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Luke Sims


What To Do If You Don’t Meet Your Minimum Spend By The Deadline

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By: Luke Sims

I’ve been there. I know that gut punch feeling when you sign into your new credit card account and realize you came up just short of hitting the minimum spend requirement needed to earn that 50,000-point sign-up bonus.

Don’t panic, you might still be able to get that coveted sign-up bonus!

Don’t panic! You still might be able to earn that signup bonus

Without question, earning points and miles through credit card sign-up bonuses is the best way to get big travel for next to nothing. Clearly, it’s important to cash-in on these opportunities for big chunks of points when you have the chance.

So, what should you do if you don’t hit your minimum spend by the deadline?

First, let’s talk about a few common reasons people miss their minimum spending requirement so you can avoid these mistakes!

1. Annual Fee Does Not Count Toward the Minimum Spend Requirement

Some people will see that they owe $4,000 on their credit card and their minimum spend requirement is $4,000 so they assume they’ve met the minimum spend. But, if you owe $4,000 and the annual fee is $450, you’d be $450 short on getting the bonus. Always remember, annual fees do NOT count toward your minimum spend requirement.

2. Some Purchases Do Not Count Toward the Minimum Spend Requirement

That’s right, your balance might show you’ve spent above the minimum spending requirement, but you can’t trust that number further than you can throw it (can you throw a number?). Two things to watch out for are refunded purchases and cash advances.

If you get a cash advance from your credit card to hit the blackjack table one more time, it won’t count toward your minimum spend. Also, please don’t use your credit card for cash advances. The fees are obscene.

Additionally, if you return those skinny jeans that are just a bit too tight, that purchase will not count toward your minimum spend either. Continue Reading


How to Use Global Entry and TSA PreCheck

By: Luke Sims – Staff Writer,

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

You finally took the leap and got Global Entry or TSA PreCheck—if not, you really should. You applied, you aced the interview, and now you are ready to join the ranks of savvy travelers who don’t let security lines with screaming babies ruin their trip to Hawaii. Now, it’s time to put your shiny new toy to use, and I’m here to show you the ropes.

How to Use Global Entry and TSA PreCheck

When you get approved for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, you receive a Known Traveler Number. This number is your golden ticket. When booking flights you will have the opportunity to add your Known Traveler Number.

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Then, if the airport you are using participates in expedited screening programs, your boarding pass will have the TSA Pre✓ logo to let you know you’re all set to use the TSA PreCheck lane.

TSA Precheck 3

When you arrive at the airport, simply locate the TSA Pre✓ sign that will direct you to the expedited security lane. Now strut down the unobstructed lane like the pro-traveler you were born to be.

TSA Precheck 2

How to Use Global Entry for International Travel

When returning from international travel, all you need to utilize Global Entry is your passport. When you arrive at customs, look for signs pointing you to the Global Entry kiosks.


Go up to one, scan your passport and follow the instructions. After that, all you have to do is take your receipt to the customs agent to finish the process. If the airport does not have Global Entry kiosks (or they are not working), you have the right to skip the lines to speak with a border patrol agent.

You can check which international airports have Global Entry kiosks here.

Which Airlines Participate in TSA PreCheck?

Not all airlines participate in TSA PreCheck. To participate, airlines are required to meet TSA Security requirements and upgrade their reservation system to sync with the Secure Flight prescreening system.

Here is a full list of airlines that currently accept TSA PreCheck:

AeromexicoDominican WingsSilver Airways
Air CanadaEmiratesSingapore Airlines
Alaska AirlinesEtihad AirwaysSouthern Airways Express
All Nippon AirwaysFinnairSouthwest Airlines
Allegiant AirFrontier AirlinesSpirit Airlines
American AirlinesHawaiian AirlinesSun Country Airlines
Aruba AirlinesInterCaribbean AirwaysSunwing Airlines
AviancaJetBlue AirwaysSwift Air
Boutique AirlinesKey Lime AirTurkish Airlines
Cape AirKorean AirUnited Airlines
Cathay Pacific AirwaysLufthansaVirgin America
Contour AviationMiami Air InternationalVirgin Atlantic
Copa AirlinesOneJetWestJet
Delta AirlinesSeaborne AirlinesExtra Airways

Add Your Known Traveler Number to Your Frequent Flyer Profiles

To make life easier, most frequent flyer programs allow you to save your Known Traveler Number to your profile so that you do not need to plug it in each time you book a new flight.

Each frequent flier program is different but, for most, you simply need to log in, navigate to the place to edit your profile and look for the option to add your Known Traveler Number.

