Total Newbie, would like some advice

Old Aug 21, 14, 9:54 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 5
Total Newbie, would like some advice

I've been reading this site as well as a few blogs for a few weeks. I'm not a frequent traveler however my wife and I and 3 couples have been talking about going to Europe but it keeps getting put on the back burner.

I'd really like us to get enough miles to get there and back and I think it's fairly easily attainable, I was going to have each person in each couple get a Chase Sapphire Preferred as well as the Chase United Mileage Plus card for the bonuses. That's about 75K points total and that gets us from our origin to destination (Minneapolis-Munich) and our return (Rome-Minneapolis) for 30k miles each way in economy on United. This is for several reasons: I think the booking is easiest, and everybody is familiar with and comfortable with United, and those cards have low min spends (3k/3 months and 1k/3months) and we have plenty of time to spread it out over the next year as we wouldn't be booking for probably a year anyway.

Am I missing something? It seems easier than I expected. If we get the bonuses and convert them to miles, could we cancel the cards before the first annual pay comes up and keep the miles? I thought it was separate accounts and not tied to the cards. United clearly lists the taxes and fees and it looks like they don't have fuel surcharges.

Sorry I feel like I'm asking dumb questions when it comes to the threads on this board but I literally have been looking at this for about a month and I just feel like I am missing something in fees I don't know about or other things.

Thanks in advance for any help.
BryceC is offline  
Old Aug 21, 14, 10:08 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: SMF
Programs: Hilton Gold-Marriott Gold
Posts: 1,014
Total Newbie, would like some advice

One of your concerns will be if you're all flying from the same airport and traveling the same time is finding that amount of award seats being available
mike2200 is offline  
Old Aug 21, 14, 10:25 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 36
Originally Posted by BryceC View Post
Am I missing something? It seems easier than I expected. If we get the bonuses and convert them to miles, could we cancel the cards before the first annual pay comes up and keep the miles? I thought it was separate accounts and not tied to the cards. United clearly lists the taxes and fees and it looks like they don't have fuel surcharges.

Sorry I feel like I'm asking dumb questions when it comes to the threads on this board but I literally have been looking at this for about a month and I just feel like I am missing something in fees I don't know about or other things.
You're absolutely correct. It's just that easy to sign up for a card and start flying. [comm. blog link removed].

And as you mentioned, United is one of those airlines which doesn't levy fuel surcharges on award flights (so it will be the most economical). However, if you have no status with them then change ($100) and redeposit ($200) fees can be expensive.

Last edited by philemer; Aug 21, 14 at 10:34 am Reason: no links to comm. sites allowed
RewardFlyer is offline  
Old Aug 21, 14, 11:32 am
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 5
Originally Posted by mike2200 View Post
One of your concerns will be if you're all flying from the same airport and traveling the same time is finding that amount of award seats being available
Even if we're scheduling about a year out? How many seats are there available on flights? We'd need 8 total.
BryceC is offline  
Old Aug 21, 14, 11:54 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: MCI
Programs: AA, DL, WN, HHonors Diamond, IHG Platinum, Marriott, Hyatt
Posts: 228
It varies by airline, specific flight, time of year, class of service, etc.
Travel22 is offline  
Old Aug 21, 14, 11:56 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Bahamas
Programs: AA Plat
Posts: 942
Originally Posted by BryceC View Post
Even if we're scheduling about a year out? How many seats are there available on flights? We'd need 8 total.
You may need to prepare to go in two groups of four persons on different flights.
bruceba is offline  
Old Aug 21, 14, 12:54 pm
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Not here; there!
Programs: AA Lifetime Gold
Posts: 22,064
Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry: BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.1030 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/417)

Originally Posted by BryceC
Originally Posted by mike2200 View Post
One of your concerns will be if you're all flying from the same airport and traveling the same time is finding that amount of award seats being available
Even if we're scheduling about a year out? How many seats are there available on flights? We'd need 8 total.
You can go to united.com right now, and check current award-seat availability for next year, through mid-July. No log-in required.

Of course, if you were planning to travel during a different time of year, availability could well be different.

And if you were planning to travel between October 15 and May 15, you should consider getting AA miles instead. AA charges only 40K miles for the roundtrip during that time period, but you would need to avoid flights on BA and IB in order to escape surcharges (hefty on BA; moderate on IB).

You can check current award availability on aa.com -- no log-in required.

Since both AA and UA offer one-way redemptions, you could fly one way with AA miles, and the other way with UA miles. @:-)
guv1976 is offline  
Old Aug 21, 14, 1:56 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Programs: IHG,Hyatt, Hilton Diamond, Marriott, Wyndham, SPG, United, Delta, Alaska, AA, Southwest
Posts: 5,499
Since this seems to be a one and done type of deal I be a bit more aggressive and get 1st class flights plus hotel rooms.

