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How to Check Your Chase 5/24 Status

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

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

Hi Travel Junkies,

Since first being introduced in late 2016, no rule or policy has had as great an impact on the points/miles community as the dreaded Chase 5/24 rule.

To quickly recap, the Chase 5/24 rule effectively creates a scenario in which you cannot be approved for a Chase credit card if you have opened 5 or more credit cards (with any issuer) in the last 24 months.

Again, that counts cards opened with any issuer, not just Chase. If you open 3 American Express cards and 2 Citi cards in a 2 year period you will be at 5/24 without having opened a single Chase credit card.

There are a few Chase cards that do not abide by this rule, but by and large the highest value Chase cards do enforce it with no exceptions. You can read about the cards that do not enforce 5/24 here.

So naturally we get the question a lot: How do I check my Chase 5/24 status?

Let’s take a moment to answer that question (and save myself and the 10xT staff from having to answer it on a daily basis).

How to check your Chase 5/24 Status

The best way to check your Chase 5/24 status is to use CreditKarma.com.

For anyone not familiar with them, Credit Karma is a free website that allows you to view your credit score and credit report. Unlike many other “free” credit score websites, Credit Karma does not require a credit card number to sign up and will not charge you monthly for their services.

Though be warned, the “credit score” that Credit Karma provides not your real FICO credit score. It’s simply an approximation calculated by Credit Karma and can be incredibly inaccurate. Particularly for anyone who has a lot of moving parts to their credit (high number of inquiries, variable utilization, etc.)

I get at least a half dozen emails a week that say “help my credit score tanked for no reason!” that all can be traced back to the fact that Credit Karma’s scoring model is incredibly flawed.

So always be sure to check out your real FICO credit score (for free) to see what is really going on.

Despite being unreliable for checking your credit score, Credit Karma is very useful for checking your 5/24 status. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Go to CreditKarma.com and log in (or create an account if needed)

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Step 2: Click on “Accounts” at the top of the page to be redirected to a list of every account on your credit report.

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Side note: Notice that Credit Karma says that my score jumped 36 points last month despite the fact there were absolutely no material changes to my credit report. I did not apply for any credit, close any cards, miss any payments, and my utilization remained the exact same. This is laughably inaccurate.

My actual FICO score in February (also from TransUnion) was a 773. A full 48 points higher than what Credit Karma was showing.

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Anyway, enough bagging on Credit Karma. Back to checking your 5/24 status.

Step 3: Scroll through your open credit accounts and tally any account that is less than 2 years old.

The first thing you will see in the accounts tab is a list of all of your open credit accounts. Click on the “+” next to each one to show more information.

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Each account will expand to show more information such as utilization, payment history, and account age. Take a look at the “Opened” date and make a note of any cards that are less than 2 years old.

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This card is 2 years, 4 months old. Meaning it does not add to my 5/24 count.

Step 4: Repeat step 3 with your closed accounts

If you scroll down a little farther on the “Accounts” page you will see an option to show closed accounts. Click on it to open up a list of closed accounts on your credit report.

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Then simply repeat step 3, clicking on the “+” next to each account and making a tally for any that were opened less than 2 years ago.

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Don’t forget to factor your closed credit cards in to your 5/24 count.

Step 5: Add up your total number of open and closed accounts that were opened less than 2 years ago

Pretty simple, add up the total number of accounts that you tallied from Step 3 and Step 4 to determine your 5/24 status.

Remember that you are only counting accounts that were opened less than 24 months ago. The date in which the account was closed does not matter.

That’s it!

And now that you know where you stand on 5/24, take a look at our ranking of the top credit card offers for March. Which we conveniently divide in to categories for those of you above and below 5/24.

As always, feel free to email me with questions.

Happy Travels,

Bryce

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How I Did It: A Quick Trip to Argentina for Next to Nothing

By: Bryce Conway, Founding Editor of 10xTravel

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

Hi Travel Junkies,

I just got back from a trip to Buenos Aires with a couple of friends that featured copious amounts of sun, malbec, and Argentinian beef.

This was my first trip to South America and it helped me learn a few things about myself.

