Lets Break it Down: London/Paris Trip 2014

tower bridge london

Lets Break it Down: London/Paris Trip 2014

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

park hyatt paris vendome

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

iberia business class

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 😉

To get back to MIA in October we used my SW miles and Companion pass I spoke about here.  Cost=$0

american airlines 767 angle flat first class

Our angle flat seat on AA 767 to Hawaii in business class

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!

Flight in May: ORY-MAD-MIA Flight in Oct: MIA-DFW-HNL

Flight in May (Iberia): ORY-MAD-MIA
Flight in October (AA): MIA-DFW-HNL

Flight on AA back from MIA

Flight on AA back from MIA


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)

2 Comments on “Lets Break it Down: London/Paris Trip 2014

  1. I know I’m totally late to the party, but I love this post. My wife and I took a trip (second honeymoon) last summer and went to lots of the same places. I wondered a couple things:

    1. If you had to do this in today’s miles/points climate, how would you do it? With the Carlson 2nd night free gone and most people’s bird accounts shut down, would you pursue different card opportunities? (We stayed at the May Fair, also booked with the second night free, also pre-devaluation… and I don’t know if I’d do it again now that the Carlson points can’t be stretched quite as far–especially because we had a better experience at the other Edwardian Group properties anyway.)

    2. Flying out of SPI, do you find it difficult to get connecting flights? I’m in a similar boat, based out of an airport with no international destinations outside of North America…

    • Hey Pointster,
      Sorry for the late reply, but your comment got caught in our spam filter!

      1. It’s funny you should ask because I have already started planning a trip for us and both sets of parents to London in the fall and my strategy has obviously changed. Although they are not my usual hotel chain I have turned to Marriott for the next stay.

      We are staying in London for 5 days and by using Marriott points you get your 5th night free when you pay with points! There are a decent amount of properties in the London area and we decided to go with one that is 40K points per night. That means I would need 160K Marriott points for 5 nights (with the 5th being free).

      To do this is pretty simple. The Marriott sign up bonus is constantly changing between 50K, 70K, 80K and I signed up for it when it was 70K plus 7.5K for an authorized user. SO after the $3k in spend I have >80K and was half way there. The next course of action will be to get the 70K Business Marriott which will put me <10K points away.

      Another nice aspect of Marriott is that you can reserve your rooms with points without actually having any, as long as they are in the account a week before. So I actually reserved the rooms a month ago for next September even though I had NONE and have until then to get them all.

      BB being down really sucks but I still feel comfotable doing a couple thousand in money orders each month to at least complete sign up bonuses or get a couple extra points for a specific stay.

      2. Flying on United from SPI to ORD I find the connections are usually pretty good. Flying to DFW on AA however never seems to line up and there are long layovers.

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