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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

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Amex Platinum Review: Is It Worth the Fee?

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: Caroline Lupini

The The Platinum Card from American Express has long been regarded as the travel card to have. After all, it comes with a ton of benefits such as lounge access, flexible points and even Uber credits.

But, is the card worth a place in your wallet? In this article, we’ll give you a rundown of the American Express Platinum Card and discuss whether it’s worth the hefty annual fee.

Is the Amex Platinum worth the fee?

This is not the Amex Platinum card (aren’t stock photos fun?)

The American Express Platinum Card has a long list of benefits. Here are some of the most important for travelers like you.

Is the Amex Plat worth the fee

American Express Platinum: Learn More

Let’s dive in!

Lounge Access

The American Express Platinum might be most well known for providing access to tons of airport lounges. With this card, you’ll have access to the following lounges:

  • American Express Centurion Lounges
  • Delta SkyClub  (when flying Delta)
  • Airspace Lounges
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • Lufthansa Business Lounges when flying SWISS, Austrian, or Lufthansa through Munich and Frankfurt in any class of service. Lufthansa Senator Lounges when flying these airlines in Business Class.

Amex Centurion Lounge SEA – Image Courtesy of TheCenturionLounge.com

The highlight of the list is the American Express Centurion lounges. These lounges offer high-quality food and beverage options and are a step above many U.S. domestic lounges. You can find a Centurion Lounge at several major airports in the United States including:

  • Dallas (DFW)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • Las Vegas (LAS)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • New York (LGA)
  • Philadelphia (PHL)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Seattle (SEA)

If you find yourself flying out of Hong Kong (HKG), you’ll even find a great Centurion Lounge there. American Express continues to expand the number of airports with Centurion Lounges and currently has plans to open

Amex Centurion Lounge Hong Kong – Image Courtesy of TheCenturionLounge.com

$200 Airline Incidental Fee Credit

  Continue Reading

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How to Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Airline and Hotel Partners

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: Caroline Lupini

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are a go-to choice for many miles and points fans. In large part, this is because they have a ton of different uses and can be transferred to valuable airline and hotel programs including United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards and World of Hyatt.

How to Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Airline and Hotel Partners

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points can be transferred to many airline and hotel partners, including Southwest Airlines

In this article, I’ll show you how to transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to any of its transfer partners. We’ll also give you a look at the most valuable partners and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about transferring Chase points.

Let’s dive in!

How to Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points To Airline and Hotel Partners

First thing’s first: let’s learn how to transfer points.

To transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to airline or hotel partners, you must have a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Ink Business Preferred Card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred: Learn More

The Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Ink Business Cash Card and Chase Ink Business Unlimited Card each earn Ultimate Rewards points, but do not let you transfer to airline partners.

Chase Freedom: Learn More

However, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points from a card that doesn’t have an annual fee to one that does. More on that in a bit!

Additionally, you can only transfer points to your own loyalty program accounts or the account of one person in your household. Some have reported being able to transfer points to another person’s account, but this often leads to account shutdowns by Chase. We do not recommend that you do this.

Now, let’s talk about the transfer process.

Start by navigating to the Chase website and logging into your Chase account.

Scroll to the bottom of your dashboard and click the blue Chase Ultimate Rewards button. This button will display the number of points in your account. You’ll be taken to your Ultimate Rewards account page.

UR Button

Now, look towards the top of the screen and click the Transfer to Travel Partners button or select this option from the dropdown menu in the top left hand corner of the page. You’ll be redirected to a page that lists all of Chase’s transfer partners.

SelectPartner

Next, click on the Transfer Points button to the right of the partner you want to use to start the process. For this example, we’ll transfer points to United MileagePlus. Continue Reading

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Why Venture Cardholders Should Consider Chase Sapphire Preferred

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: Caroline Lupini

The Capital One Venture Card is probably one you’re familiar with, even if you don’t have it in your wallet. It’s a card you’ll often see advertised on TV by Jennifer Garner. You know, the “what’s in your wallet?” commercial.

You have probably seen commercials for the Capital One Venture Card before

Well, I’m here to tell you today that the Capital One Venture card shouldn’t be in your wallet – or at least not the only card there. You might not believe me yet, but there’s another card out there that will be better for most people, instead of, or in addition to the Venture card.