For example, here is where to add your Known Traveler Number in your Delta SkyMiles profile:

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Do My Kids Need Global Entry or TSA PreCheck?

For domestic travel, children that are twelve years old or younger can use the TSA PreCheck lane when traveling with a parent or guardian who has the indicator on their boarding pass. Travelers thirteen and older who do not have a TSA PreCheck on their boarding pass must go through standard security lanes, even if the parent or guardian they are traveling with has TSA PreCheck.

For Global Entry, on the other hand, each person must apply separately in order to use it when entering the US. Children under the age of 18 need a guardian’s permission to apply. Again, your kids will not be able to tag along with you as you enter the US using Global Entry as each traveler must have Global Entry separately.

What to Do if You Get SSSS on Your Boarding Pass?

SSSS is an acronym for Secondary Security Screening Selection, and if you see it on your boarding pass you should expect the security screening process to take an additional 10 to 20 minutes even if you have TSA PreCheck.

It’s not fun, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s much easier to deal with when you know what to expect, so let me walk you through the details.

TSA does not tell us exactly why people are selected for secondary screening, and the vast majority of travelers will never see SSSS on their boarding pass.

However, if you are one of the unlucky passengers selected for secondary screening, here’s what to know: You won’t be able to print your boarding pass or access it on your mobile device (print it at a check-in kiosk). You can expect to go through the metal detector, the full body scanner, a thorough pat down from a TSA agent, and a few other tedious steps before finally being released to your plane.

So, if the dreaded SSSS happens to you, the best and quickest way through this extended security check is to stay calm and friendly. Listen carefully to instructions and make sure a TSA agent stamps your boarding pass at the end to give you the all-clear for boarding, it will be over before you know it.

Most importantly, if you check in online before your flight and you are not able to print or receive your boarding pass, you know there is a chance you will receive SSSS and you should allot for a bit more time to clear TSA security screening.

Bottom Line

Using Global Entry or TSA PreCheck is one of the best ways to dramatically improve your travel experience, and both are easy to use! Add your Known Traveler Number to your frequent flyer profiles, know if your international airport has Global Entry kiosks and pay attention to TSA PreCheck signage. You’ll be well on your way to breezing through security screening like a pro.

Wheels Up,



How to Get to Bora Bora on Points and Miles

By: Luke Sims

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

You know those times when you are freezing your buns off waiting for your car to warm up so you can drive to work on a dreaded Monday morning? You tell yourself to imagine your feet dangling in perfect blue water in a warm tropical paradise somewhere.

Yeah, that somewhere is Bora Bora.

World-famous for its crystal clear turquoise water, bleached-white sand beaches, and luxurious overwater bungalows, Bora Bora is near the top of many dream vacation bucket lists – and for good reason.

While it’s nearly a perfect vacation destination, getting there, on the other hand, can be expensive and tricky. So, let me share with you how you can use points and miles to get there so that beautiful place you imagine can become a reality!

four seasons bora bora

To get there, you’ll need to fly through Tahiti (PPT), the only international airport in French Polynesia, and then catch a flight or take a boat to Bora Bora. From the U.S. you have three options to Tahiti:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Tahiti (PPT) on Air Tahiti Nui
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Tahiti (PPT) on Air France
  • Honolulu (HNL) to Tahiti (PPT) on Hawaiian Airlines

From Tahiti, your best option is to then take a quick flight on Air Tahiti to Bora Bora. Air Tahiti does not have a frequent flyer program, so you will need to pay around $350 roundtrip in cash per ticket. This would be a great opportunity to use the Barclaycard Arrival Plus or Capital One Venture Card, which allow you to use your points to erase any travel-related charge made with the card in the previous 90 days.

Continue Reading


5 Easy Ways to Book Award Tickets to Paris

By: Luke Sims

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

Whether you’re drawn in by the rich history and romantic sites or you’ve always dreamed of stuffing your face for several days with the finest bread, cheese, and wine — my dear friend Audrey said it right, “Paris is always a good idea.”

One of my favorite trips of all time, Paris is an absolute must for any world-traveler. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to use points and miles to get there. So, sit back, pop open your favorite bottle of Cabernet, and let me bring the city of lights into focus for your next romantic getaway.

1. American Airlines AAdvantage

Using American AAdvantage miles is easily one of my favorite ways to get to Paris because of their off-peak rates for economy class award tickets and low taxes and fees.

For 60,000 American miles, you can fly round-trip in economy class between the US and Europe on American Airlines or any of their Oneworld alliance partners. Watch out for their partner British Airways as you’ll be responsible for some steep carrier-imposed surcharges.

