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Reader Success Story: A $20,466 Trip To Australia For Just $343.80

Guest Post By: Matt Brown

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

We just got back from an insane almost 3 week trip to Australia to celebrate my wife and my 5th Anniversary along with my father in law’s 65th birthday. We flew business class and stayed in some insane hotels that we never would have had experienced without miles and points!

My wife and I first started collecting miles and points in early 2016. In just over the 2 years, we’ve been able to collect over 2 million points to put toward a variety of travels. Thanks to award travel, we haven’t paid directly out of pocket for flights and most hotels in almost 2 years, and we don’t plan on changing that anytime soon!

One trip I’d always wanted to do was an extended trip to Australia. So, in March 2018, my wife and I—as well as her parents—headed Down Under for a few weeks of fun!

The most famous landmark in Sydney from the Park Hyatt Sydney.

(Note: These all only cover my wife and my travel logistics/costs/etc)

Our Australia Adventure: An Overview

·      Greensboro to New York City (positioning flight)

·      JW Marriott Essex House (1 night) – New York City

·      New York City to Seoul, South Korea to Sydney Australia

·      Park Hyatt (2 nights) – Sydney

·      Sheraton on the Park (2 nights) – Sydney

·      Sydney to Cairns

·      AirBNB (3 nights) – Port Douglas

·      Cairns to Brisbane

·      Brisbane Marriott (2 nights)

·      Brisbane to Melbourne

·      Park Hyatt (3 nights) – Melbourne

·      Melbourne to Sydney

·      Marriott Circular Quay (1 night) – Sydney

·      Sydney to Seoul to Chicago

·      Marriott Suites O’Hare (1 night) – Chicago

·      Chicago to Greensboro

I had a few goals in mind for the Australia trip. I wanted to fly on an Airbus A380 (still haven’t as of yet!) in business or first class and I wanted to stay in some of the nicest hotels possible on points—most notably the Park Hyatt in both Sydney and Melbourne. Fortunately, we were able to do just that.

How We Earned The Points For A Luxury Trip To Australia

To save up for this trip (and other trips), we use a strategic credit card plan that involved opening the following cards to help build up our balances of mostly SPG and Chase Ultimate Rewards points. The number following the card will indicate if one or both of us opened it.

Editor’s note: Some of these bonuses have changed or are no longer available

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve Card (2) – 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2) – 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points
  • Chase Ink Business Preferred (1) –  80,000 Ultimate Rewards points
  • Chase Ink Business Plus (1) – 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points (no longer available)
  • Chase Ink Business Cash (1) – 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express (2) – 35,000 SPG Starpoints
  • Starwood Preferred Business Guest Credit Card from American Express (2) – 35,000 SPG Starpoints
  • Chase Hyatt Credit Card (1) – 2 free nights

Total Points:

  •  550,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points
  • 140,000 SPG Starpoints
  • 2 Free Nights at any Hyatt property worldwide

Along with the above cards, we eventually product-changed duplicate cards to the Chase Freedom to take advantage the 5x quarterly bonus categories when applicable. Further, once you start taking super nice trips, your friends start asking questions and want to get in on the secrets of free travel, and this opens up lots of referral opportunities that we’ve been able to use very well and earn points from!

On top of sign-up bonuses, we organized our everyday spending to maximize bonus categories. Since we eat out and travel a lot, we get great returns on the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card thanks to the travel and dining bonus categories which earn 3X points.

We also charge almost everything on our various credit cards (mortgage, utilities, etc.) to maximize points earnings. However, it’s worth noting that we never carry a balance as the interest costs easily far outweigh the value of the points earned.

Where we were able to make the most ground up however is the fact that we’re both self-employed with online businesses (I do web development and my wife runs an Etsy store), and a number of the online services that we use allow us to earn 3X with our Chase Ink Business Preferred cards.

When you combine bonus category spending, our businesses’ spending and other personal spending, we were really able to build up large points balances very quickly.

Here We Go!

With our points in hand, we set out to put together an itinerary that would allow us to have a trip throughout eastern Australia. We wanted to be sure we were able to cover a lot of ground and see all of the various sites we wanted to see at a relaxing pace.

