Updated on April 9, 2015
London/Paris Trip 2014
Now that we’ve talked about all the aspects of our trip (click above to see all our fun highlights!) it is time to break it all down and see how everything was able to be obtained for a budget price!
Our Trip so far:
MS- Manufactured Spending
UR- Ultimate Rewards
1. May Fair Hotel (London) X2 nights (usually $500-$700 per night)
This hotel was 50K (now 70K) points per night and with the Club Carlson Premier Visa Credit Card where your last night is free we were able to stay both nights for 50K Club Carlson points. These points were obtained from the sign up bonus and Manufactured Spending.
Sign up bonus+free last night free+MS = 50K points = total cost of $15
2. Radisson Blu Mercer Street (London) X2 nights (usually $330-430 per night)
This hotel is also 50K (and still is) points per night and again with the above credit card we got the last night free which allowed us to stay both nights for 50K points. Again these points were obtained with the same bonus (85K) and MS.
Sign up bonus+free last night+MS = 50K points = total cost of $15
3. Park Hyatt Paris Vendome X3 nights (usually $800-$1,000 per night)
For this property we needed to use 22K (now 30K) Hyatt Gold Passport points per night to stay here. These points were obtained by transferring points from our Chase Ultimate Rewards account to my Hyatt account. The actual out of pocket cost is a little harder here as the points came from the Ultimate Rewards shopping portal, Chase Freedom card bonus (20K bonus at that time), regular spend and MS.
Freedom Bonus + MS+other UR points avenues = 66K points = total cost of <<$360
4. Hyatt Paris Madeliene X2 nights (usually $350-$450 per night)
This hotel was also 22K (now 25K) points per night and again these Hyatt Gold Passport points were obtained by transferring from Ultimate rewards just as above. Due to this there is a bit of uncertainty as to the exact out of pocket cost but we will keep the 20K Chase Freedom bonus applied to the Vendome stay and not apply it here.
MS+other UR points avenues = 44K points = total cost of <<$348
1. Departure: United SPI-ORD, Luftansa ORD-FRA-LHR (economy class X2)
For this flight from Springfield, IL to London we used 60K United miles for our 2 tickets. Like the Hyatt points above these United miles were obtained by transferring Ultimate Rewards points to my United Mileage Plus account. The vast majority of these points were obtained from a Chase Sapphire Preferred card sign up bonus (40K) that Katie got as well as a lot of regular spend I had done on my own and I will guess about 10K in MS.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Bonus+regular spend+MS + $83 in airline tax/fees= 60K points = total cost of $162
2. Return: Iberia Business Class ORY-MAD-MIA and American Airlines economy MIA-DFW-SPI (X2)
Retail cost of Iberia Business Class flight 4 months out = $5,000 each
Retail cost of AA economy flight MIA-DFW-SPI flight 4 months out = $400 each
American Airlines miles were used for both of these flights. It cost us 100K miles for our flight from Paris to Miami in business class plus fuel surcharges and taxes, although this flight was able to be continued to Hawaii 5 months later. After arriving in Miami we took an AA economy flight to Springfield, IL that we got for 8,500 miles each due to the discounted mileage awards available with the Citi AA Executive and Platinum cards we have. These miles (117K) were gained from my first AA Executive card (of 4) that I actually paid the $450 fee for (blech) and miles I had gained from flights and everyday spend on my AA Platinum card.
80K Miles bonus and fee ($450) from Exec card+5K from MS+everyday spend+$612 (fuel surcharges and tax)= 117K AA miles + fees = total cost of $1100
That is still a lot of money for a business class flight from Paris to Miami and then economy flight to Springfield even if that is A LOT less than the actual cost. BUT, there are other factors in play here. This flight was booked when American Airlines still had rules in place that allowed you to layover in the city you entered the USA in for up to 12 months and then continue on your journey. When I booked this flight I ACTUALLY booked it for Paris to Honolulu with a stopover in Miami 😉
So yes, it cost us $1100, BUT that was for an Iberia Business Class flight to Miami, lounge access to American Airlines Admiral Clubs for a year AND a First class flight from Miami to Dallas to Honolulu the following October! This domestic first class flight to Hawaii included angle flat seats on an AA 767 from Dallas to Honolulu!
Luxury 5 Star Hotels for 9 days in London and Paris = <$738
Flight in economy (x2) from SPI to LHR = $162
Flight in Business class (x2) back to Miami, Flight to Springfield AND 1st class flight to Hawaii= $1100
Total cost of London, Paris and First class flight to Hawaii for 2 people= <$ 2000
***Retail price roughly $15,400 (not including the 1st class Hawaii flight)