Travel to Puerto Rico - with miles and points and credit card welcome bonus
Blog, Two Card Trip

Two Card Trip: San Juan, Puerto Rico with Chase Sapphire Preferred and Marriott Premier

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

By: Caroline Lupini

Many people feel overwhelmed when they see all the credit card options out there. While booking travel for (almost) free is exciting, adding anxiety to the process is not. With that in mind, we’ve decided to start a new series to help uncomplicate things for you.

If you’ve seen any of our reader success stories, you know miles and points can help you put together some insane trips across the world. Sure, the international first class flights — complete with champagne — and amazing hotels are exciting but that can take a little more planning.

If you want to keep things simple, you can still get out and see the world.

With that in mind, we’re launching our new “2 Card Trip” Series. We’ll be showing you how easily you can take trips thanks to the welcome bonuses from only two cards.

To kick things off, Caroline has put together a fun trip to Puerto Rico. I’ll let her take it from here!

Spencer, Editor in Chief

Puerto Rico got crossed off a lot of people’s travel lists while recovering from Hurricane Maria, but the island is very much open for business and welcoming tourists – especially in the capital of San Juan.

You can explore the historic old city, take a day trip to the magnificent El Yunque rainforest, or spend some quality time relaxing on the beach or at the pool – your options are wide open!

Travel to Puerto Rico from USA | Chase Sapphire Preferred and Marriott Premier

El Yunque Rainforest | Photo Credit: La Concha Resort in San Juan Puerto Rico.

The Two Credit Cards

Today, I’m going to show you how you can easily use two Chase credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus, to visit San Juan for next to nothing.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with a welcome bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. When using the card, you’ll earn 2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on all travel and dining expenses and 1X point on all other purchases.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 50,000 bonus points after $4,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More
Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months(Learn more)

The Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card from Chase offers a bonus of two free nights (up to 35,000 points per night) when you spend $3,000 in the first three months from account opening. You’ll also automatically get Marriott Silver Elite status just for holding the card.

This card earns 6X Marriott Rewards points per dollar at Marriott properties and 2X points everywhere else. You’ll also get a free night certificate (valid at properties costing up to 35,000 points per night) every year starting on your first anniversary of opening the card. Continue Reading

points shopping online
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How to Maximize Points When Shopping Online

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

Hey Travel Junkies,

The holidays are my favorite time of the year to be involved in the 10xTravel points and miles community. I get to see people use points to see friends and family across the country or celebrating the holidays with a vacation.

Right now, many people are buying last minute gifts for loved ones, creating a great opportunity to meet minimum spends to get new bonuses. I just signed myself up for a few cards that will get me almost 500,000 points this holiday season from welcome bonuses. But, just because you’re getting bonuses doesn’t mean you should leave points on the table.

Unfortunately, there are very few cards that offer bonus points simply for “shopping online.” That means most of your spend will only be earning 1 or 2 points for every dollar spent. If you leave it at that, you’re missing out on a ton of points.

Let’s look at your online shopping strategy and how you can formulate it to get the most points when shopping online this holiday season and beyond.

points shopping online

This holiday season, many people are buying last minute gifts for loved ones, creating a great opportunity to meet minimum spends to get new bonuses.

Use the Right Card

The first thing to do to get the most points when shopping online is to use the right card. There’s a lot of award programs available, but let’s focus on the major transferable programs: Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, American Express Membership Rewards, and Capital One Miles.

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after $5,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More

To get the most points when shopping online, some cards are better than others. If you’re not working on a sign-up bonus, here are the best cards for each program:

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Ink Unlimited
  • Citi AT&T Access Card
  • American Express Blue Business Plus Credit Card
  • Capital One Spark Miles Credit Card
  • Capital One Venture Card
Chase Freedom Unlimited $150 cash bonus after $500 spend in 3 monthsLearn More
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after $5,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More

If you want to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Chase Ink Unlimited earn 1.5X points on every purchase.

The American Express Blue Business Plus Credit Card earns 2X Membership Rewards on the first $50,000 you spend every year, making it a great card for earning Membership Rewards points.

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express Earn 2x points on eligible purchases up to $50,000 annually, 1x on all else. Terms apply.(Learn more)

With either of the Capital One cards, you’ll earn 2X points per dollar on every purchase. The great thing about them is that there’s no cap – you’ll earn 2X points on all purchases you make throughout the year. You can transfer Venture or Spark Miles to various airline partners at a 2:1.5 ratio — this means you’re essentially earning 1.5X airline miles per dollar.