If you fly Delta or American and are located near Rochester, MN sometimes flights that originate out of RST ( even though they usually go through MSP) are sometimes cheaper and it can be much cheaper

I have an upcoming flight that I paid for RST/MSP/BDL that is $400 cheaper than the MSP/BDL flight, using miles will sometimes be cheaper also using RST

That is a LONG flight in coach

If each person gets a Hilton reserve card that is 4 free nights at basically any Hilton. Since you are going to be travelling 12 plus hours each way I'm guessing you will be staying a couple weeks so using the 4 free nights ( fri - sunday) won't be an issue

Last edited by flyer4512; Aug 21, 14 at 2:04 pm
flyer4512 is offline  
Old Aug 21, 14, 3:39 pm
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 5
My first time on a plane ever was to Sydney so everything seems short in comparison.

Thanks guys really appreciate the input especially the off peak AA info. Would aa allow an open jaw between two different locations for the round trip off peak?
BryceC is offline  
Old Aug 21, 14, 3:55 pm
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Not here; there!
Programs: AA Lifetime Gold
Posts: 22,064
Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry: BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.1030 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/417)

"Would aa allow an open jaw between two different locations for the round trip off peak?"

All AA awards are one-ways, and can be combined, as needed, to create roundtrip, open-jaw, or multi-city itineraries. And, as noted, you could fly one way with AA miles, and the other way with UA miles.
guv1976 is offline  
Old Aug 26, 14, 7:47 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 24
My Experience also from MSP

Originally Posted by BryceC View Post
I've been reading this site as well as a few blogs for a few weeks. I'm not a frequent traveler however my wife and I and 3 couples have been talking about going to Europe but it keeps getting put on the back burner.

I'd really like us to get enough miles to get there and back and I think it's fairly easily attainable, I was going to have each person in each couple get a Chase Sapphire Preferred as well as the Chase United Mileage Plus card for the bonuses. That's about 75K points total and that gets us from our origin to destination (Minneapolis-Munich) and our return (Rome-Minneapolis) for 30k miles each way in economy on United. This is for several reasons: I think the booking is easiest, and everybody is familiar with and comfortable with United, and those cards have low min spends (3k/3 months and 1k/3months) and we have plenty of time to spread it out over the next year as we wouldn't be booking for probably a year anyway.

Am I missing something? It seems easier than I expected. If we get the bonuses and convert them to miles, could we cancel the cards before the first annual pay comes up and keep the miles? I thought it was separate accounts and not tied to the cards. United clearly lists the taxes and fees and it looks like they don't have fuel surcharges.

Sorry I feel like I'm asking dumb questions when it comes to the threads on this board but I literally have been looking at this for about a month and I just feel like I am missing something in fees I don't know about or other things.

Thanks in advance for any help.
I just booked my family of 4 to Europe using AA and United miles June/July 2015 from MSP. What I found was award availability for MSP to ORD are very limited most of the year on both AA and United. I'm purchaing tickets for the MSP>ORD segment and using miles onward to Europe. You're ahead by using United, it seems they have more award seats available in the summer to Europe from ORD. I'm also somewhat of a newbie but have found these forums extremely helpful and I've been able to make trips that I never thought possible.
N0LID is offline  
Old Aug 30, 14, 4:35 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 138
Not only would I get the Hilton card mentioned above, but also the IHG card for 80,000 points...one for each of you. There are hundreds of IHG properties throughout Europe and you could easily get 6 or 7 free nights (some with free breakfast) with the 160,000 points. They also offer "point break" 5,000 point rooms throughout the country on special every few months. The $49 fee is waived the first year, and then you get a free night at any IHG property each year you renew. My family is staying at a 300 EUR Intercontinental in the German Alps next summer for only the $49 annual fee.
arrosen is offline  
Old Aug 31, 14, 12:41 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Brooklyn, NY, United States
Programs: AA, BA, UA, Spirit, Delta, PC Plat, SPG Gold, HHonors Diamond, Club Carlson Gold, Marriott Gold
Posts: 1,735
I agree, it sounds like a special project, so just get business/first with Citi AA. Make it special. Won't be possible to be on the same flight for all of you, but, hey, you'll see a lot of each other on the ground. Just one personal and business Citi AA credit cards for each give you 100,000 miles, which is a free business or biz/first class ticket. Hey, push comes to shove (availability-wise), fly in couch and put wives in first.

And load up on hotel points as well. There are plenty of Hilton HHonors flying around. IHG too.
mnscout is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: