Credit Card Programs - Newbie Question: Best Cards to go to France in late November?
Jul 4, 12, 1:17 pm
Hi there, I've been lurking on the boards for a few months and trying to learn as much as I can! I was hoping someone could give me some advice on an upcoming trip to France. My husband is going to southern France for ~3 months for an internship at a restaurant (he's a baker), and I wanted to visit after his internship is over, in the last week of November. We're not exactly sure where he will be as yet, most likely Toulouse. We wanted to spend a few days in southern France, go up to Paris, maybe go to London at the end of the trip so we can continue our European holiday after his 90 days are up. Probably 7-10 days overall.
Which cards would you recommend I apply for to get enough miles for France? Ideally enough miles for business class, at least for the return flight. I was pondering the AA Visa and Amex, but will I be hit with fuel surcharges if I connect through London? :confused: Also, which card would be best if I wanted to get a couple of free nights in Paris?
I have 56K with DL (I have their Amex), no miles or points anywhere else. My parents are going to be making a few purchases in the near future, so I can put those on cards to hit the spend faster. Any tips would be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance!
ETA: I will be departing from SEA.
AAdvantage cards would be your best bet for the air.
Go to AA forum to read up the STICKY.
You would find links to current/future questions you have in mind about redeeming AA miles. You would also find links to AA award charts that tell you how many miles to where in what class.
Since AA is one-way system you can go one direction in coach and one direction in business - coach in offpeak is a bargain of 20K one-way.
Spend some time follow the various award-related threads in AA forum to get a better understanding and learn how to optimize your award.
No, you would not be hit with fuel surcharge going thru LHR if you dont fly BA but only on AA's own flight. However you will be hit with LHR taxes.fees (imposed by government) if you stay at London longer than 24 hours on your way out / in. Transit would spare you the high taxes/fees.
For your hotel needs, Chase Priority Club 80K would be your best bet - 25K a night at Holiday Inn Notre Dame would get you a modern, extremely well-located hotel for your Paris sojourn. Hint: the hotel is 2 minutes walk to metro station, 5 minutes walk to the river bank where you are within stone throw to Notre Dame, and it is right in the heart of the very lively Rive Gauche St. Germain area. The under-used rooftop would give you a great view of Tour L'Effile especially at night. You even get ONE free drink coupon because you would be a PC Platinum by virtue of the Chase card. There is no price limit on the cost of the free drink, so toast up! (though if you want to share it with hubby, you need to pay for his as hotel is very strict on only ONE coupon per stay.)
Crowne Plaza at Toulouse is right at the town square (35K).
Jul 4, 12, 2:05 pm
You're only 6k away from having enough DL miles to do the trip in coach on AF... You could also try and find a 50k MR link and transfer the points to DL -- 100k DL is RT business on AF (and I think DL will allow you to mix coach/biz for 80k--but only if you book a round trip; no one ways).
Then you could focus on hotel cards for stays... Park Hyatt in Paris (Hyatt card -- 2 free nights for hotel that can cost upwards of $500/nt) is a popular one on FT
Welcome to FlyerTalk.
I have moved your thread from the very general MilesBuzz! forum to the specialized Credit Card Programs forum. You may receive better replies if you mention where your trip will begin.
My wife and I go to Europe each year at Thanksgiving. Business class airfares are often very low at that time because there is a lull in commercial travel. However, the airlines often do not announce these sales until near the effective dates, and some years the effective travel dates are very specific.
Jul 4, 12, 2:24 pm
Thank you for the quick replies, and thanks mia for moving my post to the appropriate forum! I've updated my original post to include my departure city Seattle. I'm going to take a look at the cards mentioned thus far. Any other feedback is greatly appreciated!
You should also look at this thread which explains how to obtain a card with an EMV chip which would be useful for your husband during his stay, and for both of you on the subsequent vacation. Look for one with an EMV chip -and- no or low (1%) foreign transaction fee.
Jul 5, 12, 1:25 pm
I agree with the idea on the Hyatt card. My wife and I each got one, and are getting four free nights at the Park Hyatt Vendome, which would otherwise be $700 a night (although we wouldn't actually pay that much for a hotel).
Also consider using Priceline for hotels, although I don't know how broad their coverage is outside Paris. However you can save quite a lot using their name-your-own-price function. Hotwire is a slightly more expensive but easier-to-use option.
Alas, you can't book one-way on Delta. So you either need to top off your points to at least 120K, or start from scratch on another airline. However, you can get 55K miles on United with the United Explorer card, 40K Chase points with Sapphire preferred, and 100K on American by getting both their Visa and Amex cards. The United and American cards do have some tricks associated with them, and you have to make sure you use the right links. Also the Chase and American cards require $3000 spend each. But if you got a United and a Chase Sapphire Preferred card, that would give you at least 98K points (counting the $3K you have to spend) and the two AA cards give you 100K, and that's enough for two one-way business class tickets on each airline. That might be better than the DL route, as both Amex membership rewards cards and DL co-branded Amex cards have stingier signup bonuses.
In all practical purpose, unless OP can meet MULTIPLE of $3K spend in 3 months or shorter, (so the bonuses would post on time for the trip assuming award availability is still to be found in short notice), OP needs to find the "biggest bang" for the "spend buck" within the confine of her specific time frame and requirement.
As for the Park Hyatt Vendome - I know this is a popular choice for those who go for the Hyatt card, but, most seem to be enticed by the "$700 a night" price tag (and the psychological satisfaction that goes with that as "I can stay there for free"), the location of Park Hyatt is not as optimal as the HI Notre Dame if you are going for a good time in Paris, especially if this is your first time, rather than staying in a 5 star hotel - besides, unless you have status in Hyatt program, the room you get is rather small and far from anything exceptional. Good thing you are going in November, else you may have issue with the weak AC system... I say this because I have stayed at both places, (used FFN when I was still Hyatt Diamond a few years ago) and I prefer the location of HI Notre Dame than Park Hyatt or the InterContinental Le Grand across street from Palais Garnier (the Opera House). I even prefer Le Grand's location than Park Hyatt's Place Vendome location...
OP, you have more than enough info for you to chew upon. If you truly want to use miles for a free flight, you better act rather quickly, especially for those cards that needs to meet $3000 in 3 to 4 months spend before you see the bonus.
Jul 7, 12, 1:20 pm
Thank you for all the replies! I think that I will go ahead and apply for the 2 Citi AA cards to get the 100K miles, I don't anticipate a problem hitting the 3K spend each in the next couple of months.
It's looking more likely that we will be spending 2-3 nights in London after Paris. Based on that, does anyone have any recommendations on which hotel card to get? I was thinking of getting both the Hyatt and Priority cards mentioned above, and based on feedback, I'll apply for one more card for DH (he already has the Citi AA cards and was approved for a non-rewards Chase card last week).
Thanks again FTers for sharing your knowledge with this newbie! This is my and DH's first time to Europe, so we're very excited by the trip and thankful for all the shared knowledge this community. :)
Jul 16, 12, 2:10 pm
I know that on foreign purchases that Citibank American Air credit card charges a 3% fee. Is that also on in-flight purchases (food, etc) on a AA flight nonstop from Paris to the USA?