Capital One Spark Cash for Business $500 cash back after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months, an additional $1,500 cash back when you spend $50,000 in 6 monthsLearn More

The card on this list you’re probably the least familiar with is the Citi AT&T Access Card. If you’re looking to earn Citi ThankYou points, this should be a go-to card if you shop online.

The Citi AT&T Access Card is one of the only cards with a bonus category for online shopping. You’ll earn 2X ThankYou points for every dollar you spend online. While Citi doesn’t provide an official list of online merchants that will earn 2X, experience shows that popular sites such as Amazon, Best Buy, Target and Walmart are included. Just remember this is for online purchases only, not in-store purchases.

With these cards, you can be sure to earn more than 1X on all online purchases. All you have to do is decide what points you need to help you book your next trip.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card 50,000 bonus miles (worth $500) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 monthsLearn More

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The American Express Business Gold - credit card review
Blog

The American Express® Business Gold Card Review

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

By: Matt Brown

The American Express Business Gold Card is the newest business credit card from American Express. Launched in November 2018, it’s a newly introduced version of the former Business Gold Rewards Card that offers improved earning rates, new bonus categories and a unique new way for businesses to maximize bonus category spending.

Welcome Bonus

In a bit of a surprising move, the Amex Business Gold Card was launched with a welcome bonus that didn’t include Membership Rewards points, which is definitely a bit of a shock since the $295 annual fee isn’t waived the first year either.

(Though a 50,000 bonus point offer can be found via a personal referral link)

Instead, the American Express Business Gold Card includes the following as the bonus:

  • Up to 1 year free of Google’s G Suite Basic – for up to 3 users ( $180 value)
  • Up to 1 year free of ZipRecruiter Standard

These benefits are offered in the form of statement credits, so you’ll have to sign up or change your billing information to your Amex Business Gold Card if you’re already a customer on these specific plans, in order to receive these benefits.

Shortly after the launch, American Express released a referral offer that includes a welcome bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards points with a minimum spend of $5,000 in 3 months.

American Express Business Gold Card Earn 4x points on 2 select business categories. Terms Apply.Learn More

Bonus Categories

The new American Express Business Gold Card is unique in that it allows businesses to earn 4X Membership Rewards points per dollar on your two most used bonus categories each month. The spend in the remaining categories will earn 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar.

AMERICAN EXPRESS BUSINESS GOLD CARD - Bonus Categories

Under the previous Business Gold Rewards card, you had to select one of five categories to earn 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar and you were locked into that category for the entire year.

This new structure offers greatly enhanced opportunities, especially if you’re a business that spends heavily on more than 1 of the selected bonus categories.

The new Amex Business Gold Card also added U.S. restaurants as a sixth bonus category. This is a welcome addition and a great opportunity for those who regularly have lunch meetings.

These are the bonus categories:

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)
  • U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions
  • U.S. purchases at gas stations
  • U.S. purchases at restaurants
  • U.S. purchases for shipping

Perhaps, the most convenient feature of the new Business Gold Card is that American Express automatically determines which categories are your top two for the month and awards Membership Rewards points accordingly.

If you have a business that spends heavily on one of these bonus categories, this is a great card for you since you get more flexibility in bonus earning options for your business spending. The bonus category spend does have a cap of $150,000 in combined purchases per calendar year.

 

American Express Business Gold Card - bonus category - technology providers

U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions

Amex Offers

One of the biggest benefits behind most of the American Express cards is that they have access to Amex Offers. Amex Offers is a way for you to use targeted discounts for extra discounts and savings as well as to also earn extra Membership Rewards points at select merchants.

The available offers change regularly, so it’s always worth checking what might be available at select merchants as it can easily translate into hundreds or even thousands of dollars of savings annually — or tens of thousands of extra Membership Rewards points.

All you have to do is add the offers that you want to use to your American Express Business Gold Card and then use the card at that merchant and the offer will be applied to your account.

Screenshot 2018 10 25 22.05.23

Often, you’ll even find Amex Offers that overlap with the bonus categories for the Business Gold Card. In the screenshot above, if one of your top monthly 4X categories is shipping, not only would you be earning 4x Membership Rewards points for each dollar that you spend (up to $150,000), but you could also earn to 10% back on that first $1,000 in spend as well!

Membership Rewards: Transfer Partners And Rebate With Amex Travel

The Business Gold Rewards card earns Membership Rewards points. You can redeem these points in a number of ways, but in almost all cases the most lucrative ways to redeem them is by transferring them to any of American Express’ travel partners.

Airline Transfer Partners (transfer rate)Hotel Transfer Partners (transfer rate)
Aer Lingus AerClub (1:1)Choice Privileges (1:1)
AeroMexico Club Premier (1:1.6)Hilton Honors (1:2)
Air Canada Aeroplan (1:1)Marriott Rewards (1:1)
Air France KLM (1:1)
Alitalia Millemiglia (1:1)
ANA Mileage Club (1:1)
Asia Miles (1:1)
Avianca LifeMiles (1:1)
British Airways Executive Club (1:1)
Delta SkyMiles (1:1)
El Al Israel Frequent Flyer Club (1000:20)
Emirates Skywards Miles (1:1)
Etihad Guest (1:1)
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles (1:1)
Iberia Plus (1:1)
JetBlue TrueBlue (250:200)
Singapore Krisflyer (1:1)
Virgin Atlantic FlyingClub (1:1)

Along with earning and redeeming Membership Rewards points by transferring to partners, The Business Gold Card introduces its’ own version of a popular feature of the Business Platinum Card from American Express – the 25% airline rebate.

The Business Platinum Card from American Express Earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000, an extra 25,000 points after an additional $10,000 all in the first 3 months. Terms apply.Learn More

If you book a flight with American Express Travel using Membership Rewards Points for first or business class airfare, or any class with your selected qualifying airline, you get 25% of those points back as a refund. It’s important to note that rebate only works if you book via American Express Travel, and don’t transfer your points to one of American Express’ numerous transfer partners.

American Express Membership Rewards points - Airline Transfer Partner - Etihad Airways

The Business Gold Rewards card earns Membership Rewards points.  Redeem Business Gold Membership Rewards points by transferring them to any of American Express’ travel partners.

With the rebate, select travel booked through American Express Travel will effectively be booked at the rate of 1.33 cents per point, instead of the standard 1 cent per point.

The Business Platinum Card from American Express offers a similar benefit, but it’s a 35% which comes out about 1.53 cents per point.

Final Thoughts

The Business Gold Card definitely has some big positives. Some of these positives that really stick out include:

  • 4x Membership Rewards points on two categories instead of just one bonus category
  • U.S. Restaurants as a sixth bonus category
  • Categories are no longer locked into an entire year and instead are determined by monthly spend
  • 25% Pay with Points rebate

On the negative side, it’s definitely disappointing to see a card with a $295 annual fee – that isn’t waived the first year like previously on the Business Gold Rewards Card – launched with no welcome bonus.

However, if your business can take advantage of the increased bonus category cap and bonus category flexibility, this card can help you earn tons of Membership Rewards points. All in all, it’s a good effort from American Express, we just wish they’d add a real welcome bonus.

American Express Business Gold Card Earn 4x points on 2 select business categories. Terms Apply.Learn More

Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

http://10xtravel.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Cathay-Asia-Miles-How-to-Fly-Around-the-World-Using-Cathay-Pacific-Asia-Miles-Oneworld-Multi-Carrier-Award-Rules-How-To-Book-RTW-Trip
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How to Fly Around the World Using Cathay Pacific Asia 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. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

By: Anya Kartashova

Round-the-world (RTW) award flights are a bit of a unicorn of the points and miles world because most loyalty programs don’t allow redeeming miles for such grandiose trips without separate bookings.

However, such ambitious awards are still possible, thanks to a handful of programs, such as Singapore KrisFlyer, which we discussed in great detail last month.

Another loyalty program that allows booking RTW awards is Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. The process and the rules are a bit different from KrisFlyer, so let’s dive into the nitty-gritty.

How Many Asia Miles Do I Need For A RTW Trip?

American Express Membership Rewards points - Airline Transfer Partner - Cathay Pacific

Flying at least two Oneworld carriers is a must, and it’s not possible to build a RTW trip that includes three or more airlines without flying on Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon at least once.

Asia Miles’ RTW redemptions are called Oneworld Multi-Carrier Awards and they’re applicable in two cases:

  1. When redeeming flights on two airlines, neither of which is either Cathay Dragon or Cathay Pacific.
  2. When redeeming flights on three or more airlines, one of which is either Cathay Dragon or Cathay Pacific.

The Oneworld Multi-Carrier award chart is distance-based, which means that the more miles you fly, the more miles you need to redeem.

The Platinum Card from American Express Earn 60,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. Terms apply.(Learn more)

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READER SUCCESS STORY: A YOUNG FAMILY GOES TO MAUI HAWAII USING POINTS AND MILES
Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: Maui, Hawaii Using Points and Miles for $670

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

By: 10xT Reader Damien Boulat

The Strategy

My wife and I have found that early to mid-November, before the madness of the Thanksgiving crowds takes hold, is a wonderful time to travel. This time around, Maui was on the wish-list, so I started exploring a strategy to get us and our 2-year old son there for a relaxing 10-day vacation.

Being based in Los Angeles, there are plenty of non-stop flight options to the Hawaiian islands. As I am well above 5/24 myself, I applied and was approved for the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa, which at the time offered a welcome bonus of 30,000 miles, a Companion Pass fare for just taxes, and a $100 statement credit, after $2,000 in spend in the first 3 months.

Maui Hawaii using Points and Miles

All in all we made a dream vacation happen for $670 out of pocket. Had we not used points and miles strategies our cost would have been over $3300. That’s more than $2630 in savings, with minimal effort on our part (2 new credit card sign-ups and an easy booking process).

As my son is over the age of two, we needed three flights. The Companion Pass fare covered my wife and son amounting to $422 total for both, or $322 if you consider the $100 statement credit.  My own flight would need to be booked using Alaska Miles; Saver Awards are 17,500 miles each way for mainland flights to Hawaii and were easy to find for our low-season dates. That’s 35,000 miles + $11 in taxes for the round-trip, so I just needed a little bit of extra spend on the Alaska Visa to earn the miles needed. The card also gave us one-free checked bag, which for our little family was plenty, saving us another $50 roundtrip.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card Earn 30,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days

As we began to look at accommodation options, we quickly realized 9-nights in Maui, can be quite expensive. Not for us 10xT Insiders us though! We had about ~40,000 leftover Ultimate Rewards points in my wife’s Chase Sapphire Reserve account, opened the previous year, but that wouldn’t be nearly enough. My wife being at 3/24 we applied for the Chase Business Ink Preferred card, offering us another 80,000 points, and closer to 90,000 after our spend to reach the bonus. All in all, that put is around 130,000 UR points, which we combined into the CSR account to get the maximum 1.5 CPP valuation on the UR portal for travel bookings.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Earn 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months(Learn more)
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after $5,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More

Although we considered some of the hotel options (there are beautiful resorts from Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton), given the length of our stay and the fact we were traveling with a toddler, a condo-style property made the most sense for us to have room to spread out and take things easy.

The Luana Kai’s living room at the ground floor so our son could run out directly on the big open grass area to play.

Turns out, there are quite a few condo-style options available directly through the UR portal. Our priority being a nice view at a location convenient to the beach, we settled on Luana Kai in Kihei, booking a direct-oceanfront 1-bedroom unit. We chose to be on the ground floor so our son could run out directly on the big open grass area to play.

Maui Hawaii using Points and Miles

The Luana Kai’s Bedroom

All in all, the unit would have costs us ~$1,850 for the 9-nights, but we paid nothing out of pocket by using ~123,500 UR points. The rate we booked was inclusive of a cleaning fee so that was covered as well.

The only thing left was a car rental. I did have a few UR points left, but after comparing with rates on AutoSlash, I determined the portal rates were not competitive and chose to save my points for future travel. We paid $337 total out of pocket for the duration of the trip and the Chase Sapphire Reserve we used for the booking provided us with our insurance needs.

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How to Travel as a Couple using Rapid Rewards points with the Companion Pass with savings on flights with Southwest
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A Year 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. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

By: Matt Brown

This year was the first time I’ve ever had the Companion Pass from Southwest Airlines. Even though the year isn’t over, with no more planned Southwest travel for the rest of 2018, I wanted to tally things up and walk through how we saved almost $2,500 with our Southwest Companion Pass.