First, that I am able to completely sustain myself on a diet of beef and red wine. Which I suppose is close to being Paleo, right?

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My view for ~50% of this trip

Second that sunshine is a top 3 factor in my overall happiness. Trading 35 degrees and rain for 84 and sunny was better for my mental health than any pharmaceutical drug or therapy method ever created.

Finally, I learned that the hedonic treadmill is a very real thing. I flew business class to Argentina and economy for the red-eye flight home. It’s been a while since I have flown on an international flight in economy and it was an adjustment to say the least.

And yes, I realize how pretentious that sounds. But I promised to always be honest with you and that is a real problem for anyone who has been fortunate enough (with points or otherwise) to get accustomed to premium class flights.

More on that in a future article perhaps. For now, back to the trip.

This trip was a surprise birthday present organized by my friend’s wife. When she asked if I wanted to join them on a trip to Argentina I said “yes” faster than a hungry dude at Fazoli’s could answer the server responsible for distributing the endless breadsticks.

My points/miles options were somewhat limited due to the fact that I was not the one planning the trip dates or itinerary. But I was able to make it work.

Here’s how I did it.

Columbus to Buenos Aires – Business Class for 110,000 American Airlines Miles and $5.60.

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Be warned, this trip featured two award flights that were not saver level redemptions. The first being this Business Class redemption on American Airlines from Columbus to Buenos Aires for 110,000 miles and $5.60.

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Yes, that is a lot of miles to pay for a one-way flight. Almost double what I paid to fly first class on AA to Europe a couple years ago.

Oh, and the Columbus > Miami leg was even in economy!

Most points/miles experts will roll their eyes at this redemption but I couldn’t care less. Here was my thinking:

  1. I have a ton of American Airlines miles at the moment thanks to recent bonuses from the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card, Barclays AAdvantage Aviator, and the business version of each of these cards.
  2. My tolerance for international overnight flights in economy is rapidly diminishing as I get deeper and deeper in to the world of points/miles. Particularly when I have the miles to book premium class tickets.
  3. This route has just one stop (somewhat rare when you live in Columbus) and is on the newer 777-300ER product from Miami to Buenos Aires.
  4. I got 10% of my miles back (10,000) for being a Barclays AAdvantage Aviator cardholder.

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American Airlines Flagship Business Class – Image Courtesy of AA.com

So I ponied up and paid for an anytime award.

The silver lining is that AA only charged $5.60 in taxes and fees for the redemption, which I put on my Chase Sapphire Reserve for the complimentary trip delay insurance.

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CasaSur Bellini Hotel – $155 per night

Choosing the hotel was not up to me so I booked through Hotels.com and paid with my Chase Sapphire Reserve for the 3x points on travel.

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CasaSur Bellini Hotel – Image Courtesy of CasaSurHotel.com

Note that this was booked before the recent announcement that Capital One Venture will earn 10x points on hotels.com bookings (which is effectively 20% off). I had also prepaid to get a lower rate + free breakfast so I didn’t have the option to cancel and rebook anyway.

The rate was only $155 a night anyway. Not bad, particularly for having a pool and being in the trendy Palermo neighborhood.

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CasaSur Bellini Hotel – Standard Room

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Speaking of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, my card number was compromised the day before I was set to fly to Argentina. So naturally Chase sent me a replacement card. Overnight. To my hotel in Argentina.

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Chase sent a replacement card to me in Argentina overnight

I’m sure that shipping charge wasn’t cheap.

Buenos Aires to Columbus – Economy Class for 55,000 Delta Miles and $91.06

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Business class availability for the flight home was pretty much non-existent so I had to put thoughts of lie flat seats and champagne aside and book an economy ticket home on Delta for 55,000 Delta Miles and $91.06 in taxes and fees. Thankfully it had just one stop in Atlanta en route to Columbus.

I can justify one standard business class award ticket on a trip but definitely not two. At least that’s what I told myself when I was booking the trip. After flying this route I am strongly considering a change to that policy.

Economy award space was also very limited so my choice was basically 55,000 Delta miles or pay cash, which was about $1,500 per ticket on the date of booking.

Once again, I charged the taxes and fees to my Chase Sapphire Reserve for the complimentary trip delay insurance and 3x points on travel.

