Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Information Desk
Reload this Page >

Looking for Help Getting to Paris for 2

Looking for Help Getting to Paris for 2

Old May 25, 14, 6:38 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 20
Talking Looking for Help Getting to Paris for 2

Hello Everyone,

I've been browsing this site on and off for years, but only recently (past 6 months) have started accruing points and really getting interested in using them.

Admittedly, I haven't been the most strategic in claiming bonuses, so i have points kind of scattered about. Here's what I've got so far:

59,000 SWRR points
30,000 +/- a few thousand Amex MR points (points balance growing relatively quickly b/c I've been using card quite heavily)
32,000 Delta Skymiles
69 Amex BCE "Reward Dollars"
10,000 UR Chase
and just signed up for United Mileage Explorer with 30,000 Bonus, which I'll fill the bonus requirement in a couple of weeks.



So here's the goal... I got married last year in March and we weren't able to go on much of a honeymoon after we paid for the wedding. We want to go to Paris (I've been learning French x 1.5 years and my wife is just excited to take her first international trip!) And we have nice window to go any time mid July through the middle of August.

I realize I probably haven't accumulated enough points to pay for the airfare entirely, so I had planned on paying cash for the tickets or at least partially. But I wanted to see if there was a good way to maximize the points that I've already earned. In particular, if we could somehow swing upgraded seats or discount fares that would be amazing. I've seen others posting on here about using points for upgrades, but I can't seem to find any good info on how to do this, what to request, etc. I'm also open to suggestions on the best airline for getting to Paris or any other nuggets of info you guys might have.

So I'm open to suggestions on how to maximize what I've got so far either for fares, upgraded seats, or just nice tips on how you'd use the points.

Thanks in advance for your help! (Meanwhile I'll keep reading and searching as well.)
GiventoFly is offline  
Old May 25, 14, 7:11 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Programs: Hilton Diamond, Marriott Titanium, Radisson Gold, Hyatt Globalist, M life Gold, IHG Spire
Posts: 793
For the first time, I get to be the first one to say "Welcome to Flyertalk."

Plus, congratulations on the wedding.

As for your question, your biggest limitation is that you want to fly overseas, but the biggest chunk of your points are with Southwest. Those are going to be worthless for a trip to France, unless you get a great flight deal on TransAtl tickets from a gateway city, and use the RR points to book your flight from your hometown to a gateway airport.

Besides that, having points in both the DL and UACO programs means you can only use one or the other, unless you want you and your wife to fly different airlines to Europe.

I suspect, but I'm not positive, that the best you can do is transfer your points into your existing Skypesos account, and then book one ticket on points and pay for the other. If you decide to go that route, remember that you can book AF and KLM tickets using DL miles, but DL doesn't make it easy to do. There are other FTers around here who are much better versed in redeeming skypesos for Skyteam awards than I am.

BTW, are you and your wife averse to the idea of each of you signing up for another cc, like the BA Visa, to get some more bonus miles quickly?
jn in ca is offline  
Old May 25, 14, 7:18 pm
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Not here; there!
Programs: AA Lifetime Gold
Posts: 21,578
Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry: BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.601 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/417)

"Here's what I've got so far"

But what does your wife have, and what credit-card sign-up bonuses can she qualify for?

And where are you flying from? Some FFPs are zone-based; others are mileage-based.
guv1976 is offline  
Old May 25, 14, 7:56 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Home Airports: CAE/CLT
Programs: Hyatt Globalist, National Executive
Posts: 5,437
Welcome to FT!

Hate to be the bearer of bad new, but at this late date you may have a hard time finding award seats to Paris.

How about gathering some points now and going next spring?
Gamecock is offline  
Old May 25, 14, 11:04 pm
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 20
Originally Posted by jn in ca View Post
For the first time, I get to be the first one to say "Welcome to Flyertalk."

Plus, congratulations on the wedding.

As for your question, your biggest limitation is that you want to fly overseas, but the biggest chunk of your points are with Southwest. Those are going to be worthless for a trip to France, unless you get a great flight deal on TransAtl tickets from a gateway city, and use the RR points to book your flight from your hometown to a gateway airport.