Yes, you read that correctly. We saved almost $2,500 on flights! Read on to learn how we did it and how we’re going to be able to do it again in 2019.

How To Use Southwest Companion Pass

We saved $2,471.31 in 2018 by using Rapid Rewards points plus another $2,471.31 with the Companion Pass, for a grand total of $4,942.62 in savings on flights with Southwest.

What Is the Companion Pass

Southwest Rapid Rewards has consistently been ranked highly by travelers who enjoy the simplicity of the program.  If there’s an empty seat on the plane, you can either pay in cash or use miles. It’s that simple.

But another perk that makes Southwest Rapid Rewards fantastic is the Companion Pass. It is often heralded as the single best domestic frequent flier perk on the market.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card Earn Companion Pass and 30,000 points after $4k spend in 3 months. Companion Pass expires 12/31/19Learn More

You can bring a designated companion on any Southwest flight for just the taxes and fees. On domestic flights, your companion’s ticket is just $5.60 each way. This is the best part of the Companion Pass – it works for any flight, regardless of whether you pay cash for your ticket or use Rapid Rewards points.

Aside from a few simple and basic rules, there are very few limitations surrounding the Companion Pass and using it. So it provides tremendous value for users year after year, and surprisingly isn’t super difficult to earn!

Check out our complete guide to earning the Southwest Companion Pass for 2019 and beyond.

How I Earned the Companion Pass

You may find this hard to believe, but before I earned my Companion Pass, I had only booked one round-trip on Southwest in my entire life. So, if you’ve heard of this perk before, but thought it was only attainable for Southwest elite fliers, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card 60,000 points after $3k spend in 3 monthsLearn More
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card Earn Companion Pass and 30,000 points after $4k spend in 3 months. Companion Pass expires 12/31/19Learn More

I earned the Companion Pass by strategically timing when I opened 2 Southwest credit cards – the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card. That’s it. That’s the big secret to making this easy.

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AMERICAN EXPRESS GOLD CARD FULL REVIEW
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American Express Gold Card: Full Review

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

By: Caroline Lupini

Credit cards that offer transferable point currencies are a great choice for many people who like to travel, and Amex just relaunched one of our long-time favorites!

American Express Gold Card Earn 35,000 points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. Terms apply. Learn More by visiting our credit cards page

Previously called the Gold Premier Card from American Express, the American Express Gold Card has great benefits — including some fun new ones!

Here’s what you need to know about this refreshed credit card.

Content

American Express Gold Card Quick Stats
American Express Gold Card Perks

Should I Sign Up for This Card?
American Express Gold Card vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred
Bottom Line


American Express Gold Card Quick Stats

amex gold card full review - dining credit

The American Express Gold Card has gone from a somewhat standard travel credit card to a fantastic card for people who dine out in the U.S. restaurants.

The American Express Gold Card currently offers a welcome bonus of 25,000 Membership Rewards points after spending at least $2,000 within the first three months of account opening. As with most Amex products, the welcome bonus and minimum spend requirement often varies. With this card, we’ve seen offers as high as 50,000 points.

If you apply by January 9, 2019, you’ll also receive 20% back on dining purchases at US restaurants in the form of a statement credit, up to $100, for the first three months of card membership.

Here’s a quick rundown of the Amex Gold’s benefits:

  • 4X Membership Rewards per dollar spent at US restaurants
  • 4X Membership Rewards per dollar spent at US supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year), then 1x
  • 3X Membership Rewards per dollar spent on airfare purchased directly from the airline
  • 1X Membership Rewards per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • $120 Annual Dining Credit
  • $100 Annual Airline Fee Credit
  • $250 Annual Fee

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IHG all-inclusive resorts for families
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IHG ALL-Inclusive Resorts – A Great Option For Families

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

By Travis Cormier

Hey Travel Junkies,

Understandably, families traveling with kids often find travel costs can be a bit steep. You’ll be paying for your kids’ food and activities in addition to your own. Many parents are drawn to all-inclusive resorts to help minimize these extra costs.

IHG all-inclusive resort | Holiday Inn Resort

IHG all-inclusive resorts are great options for families because Holiday Inn Resorts don’t charge extra for kids. You’ll find some great options – two on the Pacific side of Mexico and one on the beaches of Jamaica.

