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Answers (12)

Award Travel to Rome

Award Travel to Rome

  1. Tyler85

    I will most likely end up using Points Pros to assist in figuring out award travel for my wife and I. It’s not a difficult itinerary but I’m not sure which points to use in which combination. My wife and I would like to spend a week in Rome. I currently have:

    140k UR points
    100k MR points
    70k United miles
    98k Southwest miles + companion pass (likely to be used to get to another city to fly to Rome)

    We want to use our points and to cover airfare (hopefully business class) and hotel rooms.

    I’m currently pre-approved by Amex for the Delta gold 50k + $50 with fee waived and Amex PRG 50k. Long post but my question is whether I should sign up for both of these cards given our travel goals? Appreciate the help!

  2. PhatMiles

    Welcome [USER=2136]@Tyler85[/USER]
    What is your departure airport?

    If you are based on the east coast, I personally felt that there is not much to enjoy in business class. Upgrading to Econ+ out of pocket is a better option. But this is very very personal.

    UA flies from EWR,ORD,IAD
    I would start looking at those.

    If you are going to use PointsPros I think they will be suggesting better itineraries based on your departure point. They will try to save those SW points without having to pay for a positioning flight.

    You did not ask this but what kind of a hotel person are you? Do you want to stay at a nice and expensive place or just a functional one to stay ?
    I felt hotels in rome are expensive and found couple of boutique places much better. I casually went and checked out the rooms when I was there. If you are interested I can share some places I know.

  3. Tyler85

    Thank you for the detailed reply. My departure airport is CLE most likely. We could also do PIT. United used to have a bigger presence in CLE (and still does have a large one) but Delta is catching up as well.

    An option we are considering is doing an open jaw ticket where we would fly into Rome and maybe return from Venice or Milan.

    When booking, would you just purchase an Econ ticket and then when seat selection comes you pick the Econ+ and pay out of pocket?

    We are not particular when it comes to hotels. I tend to like the more luxurious hotels. My wife tends to be more eclectic and enjoys seeing the character of the buildings when picking hotels – as long as it’s quiet, she prefers nostalgia. I appreciate any recommendations you have to offer!

  4. David W

    Aeroplan charges 55k+taxes and fees for one way US-Rome. I think its a great option, especially if you pick an airline where there are low fees. The Amex PRG and the bonus will be perfect for this. You also have enough for Lufthansa First, if that interest you. Fees are higher though.

    United charges 57.5k miles if you fly on their own planes or 70k miles with a Star Alliance partner and you can transfer points to United from Chase UR. United Business (on their planes, not ex-Continental ones) arent the greatest thing to fly on but it works.

    FlyingBlue is another transfer partner of Chase UR and it’s 62.5k miles for Rome to US, plus taxes and fees. Another alternative is if you and your wife each apply for the Delta card and transfer some points from Amex MR for an award. Delta charges 62.5k each way and fees are very low if you originate in the US.

    For hotels, Chase UR transfers to IHG if you would like to use points. Personally, the rates at IHG properties are low enough that I would rather pay cash. You can get a cashback card to offset the cost of paid nights. I prefer to transfer Chase UR to Hyatt but there are no Hyatt properties in Rome. You can also transfer to Marriott Rewards as well.

  5. Anonymous

    Hey [USER=2136]@Tyler85[/USER], and welcome!

    You should definitely be looking at a new credit card or two [I]if[/I] you want to be able to use your points for hotels. With the miles you have at present, you’d have to dip into your Ultimate Rewards for two round-trips.

    You’ve received some good tips, so in general I would say either:
    [LIST]
    [*]Pick up some cards that will give you more flexibility with airfare options (the Delta cards would actually be great here)
    [*]Pick up some cards that will cover your hotel stays
    [/LIST]
    Marriott has the best presence of the chain hotels, though the new Design hotel options with SPG are intriguing, and there are some decent IHG options. I tend to stay at the Club Carlson there, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it based on your stated preferences. You definitely want to be in the city center and not out in the middle of the suburbs, so it can make sense to go non-chain in Rome.

