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Help me get a family of 4 to Europe on points from yyz

Help me get a family of 4 to Europe on points from yyz

Old Aug 18, 19, 9:24 am
  #1  
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Help me get a family of 4 to Europe on points from yyz

HI all. Im new here

What I would like to do is take my wife and two teenage kids to Europe next summer, specifically Austria. My grandparents were from there and it is next up on our list of places to visit.

I know I have a lot barriers, we need to go in July or August because of school, I need points for 4 people and I would like to fly direct if possible, and out of yyz. I believe I can get the points by December as I already have 100k+, Im signing my wife up for some cards, and I have a small business I can funnel cash through Amex>Paytm, sadly mostly taxes.

We would like to go for 3 weeks and would like to spend the majority of our time in Vienna and Salzburg, but as it is a vacation and we will rent a car, driving from another country is not out of the question. Basically we need to avoid the fuel surcharge from AC, and would like to spend as little time as possible in planes and airports. When you are a family of four these things are much more difficult

I see some options like yyz to brussels which puts us within a 10 hour drive of Austria, which can be its own little side trip.

Im looking for suggestions on what cities to fly to (to avoid the surcharge) when I would need to book, Thanks
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Old Aug 18, 19, 12:38 pm
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Originally Posted by heynow999 View Post
HI all. Im new here

What I would like to do is take my wife and two teenage kids to Europe next summer, specifically Austria. My grandparents were from there and it is next up on our list of places to visit.

I know I have a lot barriers, we need to go in July or August because of school, I need points for 4 people and I would like to fly direct if possible, and out of yyz. I believe I can get the points by December as I already have 100k+, Im signing my wife up for some cards, and I have a small business I can funnel cash through Amex>Paytm, sadly mostly taxes.

We would like to go for 3 weeks and would like to spend the majority of our time in Vienna and Salzburg, but as it is a vacation and we will rent a car, driving from another country is not out of the question. Basically we need to avoid the fuel surcharge from AC, and would like to spend as little time as possible in planes and airports. When you are a family of four these things are much more difficult

I see some options like yyz to brussels which puts us within a 10 hour drive of Austria, which can be its own little side trip.

Im looking for suggestions on what cities to fly to (to avoid the surcharge) when I would need to book, Thanks
Going mostly direct is going to be very difficult while avoiding surcharges - only AC and OS (via YUL) will allow that and both are high surcharge. Similarly LH via FRA is heavy surcharge. You mention BRU which would be on SN however the award availability for YYZ-BRU is quite rare.

You're mostly likely routes are TP via LIS, LO via WAW or maybe LX via ZRH (through YUL). TP and LO are releasing flights up to mid July 2020 so far so you'll have to watch for when they reach the days you want. Get them as soon as you can (and have the points) as 4 seats can be tricky! Also note that LO has *some* surcharge though it's typically not crazy so TP would likely be first choice. LX is the also great but having to go via YUL may put you off. Good luck!
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Old Aug 18, 19, 12:49 pm
  #3  
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Originally Posted by heynow999 View Post
I believe I can get the points by December as I already have 100k+, Im signing my wife up for some cards, and I have a small business I can funnel cash through Amex>Paytm, sadly mostly taxes.
This is where I stopped reading further.

With AP, the magic number is 240K. Taking as face value, as 100K+ really means 100K, I seriously doubt that OP can "produce" 140K to make up the trip.

I believe OP should come back to the reality and think about the possibility of using points/miles exclusively on the trip first. Then plan further.
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Old Aug 18, 19, 1:00 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by heynow999 View Post
HI all. Im new here

.....Im looking for suggestions on what cities to fly to (to avoid the surcharge) when I would need to book, Thanks
@heynow999
Welcome to FT.

You might want to look at the first post in this thread and perhaps the most recent discussion on the last few pages of the thread

How to Save Money/YQ on Aeroplan Europe redemptions


Also, you did not specify if you have any AC Altitude status and if you plan on 4 economy tickets or business. I assumed economy.

I'm not sure when you plan to "buy" these Aeroplan tickets, but you might also want to look into any of the posts in the threads about the new program coming in 2020.
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Old Aug 18, 19, 4:06 pm
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
This is where I stopped reading further.

With AP, the magic number is 240K. Taking as face value, as 100K+ really means 100K, I seriously doubt that OP can "produce" 140K to make up the trip.

I believe OP should come back to the reality and think about the possibility of using points/miles exclusively on the trip first. Then plan further.
Not to mention, by the time they get the necessary mileage finding 4 seats on the same flights will be next to impossible.
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Old Aug 18, 19, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by msat View Post
Not to mention, by the time they get the necessary mileage finding 4 seats on the same flights will be next to impossible.
Yes, these are the kind of questions I have. I see right now I can book a flight for 4 from YYZ to BRU for 240k points plus ~$400 cash. How long will this typically be available? Do these get booked immediately? Any chance in January? I realize there is no firm answer, but generally how close to July 2020 could I get this flight?
Thanks
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Old Aug 18, 19, 9:55 pm
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so many "if's" and issues
  • upcoming 9/1 change to only 1 stopover, if that matters to you
  • YYZ to Europe options are really limited, sometimes it's better to just pay for CASH or wait for deals, or a mix of both (miles there, cash back, etc...)
  • There's no telling on ANY availability, you just wait and see and hope
  • Either way, RACK UP points ASAP!! AMEX Plat 60K, AMEX Biz Plat 75K (both via referral), and TD Aeroplan VISA should be doable. Even better if you can do 2 player mode (refer each other)
Good luck
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Old Aug 18, 19, 10:09 pm
  #8  
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For Salzburg, MUC is very convenient. It's about two hours by (cheap) regional train, a bit faster and more expensive on the long distance trains but the regional line is supposed to be a prettier ride. Try to avoid going near there (expensive full hotels, crowds, traffic jams) near the music festival unless you want to participate in the festival and can get tickets. Salzberg itself has a small airport, but I suspect that MUC would be more available and more convenient and probably also so compared to VIE. The train between Munich and Vienna is also good, IIRC about four hours but I haven't done it recently. You could do the train in one direction (maybe upon arrival, when you're jetlagged) and rent a car (one way could be expensive) at the end of your trip when you're not in cities. You don't want a car in Vienna or Salzburg.
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Old Aug 19, 19, 1:48 am
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Originally Posted by msat View Post
Not to mention, by the time they get the necessary mileage finding 4 seats on the same flights will be next to impossible.
Originally Posted by heynow999 View Post
Yes, these are the kind of questions I have.
While I agree it is a legitimate concern, but definitely NOT now.

Without the necessary miles, regardless how the program changes, it is moot to talk about inventories and beyond. Frankly, the way I see it, until OP has obtained all the necessary miles, the chance for OP having the family trip now is practically NIL unless OP pays cash. This is why OP should plan a paid ticket trip now rather than an award trip.
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Old Aug 19, 19, 7:23 am
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
While I agree it is a legitimate concern, but definitely NOT now.

Without the necessary miles, regardless how the program changes, it is moot to talk about inventories and beyond. Frankly, the way I see it, until OP has obtained all the necessary miles, the chance for OP having the family trip now is practically NIL unless OP pays cash. This is why OP should plan a paid ticket trip now rather than an award trip.
Agreed. I just booked 4 J rewards for next July /August yesterday. Even with the points we needed to be flexible. Asking now is a waste of time.
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Old Aug 19, 19, 7:08 pm
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Originally Posted by 172pilot View Post


Agreed. I just booked 4 J rewards for next July /August yesterday. Even with the points we needed to be flexible. Asking now is a waste of time.
I booked 5 J awards for next July on AC metal via ANA last week. We had to be VERY flexible, including overnight connections out and inbound (excuse to see somewhere new, IMO). OP, check individual segments b/c if one segment is sold out, it will negate the entire route. And you may end up choosing to land somewhere unexpected and making it into a fun trip. As we say at my house, let the points take you on an adventure.

If I were you, I'd also be signing up for Amex high point cc immediately.
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Old Sep 22, 19, 7:27 am
  #12  
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op here.

so I'm learning alot. I now realize I have to book travel on points well in advance so as mentioned I don't have time to collect the necessary points. I have managed to collect about 110k points, just shy of the 120k for 2 tickets. I thought I would modify my plan and book two on points, then two for cash. In my searching I have found cash tickets on TAP for a little over $1k. The flight leaves from my preferred airport, yyz, and the allow you to spend a few nights in Lisbon. I'm tempted to just buy them.

I am a little disillusioned with collecting as I spent $699 for an annual fee on an Amex platinum card to get points worth $1k in plane tickets, which I have to jump through many hoops to get, with next to zero availability.

Am I better off to just buy the tickets? should I use my Amex platinum and will I be able to at least use the $200 travel credit?
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Old Sep 22, 19, 7:37 am
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Originally Posted by heynow999 View Post
op here.

so I'm learning alot. I now realize I have to book travel on points well in advance so as mentioned I don't have time to collect the necessary points. I have managed to collect about 110k points, just shy of the 120k for 2 tickets. I thought I would modify my plan and book two on points, then two for cash. In my searching I have found cash tickets on TAP for a little over $1k. The flight leaves from my preferred airport, yyz, and the allow you to spend a few nights in Lisbon. I'm tempted to just buy them.

I am a little disillusioned with collecting as I spent $699 for an annual fee on an Amex platinum card to get points worth $1k in plane tickets, which I have to jump through many hoops to get, with next to zero availability.

Am I better off to just buy the tickets? should I use my Amex platinum and will I be able to at least use the $200 travel credit?
The travel credit is for incidentals like baggage fees (although a Canadian Amex may be different). Iím seeing YYZ-CDG and MUC nonstop and various others for three weeks in July for $650-1k USD in case you donít want a stopover. Always look for round trip or at least a ticket with a return even if from another city bc Iíve noticed esp with Canada and Europe RT will price the same as OW.