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Delta economy seat Buenos Aires > Columbus

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The flight wasn’t exactly enjoyable but it went as scheduled and got me home. Perhaps some of my disdain was due to the fact that I was not excited to fly back to winter weather in Ohio.

I’ll leave it at that.

Overall I have to say Argentina was an absolute blast. The weather was perfect, Buenos Aires was incredibly modern and clean, and the food was like nothing I have ever had before.

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And as an added bonus Buenos Aires is only 2 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, making the jet lag much more bearable. Why this isn’t more widely discussed in the US travel community is beyond me.

So add Buenos Aires to the top of your list of places to go, ideally somewhere near the top. I promise you won’t regret it.

Happy Travels,

Bryce

Blog

Best Credit Card Offers – March 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 March 2018.

I rank these offers by looking at their sign-up bonus, cardholder perks, ongoing value and any fees they may charge. 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 ton of changes as there are a number of cards offering their peak bonuses at the moment. 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 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 

Commentary:

Once again, the Chase Sapphire Preferred comes in at #1 overall because of its incredible signup bonus, reasonable annual fee (that is also waived for the first year), and the amazing value of the points it earns.

This card was available with a 60,000 point bonus for a hot second last week but that appears to be gone.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are widely considered to be among the best points in the industry thanks to their ability to be transferred to multiple airline and hotel partners. This gives you a ton of options for redeeming your points no matter where you want to travel.

You can also redeem Ultimate Rewards to book travel via the Chase travel portal at a value of 1.25 cents per point, meaning the 50,000 bonus points offered by this card are worth a minimum of $625 when redeemed to book travel.

Transferring them to Chase’s many transfer partners can provide the highest redemption values if you know where to look.

One of the best examples of this is round trip to Hawaii for just 25,000 Korean SKYPASS miles. Meaning that the 50,000 point signup bonus from this card could score you two round-trip flights to Hawaii.

Check out our recent article on why this should be the first card you start with for more information.

Note that Chase has imposed new restrictions on the Chase Sapphire cards that limit your ability to get multiple versions of them. [More details on that here].

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Reader Success Story: Danny Books A $4,300 London (and Brussels) Adventure For $189

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

Our First Trip Overseas

My girlfriend Shahd and I had always wanted to visit so MANY places around the world but we travel so much for weddings that we just didn’t have the money to afford it. Luckily, we discovered how to use points and miles from credit cards could help us travel!

After diving into the points and miles game for nearly a year, we finally decided we had had enough of “Instagram dreaming” of far off places and decided to book a trip. This would be our first trip overseas and we wanted to “dip our toe in” by traveling somewhere we could feel comfortable using English.

We had been outside the U.S. during spring breaks in college and I had been to Canada a few times for work. We were open to visiting Ireland, the UK, Australia or South Africa. We saw a great deal for round-trip flights to London so we jumped on it! We ended up staying 7 nights in London and threw in a day trip to Brussels.

Points Prepping

There was a bit of multi-purpose to how we booked this trip. We booked a Marriott hotel and air package to get our hotel in London and Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book our round-trip flights to London.

The Marriott flight and hotel packages provide a number of options for exchanging points for 7-nights stays plus some airline miles. We chose to take advantage of booking a category 8 Marriott hotel right in the heart of Westminster in London by cashing in 360,000 Marriott Rewards points.

Southwest Airlines was our airline of choice for the package so we also received 120,000 Rapid Rewards points which was enough to earn us the Southwest Companion Pass.

Editor’s Note: This method for earning the Southwest Companion Pass no longer works. Read our guide to earning the Companion Pass if you’re interested in flying two for the price of one with Southwest.

I used the 80,000 Marriott Rewards points I received from signing up for the Chase Marriott Rewards Card and 95,000 SPG Starpoints I’d earned with the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express. Thanks to the 1:3 transfer ratio from SPG to Marriott, this gave us the necessary 360,000 Marriott Rewards points to book.

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Why Aren’t You Getting Away This Weekend? Tell Us for a Chance to Win 2 Free Flights Courtesy of Spirit Airlines!

