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Travis Cormier

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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

Blog

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

Continue Reading

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Guide to Credit Card Purchase Protections

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,

Here at 10xTravel we love showing you how to use miles and points to travel the world without going broke. We do that by sharing tips and tricks to maximize the rewards you get from travel rewards credit cards.

Travel isn’t the only benefit you get from using credit cards. Most credit cards offer consumer protections for the things you buy using your cards. Today, let’s shift our attention away from travel and focus on the purchase protections that could help you save money on your day-to-day purchases.

Before we get into the benefits of purchase protections, I have some bad news…

Chase is dropping price and return protection across all of its cards. Yes, this includes the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Additionally, Chase is reducing the trip cancellation/interruption insurance on its United co-branded credit cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred (learn more)

Chase Sapphire Reserve (learn more)

These changes will go into effect on June 1, 2018. It’s currently unclear as to the amount the trip cancellation/interruption benefit will be decreased. If there are any other updates before then, we’ll make sure to update you.

Unfortunately, Chase isn’t alone in decreasing the value of these benefits to its users. Citi is changing its price protection benefit, known as Price Rewind as well. Citi will now offer a maximum of $200 per claim, and only $1,000 maximum per year. This is significantly decreased from the previous $500 per claim and $2,500 per year.

With these changes in mind, let’s take a look at the purchase protections you can get via credit cards.

Price Protection

We all like saving money, and that’s what price protection is here to do. Price protection allows you to receive a refund on a purchase you made if the price drops after your purchase. Continue Reading

Blog

Which Chase Ink Business Card is Right for Your Small Business?

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,

Chase has been on a roll recently with its small business cards recently. The Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card has its highest bonus offer ever,  the Chase Ink Preferred is as good a choice as ever, and Chase just recently released the Ink Unlimited.

Chase now offers 3 different Ink cards to choose from

With all the buzz around these cards you may be wondering which chase ink business card is right for your small business. Don’t worry, I’ve taken a deeper look at these cards and even done some math to help you decide which one will best fit your small business’s needs.

Sign-Up Bonuses

Many small business are new, and you may not yet be sure what your spend will be. This can make it difficult to decide which Chase Ink card is right for your small business.

What can help now is focusing on the sign-up bonus. This will be the best value you can get based on the information you have now. You can always decide later that you want to switch.

Ink Preferred – 80,000 points (learn more)

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Ink Cash – 50,000 points  (learn more)

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Ink Unlimited – 50,000 points  (learn more)

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The sign-up bonus makes The Chase Ink Preferred a winner on this front. The 80,000 Ultimate Rewards you will earn from the sign on bonus can go a long way towards helping you grow your small business – especially if that small business involves travel. Continue Reading

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Amazing Places To Visit With The Southwest Companion Pass

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 of you have already earned the Southwest Companion Pass for 2018 (and possibly 2019 as well). Unfortunately, it will be harder to earn in the future since Chase restricted the bonus on personal cards to one every 24 months. If you have the Companion Pass, now is the time to get the most value possible out of it.

With that in mind, I wanted to share with you some of awesome destinations you can get to using the Companion Pass.

Aruba

Aruba is one of my favorite Caribbean destinations. The resort area runs up and down the west coast of this small island nation and the water is extremely calm. I recommend Aruba to all of my friends with small children, because the calm ocean helps make it a great family friendly destination.

If you’re an adventurous traveler, Aruba also has plenty of adventure for you too. When I visited last year I rented a motorcycle and road along the desert sands of the west coast, and explored the caverns and natural pools (not for the faint of heart to get there!) in Aruba’s Arikok National Park.

Use Your Companion Pass to Explore the Caves of Aruba’s National Park

Southwest flies nonstop to Aruba from 3 U.S. cities:

  • Baltimore/Washington (BWI)
  • Ft. Lauderdale (FLL)
  • Houston Hobby (HOU)

From HOU and BWI , typical rates are around 26,000 Rapid Rewards points and $75 in taxes and fees per person. The best deal I’ve found is from FLL, where prices are as low as 14,500 Rapid Rewards points and $75 in taxes and fees. With the Companion Pass, that means you and your companion can take fly to Aruba for only 14,500 points and $150 in taxes and fees!

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The Calm Waters of Aruba are Great for Families

I know not everyone lives in these three cities – and they’re pretty popular Southwest hubs – so let’s explore some connecting options.

If you’re trying to fly from Denver, you will pay a little bit more in Rapid Rewards points, but with the Companion Pass you’re still getting an amazing deal. You can travel round-trip for as low as 40,000 Rapid Rewards points and $75 in taxes and fees. Although it seems like a lot initially, breaking it down you quickly realize that is only 20,000 Rapid Rewards and $75 per person to get to one of the farthest and hardest to reach Caribbean vacation spots. Continue Reading

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New Priority Pass Benefit: Airport Restaurants

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’ve been around the points and miles game for awhile, you’ve surely heard of Priority Pass. For the uninitiated, a Priority Pass Select membership grants you access to thousands of airport lounges across the world for free.

Many credit cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card offer a Priority Pass Select membership as a benefit.

To help expand the benefits for its members, Priority Pass has added restaurants to its list. Let’s look at how and where this new benefit works so you can start getting even more value from your membership.

How to Use Priority Pass at Restaurants

Using your Priority Pass benefit at restaurants is easy. Just present your card when you are seated, before you place your order, and the credit will be applied automatically to your bill.

The credit is roughly $28 per guest in at U.S. airports and similar at airports abroad. This is enough to get you a meal, a drink and maybe a bit more. The number of guests who qualify for the benefit varies depending on which credit card provides your membership. Below is a table that shows how many guests you receive based on which credit card has given you Priority Pass Membership. Continue Reading