If you’re looking to travel to an all-inclusive resort on points, a great option for families is one of IHG’s Holiday Inn Resorts – IHG all-inclusive resorts.  Holiday Inn Resorts have one of the best benefits for families: kids stay free! This can really help keep costs down because you’re paying with points and not having to pay extra cash for the kids.

IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card 80,000 points after $2,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More

Let’s first take a look at resort fees and what you should expect. Then, let’s explore the Holiday Inn Resort all-inclusive options that you can book with points.

Resort Fees

Some hotel brands have started charging resort fees to cover the costs of amenities like gyms and pools but resort fees often aren’t mentioned upfront. Instead, you’ll only discover them upon check-in when it is too late to change plans and IHG is no exception.

Award nights through the IHG program do not cover resort fees. Fees are set by the property and vary, typically costing $20-$40 per night. Thankfully, there are no resort fees with IHG all-inclusive resorts which means you won’t be out any cash for booking any of these family-friendly resorts.

Now that we know there won’t be any surprise charges, let’s take a look at the three IHG all-inclusive properties that you can book with points. 

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Chase Sapphire Preferred vs chase sapphire reserve
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Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)® Luxury Card Review

Disclosure: This post may contain references to products from our advertisers. We may receive compensation from products we link to. We appreciate your support. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

By:  Caroline Lupini

The Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)® Luxury Card from American Express launched in August 2018, after the new Marriott Rewards program replaced the SPG, Marriott Rewards, and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards loyalty programs as part of the Marriott-Starwood merger.

While the card doesn’t have a particularly impressive earn rate for everyday spend, it comes with some unique benefits that could be valuable for frequent Marriott hotel guests.

Let’s take a look at what you need to know about the SPG Luxury Card.

Starwood Preferred Guest - spg - luxury credit card review - Benefit - Complimentary Marriott Gold Elite Status

Opening the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Luxury Card from American Express will give you automatic Gold Elite status in the Marriott Rewards program – normally you’d have to spend 25 nights at Marriott hotels to reach that level.

Welcome Bonus

The SPG Luxury Card offers 75,000 Marriott Rewards points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of holding the card.

 

Bonus Categories

The SPG Luxury card has the following bonus categories:

  • 6X at Marriott hotels (including former Starwood brands and Ritz-Carlton)
  • 3X at U.S. restaurants
  • 3X on flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2X on all other purchases

There is no limit on the number of bonus points you can earn in these categories.

Benefits of the SPG Luxury Card

The SPG Luxury Card doesn’t have particularly compelling bonus categories – but what makes it interesting are the extra benefits it offers. Here are a few of the perks that you get in exchange for the $450 annual fee:

  • $300 Annual Marriott Statement Credit

Every card member year you’ll receive a statement credit for the first $300 you spend at Marriott properties worldwide, including room charges and anything billed to your room. That means if you were planning to stay at a Marriott hotel anyway, this is a cool $300 back in your pocket. This benefit follows your account year, so you have 12 months to use the credit from when you open the card, and the limit will reset every year on your account anniversary.

SPG Luxury Card | Benefit | $300 Annual Marriott Statement Credit

Every cardmember year you’ll receive a statement credit for the first $300 you spend at Marriott properties worldwide, including room charges and anything billed to your room.

  • Annual Free Night Award (Up to 50,000 Points)

Every year, after your account anniversary, you’ll receive a free night certificate valid at properties that cost up to 50,000 points per night. (This kicks in after you’ve held the card for a year – you won’t receive a free night certificate when you open the card.)

By the time you’ve had the card for a year, Marriott will probably have rolled out their new rewards chart, so your free night certificate will work at category 1-7 properties during off-peak dates, and category 1-5 properties during peak dates.

Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 monthsLearn More

 

  • Complimentary Marriott Gold Elite Status

Opening the card will give you automatic Gold Elite status in the Marriott Rewards program – normally you’d have to spend 25 nights at Marriott hotels to reach that level. Gold status gives you a 25% bonus on points earned from Marriott stays, 2:00 pm late checkout (based on availability), room upgrades, 250-500 bonus points per stay and free enhanced in-room internet access.

  • 15 Bonus Elite Nights

If you’re working on earning Marriott Elite Status, the SPG Luxury Card will give you a jump-start by crediting your account with 15 elite nights every calendar year starting in 2019.

You can receive a maximum of 15 bonus elite nights per Marriott Rewards account, regardless of how many Marriott or SPG credit cards you have.

  • Platinum Elite Status After Spending $75,000

While we don’t necessarily recommend putting this much spend on the SPG Luxury Card (other cards will earn you more points), if you spend $75,000 on this card in a single calendar year, you’ll receive Platinum Elite status with Marriott.

Platinum Elite gives you access to hotel lounges at participating Marriott brands, an exclusive welcome gift at check-in (points, breakfast vouchers or a welcome amenity), 50% bonus points on stays and enhanced room upgrades (including Select Suites).

  • Priority Pass Select Membership

Like pretty much every other high-end travel credit card out there, the SPG Luxury Card comes with a Priority Pass Select membership, which gives you and up to two guests access to more than 1,000 airport lounges (and restaurants) around the world.

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) |Luxury Credit Card Review | Benefit | Priority Pass Select Membership

SPG Luxury Card comes with a Priority Pass Select membership, which gives you and up to two guests access to more than 1,000 airport lounges (and restaurants) around the world.

  • Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check Statement Credit

If you, or someone you know, don’t have Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check, you’ll get a statement credit for $100 or $85, respectively, when you pay the application fee for either program using the SPG Luxury Card. You can use this benefit once every four years.

  • Roadside Assistance

If you find yourself stranded in the U.S. or Canada – even in your own driveway – being an SPG Luxury Card holder means American Express will cover the cost for emergency services like replacing a flat tire, towing your car up to 10 miles, jump-starting the battery, retrieving your key from inside the car and delivering up to 2 gallons of fuel up to 4 times per year. However, note that the terms for this service exclude rental vehicles.

SPG Luxury Credit Card | Benefits | Roadside Assistance

Being an SPG Luxury Card holder means American Express will cover the cost for emergency services like replacing a flat tire, towing your car up to 10 miles, jump-starting the battery, retrieving your key from inside the car and delivering up to 2 gallons of fuel up to 4 times per year.

  • Extended Warranty, Purchase Protection and Return Protection

If you use the SPG Luxury Card to purchase something, American Express will add up to two years to the manufacturer’s warranty (if it’s five years or less), reimburse you for purchases you’re unable to return within 120 days (up to $300 per purchase and $1,000 per year) and reimburse you for lost, stolen, or damaged items (up to $10,000 per incident and $50,000 per year).

SPG Luxury Credit Card | Benefit | Extended Warranty, Purchase Protection and Return Protection

If you use the SPG Luxury Card to purchase something, American Express will add up to two years to the manufacturer’s warranty.

How to Use Marriott Rewards Points

Marriott Rewards points can be used to book nights at any of the 29 brands in the combined Marriott, Starwood and Ritz-Carlton portfolios – over 6,800 hotels in 150 countries!

Here’s what the Marriott award chart looks like. Note that prices will increase in 2019 for peak dates and top-tier properties, so if you know your travel plans for 2019, it’s best to book now – if prices later drop for your dates, you can usually change to the lower rate without penalty (but check the change/cancellation policy before booking just to be sure).

image2 3

The real sweet spot with Marriott Rewards points is the ability to transfer points to over 40 airline partners, including many airlines that don’t have other transfer partners like Alaska, American, Japan Airlines, and Lufthansa.

Almost all airlines receive points at a 3:1 ratio (3 Marriott Rewards points = 1 airline mile), and for every 60,000 points you’ll receive a 5,000-mile bonus – so, 60,000 points = 25,000 miles.

Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express Earn 75,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Terms apply.(Learn more)

 

Is the SPG Luxury Card Right for You?

One important factor in deciding whether to apply for this card is making sure you can get the welcome bonus. As with most American Express bonuses, you aren’t eligible to get a welcome bonus if you’ve held this card before. Given that this card didn’t exist before August 2018, that’s unlikely to be a problem.

However, because Marriott offers credit cards with both American Express and Chase, there are also restrictions based on credit cards you’ve opened with Chase. You will not be eligible for the welcome bonus if any of the following apply:

  • You currently have the Chase Ritz-Carlton Rewards card or have had it open within the past 30 days
  • You opened a Chase Marriott Rewards Premier, Premier Plus or Premier Plus Business card in the past 90 days
  • You received a welcome bonus or upgrade offer for a Chase Marriott Rewards Premier, Premier Plus or Premier Plus Business card in the past 24 months

Final Thoughts

The SPG Luxury Card may be a good fit for frequent Marriott guests who can make good use of the $300 annual statement credit, or for heavy spenders who want to shoot for the free Platinum Elite status with $75,000 in purchases.