We knew that we couldn’t see all of Australia in one trip, so we’ve left plenty to come back for on future trips. We also wanted to take advantage of some super nice accommodations on this trip.

Highlights Of Our Australia Adventure

We live in North Carolina, which isn’t great for accessing long-haul international flights to anywhere but Europe. Because of this, and by taking advantage of British Airways’ distance based award chart, we used a quick 15,000 British Airways Avios transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards to position ourselves in New York City.

We mainly chose to position in New York City because we were flying on a separate ticket the day before we left for Sydney. If for whatever reason this flight was cancelled, delayed, moved, etc, it’s only about an 8 hour drive. If we were hit with a big storm, we would still be able to make our flight by driving to New York. We also chose New York (JFK) because it has flights to almost anywhere in the world on every carrier you can imagine.

Saver award space to Australia is notoriously difficult to find, very expensive or requires routing through Asia. Because of this, we took Asiana Airlines from JFK to Seoul (ICN) then ICN to Sydney (SYD) for a total travel time of just under 27 hours. This seems like a major detour, but it was only about 2 hours longer than my in-laws route of Charlotte (CLT)-Los Angeles (LAX)-SYD which took about 24 hours. In lie-flat beds in business class, we hardly even noticed the difference in time!

Once in Australia, British Airways Avios really shine thanks to their distance-based award chart. We were able to make use of some super cheap redemptions on Qantas at 4,500 Avios per person in economy class from Melbourne (MEL) to SYD and 10,000 Avios per person from SYD up to Cairns (CNS).

By being able to book far in advance, we were able to snag some cheap flights on Virgin Australia through the Chase travel portal using Ultimate Rewards at a rate of 1.5 cents per point. We flew from CNS to Brisbane (BNE) for 8,520 Ultimate Rewards points (~$127) each and then BNE to MEL for 6,200 Ultimate Rewards points (~$93) each.

Business Class Flights To Australia

Long-haul international flights are much more tolerable in business class in lay-flat beds and eating delicious food!

The famed Bibimbap meal in business class on Asiana Airlines. It was delicious!

  • Greensboro (GSO) to New York (LGA) on American Airlines (positioning flight) – 15,000 British Airways Avios transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards + $11.20 instead of ~$410.
  • JFK to ICN to SYD on Asiana and SYD to ICN to Chicago (ORD) on United  – 320,000 United MileagePlus miles transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards + $251.32 instead of ~$12,870
    • We ended up rebooking our return flight while on our trip when Saver space opened up to SYD-SFO-ORD, but for the same mileage cost
  • SYD to CNS on Qantas – 20,000 Avios transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards + $42.32 instead of ~$300
  • CNS to BNE on Virgin Australia – 17,040 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (via Chase travel ortal) instead of ~$255
  • BNE to MEL on Virgin – 12,506 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points (via Chase travel portal) instead of ~$185
  • MEL to SYD on Qantas – 9,000 BA Avios transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards + $27.76 instead of ~$220
  • ORD to GSO on United – 20,000 miles transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards + $11.20 instead of ~$465

Flight Totals

  • 44,000 British Airways Avios
  • 340,000 United MileagePlus miles
  • 29,546 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (portal)

·      Total – 413,546 points + $343.80 (taxes/fees) instead of $14,712.28

Roundtrip Business Class flights for 2 for 320,000 United Miles + $251.32 in taxes/fees.

If we were going to pay cash, this is what the same flights for the 2 of us would’ve cost.

25,763 miles is a lot of flying for just $343.80 out of pocket!

Luxury Hotels Across Australia

The location and views from the Park Hyatt Sydney are hard to beat!

Our upgraded room at the Park Hyatt Melbourne. Rooms are always better with an office and sitting area. Not pictured – the huge walk-in closet and enormous bathroom.

