Booking the Next Trip!

After a couple of weeks away, it feels good to blog again! We had a great time on our cruise, had plenty of laughs, tried some new things and made some new friends as well. Soon I will be writing about the cruise itself and the hotels we stayed at in New Orleans.

Once we got back from our vacation, I started to book the rest of our trip to Europe and I just finished booking it! We will be using Airbnb for the first time (I’ll post about that soon) and I really like the idea of having a whole house for a fraction of the price of a hotel!

Just for fun, a picture of us on Bourbon St.
Just for fun, a picture of us on Bourbon St.

Later this year, we are going to visit our friend in Budapest for 4 days then take the train to Prague for 2 days. I haven’t been to Europe yet, so I am very excited to be going that way in a few months!

In planning our flights, I looked at my point/miles banks. I have plenty of Ultimate Reward points to get us there and I also have plenty of American Airline miles as well. If I burn through my Ultimate Reward points now, then I wouldn’t have enough for a secret trip I have planned shortly after we get back from Europe, so I would like to avoid that if possible. I could earn more by opening another credit card but since I have plenty of miles, I don’t need to. We also have plenty of American Airline miles, I would like to use those or a mix of Ultimate Reward points an American Airline miles.

United Airlines has some great availability for the time we are wanting to travel and at 30,000 miles each way per person plus taxes/fees, its not a bad deal. When booking award travel, the key is to give yourself plenty of time. The earlier you plan, the better off you’ll be. We aren’t going for another 6 months and that leaves many award seats available. One of the reasons I’d prefer to fly United over American is the fuel surcharges and taxes on United are much less than American Airlines.

When looking at American Airlines, a round trip ticket would cost 40,000 miles per person, that is much less than we would spend flying United. Unfortunately, we would spend over $1,000 in taxes and fees alone! The cost is higher because we would have to fly British Airways (a partner airline) for a part of the trip and their fuel surcharges are ridiculous!

So how did I book my flights?
After playing with different days and times, I eventually decided that flying United from Boston to Budapest then using American Airlines to fly from Prague to Boston would be best.

Using my Ultimate Reward points, I needed to transfer 57,000 points to United, since I had a little over 3,000 miles already. The transfer was instant and I love that about Ultimate Reward transfers!

Saved a lot of money using points!
Saved a lot of money using points!

Using our miles saved us about $1,300 to fly to Budapest! We received 2.1 cents per miles on this redemption. I value my Ultimate Reward points at 1.8 cents each, so this exceeded my expectations!

Now the trickier part…the flight home. Kristin and I both have plenty of American Airline miles. We want to save my miles for our secret trip, so we after opened the US Airways credit card for Kristin (now AA miles) we had plenty to book this trip.

Flying British Airways back to Boston can be quite costly
Flying British Airways back to Boston can be quite costly

When searching American Airlines, I wanted to avoid flying British Airways  across the Atlantic because their fuel surcharges are extremely high. It would cost us over $500 in taxes and fees to fly us home! I think thats a bit much. But, if I could find an American Airlines flight the cost would cost less.

After searching and playing around with days, I was able to find an American Airlines flight back to Boston!

A better option I feel
A better option I feel

It would cost us almost half the amount of money to fly back using American Airlines than British Airways. We land a few hours later, but it’s worth it to save that much money!

How much did we save over the actual price using miles?

The cash price for the flight we just booked with our miles
The cash price for the flight we just booked with our miles

It would have cost us $3,356.60 to fly home from Prague!!! We paid  36,000 miles (we get 10% back in our account for having their credit card) and $296.40. We received 8.5 cents per miles redeeming our AA miles! An amazing value!

In total the airfare would have cost us about $4,697.60! We paid 96,000 miles and $369.20. Overall we received 4.5 cents per miles on this redemption. Since my goal this year was to earn more cash back, we have earned enough that we aren’t paying anything to fly roundtrip to Europe.

Points and miles are amazing, they make it possible to travel for less on your wallet.

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