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!
IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card
- Annual Fee: $49 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Hotel
The IHG Rewards Club Visa is often cited as one of the most underrated hotel credit cards, with good reason. The official offer is for 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within three months, with the first year’s fee waived. The card comes with an annual free night certificate that can be used at any IHG property, including Intercontinental hotels - making this certificate worth upwards of 50,000 points. This is far more generous than some other hotel cards, which limit the categories in which free night certificates can be redeemed.
Cardholders earn 5 points per dollar at IHG hotels; 2 points per dollar at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Moreover, you’ll get a 10% rebate on award redemptions, up to 100,000 points per year. The card also comes with Platinum status, though that doesn’t get you much with IHG. Still, this is a fantastic card to have in your wallet, with benefits that far outweigh the already low $49 annual fee.
- Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Enjoy a free night of card membership at over 4,700 hotels worldwide
- Earn 5 points for each $1 spent at our hotels
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
- Bonus points redeemable at hotels such as Intercontinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn®
- Automatic platinum elite status, as long as you remain a cardmember
- $0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49