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Using points for the 1st time.
My friend and I are ready to book a trip to France and Italy in mid-June but am confused as to how I transfer points. I also would like to use some of my points to help my friend with her airfare.
I would like to use points for air and hotels if possible. I called AMEX and they were going to charge me 260,000 points for what United and AA charged 143,000pts. I have the following:
53,235 AMEX Premier Gold
36,274 AMEX SPG
47,915 Chase Sapphire Preferred
54,011 Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select
2,908 United Mileage Plus Explorer Business ( will be 53,000 end of April)
This is my itinerary:
6/21 BFL to Rome
6/29 Venice to Paris
7/3 or 7/5 Paris to BFL
Since I want to fly from my home town of Bakersfield, CA I’m guessing I need to fly United or AA.
Should I stay with them for entire trip or mix it up?
It’s a bit overwhelming. Any help is appreciated!
So what Amex would do is have you use your points like cash to buy revenue tickets. The better value is to transfer your Amex, SPG and Ultimate Rewards points to an airline where you can use those points to get award tickets.
The first thing you need to do is check the airlines to find out who has award space. Frankly, if you’re just now looking for award flights for this summer they may be hard to come by or may be very expensive miles-wise.
Look at the Beginners’ Guide (link at the top of the page) and read up on alliances, etc. to see which airlines and alliances fly where you’re going. At this point in time you might be better off hiring a service like Points Pros (Lucky’s company) to find the award space for you. See the Award Help tab at the top of the page for that option.
Doing an award search for AA yields no saver availability in either direction, which sucks. UA has awards available in both directions though it requires 2 stops. On either airline, 30k miles are needed for one way in economy. Try doing a search on your own using award searches on American, United or British Airways and search segment by segment.
For the short Venice to Paris leg, you can transfer the Amex Membership Rewards points to Air France (make an AirFrance FlyingBlue account first). AirFrance requires 10500 points for one person one way. Delta is another option but it’s 15k miles and Amex charges fees to transfer to Delta whereas no fees are charged transferring points to Air France.
From your mileage balances and your needs, UA looks like the best option to me. Between UA, and Sapphire you will have 100K UA miles. That is good for 3 one ways to/from Europe.
If you can manage 20K more UA you will be set for 2 Round trip tickets to Europe. I am not sure how difficult that is for you in a short span of time. New card may be?
I am seeing options from BFL with stopovers in SFO and FRA. If you want to check out FRA for a day, then there is a 16 hour layover option that works great. If not there are 6 hour layovers as well. [I]As of this writing.
Same is the case with return flights as well but I am not seeing any award availability on your dates at this time.
Did you consider any of the low cost options like WOW air?
Also, how about flying to a different city and then hopping to Rome using lowcost airlines or Flying Blue points?