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to Aer Lingus AerClub and book through Avios.com or to British Airways Executive Club. Both programs use Avios, but have some small differences.

If you book with AerClub Avios, you can book online through Avios.com but, if you book with British Airways Avios, you’ll need to call British Airways to book after finding award space on United’s site or on ExpertFlyer.

To top it all off, unlike many other award flights to Europe, you won’t have to pay any fuel surcharges on this one. Not a bad way to use a sign-up bonus if you ask me!

Bottom Line

As you can see, there are tons of ways to use Ultimate Rewards points. Whether you’re looking for economy flights to the Caribbean, within Australia or within the U.S., Chase has you covered. With so many Hyatt properties around the world, hotel stays won’t be too tough to book either. Finally, those who are hoping to try a business class flight can even use 60,000 points to give it a go.

Of course, there are tons of options we haven’t even discussed but these should give you a great idea of what is possible when you get the Chase Sapphire Preferred. You can learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred here (learn more).

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: Dream Trip to Hawaii on Points/Miles

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

By: 10xT Reader – Chris Sheehy

My fiancé and I took our second trip to Hawaii earlier this year. We choose the island of Kauai this time and had an incredible 9 days trading out the cold Virginia winter for 80-degree beach days.

Hawaii is one of those places that most people think is unobtainable due to the cost of flights and hotels but, fortunately, they’re wrong! Overall, this trip would have cost close to $6,500 but we only paid 99 bucks!

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There is no way we could have come close to affording this without points and miles.

Our Trip to Kauai

  • Richmond, VA to Kauai, HI
  • Kauai Shores Hotel – 1 night
  • Aston Islander on the Beach – 1 night
  • Grand Hyatt Resort and Spa – 4 nights
  • Courtyard Marriott at Coconut Beach – 2 nights
  • Kauai, HI to Richmond, VA

Credit Cards We Used For Points

One of the major ways it was easy for us to do this is that every time I would decide to get a credit card that had a good offer, my fiancé would do the same. This allowed us to double down on points which made saving points for this trip so much easier.

These are the cards we used for our trip, however not all of these cards currently have the same sign-up bonuses as when we got them:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: 100,000-point sign-up bonus each
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: 50,000-point sign-up bonus each
  • Chase Ink Business Preferred: 80,000-point sign-up bonus
  • Chase United Mileageplus Explorer: 70,000-mile sign-up bonus
  • Chase Hyatt Card: 2 free nights at any Hyatt property
  • Barclay Arrival Plus: 50,000-mile sign-up bonus

Continue Reading

Blog

Best Credit Card Offers – May 2018

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

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

Every month I share a post with what I believe are the top credit card offers on the market according to the 10xT staff. Today we are going to take a look at the best 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, 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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The Marriott/Starwood Merger: What You Need to Know (And What You Should Be Doing Right Now)

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By: Bryce Conway, Founder of 10xTravel.com

Hi Travel Junkies,

Yesterday Marriott announced the details of their new combined loyalty program with Starwood Preferred Guest and the changes were surprisingly not terrible.

I’ll leave all the nitty-gritty details to the dozens of other outlets that covered them and skip right to the good stuff; How the changes impact you and what you should be doing right now as a result of them.

Let’s get started:

How the Changes Impact You:

1) The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card is going to lose value as a day-to-day spending option

Perhaps the worst news from yesterday is the fact that the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card, a staple in the wallet of any points fanatic, is about to lose a lot of value on August 1 when it comes to non-bonus category spending rewards.

This is due to the fact that this card will now earn 2x Marriott points per $1 on all non-category purchases, which is a 33% devaluation from its previous ability to earn 1x on everything and then transfer those points to Marriott at a rate of 1:3 (effectively earning 3 Marriott points per $1 spent).

The Business version of this credit card also was stripped of its Sheraton club access, a perk that many (including myself) use to justify keeping it year after year.

The silver lining is that the Starwood Business card will now earn 4x points on restaurant, gas station, phone, and shipping services.

Oh, and American Express will be launching a new premium Starwood Credit Card  in August that comes with a $450 fee and all the usual premium card benefits. We are not sure if this card will be offering a limited time offer to sign up, but here’s to hoping.

(My guess is that it will)

2) Airline Transfers remain relatively unchanged

This was easily the biggest surprise in my book. I fully expected Marriott to take a hatchet to the airline transfer partners and they ended up changing virtually nothing.

The new program will retain all the current SPG transfer partners as well as add 10 more (though many of the 10 already were available with Marriott).

The numbers change a bit but the ratios do not. Marriott points can transfer 3 to 1 to participating airline programs with a 15,000 point bonus for every 60,000 points transferred. This is just the current Starwood transfer rate (1:1, 5k bonus per 20k transferred) multiplied by 3 to account for the new conversion rate.

Speaking of the conversion rate….

3) All of Your Starpoints will be converted to Marriott Points on August 1 at a rate of 1 Starpoint > 3 Marriott Points

This is more of an FYI than anything. 1 Starpoint to 3 Marriott points has been the conversion rate since Marriott acquired Starwood anyway. And overall it is a very fair exchange in my book.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Marriott didn’t take the opportunity to devalue Starpoints and leave no time for members to transfer them beforehand.

So what should you be doing in response to these changes? Let’s talk about that for a moment. Continue Reading