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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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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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Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: A Family Adventure to Italy Using Points and Miles

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

By: 10xT Reader Megan Parsons

We just came back home from a $16,000+ family adventure through Italy for less than $1,500!

I started earning points and miles in late 2015 and although we have used them for smaller trips, this was our first big international redemption.

Early this summer, my family and I took a wonderful 15 day trip to Italy using points and miles. This was planned as a trip for 4 but later changed to 3 as my son had enlisted in the National Guard and was away for training.

Deciding where to go was difficult, as my husband and I prefer to do a bit more wandering off the beaten track.  For this trip, our itinerary included Rome, Naples (incl Pompeii and Amalfi), Florence, Tuscany and Venice.

Trip to Italy Using Points and Miles | Reader Success Story: A $16,000+ Family Adventure Through Italy For Less Than $1,500

Booking Flights to Italy

We live in Milwaukee, which generally stinks as far as flight options, particularly when trying to use miles. We often fly out of Chicago and that’s just what we did this time. Our outbound flights for this trip were on Turkish Airlines with a connection in Istanbul (IST).

This was originally booked with my husband and me in business class and the two kids in economy — yes, I am a mean mom — but I couldn’t find both business and economy seats with the same program, so I booked the business class seats through Aeroplan and the economy seats through United.

The approximate cost of two business class seats would have been $6,840 but we used 55,000 Aeroplan miles plus 14.70 CAD (about $11) per ticket. Fortunately, when booking Turkish Airlines with Aeroplan, you won’t have to pay surcharges — though you will on a number of partners.

To get enough Aeroplan miles, I transferred a combination of SPG Starpoints (now part of Marriott Rewards) and American Express Membership Rewards points. I made sure to transfer chunks of 20,000 Starpoints so we could receive the 5,000-mile transfer bonus.

Editor’s note: When the SPG program was transitioned to Marriott Rewards, SPG points were converted to Marriott Rewards points at a 1:3 ratio. This means 20,000 SPG points became 60,000 Marriott Rewards points. You can now receive the 5,000-mile transfer bonus when transferring 60,000 Marriott points.

Italy Using Points and Miles | Reader Success Story: A $16,000+ Family Adventure Through Italy For Less Than $1,500

10xT Reader Megan in Turkish Airlines Business Class

Trip to Italy Using Points and Miles | Reader Success Story: A $16,000+ Family Adventure Through Italy For Less Than $1,500

For the kids’ economy tickets, I transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points to my United MileagePlus account. These award tickets cost 30,000 United miles each plus $22.60 in taxes/fees. The Approximate cash price of the tickets was $1,873.00

Editors Note: You could earn these same 30,000 bonus points (50,000 actually) with one Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 50,000 bonus points after $4,000 spend in 3 monthsLearn More

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

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

By:  Travis Cormier

Hey Travel Junkies,

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

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

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

Guide To Hyatt All-Inclusive Properties

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

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

Resort Fees

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

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

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

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

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

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Blog, Success Stories

Reader Success Story: A $17,000 Adventure to the South Africa Using Points and Miles

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

By: 10xT Reader Alycia Moore

A $17,000 Adventure to the South Africa (with a stop in the Netherlands) using points and miles.

Every May, my boyfriend and I take a trip abroad to celebrate our anniversary. We’ve traveled to Vancouver, taken a road trip across Europe and explored Denmark. This year, we took it to a new level and visited South Africa.

The one thing that differed this year from past years is we did it for insanely cheap. We paid only $1,700 for a trip that could have cost over $17,000!

How? Points and miles, of course!

I’ve spent the last year learning about points and how to best utilize credit cards to travel. We had gotten spoiled when my boyfriend worked for an airline and had flown First Class many times together. Once he quit his job – we were back to paying for flights in an economy (boo!!) and then I found travel hacking.

Here’s a recap of our amazing trip

South Africa using points and miles | Itinerary, Expenses and Miles and Points Used

“The one thing that differed this year from past years is we did it for insanely cheap. We paid only $1,700 for a trip that could have cost over $17,000! How? Points and miles, of course!” – Alycia Moore

We had very specific dates we could travel as I’m a wedding photographer and I needed to return to the states to shoot a wedding.

For the first leg, we booked economy tickets on United from San Francisco (SFO) to Amsterdam (AMS) for about $400 each.

From there, we used 220,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points to fly round-trip from Amsterdam to Cape Town (CPT) — about a 12-hour flight. We transferred our Ultimate Rewards points to Korean Air SkyPass to book KLM business class.

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