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Spencer Howard

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Plastiq: A Complete Guide To Earning Points When Paying Bills

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

If you’re anything like us, you’re always looking for a way to earn more points and miles so you can take more trips at a fraction of the cash cost. Since you’re here, I’m going to assume you think about this too.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

One of the biggest concerns we hear from people just starting to explore how to maximize credit card spending for travel is that they can’t pay rent, student loans and more with a credit card.

Well, that’s where Plastiq comes into play.

Let’s take a look at how Plastiq can help you earn more points so you can start traveling more (and better).

How to use Plastiq

Plastiq can help you earn more points so you can start traveling more (and better)

CURRENT PROMO – Pay with a Mastercard, earn fee-free dollars

Every dollar you spend with Plastiq with a Mastercard credit card will earn you 1 fee-free dollar (FFD).

Terms and conditions from Plastiq:

  • Must be on a Mastercard credit card (excludes Mastercard prepaid/gift cards)
  • Payment must be initiated on or after October 11, 2018
  • Processing date must be on or before Wednesday, October 31, 2018
  • Payment must include 2.5% of the amount on that payment — no FFDs may be applied to the payment

What is Plastiq?

Plastiq at its simplest is a bill pay service that allows you to use a credit card to pay billers that otherwise wouldn’t accept a credit card payment. If you’re a business owner, you can even use Plastiq to pay vendors that don’t accept credit cards. Continue Reading

Blog

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

Blog

Making The Most Of The Citi ThankYou Premier 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: The 10xT Staff

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

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

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

Here are the current offer details:

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

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

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

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

Bryce Conway, Founder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Flying Blue Promo Award: 11,000 Miles To Europe

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

Every month, Air France-KLM Flying Blue releases Promo Awards that can reduce the mileage requirement of award tickets by 25-50%. Now, these tickets are more restrictive in that you must travel during a limited time frame and you can’t get your miles refunded if you cancel.

With the launch of Flying Blue’s new award program just a few days ago on June 1, we were curious what the Promo Awards would look like. Well, economy flyers are in luck. For the first time in a long time, Flying Blue has discounted a route to the U.S. at 50% off!

Flying Blue Promo - Chicago

The lucky city for this opportunity is Chicago (ORD). Award flights from San Francisco (SFO) have also been reduced by 25%. To get the promo rates, you must book by June 29 and travel between July 31 and September 29. It’s not quite last-minute, but you should decide sooner rather than later as promo award space could disappear.

Here are a few examples of what you could book with this month’s Flying Blue Promo Awards:

A one-way economy award on Air France ORD-Paris (CDG) for 11,000 miles plus $68.51 taxes and fees.

Flying Blue Promo ORD-CDG

Similarly, you can book a one-way economy award on KLM ORD-Amsterdam (AMS) for 13,750 miles plus $68.51.

Flying Blue Promo Award ORD-AMS

You can even book a trip to Prague (PRG) on KLM with a connection at AMS for 10,750 miles plus $82.16. Continue Reading

Blog

Flying In Style: Do You Want Business Or First Class?

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

Every week in the 10xTravel Insider’s Facebook group, I post a thread for people to ask questions about award flights they are trying to book. Unsurprisingly, there are a number of common requests—I mean, who doesn’t want to go to Hawaii?

However, I want to talk about something even more basic than booking award flights. Today, we’re going to talk about class of service. Specifically, how to determine what you want. While the answer might seem obvious at first, airlines—especially American carriers— have done a nice job making this a little tricky.

The biggest point of confusion is often about what “first class” actually means depending on the flight. I’m going to touch on what you can expect with each class of service and touch on why you might choose business class over first class.

Before we dive into each, here’s how I would rank each class of service from luxury to merely the essentials:

  1. International first class
  2. International business class
  3. Premium economy
  4. Domestic first class
  5. Comfort+, Main Cabin Extra etc.
  6. Economy/Main Cabin
  7. Basic economy

International first class

The crème de la crème of air travel. When flying international first class, one of the biggest distinguishing factors is space. You generally just have a ton of space. This alone provides much more privacy but many airlines take it a step further by providing doors to your suite.

When it comes to food and drink, airlines aren’t screwing around. From Krug to Dom Perignon to high-end scotch, cognac and wine, your drink choices won’t disappoint. When it comes to food, the common refrain of how bad airline food tastes won’t really apply to you.

 

Singapore Airlines First Class, image courtesy of Singapore Air

You can also expect very nice amenity kits and comfy pajamas. Of course, first class flight crews also prepare your bed when you’re ready to sleep with a mattress and blanket to ensure maximum comfort.