Enter the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred: Learn More

The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar at restaurants and on travel purchases while all other purchases earn 1X point per dollar.

Right off the bat, this might not sound as good as the Venture card, but that’s because Venture uses very clever marketing that doesn’t provide the full picture.

Let’s address why the “double miles is better than 1” marketing slogan from Venture is incomplete. Yes, all else equal, double miles is better than one but it’s not a one to one comparison when examining Venture miles and Ultimate Rewards points.

With the Capital One Venture Card, you do earn 2X points per dollar on all purchases, but these points are worth one cent each when the points are redeemed for travel. They’ll never be worth more, and they’ll never be worth less. Really, what this means is that the Venture card is a flat 2% back credit card when redeeming points for travel. Unlike other cash back cards, it has an annual fee.

The Venture Card’s “double miles” pitch is the grown up equivalent of the classic “I’ll trade you 2 pennies for 1 dollar because 2 > 1”

Continue Reading

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Last Chance to Win a Free Trip to Vegas! Contest Ends Thursday at 11:59pm EST

Hi Travel Junkies,

One last reminder to enter to win one of two FREE trips to Las Vegas to attend the 2018 10xTravel Las Vegas Reader Meetup! Contest ends at 11:59pm on Thursday, August 16.

Last year’s winners, Kelsey and Stephanie!

It takes ~30 seconds to enter and the prize packages are awesome

Here’s what each prize package includes:

  • A round trip flight to Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Free limo ride from the airport to your hotel
  • Two free nights in a Bella Suite the Venetian
  • Two tickets to our 10xT Vegas Reader Meetup (so you can bring a friend)
  • $100 in cash to spend however you like

Use the widget below to enter. There are a number of ways to increase your number of entries, and therefore your odds of winning.

10xTravel 2018 Las Vegas Giveaway

Winners will be announced on Friday, August 17, 2018 and are subject to the terms & conditions here: https://10xtravel.com/10xt-giveaway-rules/

Good luck!

Happy Travels,

Bryce

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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.

pasted image 0 4

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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The Most Common Credit Mistake I See (And Most People Have No Idea They’re Doing It)

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: Bryce Conway, Founder of 10xTravel

Hi Travel Junkies,

Today, we’re going to set travel aside and talk about the often overlooked, but vitally important subject of your credit.

Sexy topic, I know. But, hear me out.

Over the past 5 years, you’ve seen me write a lot about credit cards, travel and a little bit about credit. The first two subjects certainly make for more exciting articles than the last one.

I’m guessing you don’t follow a lot of “credit influencers” on Instagram

What you haven’t seen publicly is my one-on-one work with thousands of people to help eliminate credit card debt, repair credit scores and optimize credit prior to applying for a mortgage, student loan, etc. I’m convinced that I’m one of the less than 10 people on earth who actually enjoys talking about these things.

Anyway, like anyone who has been working in a field for a long time, this has allowed me to spot common trends in the way people approach their credit.

So, today I want to cover one of the most common mistakes I see in the world of credit and credit scores.

We’ll use a recent client of mine who we will call “Jeff”, as an example.

Meet “Jeff”

Jeff is your typical upper 20-something year-old guy who is in the market to buy his first home. He has been putting money aside for years to save for a down payment and finally has enough to make his move.

This is a stock photo. I have no idea what “Jeff” actually looks like

Like most people, Jeff has never actively paid attention to his credit score. He checks it on occasion, often using websites that don’t provide a “real” FICO score, but only has a general idea of how his score is calculated.

Jeff opened one credit card after graduating from college (with a $5,000 limit), pays his bill in full each month and hasn’t made any other major credit mistakes (missed payments, collections accounts, etc.).

But, he was confused as to why his credit score was only 705, which is what led him to me.

His initial email to me read like the dozens of others I see on a monthly basis, “I don’t get why my score isn’t higher. I’ve done everything right so far. Is it just because I am young and don’t have much credit history?”

Nope. Continue Reading

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Easy Ways To Earn Extra Miles And Points

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: Caroline Lupini

When you think about the number of miles you need for an award flight, it’s easy to get intimidated. You need ~12,500 miles just for a flight within the U.S. with most airlines and often times you’ll read that the best value is to redeem your miles for international business and first class tickets that cost 50,000 miles or more one-way. It’s no wonder that many people feel like they can’t earn enough miles for these types of trips.