  • JW Marriott Essex House New York – 1 Night for 45,000 Marriott Rewards points (transferred 15,000 SPG Starpoints) instead of $429.23
  • Park Hyatt Sydney – 2 Nights for 2 free night certificates instead of $1,845.83/room
  • Sheraton on the Park – 2 Nights for 27,000 SPG Points instead of $1,061.19/room
  • AirBNB Port Douglas – 3 Nights for ~$475 = ~47,500 Capital One Venture Rewards miles
  • Brisbane Marriott – 2 Nights for 25,060 Chase Ultimate Rewards points instead of $356.25
  • Park Hyatt Melbourne – 3 Nights for 65,996 Chase Ultimate Rewards points instead of $989.94
  • Marriott Circular Quay Sydney – 1 Night – 27,798 Chase Ultimate Rewards points instead of $416.97
  • Marriott Chicago Suites O’Hare – 1 Night – 11,962 Chase Ultimate Rewards points instead of $179.44

Hotel Totals

  • 42,000 SPG Starpoints
  • 129,506 Ultimate Rewards points
  • 47,500 Venture Rewards miles

Total – 219,006 points instead of $5,753.85

How Many Points We Used

All said and done, we pulled together a trip that would have cost $20,466.13 for 632,552 points and miles + $343.80.

With all of the money we saved on hotels, we could easily splurge on this awesome, but very reasonably priced, AirBNB for our 3 nights in Port Douglas.

Hotel And Airport Lounge Experiences (Plus Priority Pass Select)

Not only did we save thousands of dollars on our flights and hotels, but we saved additional money on food and drink in a country where food and drink is generally more expensive than our hometown.

Thanks to my Gold status with Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott, we had access to the lounge at each Marriott. We also had Club Level access thanks to concierge upgrades at the Park Hyatts.

These lounges provided delicious breakfast buffets, access to food and drinks throughout the day, and heavy hor d’oeuvres and cocktails each evening. So each day, we had at least one meal (breakfast) as well as snacks and drinks covered also literally for free. Additionally, our bookings at both Park Hyatt properties included a $100 food and beverage voucher each, so we enjoyed two delicious meals at the hotel along with club food.

When not eating in the lounges we got to enjoy delicious food such as KANGAROO STEAKS!

We certainly didn’t sit around and eat hotel food all day everyday, but having some of the more basic meals covered  allowed us to be more adventurous for lunches and dinners, especially in Melbourne and Sydney. When not eating in the lounges, we got to enjoy delicious food like Kangaroo Filet Steaks.

We also spent a lot of time in airports transiting from city to city. Thankfully, our Priority Pass Select membership through the Chase Sapphire Reserve provided access to many airport restaurants. Each time we went to the airport with a participating restaurant, we each had $36AUD to spend on food.

This breakfast was not only delicious, but all $127.90AUD (food, coffees, pastries and bottled water) of it was covered by the Priority Pass thanks to our $144AUD allowance each time.

We ate 3 meals totaling over $100AUD each at airports when traveling. They were all 100% FREE thanks to the Priority Pass that comes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.


This breakfast was not only delicious, but all $127.90AUD (food, coffees, pastries and bottled water) of it was covered by the Priority Pass thanks to our $144AUD allowance each time.

Reaching Out To Hotels For Special Occasions

If you’re a member of the 10xTravel Facebook Group, you know that contacting the hotel concierge or guest relations manager when celebrating a special occasion can do wonders.

Well, I contacted 6 of the 7 hotels for our trip and each hotel went out of their way to acknowledge our 5th anniversary, usually with a bottle of champagne and some dessert pastries. They also recognized my father-in-law’s birthday with the same treatment.

Welcome Champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries and flowers at the Park Hyatt Sydney.

We even scored some sweet room upgrades thanks to my email to the hotel concierge which took things to another level.

We got upgraded to this sick Terrace Suite at the JW Marriott Essex House. It included not only a 1200sq ft room but also a 300sq ft terrace.

Activities In Australia

Snorkeled with Sea Turtles on the Great Barrier Reef!

Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef

Hung out with Tigers at the Australia Zoo…

…and koalas too!


Swimming on the famed Bondi Beach.

Driving 100+ miles along the beautiful and scenic Great Ocean Road outside Melbourne.