Besides that, having points in both the DL and UACO programs means you can only use one or the other, unless you want you and your wife to fly different airlines to Europe.

I suspect, but I'm not positive, that the best you can do is transfer your points into your existing Skypesos account, and then book one ticket on points and pay for the other. If you decide to go that route, remember that you can book AF and KLM tickets using DL miles, but DL doesn't make it easy to do. There are other FTers around here who are much better versed in redeeming skypesos for Skyteam awards than I am.

BTW, are you and your wife averse to the idea of each of you signing up for another cc, like the BA Visa, to get some more bonus miles quickly?
Thanks for the welcome! Glad to finally create an account and interact with you guys.

I don't mind getting another card so long as the spend requirements aren't too crazy, although I guess I can MS if need be. How would the BA visa be worked in with what I've got so far, or you're just thinking using them as the primary airline?

Would it be completely insane to try and book a one way flight their on one airline and then a returning flight on the other carrier?

For the SWRR points, I will say they have some options for using them for hotels which I was considering. So if nothing else with those, I have that option.

Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry: BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.601 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/417)

"Here's what I've got so far"

But what does your wife have, and what credit-card sign-up bonuses can she qualify for?

And where are you flying from? Some FFPs are zone-based; others are mileage-based.
We're based at MCO currently.

As far as my wife goes, this is where things are a little tricky. She's rebuilding and doesn't currently have anything CC-wise in her name. She is an authorized user on a few of my cards though. She's still warming up to the idea of using these cards this way due to a bad experience she had when she was younger with CCs, although she's starting to see the light :-)

But, even if I do get her to apply, I'm not 100% she'd get approved for any travel cards simply b/c of lack of credit history.
GiventoFly is offline  
Old May 25, 14, 11:05 pm
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 20
Originally Posted by Gamecock View Post
Welcome to FT!

Hate to be the bearer of bad new, but at this late date you may have a hard time finding award seats to Paris.

How about gathering some points now and going next spring?
Really? Well that's certainly an option if need be.
GiventoFly is offline  
Old May 25, 14, 11:39 pm
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Not here; there!
Programs: AA Lifetime Gold
Posts: 21,578
Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry: BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.601 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/417)

Originally Posted by GiventoFly
Originally Posted by Gamecock View Post
Welcome to FT!

Hate to be the bearer of bad new, but at this late date you may have a hard time finding award seats to Paris.

How about gathering some points now and going next spring?
Really? Well that's certainly an option if need be.
It really does not look like you'll be able to accumulate the necessary miles to travel this Summer, even if you could find low-tier award space.

For future reference, if you can depart from JAX, and if you can find low-tier award space on all-UA flights, a JAX-CDG-JAX roundtrip (via IAD or EWR) could be had year-round for 43,000 Amex MR points, transferred to ANA's (distance-based) FFP.

For low-tier award travel between October 15 and May 15, 40K AA miles will get a roundtrip between MCO and CDG. (If you hold a qualifying Citi/AA credit card, 10% of those miles will be rebated to you, up to a maximum rebate of 10,000 miles per cardholder per year.)
guv1976 is offline  
Old May 26, 14, 7:07 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 97
I think I might also get the Hyatt card for its sign up bonus - 2 free nights at any Hyatt. Use them for the Park Hyatt Vendome.
szehui is offline  
Old May 26, 14, 9:24 am
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 20
Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry: BlackBerry8530/5.0.0.601 Profile/MIDP-2.1 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/417)



It really does not look like you'll be able to accumulate the necessary miles to travel this Summer, even if you could find low-tier award space.

For future reference, if you can depart from JAX, and if you can find low-tier award space on all-UA flights, a JAX-CDG-JAX roundtrip (via IAD or EWR) could be had year-round for 43,000 Amex MR points, transferred to ANA's (distance-based) FFP.

