Wanted to send you this note for your Sunday success story segment.
My wife and I were looking at going to Europe this fall and doing a multi segment trip. I was going to use SkyPesos left over from the SunTrust bonanza of 2010. Last week we decided upon an MSP-CDG-BOD-FCO-MSP routing with a JFK layover coming home from FCO.
Delta wasn’t showing good (or consistent) award availability on all segments and I had only 248K SkyPesos left to burn. I finally found a decent booking, but it was repeatedly coming in at 305K with $280USD in taxes. I knew I had some Membership Rewards points I could transfer to Delta in order to make it work , but there currently is not any transfer bonus going and didn’t like the idea of going this route on a 1:1 transfer. I finally decided to check out Air France’s availability to see what the pricing would be for the CDG-BOD-FCO segments. I was able to find much more availability than what DL’s site and customer service was saying to be available. After calling DL customer service to price out an award booking of MSP-CDG and then a segment from FCO-(JFK)-MSP, I was able to put the itinerary on hold as it had priced out at 215K SkyPesos and $140 in taxes. I then went to MR’s site to utilize the February Air France FlyingBlue transfer bonus of 25% and transferred the points into FlyingBlue miles.
The next day, when the miles had posted in my FlyingBlue account, I called DL to book my held itinerary. Alas, they had only held the reservation for that day and not the typical 2 day hold I have experienced before. We then priced out the same exact flights I had previously held and was quite surprised when the total booking come up to be 150K SkyPesos with $92 in taxes. Pleasantly surprised with the DL flights, I went to book the AF flights and solidified all the flying needed for this venture.
We are staying 5 nights in Paris, 2 nights in Bordeaux, then finally 9 nights in Rome (with a one night excursion to Venice or Florence by rail). We’ll be utilizing SPG points for the Paris nights, Expedia BRG vouchers to lower the cost of our Bordeaux nights, airbnb.com for the Rome nights and Priority Club points for the Florence or Venice overnight.
All in all, I had read quite a bit on people utilizing partner sites to find award availability and didn’t think it actually worked until I tried this here. Very much glad I spent the extra 90 minutes to do the research and as always, appreciative to the valuable info found here on the blog.
The flights priced out, with taxes, at just a hair over $7K, the hotel nights in Paris and Bordeaux would have cost me $1600 and we would never have been able to afford this trip by paying out of pocket.
Looking forward to even more savings when booking our CAI, BKK, CNS round the world trip in 2014!