Depending on the airline, you might even get to enjoy a shower in the sky or a ride in a Porsche from the first class lounge to your flight. Who doesn’t love door-to-door service?

Speaking of service, with so few passengers in the first class cabin, the experience is much more personal. Flight attendants sometimes even have time for a conversation.

Last but not least, the first class lounges. They are next level. If you happen to fly Lufthansa first class out of Frankfurt (FRA), not only will you enjoy an amazing first class lounge, but you’ll get to visit the First Class Terminal—yes, a terminal just for first class and top-level elites. Don’t worry, your Porsche will deliver you to your flight. Continue Reading

Blog

Delta Amex Increased Offers [Plus 4 Fun Ways To Use SkyMiles]

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

Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat. The way Delta runs its SkyMiles program lacks transparency and is not even close to consumer friendly. Delta refuses to publish an award chart, devalues overnight without announcement and often requires an absurd amount of miles for award tickets.

That’s all I have. Article finished.

Just kidding, folks.

While I may rag on Delta weekly (daily?), I have still taken advantage of opportunities to use SkyMiles to book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class at saver level. So, yes, SkyMiles do have their uses. You just have to know how to use them.

With increased welcome bonuses on both the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express, we figured now is a good time to talk about a few fun ways to use Delta SkyMiles.

First, let’s check out the current limited-time offers that end next week (April 11, 2018).

Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card – 60,000 SkyMiles

The standard welcome bonus offered by the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card is often 30,000 SkyMiles. Right now, the bonus has been increased to 50,000 SkyMiles after you hit the minimum spend requirement of $2,000 within 3 months.

On top of that, you can earn 10,000 SkyMiles if you spend an additional $1,000 within the first 6 months of opening the card. Since $3,000 is the minimum spend requirement for many credit cards, I look at this as an opportunity to get 60,000 SkyMiles for $3,000 in spend.

You will also receive a $50 statement credit when you make a purchase with Delta within the first 3 months. Even better, the annual fee of $95 is waived your first year with that card.

As a cardholder, you’ll receive one free checked bag for you and up to 8 other people on your reservation when flying Delta. You’ll also get priority boarding on these flights. If you happen to get stuck with a basic economy ticket, you will still get your free checked bag and access to priority boarding.

Continue Reading

Blog

How To Pay Your Taxes And Earn Points [2018]

By: Spencer Howard, Editor in Chief

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

Let’s be honest, no one enjoys tax season. You put in so much effort just to make sure everything is exactly right and you get very little gratification from doing them. Now, I’m not here to give you tax advice so I’ll leave that to a professional.

However, we are going to talk about how you can use credit cards to earn some miles and points on your tax payments. Before you know it, you’ll be using the miles and points you earn to book your next vacation.

Let’s dive in!

How To Pay Taxes With A Credit Card

Previously, we’ve talked about using Plastiq to pay any bills you have that don’t accept credit cards. You could use Plastiq to pay your taxes with its 2.5% processing fee, but there are three payment processors offered on the IRS website with fees between 1.87% and 1.99%.

Payment Processor Options

Each payment processor has its own fee structure for both debit card and credit card payments. Additionally, each accepts a number of digital wallet payments.

ProcessorDebit Card FeeCredit Card FeeDigital Wallets Accepted
Pay1040.com (Link2GovCorporation)$2.59 flat fee1.87% fee; minimum $2.59Visa Checkout, MasterPass, Amex Express Checkout
PayUSAtax.com      (WorldPay US, Inc.)$2.58 flat fee1.97% fee; minimum $2.69Visa Checkout incl. Android Pay and Samsung Pay, MasterPass, Amex Express Checkout, PayPal
OfficialPayments.com/fed (Official Payments)$2.00 flat fee1.99% fee; minimum $2.50Visa Checkout, Amex Express Checkout

Clearly, using Pay1040 is the best option if you are paying with a credit card as it has the lowest processing fee at 1.87%. This will be the easiest fee to offset when using a credit card.

For those paying quarterly estimated taxes, you can make 2 payments per quarter as well as 2 payments for your annual payment. While not officially stated, this 2 payment limit seems to be per processor. While this might not be necessary for most, it might be useful to a few of you who submit multiple payments.

None of these options will hit you with a cash advance so you can rest assured that you will earn points.

Why Should You Pay Taxes With A Credit Card?

I don’t know about you but, if I’m going to make any kind of large payment, I’m going to try to earn some miles or points from it and taxes are no different. With fees between 1.87% and 1.99%, we have an opportunity to offset the fee with the rewards we can earn. If you can make the numbers work for you, why let this opportunity pass you by?

Here are some of the best reasons for paying taxes with a credit card.

Knock Out A Minimum Spend Requirement To Earn A Bonus

Without a doubt, earning a sign-up or welcome bonus when paying taxes with a credit card is going to get you the best return. This can be especially useful when working on a higher minimum spend requirement for cards such as the Business Platinum Card from American Express.

Check out our list of top card offers for March for some ideas on the best signup bonuses available right now.

Earn Valuable Miles And Points

If you’re not working toward a minimum spend, one card stands out as the best option for paying taxes: the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express. Every year, you will earn 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar up to $50,000 in spend per calendar year.

You also have a few options for earning 1.5X points per dollar. With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can earn valuable Ultimate Rewards points which can be transferred to airline and hotel partners if you also have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Business Preferred.

If you don’t have the Blue Business Plus Credit Card, you can potentially earn 1.5X Membership Rewards points with the Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card or The Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN.

To earn 1.5X with the Amex EveryDay Preferred, you must use the card 30 (or more) times during the statement period to get the 50% bonus which brings you to 1.5X. With The Business Platinum Card, you only earn 1.5X if your payment is at least $5,000.

You can read more about these cards and others by visiting our credit cards page.

 

Progress Toward Big Spend Bonuses

In some very specific circumstances, it might be worth paying taxes with a credit card that will help you earn a big spend bonus. Several cards provide bonuses once you earn a certain number of points or reach a spend threshold.

Southwest Companion Pass

One of the most popular perks among 10xTravel readers is the Southwest Companion Pass which allows you to book 2-for-1 tickets whether you’re paying with cash or booking an award flight. To earn the Companion Pass, you need to earn 110,000 Rapid Rewards points within a calendar year.

Many people apply for two of the co-branded Southwest cards—Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Card—provided by Chase at the beginning of the year.

Earning the Southwest Companion Pass at the beginning of the year will provide you with the pass for the remainder of the year plus the following year. Sometimes, the sign-up bonuses on two of the cards are high enough to get you the Companion Pass outright but, if not, paying taxes can help you hit the necessary 110,000 Rapid Rewards points.

 Elite Status Qualifying Dollar Waiver

This one is for those who travel for work. If work is paying for your travel, it sometimes makes sense to pick an airline and earn elite status. However, most airlines in the states have added spend requirements so even if you’ve reached the qualifying flight miles requirement, you might not earn elite status.

For Delta flyers, you have six credit card options that can provide a waiver of the spend requirement:

  1. Delta Gold SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
  2. Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
  3. Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express
  4. Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express
  5. Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express
  6. Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card from American Express

If you spend $25,000 in a calendar year on any of these cards, you will receive a waiver for Delta’s Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) requirement for Silver, Gold or Platinum status. A waiver for Diamond stats requires you to spend a massive $250,000.

United Airlines has a similar set-up with its co-branded cards from Chase. If you spend $25,000, you’ll get a waiver for United’s Premier Qualifying Dollars (PQDs) requirement for Premier Silver, Premier Gold or Premier Platinum status. There isn’t a spend waiver for Premier 1K elite status.

To be clear, these are not going to apply the most travelers. Rarely is chasing status worth it for people in the U.S. unless you have regular work travel.

Bottom Line

As you can see, there are several ways that you can make the most of paying taxes. Using your tax payments to hit a minimum spend requirement is definitely the top choice but, if that’s not an option right now, you might be able to get some big value by using a credit card that earns 2X or 1.5X points per dollar.

While you probably aren’t excited these payments, at least you’ll know that they are helping you earn your next award flight or hotel stay—perhaps a relaxing vacation in Hawaii where you can forget all about taxes for awhile.

See You In the Sky,

Spencer

Blog

Drop Offer: Rebate on Plastiq Payments (Plus An Advanced Method To Maximize The Offer)

By: Spencer Howard – Editor in Chief

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

Drop Image

Last summer, a new cash back app called Drop hit the market with much fanfare. While there were some bumps in the road as they entered the U.S. market—they’re a Canadian company—they seem to have found their footing.

At 10xTravel, we’re always on the lookout for new and better ways to maximize our spending to earn tons of points and miles so we can travel. One of our favorite ways to do so has been to use Plastiq to pay billers that otherwise don’t take credit cards. Well, Drop has launched a new partnership with Plastiq that can make this an even better deal for you!

Plastiq Drop Offer

Pro Tip: You can read our complete guide to Plastiq to learn everything you need to know about paying rent, utilities, car payments, student loans and more with a credit card so you can hit minimum spend requirements and earn sign-up bonuses.

While Drop originally focused on ongoing offers, but they have since regularly rolled out limited-time offer. However, this partnership with Plastiq does not have an end date. So, get as much out of it as you can!

Details Of Drop’s Plastiq Offer

Here’s what you need to know about the Plastiq offer. It’s quite simple, really. For everyone $100 you spend through Plastiq, you will earn 200 Drop points. These points are worth 1 cent per point and can be redeemed for a variety of gift cards such as Amazon, American Airlines, Best Buy, Starbucks, and more.

The terms and conditions are pretty basic:

Points are earned on each dollar billed through Plastiq, you must use a card that is linked to Drop, your rebate points are awarded within 5 days after the transaction is processed, etc.

Plastiq Drop Offer Terms

If you are new to Drop, keep reading. We’ll cover the basics of what you need to know to use Drop below.

How The Plastiq Offer Works

So, you’ve linked the offer and are ready to go. Let’s start by considering some important variables.

Plastiq charges a 2.5% processing fee to pay bills with a credit card. This means that using Plastiq to earn points and miles is generally best for hitting minimum spends to earn big sign-up bonuses. Occasionally, it is worth using to continue earning points, but those cases are rare.

With this Drop offer, though, you can trim a little off the processing fee.

Let’s say you have to make a $2,500 rent payment and your landlord or apartment complex doesn’t accept credit cards. If you’ve linked the Plastiq offer to your Drop account, you will earn 5,000 Drop points as every $100 spent provides 200 Drop points.

Pro-Tip: If you’re using Plastiq for rent, you might also consider using RoomiPay which has a 2% processing fee and the first 75 new users each month can pay rent fee-free.

For every 1,000 Drop points, you earn $1 toward a gift card redemption. With the 5,000 Drop points earned in the example, you could redeem them for a $5 Starbucks gift card. For many people, Starbucks is a daily part of life so this is nearly as good as cash.

This deal effectively lowers Plastiq’s fee from 2.5% to 2.3% which isn’t that much. However, for those using Plastiq to hit minimum spends, why would you want to leave anything on the table when it’s so easy?

Maximize The Plastiq Offer

We wouldn’t recommend using your Chase Sapphire Preferred on this deal if you’ve already earned the sign-up bonus, but it can save you a few bucks if you need hit the $4,000 minimum spend requirement to earn the sign-up bonus.

Other cards have an even higher minimum spend requirement. Take the Business Platinum Card from American Express, for example. It often has a very steep minimum spend requirement (up to $20,000).

Many small businesses have plenty to spend but, sometimes, vendors don’t take credit cards. This offer can help shave off a bit of the fee so you can earn a big sign-up bonus—which can help you book some amazing travel.

New To Drop? Here’s What You Need To Know

Drop Offers

Drop works a little differently than many of the airline shopping portals probably know well. Rather than going through Drop each time to earn your rebate, you just attach a credit card to your account and you will automatically receive credit when you take advantage of a Drop offer.

Here are the easy steps to sign-up:

  1. Search “Drop Loyalty” in the app store on your Andriod or iPhone
  2. Download the Drop app
  3. Enter an invite code when you sign up and you’ll receive 1,000 Drop points (my code is spencerformiles)
  4. Link a credit card (or cards)
  5. Choose your ongoing offers—at this time, they can’t be changed once selected
  6. Add limited-time offers as they pop up

If you’d like a more in-depth look, check out our piece explaining the ins and outs of Drop.

Editors Note: Since we published our guide to Drop, they have since limited the points you can earn with ongoing offers per week to 5,000 points and reduced the earn rates of ongoing offers.

Bottom Line

Is the new Plastiq partnership with Drop a game-changer? No. However, many of us have big expenses that don’t typically accept credit cards for payment. Plastiq provides a great way to easily earn sign-up bonuses with these payments.

This new Drop offer is an easy way to reduce the cost of Plastiq’s processing fee and I’m all about easy wins. I will happily take any reduction in fees I can get. Maybe, it’s me but I doubt it.

Hopefully, you can take advantage of this offer to reduce the cost of earning a great sign-up bonus or two… or three.

 

See you in the sky,

Spencer

 

Bonus: Advanced Method to Maximize The Plastiq Offer

If you aren’t working on a minimum spend but still want to take advantage of this Drop offer to pay some bills with Plastiq, here’s a scenario you might consider.

If you have both the Blue Business Plus Card and the Business Platinum Card from American Express, you might find some easy value out of this Drop offer even when not trying to earn a sign-up bonus.

With the Blue Business Plus Card, you earn 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on all purchases up to $50,000 in spend per calendar year. With the Business Platinum Card, you will receive a 35% rebate if you use points to book flights via Amex Travel in first or business class or economy on your selected carrier.

This rebate makes your Membership Rewards points worth roughly 1.54 cents per point. Now, pair this with the 2X you are earning with the Blue Business Plus and you are effectively getting 3.08X per dollar spent if you’re booking flights through Amex Travel.

If you use your Blue Business Plus to make a $1,000 payment on Plastiq and have linked your card to the Drop offer, you will pay $25 in fees, earn 2,000 Drop points (worth $2), and 2,000 Membership Rewards. These 2,000 Membership Rewards can easily be turned into 3,080 points via Amex Travel.

With the Drop rebate of $2, you are effectively paying $23 for 3,080 points. If you break it down, that’s 2,300 cents for 3,080 points which means you are paying just under $0.75 per point. Not a bad way to go if you ask me.

This doesn’t even take into account the impact of transferring Membership Rewards to an airline partner which could yield a value of 4 or 5 cents per point when booking business or first class award flights.

The fact remains, the best way to maximize Plastiq and the Drop offer is to earn a sign-up bonus, but this is a great backup plan if you a do a little planning ahead of time.

Blog

5 First Class Awards For An Awesome Luxury Experience

By: Spencer Howard

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

1) Cathay Pacific First Class with Alaska Mileage Plan Miles

Cathay Pacific First Class Seat

Cathay Pacific first class should be near the top of your list of amazing flights to try if you like great service and champagne. Courtesy of Spencer Howard

Cathay Pacific really is a luxury experience from the moment you set foot on the plane and are presented with an amenity kit and some extremely comfortable pajamas. And don’t forget the champagne. Who doesn’t like starting off a flight with a refreshing glass of champagne?

It has a well-earned reputation as one of the premier airlines in the world due in large part to their amazing first class product. Not only will you be able to enjoy a massive lie-flat seat, but the service provided by the Cathay Pacific crew is fantastic.

If you’re departing or connecting, you can visit one of Cathay Pacific’s two first class lounges: The Pier and The Wing. If those lounges aren’t convenient for your connecting flight, you can visit one of the business class lounges: The Bridge or The Cabin. Regardless of which lounge you choose, these lounges are a great place to relax before a flight.

You can book a first class flight on Cathay Pacific from one of five US airports:

  • Boston (BOS)
  • Chicago-O’Hare (ORD)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • New York City (JFK)
  • San Francisco (SFO)

Regardless of which US airport you are flying out of or into, you can use 70,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles to book your first class award to Hong Kong (HKG). In fact, you can even connect another city in Asia for no extra miles (some of these connections will be in business class). You can also use 110,000 American AAdvantage miles if you have a stockpile ready to burn.

Continue Reading

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5 Great Redemptions For Some Business Class Fun

By: Spencer Howard

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

In my last post, we talked about some cheap economy class award redemptions you’ll want to check out. These economy awards are great for those trying to see as many places as they can and for those looking for cheap short flights—even if you usually fly business or first class.

Today, we’re going to take a look at five awesome business class awards that will not only help you get to your destination but help you enjoy the journey. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the great business class redemptions out there, but it will provide you some food for thought.

In this list, you’ll find ways to use American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and SPG Starpoints. Some you might already know, but I’d bet many of you will learn something new that could help you book a fun adventure.

Let’s dig in!

1) Use ANA Mileage Club Miles To Visit Japan

If you’re not familiar with All Nippon Airways (ANA), one of Japan’s major airlines, you should change that. ANA Mileage Club partners with both the Amex Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) programs making it quite easy to earn the necessary miles.

On top of that, ANA Mileage Club has some really solid redemption rates on their own flights. In fact, if you want to visit Japan, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better way to book a business class award.

ANA’s award chart includes three seasons: low, regular, and high—which we discussed in our guide to booking flights to Tokyo. If you want to use the fewest miles possible, you’ll want to book during low season as it will only require 75,000 Mileage Club miles for a round-trip business class award.

Regular season will require 85,000 Mileage Club miles while high season will require 90,000 Mileage Club miles for a round-trip award. Even at these rates, you’ll still get a better deal than almost every other frequent flyer program.

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