Europe In March

Old Jan 8, 20, 1:53 am
  #1  
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Question Europe In March

Hello,

I am new to the award redemption side of the game, not on the point collecting side of things though. My wife and I are looking to go for 7-9 days from March 19/20-28 to Paris for sure and another city like: London, Barcelona, or a beach resort in the Mediterranean. We have around 545k chase points, 250k Marriott, and another 100k in Hilton and another 50k in United(used about 150k this year with our daughter being over 2). My wife is the road warrior and has platinum status on United and we are open to another airline within Chase's partnerships and live in Denver but also open to leaving out of other airports that are better for saver awards. If some experts and more advanced users could help a newbie get his feet wet and utilize these points as best possible while also being in business class for all or most of the legs.
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Old Jan 8, 20, 4:09 am
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Welcome to FT!

You need to look at business class availability for the dates you want to travel on the websites of the various airlines you can transfer to. Finding three business seats during what smells like Easter/spring break times may be challenging. But that's where you need to start. You should also be aware that whatever availability you see may not be there once you transfer your points...

Late March will not be warm enough for a beach holiday in Europe, even in southern Spain. In fact, it could be wet and cool.
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Old Jan 8, 20, 9:17 am
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Do spend some time with one of those weather sites - average high/low, hours of daylight/sunshine, average rainfall, etc. for your dates.

I'm from MN. I once went to Italy in February. MN Feb is something like an average high/low of 22/7. I'd looked at the average Italy Feb high and seen 65 for my intended area. It seemed so warm compared to the blizzard and inches of ice outside. Packed shorts and t's. Indeed there was a high of 65 there, but I about froze. Finally realized that 65 is how high I heat my house in the winter, and I dress in wool socks, long pants, long-sleeved tops, and thick sweaters.

For March in Europe, think south, think near oceans/seas, think near warm ocean currents, think lower elevations. Or think dressing warmly, museums and other indoor amazing things for other areas.
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Old Jan 8, 20, 1:09 pm
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If only 9 days consider combing Paris with cities closer by and using train. Book and open jaw and visit some of the wonderful places that are in easy reach. E.g. start in London, next Eurostar to Paris and end in Amsterdam. If 7 days do only 2. Otherwise you are wasting too much time traveling.
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Old Jan 8, 20, 2:40 pm
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Originally Posted by erik123 View Post
If only 9 days consider combing Paris with cities closer by and using train. Book and open jaw and visit some of the wonderful places that are in easy reach. E.g. start in London, next Eurostar to Paris and end in Amsterdam. If 7 days do only 2. Otherwise you are wasting too much time traveling.
I do agree with the open-jaw route.

Starting in London lets you train through the Chunnel. I found this very exciting, although fellow passengers were reading newspapers and nodding off during what they considered a non-event. Running time is only about 2 hours, and you start in St. Pancreas Station, London and end in Paris Gare du Nord. No long trips to/from airport and easier security. People in London and Paris actually can treat the other city as a "day trip".

We aren't being very helpful with your original question on United business class mileage ticket redemption. You might prowl the United specific area on this site, and also the hotel specific and the Chase specific areas.
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Old Jan 8, 20, 3:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Romelle View Post
I do agree with the open-jaw route.

Starting in London lets you train through the Chunnel. I found this very exciting, although fellow passengers were reading newspapers and nodding off during what they considered a non-event. Running time is only about 2 hours, and you start in St. Pancreas Station, London and end in Paris Gare du Nord. No long trips to/from airport and easier security. People in London and Paris actually can treat the other city as a "day trip".

We aren't being very helpful with your original question on United business class mileage ticket redemption. You might prowl the United specific area on this site, and also the hotel specific and the Chase specific areas.
Sorry, and not to have a dig, but I did have to chuckle at this. It's St Pancras, nothing to do with gland organs! I believe Pancras is Roman-derived. And no one says Chunnel.
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Old Jan 8, 20, 10:39 pm
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Originally Posted by erik123 View Post
If only 9 days consider combing Paris with cities closer by and using train. Book and open jaw and visit some of the wonderful places that are in easy reach. E.g. start in London, next Eurostar to Paris and end in Amsterdam. If 7 days do only 2. Otherwise you are wasting too much time traveling.
That will also save money, as departing London will incur the Air Passenger Duty excuse tax. Paris will cost less, but one must pay the Solidarity Tax. Etc.
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Old Jan 12, 20, 7:57 pm
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
Sorry, and not to have a dig, but I did have to chuckle at this. It's St Pancras, nothing to do with gland organs! I believe Pancras is Roman-derived. And no one says Chunnel.
Not a problem. When somebody brings me up short, I tend to remember better. Furthermore, you may have also helped OP and some lurkers.