  6. Tyler85

    Thank you so much [USER=7]@Tiffany[/USER]. Based on this I went ahead and signed up for the two pre-qualified offers. I may look at getting the Delta Platinum and/or the Amex SPG card to help boost the rewards available and provide flexibility. I’m also SPG gold so this would probably add some benefit with booking those hotels. Unfortunately, I’m past 5/24 so I won’t be able to get the Marriott cards. I suppose my plan would be as follows:
    [LIST]
    [*]Load up on SPG points either through their credit card or Amex MR points to help cover hotels
    [*]Try and accumulate some Delta/United miles to cover airfare…or dip into Ultimate Rewards
    [*]Use the eurail pass to get around different cities
    [/LIST]
    I really appreciate everyone’s help and don’t want to take up too many resources in asking questions. My last question would be whether or not it is feasible to fly a good business class offering given the points/miles I’ve accumulated or if an Econ+ offering, as [USER=522]@PhatMiles[/USER] suggested, is the better bang for the buck. Again, thank you to everyone who as posted replies!

  7. David W

    That’s a good plan!

    However, unless you [I]really[/I] have to, dont transfer Amex MR points to SPG. It’s a horrible value. While there’s no promo, it could be worth buying SPG points instead.

  8. PhatMiles

    To me Europe is considerably a short hop from the east coast. And also for 7-8 hours of flight time, Business is not a perk for me. That is why I threw the econ+ idea out there.
    I travel to India and far east every year and try to score Biz as much as possible there.
    But everyone’s travel patterns and goals are different. I shared my idea but it may or may not apply to you.
    If you are going there on a special occasion and want to make your S/O feel nice about the trip, yeah go for Biz/First.
    All the best!

  9. Anonymous

    Business is totally feasible, and you have the points to do it if you want.

    I would personally never fly econ+ to Europe with my husband if I could avoid it — I like him to be able to sleep, even if it’s only for five hours, and the ground services make a difference in how our trip goes. It might be different if it’s just me, but for a trip that sounds like it’s a 1-2x a year thing, I’d go for business if you can swing it.

  10. Donna

    I agree with Tiffany. I make this trip 5+ times per year and it’s 9 going and 10 hours coming from my takeoff point at PHL – not what I consider short haul. You should be able to find premium cabin and I’d exhaust that possibility first before considering main cabin. Comfort matters!

  11. Jyoti

    Hi David,

    Thanks for this helpful response. When I log onto delta to find business class availability, I rarely see a seat that is 62,500 each way per seat. I am usually seeing seats that are 100,000 points or more each way per seat! Am I doing something wrong?

    [QUOTE=”David W, post: 19041, member: 29″]Aeroplan charges 55k+taxes and fees for one way US-Rome. I think its a great option, especially if you pick an airline where there are low fees. The Amex PRG and the bonus will be perfect for this. You also have enough for Lufthansa First, if that interest you. Fees are higher though.

    United charges 57.5k miles if you fly on their own planes or 70k miles with a Star Alliance partner and you can transfer points to United from Chase UR. United Business (on their planes, not ex-Continental ones) arent the greatest thing to fly on but it works.

    FlyingBlue is another transfer partner of Chase UR and it’s 62.5k miles for Rome to US, plus taxes and fees. Another alternative is if you and your wife each apply for the Delta card and transfer some points from Amex MR for an award. Delta charges 62.5k each way and fees are very low if you originate in the US.

    For hotels, Chase UR transfers to IHG if you would like to use points. Personally, the rates at IHG properties are low enough that I would rather pay cash. You can get a cashback card to offset the cost of paid nights. I prefer to transfer Chase UR to Hyatt but there are no Hyatt properties in Rome. You can also transfer to Marriott Rewards as well.[/QUOTE]

  12. Gaurav

    No you are not. Depending on demand, Delta varies the prices of flights based on its secret five level award chart. You’ll find some Delta space at low level and all partner space will always be at low level.

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