Redeeming credit card points can be intimidating

We talk a lot about how you can earn miles through credit card sign-up bonuses on 10xTravel, but there are also some other great ways to easily earn points and miles that are easy to work into your regular routine to help you top up one of your accounts.

Here are 6 great ways you can earn a few more miles and points!

Shopping Portals

Many airlines and hotel loyalty programs have shopping portals that allow you to earn additional miles and points for online shopping you are already doing. Other portals will give you the option to earn additional cash back for these purchases.

Of course, you don’t want to have to take the time to compare rates between all of these different portals before you make your purchase. Luckily, you can quickly and easily compare rates between most shopping portals at CashbackMonitor so you don’t have to individually look on each site.

Now, you don’t always want to choose the program that’s offering the most points or miles back because you always need to consider how you value that type of point or mile (and also compare to the cashback rate!). For example, I looked up what you can currently get back for shopping at Apple.

Screen Shot 2018 05 20 at 7.27.26 PM

I have a lot of British Airways Avios right now, so I would rather earn 2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent than 3X British Airways Avios. When you consider the flexibility of Ultimate Rewards points, the small difference might not matter very much. Continue Reading

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Chase Cards You Can Get After You Hit 5/24

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: Caroline Lupini

Chase’s 5/24 rule isn’t new to the points and miles world anymore, but it’s a rule that always has to be kept in mind. If you’ve opened 5 or more personal cards (or business cards from Capital One) in the last 24 months, Chase won’t approve you for many of its credit cards.

At least for now. There are rumors that in the not-too-distant future, Chase will apply the 5/24 rule to all of its credit cards. That means that it could be time to take advantage of some cards that currently don’t fall under the 5/24 rule if you are already over 5/24.

Chase is rumored to be considering applying the 5/24 rule to all of their cards

Here are some Chase cards you might want to consider that aren’t subject to the 5/24 rule.

British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus Visa Signature Credit Cards

These three airlines are all part of International Airlines Group (IAG) and participate in the Avios loyalty program. Each airline has slightly different award charts and partner airlines, but points are freely transferable between the three airlines.

Each airline’s co-branded credit card currently has a maximum sign-up bonus of 100,000 Avios if you spend $20,000 in the first year. This is broken up into three parts: 50,000 Avios when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months, another 25,000 Avios if you spend $10,000 total in the first year, and another 25,000 Avios if you spend $20,000 in the first year. All three cards earn 3X Avios per dollar spent on Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, LEVEL and OpenSkies, and 1X Avios (Avio?) per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Chase British Airways Card: Learn More

Continue Reading

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Mystery Shop Your Way to Discounted Travel with SQM

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: Caroline Lupini

Note: Before signing up for this service, make sure to read the full article. I have had great experiences with this company in the past, but my most recent experience was not great. I still think this can be a great way to save on flights, but make sure you know what you’re getting yourself in to head of time.

With points and miles, it’s possible to travel a lot more for a lot less. But even with points and miles, chances are good that you’ll still have to pay cash for a flight or hotel at some point in time.

When that time comes, you still shouldn’t settle for paying full price for your travel because you can mystery shop and save up to 50%! Evaluate It by SQM is a Toronto-based mystery shopping company, but they partner with a lot of U.S. companies!

Overview

If mystery shopping for discounted travel sounds intriguing to you, it’s really easy to get started. First, you’ll have to apply to be a mystery shopper with SQM. After you’ve been accepted, you can request assignments. If you’re approved for an assignment, you will need to complete an evaluation after finishing the assignment. Finally, you’ll be reimbursed up to 50% for your travel.

Types of Assignments

Evaluate It by SQM partners with a wide range of companies including hotels, resorts, airlines, travel companies, restaurants and attractions. Unfortunately, it’s against the terms to tell you exactly what companies they work with (plus it changes) but you probably won’t be disappointed with the options.

In all likelihood, the plane tickets and hotels will offer the largest savings and will be of the most interest of readers of 10xTravel. Let’s take a deeper look into how an evaluation works for flights and hotels!

How It Works

Once you’ve been approved to be a secret shopper with SQM, you’ll be able to see the available assignments. It’s possible to search both by type of assignment and by location. From there, you’ll be able to apply for assignments that interest you! Continue Reading