Always happy to supply a chuckle, even at my expense. The world needs more.
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Old Jan 12, 20, 8:09 pm
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
... It's St Pancras, nothing to do with gland organs! I believe Pancras is Roman-derived...
Actually, though Saint P. was a Roman citizen (beheaded in 304 AD for being a Christian, which annoyed a lot of people back in the day) his name is Greek.
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Old Jan 12, 20, 8:14 pm
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Forget all the fictional romantic stuff about Paris in the spring. It will be chilly and probably wet, but still good. Nine day trip means actually seven full days in Europe, so I'd be tempted to spend all those days in Paris, perhaps with day trips to Versailles and Fontainebleau. OTOH, Paris is expensive, so that would be an argument to spend some time elsewhere. Personally, I like Normandy at that time of year; you could also go to Brittany and take advantage of low season there. It's a bit early to see the fields of flowers that make Provence so special in the spring (May).
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Old Jan 13, 20, 1:33 am
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Originally Posted by Efrem View Post
Actually, though Saint P. was a Roman citizen (beheaded in 304 AD for being a Christian, which annoyed a lot of people back in the day) his name is Greek.
You got me there!
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Old Jan 20, 20, 11:58 pm
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Thank you everyone for all of your tips! I feel like I did a good job of getting our trip planned and efficiently from a points redemption standpoint. Our itinerary will go as follows:

Denver-LGA
JFK- Vienna for a 10 hour layover on Austrian Airlines
Vienna-Paris for 4 nights Austrian Airlines
Paris-Brussels for a 9 hour layover to see the City- Belgium Airlines
Brussels-Barcelona for 3 nights
Barcelona-Frankfurt 1 hour layover on Lufthansa
Frankfurt-LHR for 1 night
LHR-Toronto 3 hour layover Air Canada
Toronto-DEN Air Canada

All of this was 350K miles and $405 for airfare and all on business class.

I was also able to get amazing rates since it's not peak in any of those cities:
Paris-Hotel de Berri 4 nights 300k points Category 8
Barcelona- W Barcelona 180k for 3 nights Category 7
London- Trafalgar St. James 100k for 1 night Hilton

I tried many different routes back to Denver and even with the higher fees in London it was cheaper/easier to go home from there compared to the other cities. Would love to hear from some of you if you think this was a good usage and itinerary. I realize it has lots of flights, but we wanted to maximize our time there with seeing two other cities on those long layovers that weren't worth a whole day or a couple of days.
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Old Jan 21, 20, 12:01 am
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I think you are trying to cram far too much in here. Vienna and Brussels seem like wasted stops.
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Old Jan 21, 20, 12:48 am
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Based on awards availability we were limited in our stops and absolutely 0 flights available directly. The only other cities included were Munich and Zurich and all layovers were 5+ hours regardless of business or economy availability. I've never been to either of those cities, and having almost 4 full days in Paris, we figured we could spare some time in both of those places to see them or about 5-6 hours and then go take advantage of the airport lounges. Barcelona is small enough that most people say you can see everything in 2 full days and then London is for about 8-9 hours before we would want to get to sleep for our early flight the next morning back. If we had cut out the stops on the way, this would have been nearly triple the points, unfortunately Denver has limited direct connections to Europe which is why we are leaving from JFK.

Why do you feel those are two wasted stops? Those seemed like pretty quick access from the airport, pretty condensed city centers, and both being pretty walkable. Most of my travel experience is limited to North America and the Caribbean, so I wanted to try and pack in a few other stops only seeing a few key things in each city.
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Old Jan 21, 20, 12:52 am
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Originally Posted by mbracker View Post
Thank you everyone for all of your tips! I feel like I did a good job of getting our trip planned and efficiently from a points redemption standpoint. Our itinerary will go as follows:

Denver-LGA
JFK- Vienna for a 10 hour layover on Austrian Airlines
Vienna-Paris for 4 nights Austrian Airlines
Paris-Brussels for a 9 hour layover to see the City- Belgium Airlines
Brussels-Barcelona for 3 nights
Barcelona-Frankfurt 1 hour layover on Lufthansa
Frankfurt-LHR for 1 night
LHR-Toronto 3 hour layover Air Canada
Toronto-DEN Air Canada

All of this was 350K miles and $405 for airfare and all on business class.

I was also able to get amazing rates since it's not peak in any of those cities:
Paris-Hotel de Berri 4 nights 300k points Category 8
Barcelona- W Barcelona 180k for 3 nights Category 7
London- Trafalgar St. James 100k for 1 night Hilton

I tried many different routes back to Denver and even with the higher fees in London it was cheaper/easier to go home from there compared to the other cities. Would love to hear from some of you if you think this was a good usage and itinerary. I realize it has lots of flights, but we wanted to maximize our time there with seeing two other cities on those long layovers that weren't worth a whole day or a couple of days.
"If it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium."
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