For low-tier award travel between October 15 and May 15, 40K AA miles will get a roundtrip between MCO and CDG. (If you hold a qualifying Citi/AA credit card, 10% of those miles will be rebated to you, up to a maximum rebate of 10,000 miles per cardholder per year.)
This is exactly what I was hoping someone could share with me. Leaving from JAX is no problem really. I actually think I can rack up 86K MR points relatively quickly for both of our flights.

I might consider a Citi AA card next. I apped a few months ago with them, just trying to get my foot in the door with them, and got declined for inqs, so I'll probably wait a couple of months and let some of these new inquiries age off, and then maybe app for that card.

Originally Posted by szehui View Post
I think I might also get the Hyatt card for its sign up bonus - 2 free nights at any Hyatt. Use them for the Park Hyatt Vendome.

Noted! Thanks for the suggestion. Not a bad idea at all!
GiventoFly is offline  
Old May 26, 14, 10:23 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Home Airports: CAE/CLT
Programs: Hyatt Globalist, National Executive
Posts: 5,437
Originally Posted by GiventoFly View Post



Noted! Thanks for the suggestion. Not a bad idea at all!
The Hyatt idea is a good one. But don't get it too far in advance. IIRC the free nights are only good for a year and it is a once in a lifetime deal.

The DW and I are holding out to get ours in two years for a trip we are already working on to Greece.

Just as an aside, you have to develop a tempo. Right now we are have a family trip to Thailand on the calender for December. Ready to pull the trigger for a trip to South America in the summer of 2015 (June/July) and the Trip to Greece in 2016. Some people have a faster tempo than that, but it's all about what works for you.
Gamecock is offline  
Old May 26, 14, 11:16 am
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 20
Originally Posted by Gamecock View Post
The Hyatt idea is a good one. But don't get it too far in advance. IIRC the free nights are only good for a year and it is a once in a lifetime deal.

The DW and I are holding out to get ours in two years for a trip we are already working on to Greece.

Just as an aside, you have to develop a tempo. Right now we are have a family trip to Thailand on the calender for December. Ready to pull the trigger for a trip to South America in the summer of 2015 (June/July) and the Trip to Greece in 2016. Some people have a faster tempo than that, but it's all about what works for you.
Yeh (to the idea of tempo), and as I kind of mentioned in the OP, I wasn't as strategic as I probably could have been, mostly b/c I was rebuilding my credit profile that was badly wrecked and got a little excited at the prospect of just being approved. So I am actually trying to think more strategic now.

That said, the Paris trip is something we've been talking about for a long time, even before I was aware of travel hacking. We normally travel 1-2 times a year, but it's always been domestic. This trip is going to be special because it's a much delayed honeymoon. Of course, if we can make it better by waiting a few months, I think we're both open to that idea. I'll hold off on the Hyatt, probably at least until the end of the year, once I know a little better where I stand point-wise, thanks for the tip.
GiventoFly is offline  
Old May 26, 14, 11:37 am
  #12  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 84,937
Originally Posted by jn in ca View Post
For the first time, I get to be the first one to say "Welcome to Flyertalk."

Plus, congratulations on the wedding.

As for your question, your biggest limitation is that you want to fly overseas, but the biggest chunk of your points are with Southwest. Those are going to be worthless for a trip to France, unless you get a great flight deal on TransAtl tickets from a gateway city, and use the RR points to book your flight from your hometown to a gateway airport.

Besides that, having points in both the DL and UACO programs means you can only use one or the other, unless you want you and your wife to fly different airlines to Europe.

I suspect, but I'm not positive, that the best you can do is transfer your points into your existing Skypesos account, and then book one ticket on points and pay for the other. If you decide to go that route, remember that you can book AF and KLM tickets using DL miles, but DL doesn't make it easy to do. There are other FTers around here who are much better versed in redeeming skypesos for Skyteam awards than I am.

BTW, are you and your wife averse to the idea of each of you signing up for another cc, like the BA Visa, to get some more bonus miles quickly?
Don't transfer your points into DL miles until you are sure that there is award availability that you
can use. Sometimes when AF/KLM flights appear during a search, it's phantom availability and cannot be booked or seen by DL agents. In principle, DL miles can also be used for AZ flights.

Note also that DL currently charges the same number of miles for one way as for RT award tickets. Also, to use DL miles to upgrade international not only requires upgrade inventory before the day of travel but also very expensive M+ fares to even get onto a wait list.
MSPeconomist is offline  
Old May 26, 14, 12:41 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Programs: Hilton Diamond, Marriott Titanium, Radisson Gold, Hyatt Globalist, M life Gold, IHG Spire
Posts: 793
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Don't transfer your points into DL miles until you are sure that there is award availability that you
can use. Sometimes when AF/KLM flights appear during a search, it's phantom availability and cannot be booked or seen by DL agents. In principle, DL miles can also be used for AZ flights.
So, is your suggestion to look for award flights on delta.com, then call DL to confirm availability, then hang up and call American Express to transfer the MR points, then call Delta back? I'm tired just thinking about doing all that.

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Note also that DL currently charges the same number of miles for one way as for RT award tickets. Also, to use DL miles to upgrade international not only requires upgrade inventory before the day of travel but also very expensive M+ fares to even get onto a wait list.
Thank goodness that DL is finally going to allow one way redemptions next year. Yea! I am not redeeming any skypesos until then.
jn in ca is offline  
Old May 26, 14, 1:11 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: San Antonio
Programs: AS MVP
Posts: 2,276
Just a couple notes on the accounts you do have: If you add your wife (or anyone else for that matter) as an authorized user on your UA card you should get 5K points for that if it was in your offer. And if you send Chase a secure message from your online account to the tune of

'I signed up for the United card with 30,000 bonus miles but then learned of a 50,000 mile offer. Can you match this bonus in my account?'

every case I am aware of has gotten the extra 20K no problem.

+1 wait a little more time and collect miles.
KennyBSAT is offline  
Old May 26, 14, 1:32 pm
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 20
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Don't transfer your points into DL miles until you are sure that there is award availability that you
can use. Sometimes when AF/KLM flights appear during a search, it's phantom availability and cannot be booked or seen by DL agents. In principle, DL miles can also be used for AZ flights.
I'm still learning the jargon, mind filling me in on AZ flights meaning?

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Note also that DL currently charges the same number of miles for one way as for RT award tickets. Also, to use DL miles to upgrade international not only requires upgrade inventory before the day of travel but also very expensive M+ fares to even get onto a wait list.
Ahh, ok. Good to know.

Originally Posted by jn in ca View Post
So, is your suggestion to look for award flights on delta.com, then call DL to confirm availability, then hang up and call American Express to transfer the MR points, then call Delta back? I'm tired just thinking about doing all that.


Thank goodness that DL is finally going to allow one way redemptions next year. Yea! I am not redeeming any skypesos until then.
Would also like to know this.

Originally Posted by KennyBSAT View Post
Just a couple notes on the accounts you do have: If you add your wife (or anyone else for that matter) as an authorized user on your UA card you should get 5K points for that if it was in your offer. And if you send Chase a secure message from your online account to the tune of

'I signed up for the United card with 30,000 bonus miles but then learned of a 50,000 mile offer. Can you match this bonus in my account?'

every case I am aware of has gotten the extra 20K no problem.

+1 wait a little more time and collect miles.
Good call, on both counts. I think I've had every bonus I've gotten from chase upped by calling them :-) but, I wasn't aware of a 50,000 offer on the UA card, also thanks for the tip of the AU 5K bonus. I'll definitely ad my wife as an AU, no question.

If I can sell the spring trip to my wife, I think that's looking like a much better option at this point in terms of what we'd get for our money.



On a side note, what are you're all's thoughts on using unused miles to book hotels. Not that I'm in a hurry to burn them per se, but for example, I found that SWRR can be used for hotels in Paris. A 4 star hotel near the city center is roughly 15,000 RR points per night. Am I losing a ton of value doing this?

Last edited by GiventoFly; May 26, 14 at 4:38 pm
GiventoFly is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread