European Honeymoon - Jungs Newlywed Adventure

Jung is getting married! How exciting! We are on the hunt to plan a honeymoon for the newlyweds. Jung got in touch with me through the Travel Hacking Cartel and their new Booking Concierge Service to find out if and how he can make this work.

If you want to join the Travel Hacking Cartel to learn the best ways to earn and spend points and miles, you can start a free trial here.

If you want to hire A Whistle & A Light for your very own personal Flight Search Concierge, get in touch with us here.

Trip Breakdown

  • Depart PHL December 16th, 2015
  • Travel to Glasgow, Scotland
    • Go via London (Train or Flight to Glasgow)
    • 3-4 days in Glasgow
  • Travel back to London (Flight or Train)
    • Stay in Park Lane Hotel Dec 21-26
  • Travel to Paris Dec 26
    • New Years in Paris
  • Return to PHL Jan 1st or 2nd
    • Go Via Caribbean if we can?

"Ideally this is what I was thinking. We would like to fly out from PHL to London... Then take a train or cheap flight to Glasgow where we would rent a car and rent a nice b&b or similar. We would stay for 3-4 days then take a train or cheap flight to London.

In London we would like to book/stay at The Park Lane Hotel from Dec 20th or 21st thru Dec 26th where we would take a train to Paris and stay there for 4-5 days until new years.

Madrid is an alternative option to spend the New Years but we're most likely considering Paris for that." - Jung Ahn

Budget & Points Inventory

These programs are all bank programs and each bank program has a different way they deal with points. See below for how many points we have to deal with, and the options we have for each. The Blue links are clickable to see the details on the bank website.

BOA Travel

18,139

Travel Credit

100pts/$1

Capital 1 Venture

71,168

Purchase Eraser

100pts/$1

Capital 1 Spark

114,535

Purchase Eraser

100pts/$1

Chase Ink Plus

119,149

Hotels

Ritz Carlton, Marriott, Hyatt

Airlines

BA, Korean, SQ, SthWest, United, Virgin

AMEX MR Pts

67,225

Hotels

Choice, Best Western, SPG, Hilton

Airlines

BA, SQ, Virgin, Delta, + more

Cash

$3,000

Looks like we can convert points to both hotel and airline programs, we will discuss these options below. We could also simply purchase some of the Travel Expenses on specific cards to be able to use Travel Credit and Purchase Eraser to redeem points for a big chunk of those purchases.

Itinerary & Options

So I was able to find flights for most of the journeys you need. It looks like you will need to convert a big chunk of AMEX and Chase miles into British Airways Avios. This program isn't the best as it requires you to pay big Fuel surcharges but since the other programs don't have availability, it will be the best way to reduce to the cost of your trip. The following includes the cost in Points and Cash for 2 people.

GCMap - Click to see Journey

GCMap - Click to see Journey

  • PHL-GLA
    • 26,000 Avios + $755 in Economy
      • Dep Dec 16th
    • 52,000 Avios + $755 in Business
      • Dep Dec 16th
  • GLA-LON
    • 9,000 Avios + $88 in Economy
      • Dep Dec 21st
    • Or take a train
  • London-Paris
    • No Avios Availability
    • Could fly United for 15k miles each
      • Dep Dec 26th
    • OR take the Train (See Below)
    • Or Buy a ticket (See Below)
  • Paris to Caribbean
    • Pay for positioning flight to Dusseldorf, Germany (See Below)
    • DUS to Punta Cana - 50,000 Avios + $250
      • Dep Jan 3rd
  • Caribbean - Philadelphia
    • 30,000 Avios + $176
      • Dep Jan 8th

PHILADELPHIA TO GLASGOW

You could convert to British Airways. Not ideal as the Fuel Surcharges are high, but there are some nice options in Business Class. 

  • 26,000 Avios + $755 for Economy Class for 2 people
  • 52,000 Avios + $755 for Business Class for 2 people

Economy Class

Business Class

Star Alliance (United, SQ and Air Canada) availability isn't good at all from PHL, neither is Virgin. So we may be stuck using this redemption. It's a shame to have such high fuel surcharges, but in business it will be a nice redemption on BA?

GLASGOW to London

Lots of Paid Options with RyanAir, Easyjet and even British Airways for under $100 per person one way. Keep in mind that low cost carriers like Easyjet and Ryanair charge extra for luggage. Google Flights Results

You could also use some more Avios but since the fuel surcharge kinda sucks, it could end up costing you about as much as a ticket is anyway.

  • 9,000 Avios + $88 for 2 people

Glasgow to London 9,000 Avios + $88 for 2 people

Glasgow to London Train

A Third option is Trains. You can use The Trainline as a good universal train search engine. Tickets are about the same as a plane though.

  • £92 for 2 people train Glasgow to London Euston

Accommodation in London

You wanted to stay at the Park Lane Hotel. You can use SPG points to stay there as seen here:

  • 48,000 Starpoints for 6 nights in Park Lane Hotel

AMEX Membership Rewards converts to SPG at 1000 Amex = 333 SPG so you would need over 150,000 AMEX to get this though. We are going to save those AMEX MR for flights though. Good to know anyway.

If you do end up paying for a hotel, or especially this one, make sure you signup for its hotel loyalty program beforehand to earn yourself points for staying there. Sometimes Members get perks too like SPG gets you free wifi and the opportunity for room upgrade?! If you are staying at an SPG property, apply for their bonus points offer here. Check the Travel Hacking Cartel too for info!

Looks like our Chase points can be converted to Hyatt, Marriott or Ritz Carlton. Using TravelisFree's Resources, we can see which hotels are in the London Area.

TripAdvisor also lets you search an area by Hotel Brand, so that is a great resource. Simply click on the left to select a Hotel Brand and filter the results.

The biggest problem with this is that if you check the TravelIsFree Maps above, you see that the only hotels available in London City area are high category and thus require a lot of points. Often over 20-30,000 per night. Since we don't have too many points left to play with, it is going to really only pay for maybe 1 or 2 nights. It is really up to you if you want to use Hotel Points, but it appears this might be a good way for you to purchase the hotel nights on your Capital One Credit Cards, then redeem miles for some of the purchases on your statement. Here is a good article about using the Capital One Purchase Eraser.

London to Paris

No flights available on Avios, can convert Chase miles to United and buy ticket but will cost more miles?

  • 30,000 United Miles + $108 for 2 ppl

Otherwise will have to buy full fare ticket.

Google Flights Link

The above fare is 30,000 miles and low Fuel Surcharge as it is on TAP Portugal

Paris to Punta Cana

Get a paid fare from Paris to Dusseldorf - Google Flights

Fly Air Berlin Dusseldorf to Punta Cana Direct using Avios

  • 50,000 Avios + $250 for 2 people

Punta Cana to Philadelphia

Fly American Airlines to Philadelphia Direct using Avios

  • 30,000 Avios + $176 for 2 people

Action Plan

  1. If you don't already have one, sign up for a British Airways Avios Account
  2. Convert 65,000 AMEX to BA Avios
  3. Convert 76,000 Chase Points to BA Avios
  4. Book Flights using Avios
    • PHL-GLA = 52,000 in Biz
    • GLA-LCY = 9,000 in Econ
    • DUS-PUJ = 50,000 Avios in Econ
    • PUJ-PHL = 30,000 Avios
  5. Distribute other purchases across your other Cards for redemption using Miles
    • BOA Travel Rewards = $180 can be redeemed
    • Capital One Spark = $1140 can be redeemed
    • Capital One Venture = $740 can be redeemed
    • Keep in mind that there are purchase minimums, so for example you can't just redeem for a cup of coffee, they may say you need to redeem miles for a purchase at a minimum of $10 or $100. You will need to check the terms and conditions for how much each program has for minimum use of points.

So it looks like we were able to do this for 140,000 Avios. The cost of the flight fees and surcharges certainly adds up with Avios, but it is a great saving on what it would normally have cost.

If you have any questions, please get in touch or comment below.

If you want to hire A Whistle & A Light for your very own personal Flight Search Concierge, get in touch with us here too.