If your dates are flexible, you can score the off-peak rate of 45,000 AAdvantage miles round-trip in economy (between January 10 – March 14 or November 1 – December 14).

Miles Needed:

  • Economy class: 60,000 (45,000 off-peak) round-trip
  • Business class: 115,000 round-trip

How to Earn American AAdvantage Miles

Although you can’t transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards points to American Airlines, there are plenty of easy ways to get the miles you need.

Perhaps the best way to earn American miles is to transfer SPG Starpoints. You’ll even earn 5,000 bonus miles when you transfer a chunk of 20,000 SPG points. You can earn SPG Starpoints with either the business or personal version of the Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards that are provided by American Express.

You can also use the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card, the Citi AAdvantage Executive card, the Citi AAdvantage Gold card, CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select card, and Barclay Aviator Red card to earn American miles directly.

Continue Reading


What To Do With Chase Sapphire Reserve (One Year Later)

By: Luke Sims

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

Around this time last year, one of the most lucrative offers in travel credit card history hit the market – the Chase Sapphire Reserve. If you were one of the lucky people who got in on the original 100,000 Ultimate Rewards sign-up bonus offer than the $450 annual fee was easy to swallow, but now, one year later, that gut-punch annual fee is due again and it’s time to decide if the Chase Sapphire Reserve will retain a spot in your wallet.

As is true with all decisions to keep a credit card beyond year one, there is no right answer for all. Lucky for you, we have an extremely accessible team at 10xTravel and we are more than happy to help each of you personally figure out what the best decision is for you.

That said, I have put together a list of things to consider that will help you decide what to do with your Chase Sapphire Reserve. If you don’t reach perfect clarity about your decision by the end of this, then please reach out and we would love to help!

Koh Phi Phi Thailand

$300 Annual Travel Credit

The first place we have to start is with the $300 annual travel credit that is automatically applied toward any eligible purchase you make with your Sapphire Reserve.

That means, the first $300 you spend on your Sapphire Reserve on airfare, airline fees, hotels, Airbnb, car rentals, parking, Uber/Lyft/taxis, cruises, tolls, and more (see Chase’s website) will be given back to you in the form of statement credit.

If you spend at least $300 in those eligible purchases in one year, that travel credit is like subtracting $300 from the $450 annual fee, making your net effective annual fee $150. Continue Reading


Everything You Need to Know About Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

By: Luke Sims

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

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are some of the most useful points in all of award travel. At 10xTravel, we are borderline-obsessed with Ultimate Rewards points because of their versatility and value potential.

Of all miles and points, people ask us about Ultimate Rewards the most. That is why we have created this overview, to be your one-stop shop for answering all of your questions about Ultimate Rewards points.

To make life easier on you, we wanted everything in one place. We have organized it based on the most frequent questions and topics we receive and have done our best to leave no stone unturned.

If you want to be a master of Ultimate Rewards points, bookmark this post so it’s only a few clicks away whenever you have a question. Let’s start from the top.

Planning a Trip

What are Ultimate Rewards points worth?

The value of Ultimate Rewards points varies depending on how you use them.

The lowest possible redemption value is 1 cent per point, which is what you get if you choose to redeem your points for cash or statement credit (don’t even think about it).

If you transfer Ultimate Rewards points to airline or hotel partners, you could easily get a value of 3 or 4 cents (or more) per point.

If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, your points are worth 1.25 cents per point and 1.5 cents per point in the Chase travel portal, respectively.

To sum it up, when you consider redeeming Ultimate Rewards points, you should not settle for 1 cent per point. If you are booking an economy class flight or hotel, you shouldn’t settle for anything below the value of the points in the Chase travel portal. Continue Reading


The 7 Best Credit Cards For Lounge Access

By: Luke Sims

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Hi Travel Junkies,

It was only a few years ago (before I found 10xTravel) that I was sitting in an uncomfortable chair, listening to the gate agent announce the fifth flight delay, and being pelted by cheerios by the curly-headed brat in the seat behind me. You’ve been there, right?

Today, I want to help you break free from the chains of sub-par airport comfort and discover the oasis you deserve – airport lounges.

If you’re new to the concept of airport lounges, check out our primer on what to expect in a lounge. If you’re tired of settling for mediocre and ready to reclaim your freedom, it’s time for you to check out 7 of the best credit cards that give you free access to airport lounges.

1) The Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum Card and the Business Platinum Card from American Express give you access to tons airport lounges across the globe. Most notably, you receive access to perhaps the most luxurious lounges in the United States, Centurion Lounges – available in New York (LaGuardia), Dallas, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Miami, and Seattle.

Although each Centurion Lounge is different, some of the features that go beyond normal lounge amenities include micro-spas, a soundproof family room, premium bars, and hot buffets. You can bring two complementary guests per visit (so spread the love). I fly out of New York often and, although this is probably the weakest Centurion Lounge of the collection, it’s always nice to sling back a few free whiskeys and stay out of the mess that is LaGuardia. Continue Reading


3 Best Ways to Fiji on Points and Miles

By: Luke Sims

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,

Whether it’s the white-sand beaches or the world-class snorkeling or the tantalizing cuisine, everyone is dying to get to Fiji – and we’re going to help you get there!

Fiji is the definition of a tropical paradise (I looked it up), but if you’re just now typing it into Google Maps… yeah, it’s way out there. Not to worry, we’ve compiled 3 of the best ways to get there on points and miles.

Sit back, click through a few of those drop-dead gorgeous Fiji beach pics, and let us help you map out your journey to this South Pacific oasis.

Although there are less options for getting to Fiji than some tropical islands (like Hawaii), Fiji Airways offers direct service from the U.S. – making it easier than you might think.

More importantly, Fiji Airways has 3 major airline partnerships – Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Cathay Pacific – which make finding award availability to Fiji much more possible.

So, check out these 3 options and choose the one that fits your points and miles stash the best.


1) Alaska Airlines Miles for Fiji Airways Flights

You can book award tickets on Fiji Airways from Los Angeles to Fiji with Alaska Airlines miles:

  • 40,000 miles one-way between Los Angeles and Fiji in economy
  • 55,000 miles one-way between Los Angeles and Fiji in Business

How to get Alaska Airlines miles:

 Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) is a transfer partner of Alaska Airlines. SPG Starpoints transfer at a 1:1 ratio and points transferred in 20,000 increments will get you an extra 5,000 bonus miles, which means transferring 20,000 SPG points would total 25,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles. These points generally take a couple days to post to your Alaska Mileage Plan account.

If you want to earn SPG Starpoints, the easiest way is with either business or personal version of the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card.

How to book Fiji Airways award space with Alaska Airlines miles:

Continue Reading


5 Best Ways to Fly to Hawaii Using Points

By: Luke Sims

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,

Hawaii is that dream destination on your bucket list that feels more like a fantasy than a possibility. You lean back in your chair at the office, close your eyes and picture yourself sipping a Mai Tai with the ocean breeze gently passing through your half-buttoned Hawaiian shirt.

You then snap back to reality when you realize it’s a billion miles away (I measured) and in the middle of the ocean… there can’t be an affordable way to get there.

At 10xTravel, we are determined to make Hawaii a reality for you. Today, I want to share with you five of the best ways to use points and miles to fly to Hawaii.

Bali Hai from Tunnels Beach, Kauai, Hawaii


1) Korean Air SKYPASS Miles For Delta Flights

You can book a round-trip economy flight on Delta, from anywhere in the United States to any of the four major Hawaiian islands, for 25,000 Korean Air SKYPASS miles.

Korean Air does not fly from the US to Hawaii, so they rely on their Skyteam Partner, Delta, to service their customers. Although Delta prices its lowest award flights to Hawaii at 45,000 for roundtrip in economy and 90,000 for round-trip in first class, you can book the exact same Delta flights using 25,000 Korean Air SKYPASS miles in economy and 45,000 Korean Air SKYPASS miles in first class. I think the correct term for this is, “BOOYA”.

How to get Korean SKYPASS miles

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Starwood Preferred Guest points at a 1:1 ratio to Korean SKYPASS miles. SPG points transferred in 20,000 increments will earn you an extra 5,000 bonus miles, which means transferring 20,000 SPG points would equal 25,000 SKYPASS miles. Continue Reading


Our Trip To Paris On Points And Miles

By: Luke Sims

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

Bonjour Travel Junkies,

I studied French in high school, but I never imagined I would be strolling down the Champs-Élysées, with a full Movember mustache, in the City of Love – all for next to nothing!

Maximizing our PTO before Thanksgiving, my wife and I took a much-needed escape to Paris.

I wish I could say those two years of French came in handy, but really we were just a couple of Yankees lost in a beautiful city – and we loved every minute of it.

I want to share with you how we minimized our travel costs. Because with a little hard work and some help from the 10xTravel team, Paris is a whole lot closer than you think!


Flight: NYC to Paris

  • Points Used: 75,000 Delta SkyMiles
  • Cost Out of Pocket: $11.20
  • Cost Without Points: $5,323.80

Continue Reading