You may also want to consider the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from Amex Personal and Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from Amex, which both have a $95 annual fee (waived for the first year) and include a free night (up to 35,000 points).


Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Blog

Best Credit Cards: December 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. You can read our advertising disclosure here.

By: Bryce Conway – Founder of 10xTravel.com

Every month I share a post with what I believe are the top credit card offers on the market according to the 10xT staff. Today we are going to take a look at the best credit card offers for December 2018.

I rank these offers by looking at their signup bonuses, cardholder perks, ongoing value, and any fees they may charge. And while the best offer for you will vary depending on a number of factors, I am going to rank the top offers based on the order in which I think they should be chosen by the average person.

Quite a few changes this month as Chase has expanded the 5/24 rule to more cards and a couple of cards have gone through dramatic transformations.

If you’ve ever watched the NFL Draft before, consider this list my version of “Todd’s Big Board”. It’s simply the best overall cards available without regard to a specific points/miles need.

I also divide these top credit offers in to two lists, one for those of you who are over 5/24 and one for those of you who are under.

(If you don’t know what the Chase 5/24 rule is you’re going to want to give this a read) 

And finally, I added a list of the cards to the beginning of the post for easier reading. You can simply click on “the list” or “the details” below to read more about each card.

As always, feel free to email me with questions (Bryce@10xTravel.com) about your own situation and I would be happy to help you select the best card for you.

Under 5/24:

The List

The Details

Over 5/24:

The List

The Details

 

Best Credit Cards Under 5/24

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 50,000 bonus points after $4,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points after $5,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More
Chase Sapphire Reserve Earn 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months(Learn more)
Ink Business Cash Credit Card $500 bonus cash back after $3,000 spend in the first 3 monthsLearn More
Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card $500 cash back after $3,000 spend in the first 3 monthsLearn More
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Business Credit Card 60,000 points after $3k spend in 3 monthsLearn More
Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card Earn Companion Pass and 30,000 points after $4k spend in 3 months. Companion Pass expires 12/31/19Learn More
Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card Earn Companion Pass and 30,000 points after $4k spend in 3 months. Companion Pass expires 12/31/19Learn More
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card Earn Companion Pass and 30,000 points after $4k spend in 3 months. Companion Pass expires 12/31/19Learn More
United Explorer Card 40,000 bonus miles after $2,000 spend in 3 months(Learn more)
Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 monthsLearn More
IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card 80,000 points after $2,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More
British Airways Visa Signature Card 50,000 Avios after $3k of purchases in the first 3 months, 25,000 Avios after $10k of purchases in the first year, additional 25,000 Avios after $20k spend in the first yearLearn More
Chase Freedom $150 cash bonus after $500 spend in 3 monthsLearn More
Chase Freedom Unlimited $150 bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months(Learn more)

 

 

 

Best Credit Cards Over 5/24

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card 50,000 bonus miles (worth $500) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 monthsLearn More
The Business Platinum Card from American Express Earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000, an extra 25,000 points after an additional $10,000 all in the first 3 months. Terms apply.Learn More
American Express Business Gold Card Earn 4x points on 2 select business categories. Terms Apply.Learn More
Capital One Spark Miles for Business 50,000 miles after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months, an additional 150,000 miles when you spend $50,000 in 6 monthsLearn More
Capital One Spark Cash for Business $500 cash back after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months, plus earn $1,500 when you spend $50,000 in the first 6 monthsLearn More
The Platinum Card from American Express Earn 60,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. Terms apply.(Learn more)
Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express Earn 75,000 points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Terms apply.(Learn more)
Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card 125,000 Hilton Honors points after $2,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card 125,000 Hilton Points after $3,000 spend in the first 3 monthsLearn More
Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card $500 cash back after $3,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More

 

The Details: Best CardsUnder 5/24

 

1) Chase Sapphire Preferred  

Image result for chase sapphire preferred

Current Offer:

  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • 2 points per $1 spent on dining and travel, 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • Trip delay and primary rental car insurance

(Full offer details here: Learn More )

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