The problem with doing some awards and some revenue (paid) tickets is that they may not match up as the best redemptions. Award flight that youíve got the points for may be more expensive as a paid ticket.

I understand your frustration. We have three kids and itís hard to get award seats for us all. I realized long ago that I have to plan two years out. A year to accrue points and then be ready to ticket a year before flights. Thatís the only way Iíve managed to make it work.

Last edited by Stgermainparis; Sep 22, 19 at 7:46 am
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Old Sep 22, 19, 9:01 am
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by heynow999 View Post
HI all. Im new here

What I would like to do is take my wife and two teenage kids to Europe next summer, specifically Austria. My grandparents were from there and it is next up on our list of places to visit.

I know I have a lot barriers, we need to go in July or August because of school, I need points for 4 people and I would like to fly direct if possible, and out of yyz. I believe I can get the points by December as I already have 100k+, Im signing my wife up for some cards, and I have a small business I can funnel cash through Amex>Paytm, sadly mostly taxes.

We would like to go for 3 weeks and would like to spend the majority of our time in Vienna and Salzburg, but as it is a vacation and we will rent a car, driving from another country is not out of the question. Basically we need to avoid the fuel surcharge from AC, and would like to spend as little time as possible in planes and airports. When you are a family of four these things are much more difficult

I see some options like yyz to brussels which puts us within a 10 hour drive of Austria, which can be its own little side trip.

Im looking for suggestions on what cities to fly to (to avoid the surcharge) when I would need to book, Thanks
Originally Posted by Stgermainparis View Post
The travel credit is for incidentals like baggage fees (although a Canadian Amex may be different). Iím seeing YYZ-CDG and MUC nonstop and various others for three weeks in July for $650-1k USD in case you donít want a stopover. Always look for round trip or at least a ticket with a return even if from another city bc Iíve noticed esp with Canada and Europe RT will price the same as OW.

The problem with doing some awards and some revenue (paid) tickets is that they may not match up as the best redemptions. Award flight that youíve got the points for may be more expensive as a paid ticket.

I understand your frustration. We have three kids and itís hard to get award seats for us all. I realized long ago that I have to plan two years out. A year to accrue points and then be ready to ticket a year before flights. Thatís the only way Iíve managed to make it work.
Generally my strategy is as follows:

1) Where to do you want to go? Go to https://flightconnections.com and put in your end point, filtering by Star Alliance
2) Determine what airlines you want to fly - typically looking to limit YQ if not AC super elite - LX, TP, UA, LO, TK
3) If there are no direct routes across to NA, note all of the valid connection points for the airlines you want
4) From those major connection points in Europe, find all of the routes that map back to major NA hubs - YYZ, YUL, ORD, BOS, EWR, IAD etc..
5) Use united.com one way award search to look at 30+ days of availability at a time to see who has availability and when on what routes - typically would search hub to hub, not the entire route - so BOS-MUC, ORD-MUC and then find the short flights after that
6) Find some departures that work, add your trip length and repeat for the return leg to find something that lines up
7) Once I've narrowed dates, I will also setup alerts on expertflyer for all of the routes / options if it's not exactly what I want or if I booked something that I may change if other options come up at some point

This summer we did Vienna and Croatia for 4 people in J and the availability was still decent 3 months out.

YYZ-LIS-VIE - TP J - stop
VIE-DBV - OS J - destination
ZAG-ZRH-ORD - LX J - open jaw
ORD-YYZ AC J


Originally Posted by Stgermainparis View Post
The travel credit is for incidentals like baggage fees (although a Canadian Amex may be different). Iím seeing YYZ-CDG and MUC nonstop and various others for three weeks in July for $650-1k USD in case you donít want a stopover. Always look for round trip or at least a ticket with a return even if from another city bc Iíve noticed esp with Canada and Europe RT will price the same as OW.

The problem with doing some awards and some revenue (paid) tickets is that they may not match up as the best redemptions. Award flight that youíve got the points for may be more expensive as a paid ticket.

I understand your frustration. We have three kids and itís hard to get award seats for us all. I realized long ago that I have to plan two years out. A year to accrue points and then be ready to ticket a year before flights. Thatís the only way Iíve managed to make it work.
Same with us getting 4 in J to Europe or Asia.

We're booking for next summer and saving for the summer after that.
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Old Sep 22, 19, 3:12 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Stgermainparis View Post
The travel credit is for incidentals like baggage fees (although a Canadian Amex may be different). Iím seeing YYZ-CDG and MUC nonstop and various others for three weeks in July for $650-1k USD in case you donít want a stopover. Always look for round trip or at least a ticket with a return even if from another city bc Iíve noticed esp with Canada and Europe RT will price the same as OW.
The Canadian travel credit can be used on airfare, not just incidentals.
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