Happy Wednesday to all of our travel friends, both near and far! Here are some articles we’ve read from other bloggers (and other sources) that we think you may like, as well, so we’re passing them along.
On September 1, 2019, Citi is going to change the fourth-night free benefit on the Citi Prestige to make reservations only bookable through the ThankYou portal or by calling a Thank You representative. Then on September 22, 2019, Citi will remove most of their travel insurance and shopping protections from almost all of their card portfolio.
These changes made me rethink our Citi card portfolio and one of the possibilities was canceling our Citi Prestige card. With Citi’s rules, if I cancel a card the points associated with that card expire in 60 days, even if you’ve transferred those points to another Citi ThankYou card which you are keeping open.
If I’m going to need to cash these points out, I better explore my options.
I’ve been looking at flights from Germany to the U.S. for our trip this winter. I already booked our flights to Germany on Singapore business class from New York but I figured I’d book the return later. Problem is that I can’t figure out our itinerary for the trip until I know which city we’re flying home from. That was incentive enough to have me look into finding flights, preferably award flights in business class.
My flight preference would be the non-stop flight on Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Orlando but since award seats tend not to open up until last minute, that won’t work with our plans. We won’t fly on United so options including their planes is a non-starter.
I started looking into flights on KLM or Air France. Both of them use the Flying Blue loyalty program and even though they have variable pricing on award tickets, they still have reasonable rates for many of their flights.
Much to my surprise, besides finding several options flying through either Paris or Amsterdam, a flight from Frankfurt-Detroit-Orlando was showing up. This flight was on two Delta planes and had decent times for arrival and departure and reasonable connection time.
I decided to try and book it.
Happy Sunday to all of our travel friends, both near and far! Here are some articles we’ve read from other bloggers (and other sources) that we think you may like, as well, so we’re passing them along.
We love traveling and TransAtlantic trips are extra special. Living on the east coast of the U.S., flights to European cities are not much longer than trips to the west coast. While I’ve made the trip in economy class, making the overnight flight there in a lie flat business class seat is just so much better. You actually might even sleep on the flight and arrive for your big vacation well rested.
Unfortunately, I will never have the time to try all of the airlines that fly between the United States and Europe. Lucky for me, The Points Guy has just posted a list of all the airlines and comments on the business class service available on each one on this page of their blog. They also pick what they feel are the Top 10, based on factors like availability, service and cost.
I’ve only flew a few of these but will give my quick opinion of each. I did my research before all of these flights and picked out what seemed to be the best airline available to fit our needs. I actively avoided airplanes which had bad reviews but did not go out of my way to book a particular airline/airplane/seat type. I can say that I was happy with all the flights. None were amazing beyond compare but we had much more comfortable flight than we would have had in economy while soaring over the Atlantic Ocean on all of them.
This was how we got to London on our most recent trip in the fall of 2016. I was able to get flights in business class from Orlando to Dublin, then onward to London in economy. We were even able to arrange for a 10 hour layover so we got to leave the airport and spend the afternoon in Dublin so we could eat at one of our most favorite restaurants, Gallagher’s Boxty House. The seats were very comfortable and I even managed to get several hours of sleep on the flight. Since Aer Lingus is a partner with United Airlines, I was able to book the one way ticket for 70,000 United miles + $23.80 each.
This was our airline to get us home from Europe in 2016. Since we hopped around a little bit, we needed to fly home from Austria. I was able to get a ticket from Salzburg, Austria to London to Miami and finally to Orlando, all in business class.
I managed to get us seats on an American 777-300ER, which is one of their newest planes, for our flight from London to Miami. It had lie flat seats, everyone had aisle access and a really big TV screen. We were flying home during the daytime so I didn’t sleep very much on the flight but did enjoy reclining to read. To book the tickets, I had a healthy stash of American miles. At the time, this award cost 50,000 American miles (now it costs 57,500) and $200.20 each.
I love the vibe of Virgin Atlantic. We flew them back in 2013 in Upper Class from Orlando to London and then home from Manchester to Orlando. Flying there, we took a 747 and were the first two seats in the nose of the plane. It was so cool. Apparently it was so cool that we didn’t want to appear silly taking a bunch of pictures. This was the only one I could find.
Flying home from Manchester we were on an Airbus A330-300. The seats were jammed in much closer and it wasn’t as luxurious a trip back. I guess that’s why we have no pictures of the flight.
That trip was the first time I used some miles and points tricks without help from others. I booked this flight using miles from ANA (All Nippon Airways). They are partners with Virgin Atlantic and only charge 68,000 miles for the flight. I was able to get ANA miles by transferring points to them from my American Express Membership Rewards account. This was good for me because back then I didn’t have a big stash of miles to spend. The kicker was that they do charge taxes and fees which ended up costing $1100.00 per ticket. I viewed it as if I was paying cash for a premium economy ticket and the miles I used was the cost to upgrade to Upper Class.
Delta Airlines and Air France
We flew these airlines to Ireland back in 2011. The information about the flights and such are really out of date. Flying up in front of the plane was also still a new thrill for us. Apparently the only thing that excited us was the amount of legroom we had as these are the only pictures I can find of the flight.
To book this flight, I used an award booking service I read about in a magazine called Book Your Award. Using a service to take advantage of your miles was a new idea back then. They are still around and I will refer people to them if they need help to book a complicated award ticket with miles.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary