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Travis Cormier

Guide To Hyatt All-Inclusive Properties
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The Complete Guide To Hyatt All-Inclusive Properties

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

By:  Travis Cormier

Hey Travel Junkies,

Points and miles are a great way to save a lot of money when you travel, but airfare and accommodations aren’t the only costs you’ll face. You still have to pay for food, drinks, and activities.

These costs can really add up, especially if you’re traveling to a resort destination where breakfast may cost $40 for some pancakes and eggs. For families, it’s even worse! You might find yourself spending a few hundred dollars per day just to eat breakfast.

These extra costs are why so many people are attracted to all-inclusive properties where food, drinks, and activities are included in the total cost.

Guide To Hyatt All-Inclusive Properties

These extra costs are why so many people are attracted to all-inclusive properties where food, drinks, and activities are included in the total cost.  Photo Credit:  Hyatt All-Inclusive

While there aren’t many all-inclusive properties that we can book with points, Hyatt does have a few that might interest you.

Resort Fees

Some hotels sneakily charge resort fees for you to use all of the amenities such as the gym or pools. Many travelers don’t notice as resort fees aren’t mentioned up front.

Guide To Hyatt All-Inclusive Properties | Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta | Oceanfront Fitness Center

The World of Hyatt Credit Card also has some unique bonus spend categories that you won’t find on any other card including 2X on fitness club memberships.  Photo Credit:  Hyatt All-Inclusive

However, when you use Hyatt points, you’ll certainly notice when your “free” hotel stay costs an extra $45+ per night thanks to resort fees.

If that sounds upsetting, then I’ve got good news. Hyatt does NOT impose resort fees on award stays. Instead, your Hyatt points will cover the entire cost of the stay.  At Hyatt, a free award night is truly a free award night.

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If you’re wanting to travel to the Maldives, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is one of the best ways to get there.
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Best Ways to Fly to the Maldives Using Points and 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: Travis Cormier

The Maldives is considered one of the most luxurious island destinations you can visit on earth. Seclusion, luxury and the gorgeous Instagram-worthy scenes attract people from around the world to this island nation.

Getting to the Maldives is no small feat, though. From my hometown of Houston, the Maldives islands are nearly 10,000 miles away. With that in mind, you should anticipate the trip taking at least 24 hours (trust me, it is worth it).

You won’t find any non-stop routes from the U.S. to the Maldives but there are a number of options that connect in Asia and the Middle East

Let’s explore some of the best ways to use miles and points to use to fly to the Maldives.

If you’re wanting to travel to the Maldives, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is one of the best ways to get there.

If you’re wanting to travel to the Maldives, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is one of the best ways to get there.

  1. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
  2. American Airlines AAdvantage
  3. Air Canada Aeroplan
  4. All Nippon Airways Mileage Club
  5. Japan Airlines 

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

If you’re wanting to travel to the Maldives, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is one of the best ways to get there. Alaska has different award charts for different partners, so what airline you fly on will impact the amount of points you pay.

Keep in mind, with an Alaska Airlines award ticket you can only fly on Alaska Airlines flights and the one partner airline you have chosen. You cannot mix and match partners. Because of this, you may have to use a positioning flight in addition to your award ticket.

Economy Flights on Emirates

For flyers in an economy, you’ll want to use Alaska Mileage Plan to fly on Emirates. This will cost 42,500 miles each way, or 85,000 miles round-trip per person. Taxes and fees are quite low as well, starting at $25 one-way from the U.S. to the Maldives, and $92 on the return flight.

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Emirates flies from a number of US cities. If you can’t find availability from your hometown, try searching from these cities to the Maldives (MLE).

Boston (BOS) New York (JFK)
Chicago (ORD) Newark (EWR)
Dallas (DFW) Orlando (MCO
Ft Lauderdale (FLL) San Francisco (SFO
Houston (IAH) Seattle (SEA)
Los Angeles (LAX) Washington DC (IAD)

Emirates usually has pretty good award availability for economy class, so you shouldn’t have too big of an issue finding flights.

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How to Beat Delta Basic Economy

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

By: Travis Cormier

Hey Travel Junkies,

If you’re looking to save money when paying cash for a flight, you might find yourself booking a basic economy ticket. Generally, a basic economy ticket comes with a seat on the plane and little else.

If you’re considering a flight in Basic Economy on Delta, you may be wondering how to get the most out of the low fare. Amongst its competitors, Delta probably has some of the most reasonable restrictions on basic economy tickets.

Despite its policies, it’s important to know how to get the most out of the basic economy experience.

If you’ve been keeping up with our series on beating basic economy, you know by now that the best way to beat any basic economy flight is by using (or even just having) an airline co-branded credit card.

Make sure you check out how you can beat American Airlines Basic Economy and do the same with United — this one isn’t quite as simple.

Let’s start by going over the relevant benefits you get from American Express’ co-branded Delta cards. After that, we’ll take a look at Delta’s Basic Economy restrictions and how these card benefits can help you beat Delta Basic Economy.

delta basic economy

Large families may find significant value when booking Delta Basic Economy using Delta co-branded credit cards from American Express.

The Best Credit Cards to Beat Delta Basic Economy

American Express offers six Delta credit cards — three personal, three business — that can help you beat Delta Basic Economy.

  • Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express
  • Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express
  • Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express
  • Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card from American Express
Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express 30,000 bonus miles after $1,000 spend in 3 months(Learn more)
Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card 30,000 bonus miles after $1,000 spend in 3 months(Learn more)
Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card 50,000 bonus miles after $3,000 spend in 3 months(Learn more)
Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card 70,000 bonus miles after $5,000 spend in 3 months(Learn more)

 

With each of these Delta co-branded credit cards, your first checked bag will be free. Even better, up to 8 family members or friends traveling on the same reservation as you can also receive a free checked bag. Large families may find significant value from this benefit when booking Delta Basic Economy.

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How to Beat United Basic Economy

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

By: Travis Cormier

Hey Travel Junkies,

As a Houston native, I fly United quite a bit.

I don’t mind flying United Basic Economy to get to my destination when I am flying alone. Sometimes all I need is a flight from point A to point B.

When flying Basic Economy on United, I want to be sure I’m getting everything I need. If I’m taking a bag with me, I want to be sure I can check it or bring it as a carry-on. I may even want to select my seat.

Many unsuspecting travelers have been caught off-guard by Basic Economy and there are some restrictions that might surprise you.

Let’s take a look at the United’s Basic Economy rules and how you can avoid some of the pitfalls.

How To Beat United Basic Economy

United’s Basic Economy rules and how you can avoid some of the pitfalls.

The Best Credit Cards to Beat United Basic Economy

Before we get into United’s Basic Economy rules, let’s look at the available co-branded credit cards that can help you beat United Basic Economy. There are four United credit cards that can help you avoid some nasty fees:

  • United Explorer Card
  • Chase United MileagePlus Club Card
  • Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card
  • Chase United MileagePlus Club Business Card
United Explorer Card 40,000 bonus miles after $2,000 spend in 3 months(Learn more)

 

Most travelers will find the benefits offered by the Chase United Explorer personal or business cards to be enough to beat United Basic Economy. There are additional benefits to the Club cards — United Club access — but these benefits come with a much higher annual fee.

With any of these credit cards, you’ll receive at least one free checked bags for you and one companion when you purchase your ticket using your United co-branded credit card. If you hold either the MileagePlus Club Card or MileagePlus Club Business Card, you’ll receive your first and second bag for free.

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How To Beat American Airlines Basic Economy

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

By: Travis Cormier

Hey Travel Junkies,

I love to travel as much as possible. Despite what it may seem, I do fly economy from time to time.

Just last year, I even made the journey to Hawaii in economy and survived just fine. You can even catch me on Spirit Airlines for domestic flights — albeit, usually in the Big Front Seat.

Even avid points/miles geeks travel in economy from time to time

To compete with low cost carriers like Spirit, legacy airlines have introduced a new fare class called Basic Economy. I’ll go into more detail about basic economy later, but 10xTravel Editor in Chief Spencer Howard summed it up well:

“Basic economy comes with little more than a spot on the plane.”

Unfortunately, many unsuspecting travelers see the lower costs of a basic economy ticket without knowing what they’re really getting. This can lead to extra fees that add up quickly.

Today, I’m going to show you how to beat American Airlines basic economy.

Major carries have launched basic economy fares to compete with budget carriers

First, we will look at the benefits you can get from a Co-Branded American Airlines Card. Second, we will look at American Airlines Basic Economy limitations and how your credit card benefits can help you beat them.

Beat Basic Economy with a Co-Branded American Card

With a co-branded credit card you can save a lot of money on your American Airlines basic economy ticket. The following cards have benefits that will help you beat basic economy:

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World EliteTM Mastercard®
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select World EliteTM Mastercard®
  • CitiBusiness / AAdvantage® Platinum Select World EliteTM Mastercard®
  • AAdvantage® AviatorTM Red Mastercard®
  • AAdvantage® AviatorTM Business Mastercard®

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

american airlines basic economy

Airline credit cards are a great way to “beat” basic economy

With one of these co-branded credit cards, your first checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines flights. This benefit even extends to 4 travel companions on your reservation. If you have the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World EliteTM Mastercard® this benefit extends to 8 travel companions on your reservation. Continue Reading

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How to Save Money on Last Minute Flights

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

By: Travis Cormier

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

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

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

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

Avoid Close-In Booking Fees

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

Use British Airways Avios For Oneworld Flights

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

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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

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How I Did It: A Luxury Maldives Honeymoon

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

By: Travis Cormier

Hi Travel Junkies,

Like many of you, I got started in the points and miles world when planning my honeymoon. And boy am I glad I did! Without points and miles, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy such an amazing honeymoon.

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We flew first class, stayed at the wonderful Park Hyatt Maldives, and amazingly didn’t even get a serious sunburn.

There’s many great ways to travel to the Maldives, but I’m going to walk you through how I did it – including some of the speed bumps we ran into along the way.

Etihad Apartments and American Airlines First Class

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This was a crazy itinerary but travelling across three different continents only cost us 230,000 American AAdvantage miles and $174.32 per person.

We flew a pretty busy route for this trip. Our outbound itinerary included:

  • Austin (AUS) to Dallas (DFW) on American Airlines First Class
  • Dallas (DFW) to London (LHR) on American Airlines Flagship First Class
  • London (LHR) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) on Etihad First Class
  • Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Male (MLE) on Etihad First Class

For our return flights we flew:

  • Male (MLE) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) on Etihad First Class
  • Abu Dhabi (AUH) to New York (JFK) on Etihad First Class
  • New York (JFK) to Miami (MIA) on American Airlines First Class
  • Miami (MIA) to Austin (AUS) on American Airlines First Class

If you’ve read our guide to redeeming AAdvantage miles, you may have noticed that this violates one of American Airlines’ routing rules as it transits Europe on way to the Indian Subcontinent.

The reason I was able to book this route was because I was originally booked on Etihad’s flight from DFW to AUH, but Etihad discontinued that route 5 days before my honeymoon! I called American Airlines with the alternative routing in hand and they were happy to accomodate because of the flight cancellation.

Now, let’s look at how much this trip would have cost if we had booked with cash. Spoiler! They would have been really expensive.

It’s a little tricky to put the exact price together, because these exact routings won’t show up on either Etihad or American’s websites so I did my best to piece it together accurately.

Our flight from Austin to London prices out as $9,308 per person one way. Continue Reading

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Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards [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: Travis Cormier

Hey Travel Junkies,

Getting into points and miles can really change your life but there’s one golden rule you should always follow—even more important than the Chase 5/24 rule. Do you know what it is?

Don’t go into credit card debt for points and miles.

Interest accruing on credit card debt will quickly eat away the value you get from points and miles. And by “quickly”, I mean “immediately”.

Unfortunately, life has a fun way of throwing situations at us that we don’t always have the financial means to handle. If this has happened to you, you’re not alone. Did you know that less than 40% of Americans are able to cover an emergency expense of $1,000?

For whatever reason you have credit card debt, whether it is from college or a lost job, you really need to get it paid off before starting in the points and miles world. Not only will it be a weight off your shoulders, it will improve your credit score, making it more likely that you’ll get approved for lucrative sign up bonuses in the future.

Of course, interest fees can make it a challenge to pay off your existing credit card debt. If your current card has a 20% interest rate and you have a balance of $10,000, that’s $2,000 every year that the bank is getting from you that isn’t counting towards your original debt!

Instead of paying interest, you should look into doing a 0% balance transfer. A balance transfer can help you tackle your debt and get it paid off faster. Instead of giving your money away to the bank, you can put it towards your balance. With a 0% balance transfer, you’ll have a better chance of paying it off quickly.

Before we look at some of the best balance transfer credit cards available today, there are some factors to consider.

Factors to Keep in Mind for Balance Transfers

There are a few key factors to keep in mind when you’re doing a balance transfer. Banks will put a lot of information in the fine print, so what should you be paying attention to?

First, you should look at the duration of the 0% interest time frame. Will you be able to pay off your card in this time frame? If not, you should consider another option if possible, otherwise you will need to apply for another balance transfer credit card once your 0% promotional period has ended.

You should also pay attention to the bank from which you’ll be transferring your balance. Most banks won’t let you transfer balances you already have with them.

For example, if you have a $5,000 balance on a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you would not be able to transfer the balance to a Chase Slate. Chase won’t let you do this because they don’t want to refinance themselves. You can only transfer balances from other banks.

One big asterisk that often gets hidden is the balance transfer fee is that many banks will charge you a percentage on the balance transfer even if there is 0% interest. Balance transfer fees are typically 3-5%, but some cards offer a promotional 0% period. Keep in mind, if you can pay off your current balance in 3-4 months, your current APR may make it cheaper to pay the interest instead of the balance transfer fee.

With all that considered, let’s look at some of the best balance transfer credit cards on the market as of today. Continue Reading

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Chase And Hyatt Take the Hotel Card Game To Another Level

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

By: Travis Cormier

Hey Travel Junkies,

There’s been a lot of big news in the points and miles world this week. There’s one big change that really has me excited; The new World of Hyatt Credit Card by Chase.

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Use World of Hyatt Points to Stay at the Park Hyatt Maldives for Only 25,000 Points Per Night

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the World of Hyatt program because of the tremendous value you can get from it. I even booked a stay at the Park Hyatt Maldives for my honeymoon for 25,000 Hyatt points per night!

Just last week, Chase launched a new World of Hyatt Credit Card to replace the old version. It comes with a number of improvements so let’s dig into the details and see what this card has to offer.

(You can learn more about the World of Hyatt Credit Card by visiting our credit cards page)

Earn 60,000 Hyatt Points Quickly

Chase is offering a tiered sign-up bonus with the new World of Hyatt Credit Card. You’ll earn 40,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months and an additional 20,000 points after spending $6,000 total in the first 6 months.

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The Increased Bonus Can Get You 3 Nights at the Hyatt Regency Maui

The sign-up bonus is an improvement on the bonuses we saw with the old Hyatt card including offers of 40,000 Hyatt points or 2 free nights. The old bonus of 2 free nights and the current 60,000-point bonus can both get you 2 free nights at a top tier Category 7 property—30,000 points per night. However, you’ll have more flexibility with the 60,000 points, especially when you consider that there are only 14 Category 7 Hyatt properties.

This is not considered a new product so, if you have the old version of the card, you won’t be eligible for the new sign-up bonus. As with other Chase cards, you are eligible for the sign-up bonus if it has been 24 months since you last received the sign-up bonus on a card.

At this time, this card is not restricted by the Chase 5/24 rule but it likely will be at some point in the future. When exactly this change will take place is still TBD. Continue Reading

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How to Get the Best Rate on Rental Cars

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

By: Travis Cormier

One of the most amazing experiences I’ve had while traveling is driving a Jeep along the road to Hana in Maui. It was an amazing day and easily the highlight of my trip.

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Having a rental car let’s you get out and explore! (image courtesy of Miryea Ayala)

Getting a rental car can quickly consume a large part of your travel budget, but it doesn’t have to. Let’s look at some of the best ways to save money on your rental car so you can have more cash to spend at your destination.

Should You Use Cash Or Points?

The first question you should be asking is whether you should use points or cash to book a rental car. I’ll be up front, I’ve never used points for a rental car and there are a few reasons why you should think otherwise before using points.

One of the biggest reasons you shouldn’t use points is because you’re getting the minimum value for your points. If you go through the Chase Portal and have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’re locking in 1.5 cents per point for your rental car. You can often get more value by transferring Ultimate Rewards to a partner like Hyatt or United.

Chase Sapphire Reserve (learn more)

The absolute biggest reason why you shouldn’t use points to book a rental car is because you can’t take advantage of the many discounts available. Booking through a portal doesn’t always allow you to enter a variety of discount codes that may be available to you when booking directly.

This isn’t the case all the time, sometimes the prices available through the Chase or American Express portal will be better. But before you use points, you should be sure that you’re getting the best deal.

The Best Tool for Searching Rates

The one tool to rule them all, for rental car purposes at least, is Autoslash which checks discounts that may be available to you from your credit cards and various memberships.

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Use AutoSlash to Compare Rates with Many Discount Options

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