The famed 12 Apostles rock formation along the Great Ocean Road

Feeding Kangaroos

Final Thoughts

Without points and miles, this once-in-a-lifetime luxury adventure wouldn’t have been possible. As you can see, our flights and hotels could have cost over $20,000. I don’t know about you, but at 29 years-old, I’m in no shape to be dropping $20,000 on a vacation.

By taking care of our travel costs with points, we were able to enjoy some great meals and activities without worrying about the cost We even paid a little extra to rent Mercedes and BMW SUVs instead of the cheapest option because we could!

The beauty of all this is that points and miles allowed us to take a trip that we could only imagine for a fraction of the cash cost.

Now, we just need to figure out our next adventure. I’m ready for more champagne!

Success Stories

Reader Success Story: European Honeymoon

By: Chris Centeno

After my trip to Thailand and an upcoming proposal and wedding, I was already planning to use miles and points to plan our honeymoon.

Knowing that money was going to be spent regardless, all I really had to do was plan ahead.

We both opened a Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard which was offering a sign-up bonus of 60,000 American AAdvantage miles at the time. I also opened a Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard which offered 50,000 points as a sign-up bonus and a Capital One Venture card also offered 50,000 points. We then spread the ring and wedding expenses across the four cards and immediately paid down the balance.

And just like that, we had knocked out the minimum spends and had earned the sign-up bonuses!

From there, we were off to the races. We knew we wanted to visit Paris, Barcelona, Santorini, and London. We also knew that Santorini was not the easiest place to visit with miles and points. But, it was our honeymoon and we wanted to make it work so we needed to cover the other three cities with points.

When earning the points for our Thailand trip, we actually overshot the amount of points we needed which left us with enough Chase Ultimate Rewards points for one business class flight on United Airlines for 57,500 United miles. Between travel for work and other spend on my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, we earned another 57,500 Ultimate Rewards points that we transferred to United. With that we had two business class tickets from Chicago (ORD) to Paris (CDG).

Off to Paris! A literal cherry on top the sundae to start us off right.

For the Paris hotel stay, we both opened the Chase Hyatt Card that was offering 2 free nights at any of their properties. We used those 4 nights to book a stay at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, which was a truly amazing hotel and would have cost us $2,428 for the 4 nights.

We needed one more night in Paris and chose to do it on the first night. We booked a room at the Wilson Opera hotel with a view of the Eiffel Tower and erased that charge with my Barclaycard Arrival Plus card. We had a great balcony view of the Eiffel tower and champagne to welcome us to the room.

Next up was Barcelona. I used my Capital One points to book a flight through their portal for 120 dollars’ worth of points.

We got a little lucky (or unlucky) as I had a very unfortunate stay at the W in New York (a Starwood property) for work. Due to that stay, they deposited 80,000 SPG Starpoints into my account as a courtesy. With 60,000 Starpoints, we booked the W Barcelona for 3 nights and woke up with an amazing view every morning!

Click image to play video.

Santorini was next on the list. I again used Capital One points to book a low-cost carrier, Vueling, through their portal for only $120 more points.

We weren’t happy with our points booking options in Santorini, so this was the part of the trip we knew was going to require some cash. We stayed at Astra Suites and it is one of the most beautiful hotels I’ve ever seen.

This is why I use miles and points. We saved money everywhere else so that we were able to splurge on our honeymoon! We woke up to a hotel employee knocking on our door each morning with breakfast. How awesome is that?! And the view was amazing.

Astra Suites Santorini

I used my Barclaycard Arrival Plus to book the flight from Santorini to London, where we spent our last 2 days in Europe. The tickets were $360 I erased the purchase with the points I’d earned with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus.

We stayed two nights at Le Meridien Piccadilly, another Starwood property, in the heart of London and again used Arrival Plus points to erase one night. To take care of the other night, we use the remaining points from my Capital One card.

For the return flights, we used the American AAdvantage miles to book business class tickets. Unfortunately, flying British Airways meant a hefty carrier-imposed surcharge of about $260.

