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Family trip to Paris
Hi – just joined. This looks like a really cool site. My goal is to to figure out some family travel and I’m looking forward to reading the background and ‘points 101’ articles and posts.
Ultimately I’d like to take my family of 4 – wife and two kids under 11 – to Paris this April. I’m really interested in figuring out how to maimize the value of the miles we have:
– 111,000 Delta miles
– 11,329 American miles
– 89,000 Marriott points
– 130,000 Hilton points
70,139 Delta miles
165,396 American miles
81,464 Hilton points
We’re totally open to opening new cards and both have Amex Platinum now.
Would love to go first class – looks like roughly 140,000 miles each plus some cash to go Delta. I don’t really understand how to transfer points among accounts but looking forward to figuring it out. Any thoughts appreciated!
hi [USER=2544]@Bup[/USER], and welcome. I think your instincts on getting started with reading are great. I’m not sure that your goals of taking a trip in four months on miles and points is realistic. Given the lead time needed to open cards, meet minimum spending needs and have the miles credited and then to find space you’re looking at a timeline that probably won’t work. I’d recommend looking for cheap economy fares (of which there have been quite a few recently). Sites like the flightdeal, airfare watchdog, and secret flying are good to follow. A card like the Barclay Card Arrival+ which allows you to defray cash expenses might be a a good fit, especially since you don’t have to have your sign up bonuses completed before charging your expenses.
Couple of other points
– How many MR points do you have from your AX Plat cards?
– Usually you cannot easily transfer points between loyalty program accounts without losing a lot of their value because of transfer costs
– DL miles cannot be used to book international first class (only business and below).
Feel free to keep asking questions as you go along!
Hi [USER=2544]@Bup[/USER], and welcome!
I agree with [USER=79]@Gaurav[/USER] that you have a short lead time, but if you can be aggressive it’s certainly possible.
I would book your return right now using American miles. See this post for instructions on how to do that, you’ll want to avoid British Airways, and you’ll need to purchase a handful of miles (but they’re on sale), or transfer some over from Marriott (the ratio isn’t great): [URL]http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2015/04/12/how-to-redeem-american-aadvantage-miles/[/URL]
If you don’t want to buy miles, I would at least lock in a return in economy. You can upgrade to business class (if space is available) without a change fee.
Once that’s sorted, I would look at using Delta for the outbound flights. Right now you have enough for two one-ways, and would need ~99,000 more miles in your account for the other two tickets. You can transfer these from American Express Membership Rewards at a 1:1 rate, the Marriott and Hilton exchange rates are fairly terrible.
It of course depends on your flexibility and your ability to meet minimum spends, but I don’t think getting ~100k Amex points quickly is impossible. I would just be prepared to have a lot of flexibility in your dates and routing, and possibly splitting up 2 and 2 on some flights, as availability over Spring Break will be challenging.
Have fun reading, and we’re here if you have questions!
Hi [USER=2544]@Bup[/USER] In addition to the suggestions by [USER=79]@Gaurav[/USER] and [USER=7]@Tiffany[/USER] your Marriott and Hilton points options are:
Marriott: 7 : 2.5, so 89,000 equals about 31,770 American or Delta points (or others). You’d have to weigh this against what 89,000 Marriott points can get you in Marriott redemptions. Typically these are not favorable transfers. Marriott does have some interesting options but you need many more points, over 200,000 to take advantage of them.
Hilton: 10 : 1: So your 210,000 Hilton points gets you 21K AA or Delta (or others). For sure these are better used for Hilton redemptions, but this is an option. (You can buy 21K AA miles for about $400 to give you perspective)
In terms of maximizing value, you have to weight the cost of the flights against the number of points required. And as indicated, there are lots of bargains to Europe these days. Best of luck.