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

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I have been compensated by Spirit Airlines for producing it. The opinions here are completely my own and are based on my own experience.

Hi Travel Junkies,

Today I am thrilled to announce that 10xTravel has partnered with Spirit Airlines to help spread the word about their new service out of my hometown airport, Columbus’ John Glenn International, beginning on February 15, 2018.

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Spirit Airlines is launching service out of Columbus beginning February 15, 2018

Truth be told I’ve never actually flown on Spirit Airlines (for reasons just mentioned). So I was pretty stoked to hear that they will now be flying daily non-stop flights from Columbus to Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando as well as seasonal routes to Ft. Myers, Tampa, Myrtle Beach, and New Orleans.

For anyone else in the “I’ve never flown Spirit Airlines before” camp, Spirit is the ultra-low-cost carrier that offers a-la-carte pricing to keep their fares as low as possible. Allowing you to receive More Go in your vacation.  Which is something we can all get excited about.

I was even more excited when Spirit approached me and offered to partner with 10xT, giving us the freedom to promote their announcement in our very own way.

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Spirit Airlines Delivers More Go for Less Money

So I did what I normally do in situations like this. I wrote down a list of things that I love doing and looked for any overlap with Spirit Airlines.

Things that I love doing:

  • Getting away for the weekend (usually to Vegas)
  • Flying for free
  • Helping 10xT Readers to do all of the above

Things that partnering with Spirit Airlines would allow me to do:

  • Get away for the weekend  ✓
  • Fly for free   ✓
  • Helping 10xT Readers to do all of the above  ✓

And this is what I came up with….

Introducing the “Why Are You Staying Home This Weekend Instead of Getting Away? Giveaway”, brought to you by Spirit Airlines and 10xTravel.com.

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Wow, that’s a lot of words. And the question mark feels a bit awkward in there.

Oh and are we supposed to do #WAYSHTWIoGA on social media? That takes up like half of my 240 characters on Twitter.

Oh well. As my good friend Bill O’Reilly once said, “…We’ll do it live!”

Let’s talk about the loot. There will be one winner who will receive….

Here’s what the winner will receive:

  • Two free flights on Spirit Airlines, up to a $500 value per ticket (so you can bring a friend)*
  • Two free checked bags on said flight
  • Seat assignment privileges on said flight

*Note that the free Spirit flight must depart from Columbus, no exceptions. Non Columbus residents are permitted to enter if they like, but again your flight must depart from Columbus, OH.

(Hit me up if you are flying to Columbus for the trip, maybe we can grab a drink)

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Click here to go to the contest form
  2. Tell us why you are staying home this weekend instead of getting away
  3. Fill out the other required information
  4. That’s it!

Winners will be chosen at random on February 26, 2018 and announced on Friday, March 2nd.

Sprit Airlines also gave 10xT a few free flights to give their airline a try.  I’ll be using them in the near future to take a trip to Vegas with some friends and will definitely tell all of you about my experience flying Spirit.

That’s all for today. Good luck to all those who enter!

Happy Travels,

Bryce

P.S. Another thank you to Spirit Airlines for sponsoring this giveaway!

P.P.S. You can read the full contest rules here.

Blog

Best Credit Card Offers – February 2018

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

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

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 February 2018.

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.

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 into 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 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 

Commentary:

Once again, the Chase Sapphire Preferred comes in at #1 overall because of its incredible signup bonus, reasonable annual fee (that is also waived for the first year), and the amazing value of the points it earns.

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Spirit Airlines Giving Away Free $200 Flight Vouchers Tomorrow in Columbus, OH

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

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

Hi (Columbus Area) Travel Junkies,

Spirit Airlines is giving away free $200 flight vouchers tomorrow, February 1, at Buckeye Donuts to celebrate the launch of their new service to Columbus’ John Glenn International Airport.

image1Photo credit: www.spirit.com 

The promotion starts at 7 a.m. and will be at the 1998 N. High Street location of Buckeye donuts — just off the campus of The Ohio State University.

According to Spirit, 91 vouchers will be given out to patrons who purchase a “plane” donut (yes, that is a pun) to represent a baker’s dozen for each of the 7 destinations that Spirit will be flying to.

Those 7 new destinations are Las Vegas, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans, Myrtle Beach, Tampa, and Fort Myers. Service begins on February 15.

Hope to see you there!

Happy Travels,

Bryce

 

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Today Is My Birthday. Can I Ask a Quick Favor?

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

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

Hi Travel Junkies,

Today I turned 29 years old.

My older friends tell me this is the last birthday I will not dread “celebrating” (clearly they do not share my aspiration for one day ordering off the senior menu).

My younger friends ask me what life was like before the invention of the smartphone.

image2 329 is a strange mixture of this…

image1 1And a little bit of this (from last weekend. I think I’m still shaking the hangover)

Anyway, I have a small favor to ask of you today. It’s a bit of a tradition here at 10xT on my birthday.

Can you tell me how 10xT has changed your life in the past year?

It can be anything. From a simple “I learned more about how credit cards work” to “I took 12 trips all over the world.”

You can share these by emailing me here or in my Insider’s Facebook Group. I read every single one.

Thanks in advance! And here’s to making the most of the last year before I turn 30.

Happy Travels,

Bryce

P.S. I am putting the finishing touches on an exciting new partnership here at 10xT. Details coming soon.

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Flight Review: Lufthansa Business Class from Washington, D.C. to Rome (And Back)

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

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

Hi Travel Junkies,

I recently had the pleasure of flying Lufthansa Business Class from Washington Dulles (IAD) to Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci International (FCO) for a quick trip to Italy with my wife.

This was both my first time flying Lufthansa and my first time flying business class on the 747 so I was pretty excited to give both a try.

The flights between D.C. and Frankfurt on the 747-8 were the highlights of this itinerary so I will be focusing most of my attention on that today. The half-empty flights between Frankfurt and Rome had all the pizazz of a domestic economy adventure.

With that, let’s get to it!

Booking With Lufthansa Miles & More Miles

If you read my recent post about this trip to Italy, you may recall that I booked this flight solely because I had a small stash of Lufthansa Miles & More miles that were about to expire.

Truth be told I had completely forgotten that I had them until a recent reader booking triggered my memory. Apparently, my wife and I had each opened the Barclaycard Miles & More World Elite MasterCard in late 2014, earned the 50,000-point sign-up bonus (plus about 5,000 miles from spending on the card), and I completely forgot to add the card and miles to my spreadsheet. Not ideal, but I have made worse mistakes in the world of points and miles.

Our Lufthansa Miles & More miles were set to expire in January 2018 so it was use them or lose them. I could think of worse things to do than spend a week in Europe while the rest of the US was experiencing the “Bomb Cyclone”—whatever that means.

I took advantage of one of Lufthansa’s Mileage Bargains, which feature off-season routes to most major European cities for as little as 55,000 points round-trip in business class. Most cites had availability for our January travel dates but we settled on Rome for the warmer weather and variety of things to do in the off-season.

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The Biggest Points/Miles Mistake I’ve Ever Made – Hear from Each Member of the 10xT Staff

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

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

Hi Travel Junkies,

It’s easy to view the 10xTravel staff as points/miles professionals who never make mistakes. If we are being honest, we do our best to perpetuate this belief. Nobody wants to take advice from amateurs.

But, the truth is that all of us were beginners at one point. We forgot to sign up for frequent flyer accounts, we used terrible credit cards, and we made some pretty big booking mistakes.

So, today I asked the staff to share some of their biggest points and miles mistakes to show you that we are indeed human.

Let’s start with me.

Bryce Conway – Founder of 10xTravel.com

I made my biggest mistake in 2012, my first year in this hobby. I had just heard of this amazing thing called the Southwest Companion Pass and was determined to earn one to be able to fly around the country with my then girlfriend (now wife).

My head was swimming with possibilities. Weekends in Vegas, winter trips to Florida, visiting friends in New York City, I was going to do it all and not pay a dime for any of it.

I quickly skimmed a couple of articles about how the Companion Pass worked (there were significantly less points and miles resources available in 2012) but thought I understood the basics.

Accrue 110,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points in a single calendar year = get a Southwest Companion Pass. Seemed simple enough.

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