To be clear, if we had decided not to visit Santorini, this trip would’ve cost us only $271 for 10 nights in hotels and round-trip business class flights for two.

Using points allowed us to splurge on things like Michelin Star restaurants, Santorini sunset boat tours, and more wine and food than you could imagine.

From seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night, checking out some of the best restaurants and cocktail bars in Paris, Barcelona, and London, and waking up to the most beautiful view we’ve ever seen in Santorini… it was the trip of a lifetime and there’s no way we could have done it without using miles and points.

Santorini Honeymoon

All in all, here’s what the trip looked like:

  • Chicago (ORD) to Paris (CDG in business class on United Airlines
  • Paris for 5 nights
  • Barcelona for 3 nights
  • Santorini for 7 Nights
  • London for 2 Nights
  • London (LHR) to Chicago (ORD) in business class on British Airways

After all was said and done, we booked a $41,829, 17-day trip through Europe for $4,448 — and most of that was for Santorini. Needless to say, we’ll never forget our honeymoon.

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: A $3,800 Caribbean Anniversary for $310

Guest Post By: Robert

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

My wife and I were married last September and spent 12 beautiful days in the Greek Islands on our honeymoon. We used 120,000 American AAdvantage miles for the flight, but I was still just a beginning to understand what miles and points could do for me.

So, we went with a travel agency and got taken to the cleaners, spending over $3,000. Luckily, we had the American miles to cover the flights!! I have since learned a ton about how to earn and redeem credit card rewards and frequent flyer miles for travel.

Due to work scheduling conflicts, we had to take our first anniversary trip a few months early this year during the Fourth of July holiday—one of the most expensive times to travel.

We originally planned to visit Thailand but, given that we had less than 2 weeks, we elected to do a Caribbean cruise to Curacao and Aruba instead to cut down on transit time. This also gave us more time to relax on the beach with drinks.

Here’s how we booked this amazing trip on points:

Flying from Dallas to Puerto Rico

With the Chase Ritz-Carlton Card’s annual $300 airline fee credit and 12,500 American miles we covered my wife’s flights from Dallas to San Juan—my flights were covered by some by some work travel. Continue Reading

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Reader Success Story: Alana Books A $5,000 Spanish Vacation for $106.12

Guest Post By: Alana

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

I decided my husband and I were going to need a vacation after he spent a year in a very intense program earning two master’s degrees. I also had heard about using miles and points to travel through others around my community, specifically two close friends who saved a TON of money on a trip to Italy.

I figured if we were going to pay so much for tuition, it should at least help us take an extravagant vacation in the end!

We chose Barcelona, Spain for our eight-day adventure and it was amazing!

Points covered our flights, hotels, transportation from the airport and six tours throughout the city.

Here is how we did it on points:

Alana - 10xTravel Success Story

Flights to Barcelona

My husband opened the United Mileage Plus Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and we used them to pay off his tuition.

We then transferred all of our bills over to the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and before we knew it – in less than three months – we had easily reached the minimum spend and then some on both cards.

We saw that two round-trip economy flights to Barcelona for 120,000 United miles were available when were ready to book. We had exactly 120,000 miles and points. We transferred our Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United and booked our flights. We only had to cover the $106.12 in taxes and fees. Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: A Dream $5500+ Italian Vacation for Two for $224

Guest Post By: Alex B.

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

Editor’s Note: The sign-up bonuses mentioned in this Reader Success Story might not be current. Please see current offers for details.

Background

Since I was 10, I’ve dreamed of going to Italy. I loved reading about Roman history – the legions, Caesar, Roman gods and goddesses. The history of the country entranced me, and it has always held the #1 spot on my travel bucket list.

I never thought I’d have the money to go anytime soon – until I discovered 10x Travel.

I was raised to think that credit cards were bad, and only irresponsible people used them. My parents struggled with credit card debt in their 20’s, and didn’t want their children to go through the same thing.

10xTravel’s material showed me that, used responsibly and intelligently, credit cards can make your travel dreams a reality.

10xTravel - Reader Success Story Alex B

The Strategy

I told my girlfriend (now my fiance!) about my plan in April 2016, right when I discovered 10xTravel. She didn’t exactly understand right away, but loved the thought of an Italian vacation. She was on board and played a key role in planning the trip.

Here are the cards I used to take our dream Italian vacation:

I opened the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points + 5,000 points for authorized user.

I was approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred in June. My fiance paid her entire year of health insurance on the card, and we put all of our spending on the card. We hit the minimum spend within a month, which led to our next card. Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: A $7,700 Honeymoon For $66

Tommy V

By: Tommy N

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

Without a doubt, last year was one of the best of my life. I married my best friend, Emma, and we celebrated this new chapter with an amazing honeymoon.

Financially speaking, we weren’t really in a position to plan a luxurious and expensive honeymoon. In the span of 6 months, we had planned a wedding, moved across the country, quit one of our jobs and relocated the other. Never mind the fact that we were trying to manage our student loans and a car loan. We were in debt with half the income and double the rent.

However, I really wanted Emma to have an amazing honeymoon. She’s an adventurer at heart and is truly at her happiest when she is traveling. For that reason, we were determined to deliver on the perfect vacation in spite of the obvious financial constraints.

Considering our love for both hiking and sipping cocktails on the beach, we soon set our sights on Hawaii. I then stumbled across 10xTravel and read everything I could. As I would soon learn, with some planning and discipline, there is no reason for anyone to not have the honeymoon of their dreams.

Side note: Wedding and Honeymoon planning is the perfect time to start this hobby. All the spending required will cut through minimum spending requirements on credit cards like a knife through hot butter to help you earn tons of miles and points.

Without further ado, here’s how we booked an amazing honeymoon adventure to Hawaii on miles and points.

Disclaimer: To find the cash value of each hotel and flight, I used proxy reservations, inclusive of any upgrades we received. Therefore the value is based on the same flight or hotel, on the same days of the week, during comparable times of the year for travel. These values are just a barometer; your experience may vary.

 

Flights: Boston -> Kaua’i; Honolulu -> Boston; Delta Air Lines 

  • Points Used: 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points transferred to Flying Blue for flights on partner airline, Delta
  • Source of Points: Chase Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus (50k) + 1 referral (5k) + add authorized user (5k)
  • Cost Out of Pocket: $22.40 (taxes and fees)
  • Cost Without Points: $2,100.00
  • Redemption Value: 3.5 cents per point

Continue Reading

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Reader Success Story: $15,000 European Honeymoon for Almost Nothing!

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

If you’ve ever wanted to see how you can put together an amazing honeymoon to Europe, this is the success story for you. Brett is going to tell you all about how took this amazing trip with his wife.

If you’d like to share your story with the 10xTravel readers, drop us an email and share how you did it! (bryce [at] 10xTravel [dot] com)


Planning a honeymoon was the last thing my fiancé wanted to worry about. The wedding took precedent for her and so the task was passed to me.

Luckily I had been following 10xTravel for a few years and already had a simple plan. Acquire as many points as possible to make our honeymoon as long as possible.

So, where did I begin you might ask?

It all started about two years ago while dating my now fiancé. I knew even back then that she was the one I was going to marry, and knew I wanted to surprise her with the honeymoon of a lifetime.

After using other miles and points for beach getaways, cruises, and family gatherings, these are the points we used to book this trip:

Chase Ultimate Rewards: 250,000

Capital One points: 120,000

Marriott Rewards: 240,000

We earned the Ultimate Rewards points through our Chase Sapphire Preferred cards as well as a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The Capitol One points were earned through each of our Capitol One Venture cards.

We were fortunate to earn the Marriott Rewards points through my fiancé’s work travel. However, we could have easily earned the points through the Chase Marriott cards.

Now that we had the needed points, we had to decide where to go!

We immediately agreed that Italy and Greece were perfect for our honeymoon and that we’d spend two and a half weeks enjoying ourselves.

Here’s how we booked our trip:

Genoa, Italy Port

Flight to Genoa, Italy

To start, we wanted to go to Cinque Terre as we had heard wonderful things, so I transferred 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points to United and booked our flights to the closest airport. We used our Capital One to cover the taxes and fees.

 

Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: A $6,000 Vacation Of A Lifetime For $230

By: Eric August

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

Hey, 10xTravel readers!

My name is Eric August. I’ve been in the miles and points game for a little over a year now, and with the help of Bryce and the 10xTravel team (and other readers) my friend Joe and I were able to take a two-week vacation to Australia and New Zealand in November.

I’ll show you how we did it, how much we spent, and how much we would’ve spent, so I hope you enjoy!

Since 2013, Joe and I have taken a trip together just about every year. We began with Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, then Toronto, Canada in 2015, and so when it came time for 2016’s trip, we discovered a crucial difference in our planning: points!

 

Next Stop, Los Angeles

We began our journey at Midway Airport in Chicago. Using my Southwest Companion Pass (and redeeming 17,399 Southwest Rapid Rewards points), we flew from Chicago to Los Angeles for a fun weekend in L.A. before our flight to New Zealand.

Joe rented a Mustang Convertible (utilizing Emerald Status from National), and our luck instantly took a turn for the worse as our rental car was broken into and my passport was stolen.

They didn’t steal my Gameboy color with Pokémon so it wasn’t a total loss.

Not to be deterred, we still enjoyed our weekend in L.A. meeting with friends, somehow getting into secret clubs, and making the most of our vacation (although I could’ve used some Xanax).

Luckily, I applied and was able to receive a new passport on Monday before we left. Continue Reading

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Reader Success Story: A $50,000 European Adventure for Under $3,000

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

Today, we’re going to hear from Lalaine Mackey about an amazing European adventure she and her husband, Russ, had last year.

If you’d like to share your story with the 10xTravel readers, drop us an email and share how you did it! (bryce [at] 10xTravel [dot] com)

 

A September to Remember

It all started when we got a bill from the IRS – we needed to pay more on our income tax in the prior year (UGH!). My husband said, “Wouldn’t it be nice to get a free trip out of this payment?”

So, he decided to research everything he could find about travel with frequent flyer miles and found 10xTravel. Then he found the 10xTravel Facebook group. That’s where the fun really began!

In October 2015, his initial goal was to earn enough points for a week in Hawaii! By January 2016, he had already earned enough for this trip! Take note insiders – this is how you convince your skeptical significant other to join in the fun!!!

He introduced me to the world of miles and points when he had enough points for a week stay in Hawaii for pennies on the dollar!

Who wouldn’t want to be here?!

 

Let’s Go To Europe!

I was convinced and raised the stakes for our next vacation – I asked about Europe! I jumped into miles and points by applying for the same cards as my husband. By March 2016, we had enough points and miles to get round-trip tickets to Europe and some hotel stays on points. By June, we had enough for business class! Continue Reading

Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story – A $2,412 Trip to Bali for Only $255

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We’re back with another amazing readers success story. Today Shannon is going to tell us how she used miles and points to take a dream vacation in Bali, Indonesia. If you’ve been wondering how you can use make credit cards work for you, this is a must-read.

If you have your own dream vacation story that you’d like to share, send Bryce a quick email and you could see your story on the blog next time!

With that we’ll turn it over to Shannon!

 

Hey 10xTravel Friends!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably looked at your points balances and thought, “ugh, there’s no way I’m going to have enough for a round-trip!” Fortunately, that doesn’t have to derail your dream vacation.

I knew I didn’t have enough miles in any of my accounts to for a round-trip flight from Minneapolis to Bali, Indonesia, so I decided I would book one-way flights on two different airline programs. I did a little research and decided to use United miles for my flight to Bali and Delta SkyMiles for my return flight.

I booked my flight to Bali on United with thanks to the sign-up bonus I received from the Chase United card. At the time, the bonus was 50,000. A one-way flight from Minneapolis to Bali only cost 40,000 miles and $52 (taxes and fees), so my 50,000 United miles were more than enough to take care of this flight.

I used my CapitalOne Venture card to pay for the fees and was able to erase all $52 of these taxes and fees. A free flight to Bali? Yes, please!

Continue Reading